Blount Fine Foods, a leading manufacturer of premium, handcrafted soups, entrées, and side dishes for retail and foodservice, and the market leader in fresh retail soups, announced it has added Mike Maher as Culinary Business Development Specialist, and named Michael Palmer its Foodservice Business Development Representative for the Midwest.  

Maher, who brings more than a quarter-century record of success as a chef and foodservice executive, will work closely with Blount’s Executive Vice President for Sales & Marketing Bob Sewall to establish, enhance and expand the company’s relationships with key accounts. He joins Blount from U.S. Foods, where he was most recently Territory Manager for the Southwest. Maher’s appointment puts a seasoned executive chef on the sales team on a full-time basis, and frees up Corporate Executive Chef Jeff Wirtz, who can now focus exclusively on culinary development. 

“We have brought Mike onto the team to join me out in the field calling on customers, which ensures we bring culinary expertise and perspective to those invaluable conversations,” said Sewall. “He is a first-rate culinary expert who speaks comfortably and credibly about all aspects of the food industry, and who truly understands our customers’ business opportunities and challenges.”  

Maher holds a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Management from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz. He resides in Rowlett, Tex., and will work out of Blount offices in McKinney, Tex. and Fall River, Mass.

Palmer, who comes to Blount as an accomplished sales and account manager with a history of growing accounts and solidifying customer relationships, will be responsible for managing and growing Blount’s foodservice business in the company’s Midwest territory, and will work out of the company’s office in Chicago. He is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where he earned his Bachelor’s in Communication, with a minor in Business Administration. 

Both positions assume their new roles immediately.

The company also announced it has promoted Corporate Executive Chef Jeff Wirtz to also carry the title of Senior Director of Culinary Development. The company also announced that Clayton Burrows has been promoted to join the culinary team as a Research & Development Chef. He had previously been Quality Assurance Technician as a member of Blount’s production team. 

“Jeff Wirtz, who is a respected and award-winning chef and thought leader on the subject of culinary innovation, has been the driving force behind the expansion and elevation of our premium product lines,” said William Bigelow, Blount’s Vice President of Research & Corporate Development. “Jeff’s instincts for recipe and product development are second to none, and as he has grown as an executive, so too has the culinary function here at Blount Fine Foods.” 

Wirtz’s new responsibilities include forming and managing those partnerships the company maintains with its suppliers, especially the organic and “free-from” farmers that are called upon to provide a reliable supply of premium ingredients for Blount products. 

Burrows’ ascension from the production floor to the R&D Kitchens is an ideal manifestation of company CEO Todd Blount’s vision of a talent pipeline that consistently finds the best talent coming from within the company, and where Blount Fine Foods is a workplace rife with opportunity for professional development and career fulfillment. 

“Clayton Burrows has worked hard, and taken advantage of the personal and career development opportunities here at the company,” said Wirtz. “When we post a job opening, our sincere hope is that the search and interview process demonstrates that the best candidates are actually within the company, which it certainly was in the case of Clayton.”