Mario Valdovino grew up in California, where his family was in the food business. He decided early on he was not going to go down that path, but wanted to become an eye doctor.
But his passion for food eventually took over and he went to culinary school in San Francisco once he graduated from the University of California at Irvine.
He worked for several fine-dining establishments in San Francisco before getting a job in food manufacturing at Mallard’s Food Products of Modesto, Calif. Tyson acquired the company in 1997.
Valdovino then went to work as a research chef at Culinary Foods in Chicago, part of the Tyson Foods family.
In 2007, Tyson opened its 100,000-SF Discovery Center, with 19 specialized research kitchens, and Valdovino came to Northwest Arkansas for an opportunity to “have a national platform to change the way America eats.”
Being able to be a part of the Tyson culture is a great achievement, he said.
Valdovino said learning new things about food and getting the word out about the food industry is what motivates him.
“Being able to travel throughout the country visiting customers and looking at trends in an industry that is never stale, that gets me really excited to learn and to share my knowledge,” he said.
His goal is to continue in the product development business at Tyson and share the culinary culture with the rest of the organization.