“Jeff! It’s Steve at Ray’s!”
“Steve how’ve you been? How’s Ray’s been doing?”
“Absolutely wonderful. Hey Jeff, l’d like to bring my Chef team down to Merlino’s and take a tour.”
“Of course! Let’s do it.”
For those unfamiliar with Merlino Foods, they have distributed Seattle with a huge inventory of products. From their brand of imported Italian olive oils, to Tillamook cheddar, to chocolate for our pastry department. Since 1900, the growth and succession this company has endured has been amazing. In fact, if you’ve eaten at a restaurant in Seattle, there is a good chance you’ve enjoyed their goods.
Jeff Biesold is the Vice President of Merlino Foods. He’s been quite successful in keeping it a family business and sticking to their tradition of local goods and high-quality imported products. Jeff led us into the warehouse and showed us everything. We were amazed with the scale of this company. While walking by stacks of their branded canned tomatoes, we strolled into a giant refrigerator where forklifts cruised around. The place was buzzing with energy. Crews were picking products and taking them to the loading dock, getting ready to send them off.
Ray’s and Merlino Foods have had years of history together. We hold confidence as a team to share great food with our guests. There’s never a hesitation on their end in searching for specific products chefs request, all while providing swift, accurate service. This is important because we want to give you, our guest, the best food experience possible.
Afterwards I had asked our team what they were most impressed with during our visit. We all agree that Merlino’s does their homework. It’s reassuring to have learned how their inspection and approval process works. Jeff had mentioned that he’s “gotta guy” on the east coast inspecting imported products. But before that, he’s “gotta guy” in Italy inspecting his products also. The extensive chain of their quality control process proves to Ray’s that they absolutely want to have the best choices available. Real people on the ground where the food is actually being grown and processed, in touch with the farmers and exporters, is essential to ensuring a quality ingredient ends up on your plate at Ray’s.
I personally speak with many members of the Merlino team on a regular basis and look forward to it each week. Thank you to the entire team at Merlino Foods for a great relationship!
– Steve Hauch, Ray’s Sous Chef