Award-winning chefs will set up kitchens in the grocery areas of 225 select Walmart Supercenters through November to give cooking demonstrations, share food samples and offer recipes and meal preparation ideas to customers.
The program will feature fresh, high-quality branded food items, said Amy Langston, senior manager of marketing/retailtainment for Walmart, and opportunities exist for brands to participate.
“This distinguishes brick-and-mortar from online, drives private brand items and emphasizes freshness and quality,” Langston said. “This is something that could only happen inside a physical store.”
The concept of food sampling is familiar to Sam’s Club customers, but the Supercenter program features accomplished chefs who have won food competitions. The intent is to inspire customers and give them constructive ideas for combining grocery ingredients. Chefs will discuss techniques, share tips and let customers taste what they prepare. In the future, cooking equipment and other kitchen tools could be featured.
Chefs are prior contestants of the World Food Championships, which are held in Orange Beach, Ala. WFC brought its “Final Table” event to Bentonville the weekend of April 21-22, made up of 10 category winners from the WFC last November. Lisa Gwatney of Memphis won $100,000 for the execution of her recipe, The Last Supper: Steak & Taters.
Walmart’s contract is with MMA Creative of Nashville, Tenn., which produces the championships.
Stores will be chosen based on the location of each chef. If the program is well received by customers, it can be extended, Langston said. The best way to keep up with the program is to follow the company on social media, and in particular to follow the local stores.
Neighborhood Markets could be included, but that would likely involve food trucks outside the store, Langston said.