From dirt to dinner: Foodservice experts dive into Idaho potatoes

Produce Market Guide - October 9, 2023

By - Amy Sowder


Eric Meisel wants to create the right flavors for his restaurant customers in the greater Ohio region.

And one way to best meet their needs is to learn about ingredients and stay on top of trends, which led Meisel to this day on Sept. 27 — the day he stood inches from a mountain of yellow goddess potatoes, piled three-people high inside a storage shed at Wada Farms in Idaho.

“I help independent restaurants update their ingredients for dishes and make new recipes. I create dishes that require less kitchen labor,” Meisel said while riding on a tour bus with 30 people on the Idaho Potato Commission's harvest tour focusing on fresh potatoes for foodservice. Formerly a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef, Meisel now works as a culinary specialist for Gordon Food Service.


Emily Painter from Pacific Coast Fruit Co., Portland, Ore., said she didn't realize all the differences between russet burbanks and russet norkotahs until joining this tour because burbanks are the preferred variety in Washington state.

“It was interesting to learn how burbanks are the more desirable variety for foodservice,” Painter said. “We're looking to boost our foodservice business in Seattle, so I'll take that home to my sales team.”

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