Interview of M. Christophe Labarre (creator of Gourmet Food Export)
What made you built Gourmet Food Export company?
In fact, our wish was to make a company able to integrate the knowledge of our background, a dynamic, innovative and pro-active company. Food and me, it is a long story. In 1999, I was project manager for the FACC (French American Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles), creating links in between the French / American community working with major hotels and restaurants. I was also in charge of key events such as the « Beaujolais Festival » (over 400 people and more than 20 food partners – caterers, restaurants, importers). Then, I worked for Andros (which makes « Bonne Maman » jams, « Andros » fruit purée and fresh juices), Bongrain (which makes « Cœur de Lion » soft cheese and « Elle & Vire International » cream and butter for retail and food service) and International de Ventes Alimentaires (Farmed cheeses).
These experiences drove me to the creation of a company in which we could project our universe, be one team with our partners because at the end, everything is linked. More than that, we were looking for a real human adventure.
The name of our company is simple, efficient and strong. A gourmet is a person that has a certain knowledge of the food, this person must appreciate the « global beauty » of eating and drinking, from the kitchen to the mouth. This is what I have learnt over years, mainly through business travels. This also represents the majority of our partners. They also travel a lot trying to bring the best of what is produced in food to their clients. This is a quest for taste without being part of the elite.
You have been working for 5 years in the dairy business. Why don’t you stay in that field?
Since I was in the dairy business I have learnt a lot, made many nice and rich meetings. Nevertheless, I wanted to bring something else to the international. I am convinced that Gourmet Food Export is answering a true need and brings a real added value on the market. We are bringing quality and a real service. Of course we cannot answer all demands of our clients and partners but, thanks to a work on different categories of products (Delicatessen, Fresh…), we cover the main part. For us, the main point is to bring a concrete answer.
How do you select your partners?
I have been visiting my partners (suppliers and clients) for years. My level of analysis is naturally based on the « farmer » common sense because I am from the Perigord. I truly believe in a natural selection brought by the pleasure of a well-done job. This is a human task and the result is found in mouth!
Naturally, we have a guideline and our wish is to bring products that are:
> Premium (creative and tasty)
> Innovative (concept, approach, convenient)
> Healthy and natural
This is possible, because we have many local producers that are doing a great job. There is a true product culture as they prove it to us every day.