If your impression of a distributor chef leans more toward a salesman in a chef’s coat, you’ve not met Daryl Shular. Corporate executive chef at PERFORMANCE Foodservice – Milton’s, a division of No. 3 broadliner Performance Food Group, Shular served on the 2008 U.S. Culinary Olympic Team and this year made it to the finals for the 2012 team.
With PF-Milton’s for the past three years, Shular previously led instruction at the International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Atlanta and spent years in chef whites. On his switch to the distributor side, he says, “What’s great is that you can influence a lot of people, including sales reps for whom having better culinary knowledge impacts their success, and operators, whose menus and costs I can improve.”
Shular now spends the majority of his time helping operators survive the recession. “So many places realize that they have to innovate to be more competitive,” he says. Shular helps them improve seasonal sourcing, menuing for this economy and plate presentation.
Every week, Shular conducts themed workshops to present menu ideas, discuss trends and offer product and prep solutions. Most are held in the distributor’s test kitchen, but he also takes the workshops on the road. “I spend a lot of time on profit-building ideas,” he says. “Underutilized meats, for example, can be very profitable but a lot of operators don’t have confidence in preparing them. I demonstrate simple ways to get them on the menu.”
He also works with individual customers on specific needs. Recently, a new account needed help finalizing its menu. “We got into matching products with menu needs, evaluating food costs and formulating selling prices. Our in-house graphics department came up with a design and layout. I’ll follow up periodically to make sure it’s working well. It’s a full-circle process,” he notes.
2008 sales: $10.2 billion (corporate)
ID Top 50 Rank: 3 (corporate)
Web site: pfgc.com/miltons