Meet The Culinary Entrepreneurs is an innovative lecture series featuring some of America’s top culinary business owners. The sessions, held throughout the year, are designed to bring some of the country’s best restaurateurs, specialty food retailers, caterers, and other business luminaries to ICE to speak with students in ICE’s Culinary Management program as well as guests.
Last Friday, Jennifer Baum, the Founder and President of Bullfrog & Baum Public Relations came to speak at ICE as part of the series. Baum’s company is an award-winning public relations and marketing agency specializing in food, hospitality, lifestyle and consumer public relations and brand management with offices in NYC and LA. Baum left a career in finance to start her company in 2000. In the past 12 years, they have worked to turn names like Laurent Tourondel and Michael Psilakis into internationally recognized brands while being a strategist for well-known chefs like Bobby Flay and Wolfgang Puck. Her other clients include Alex Guarnaschelli, Alain Ducasse, Richard Blais and Sara Moulton — a veritable who’s who of the food world.
ICE Director of Culinary Management, Steve Zagor, who has known Baum for many, many years, moderated the discussion, asking her about how she started her business, the lessons she learned along the way and how she operates day-to-day running such a successful business. Baum said, “The thing I am most proud of professionally is that I work hard to set up longevity with my clients. I’ve worked with Bobby Flay for 10 years. I’m constantly communicating and thinking creatively on how to provide my clients with valuable insight so I can help them achieve their goals.”
Baum discussed how new media has introduced new challenges to her business. She said, “It’s hard to keep ahead of the internet. It’s very difficult to navigate when things happen so quickly… Now, you have to keep yourself above the fray. It’s about keeping yourself in the conversation.”
Baum gave incredible insight for students hoping to launch their own culinary businesses. She said, “The advantage of having a public relations firm is that you get to take advantage of long-term relationships with journalists and incredible insight on how to get press that is image building, but also drive business.” It was an incredible experience for students to learn from her wealth of knowledge and be better equipped to launch their own ventures.