It’s not uncommon for those in the restaurant industry to sit and talk about their dreams after a long day of work. For Chef John LoCascio, a conversation with his colleague Rebecca Mitchel changed everything. In 2016, they partnered to create catering concept Stuf’d—and they’ve enjoyed every moment of it since.
What inspired you to get into foodservice?
“My grandparents cooking, the way food can bring others together and give a feeling of home. I started my journey in the food industry as a teenager. I got my first job at a mom and pop Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Queens, NY. I started as a dishwasher and never stopped growing.
I’ve been in the food service industry for well over a decade and have worked my way through the ranks to where I am now as co-owner and operator of my own food business. I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside many talented chefs, some of which I still consider to be a mentor of mine till this day.”
How did you and Rebecca think of Stuf’d?
“The idea for Stuf’d originated as a sweet and savory stuffed French Toast concept, thought of in college by my partner, Rebecca. Rebecca and I met at a restaurant named Bill’s Bar and Burger in Rockefeller Center where we both worked. As Rebecca explained her concept to me, I really liked it and thought it would be a great fit for my culinary talents. After several months of recipe and menu development, we were ready to introduce Stuf’d to the world.”
How has Stuf’d changed over time?
“Stuf’d had success in the beginning, but like any successful business, we went through many changes and after some time, the decision was made to reinvent ourselves as a full-on gourmet sandwich company. Our selling point was focused on the uniqueness of our bread, it’s fresh Challah bread with a panko and parmesan blend baked into the crust with a seasoned egg wash to form an amazing and unique flavor.
What’s the most interesting thing to happen to your business?
“Getting into Citi Field during baseball season was one of the biggest accomplishments of my culinary career. It all started a few years ago when we participated in the NHL Winter Classic as a food vendor at Citi Field. We made such a great first impression during that event that we were invited to the corporate office a few months later to meet with the executive chefs and directors of concession with the stadium. Our conversations went great and our tasting went even greater. Before we knew it, we received the green light and had our very own stand in the Jim Beam Highball Club next to some other amazing food concepts.”
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
“My biggest challenge has been trying to keep my business afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic. I had a restaurant in addition to Stuf’d however, unfortunately I had to close my doors right after Christmas 2020. It was heartbreaking. Feeding front liners and office workers during these troubled times is whats helping me hold on.”
Which Cambro products help make your business work?
Links for Stuf’d
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.