“I look at food not by ingredient but rather by understanding the trends that drive consumers to purchase.”
Linda works with Celtic's food clients, consulting on new product development and marketplace strategies. She received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and then became a Senior Manager in Kraft’s Customer Relationship Marketing area where she launched Simple Solutions magazine, building a circulation of 875k.
With an in-depth perspective of food and food marketing, Linda is recognized for bringing a creative and innovative but practical approach to food marketing while maintaining focus on taste and the bottom line.
Q & A
Q: Did you always like food?
A: I absolutely hated food as a kid. My mother isn’t the most inspired cook and I went to a private elementary school that provided dreadful lunches. I didn’t start liking food until junior high school when I took a home economics class. From there I started cooking at home. Once I started having more input into what we would have for dinner, I found that I enjoyed eating more. I think I was the only person in my high school with a subscription to Bon Appétit.
Q: What drew you to working in food as a profession?
A: When I was in high school, my school had a youth employment service. They provided students with the ability to work as babysitters, yard workers, tutors and hostess helpers among other jobs. As a result, I worked at parties almost every weekend. I’d go to people’s homes and do food prep, serving, cleaning up. It got me interested in catering. I studied in Paris during college and ended up renting a room from an American who ran a catering business for ex-pat Americans. It gave me that opportunity to see how small scale catering worked.
Q: What is your favorite thing to eat?
A: I cook a lot of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Foods at home. Lots of olives, basil, peppers, fish. Foods with a lot of flavor but that are still relatively healthy.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I am an obsessive needleworker. I knit, hand quilt, sew. I’ve won awards for my quilts and spent 2020 as a mini mask factory for my family and friends. I also love baking bread and have started home brewing beer. My next goal is to learn how to build furniture.
Q: What was your favorite food invention in working with clients?
A: I developed the Rodeo Burger for Burger King. It’s a cheeseburger topped with their onion rings and BBQ sauce. At the time it was introduced it was their best selling limited time offer. It sold millions of pounds of BBQ sauce - 1 tablespoon at a time. I love that it was built off of an “I’ve never understood why they don’t…” put their onion rings on their burgers moment.
Q: If you could do something else, what would it be?
A: If I had enough funding, I’d run a not-for-profit supporting the preservation and restoration of historic buildings in the US.
Q: What is the most interesting food trend right now?
A: The proliferation of microbreweries across the country and the increase in experimentation surrounding global beers and brewing techniques. More broadly, you could say that this builds off of a trend towards fermented beverages - so things like kombucha and kvass. It highlights our changing palates and ’thirst’ for new experiences.