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My Work with Qualifirst Foods

Qualifirst Roka Cheese Puffs

The waters where day job meets personal blog are often swimming with sharks. Problems arise when the two parties – employer and blogging employee – have different ideas about who’s the appropriate audience for what information and how time should be spent. I’m lucky to have found a way to make the blog work and regular work connected and supportive of each other and I’d like to share great news today about a new project I’m starting. Over the last week I’ve joined the social media team at Qualifirst Foods and will be helping them with their community building efforts on Twitter and elsewhere.

Qualifirst is Canada’s oldest specialty food company and has the mission of bringing many of the world’s top notch products to Canadian markets. They have built strong relationships with premier chefs – mainly in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montréal – and are now working on a few big idea to connect directly with home cooks. From the two tours I’ve had of their warehouse in Toronto I can say that these are some of the most food obsessed and quality minded people I’ve met and they can talk your ear off about the products they’ve made passionate connections with. Those times when you’ve wondered “who carries that hard to find specialized product?” The answer is Qualifirst more often than you’d probably imagine.

I’ll be working part-time with the broader social media team at Qualifirst and will have a particular focus on the company’s Twitter activities. They are committed to engaging with Canadian foodsters and one thing they’ve asked me to turn my talents to is searching out the best food-blog content that we can share from Qualifirst to readers. Have a look at the Qualifirst twitter account; I’ll be at the keyboard for many of those tweets. As well as sharing some of the best Canadian food content and company news we’ll also have product contests to run and other ways to involve followers.

So, as well as sharing the good news on the personal front, this post is obviously also a bit about disclosure. Because I found someone who’s willing to pay me to talk about food and drink there will be times when work and my writing here on Food With Legs will intersect. For instance, I may want to talk about an product that Qualifirst carries and I think that you’ll be interested in. When I do this it will be in a transparent way and each time I’ll be clear about the connection. I’ll be just as transparent when I tweet from my own account about Qualifirst products.

The header image on this post is a good example of a product that I think you might be interested in. The Roka Cheese Crispies are delicious, good times. The Dutch company that makes them uses 12-month aged Gouda. I’m happy to find that working with producers who base their products around delicious, authentic ingredients motivates a lot of the Qualifirst “what products to carry” decisions.

The Roka box says that the cheese puffs go well with wine, but I know marketing speak when I see it. Cheese, butter, flaky pastry: these are all good buddies with beer. To confirm that suspicion I had a few friends over last weekend and we tasted our way through several combinations. Th Olive one with Goose Island’s Sofie (a Belgian-style saison) was my preference.

As always, I’d love to hear from you guys about what you think. Have you tried the Roka biscuits? Are there products that you’re interested in hearing more about? Or more generally, when brands tweet about food are there things they do that you can’t stand that I should avoid? Let me know in the comments below.

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