At a dinner party, a chef must blend flavors and textures masterfully to create something that a group of diverse people will enjoy. Likewise, the Haute@Home catalog mixes different selling propositions to form a cohesive shopping experience for everyone from novice entertainers who can only boil water, to seasoned cooking and restaurant professionals.
Florencia Palmaz, creator and president of Haute@Home, exemplifies the busy entertainer who wants casual elegance delivered quickly to the table. Her mother and business partner, Amalia Palmaz, comes from a more formal entertaining tradition in which the hostess prepares everything from scratch. Both women, who hail from Argentina, are experts on things culinary, but came to the gourmet prepared-foods market “backwards,” Florencia says.
Amalia owns the country’s largest venison ranch, in San Antonio, TX, and is CEO of GoodHeart Brand Specialty Meats, a full-process wholesale purveyor of venison and other game, including bison, wild boar, ostrich, quail, and Argentine and Kobe beef. The name GoodHeart reflects that game meats generally are low in fat.
After individual retail requests started to trickle into GoodHeart a few years ago, the mother-and-daughter team began offering specialty meats direct to consumers through a catalog. Florencia recalls, “As a fluke, I was carrying some hors d’oeuvres for a hotel here in town. I decided to also offer those in the catalog, and they became the most successful items in the whole book.”
The women began selling ready-to-serve haute cuisine, and the catalog was renamed Haute@Home to better incorporate the two components of the business. The two built a hotel-style kitchen in which to produce the cuisine in catering quantities. “We cook every day … flash freeze to preserve it and ship it out,” Florencia says, adding that they try to keep quantities below 100 of each item, and turn inventory frequently to prevent freezer burn.