In 1986, Jerry Shafir founded Kettle Cuisine with the vision of offering refrigerated, high-quality soups to restaurants and supermarkets.
For 27 years, Kettle Cuisine has handcrafted small batches of all natural soups from scratch for restaurants, food service operators and grocery retailers.
Following a B.A. at Yale, where he majored in English and played varsity basketball for four years, Mr. Shafir went on to earn a J.D. at Boston University School of Law.
He worked for five years as an attorney in a 30 person law department at New England Mutual Life Insurance Company, where he supervised commercial litigation and advised the company on marketing law issues. At 30 years old, he left the practice of law and entered Harvard Business School, where he earned his M.B.A.
His first job out of business school was as a top aide to the founder of Legal Sea Foods, Inc. It was here that he learned a process of making soups at a central commissary using a rapid chilling method to extend shelf life without the use of preservatives.
Mr. Shafir thought a business using similar technology could become a supplier to hundreds of independent outlets. Working with chefs, the company developed soups using classical cooking techniques and the finest natural food ingredients available.
Currently Kettle Cuisine employs more than 200 people, who manufacture approximately 140,000 gallons of soup per week in a 65,000 square foot facility in Chelsea, Mass. The facility operates two daily shifts under U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection, making and packaging over 100 different products for thousands of food service and retail operators, both in bulk format and in convenient microwaveable plastic containers for retail.
Mr. Shafir is a past president of the Refrigerated Foods Association (RFA), a national organization of manufacturers of prepared, refrigerated food products who have joined together to promote food safety, share information, and expand the industry.