Innovative Frozen Gourmet Meal Company Expanding Rapidly
Seattle—June 8, 2006—In the past year alone, they’ve opened more than 1,000 new freezer aisle doors nationwide for their gourmet dinners; now Grace’s Kitchen is filling new seats at its headquarters. Keith Kersten has joined Grace’s Kitchen as Chief Executive Officer to help guide a seamless expansion as the Seattle company seeks to increase its national profile and market presence.
“Keith knows the grocery business extremely well and I’m confident he will successfully grow Grace’s Kitchen while maintaining the company’s uncompromising quality standards,” said Mike Buhrmann, a founding member of 1024 Partners LLC, the Northwest venture capital firm that helped launch Grace’s Kitchen. “The successes we’ve enjoyed thus far are the result of much hard work by Jaap Langenberg, who will continue to develop new business as Vice President of Business Development and Sales.”
Kersten’s charge at Grace’s Kitchen will be to build on the company’s robust initial growth by continuing to introduce Grace’s meals to new grocery stores and customers. Before joining Grace’s, Kersten was an equity partner at Byerly’s Inc., where he spent 20 years, eventually leading the company’s retail, food manufacturing, and restaurant divisions as Senior Vice President of Operations. A highlight of his career was to bring the Byerly’s famous Wild Rice Soup to the innovative Minnesota Retailer.
Kersten has most recently spent time consulting for Cargill, Inc., managing product sales and development on a fresh entrée project. Kersten has also been involved with the Food Marketing Institute over the past 15 years, serving on the FMI Food Protection Committee, co-chairing the FMI Meals Solution program and conducting FMI and USDA international seminars and study tours. He holds degrees from both the University of Minnesota and the Culinary Institute of America.
Grace’s Kitchen has been recognized widely by food industry executives and the media for its innovation. Frozen Food Age described Grace’s Kitchen as a pioneer in offering super-premium frozen meals and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote that Grace’s is leading a flavor revolution in the ‘normally stodgy’ frozen food aisle; the Chicago Sun-Times heralded Grace’s as delivering ‘fine dining at home that is pleasing to the palate, attractive to the eye and easy to prepare.’
Grace’s meals sell nationwide at retailers including Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Shaw’s and SuperTarget, as well as many other independent grocery stores like Seattle’s Metropolitan Market. In addition, Grace’s Kitchen has developed exclusive meals for both Costco and Sam’s Club.
Each Grace’s Kitchen meal is hand-prepared at the company’s flagship Seattle kitchen using all natural, preservative-free ingredients. All meals serve two, can be prepared in less than 30 minutes, and include simple cooking instructions, plating recommendations and suggested wine pairings. For more information, visit www.graceskitchen.com.
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