20.09.2022

Job in the spotlight: Marco Franceschini

At Deliva, we all share one great, common passion: good food. And we express it every day through our tasty preparations and dishes. But where do we get the inspiration for all these goodies? And how does such a recipe actually come about? Product Developer Marco is happy to explain in all colours - or rather tastes - how the R&D department always creates magic in the test kitchen. 

Can you briefly tell us about your job? What are your most important tasks?

Marco: “First and foremost: listening to the customer’s wishes and trying to make them reality. It is not necessarily what we would find tasty, but it has to be of good quality and have the right composition. We get to work on the customer’s request, develop new recipes, taste, and adjust if necessary.  Of course, we send samples to the customer too, or we invite them to come and taste in our test kitchen.  We use the feedback we get to either carry on developing or release the recipe for production. I follow this process closely, I do more tasting and check the labels. The last new product was ready-made sushi rice. We not only develop new products, but we also regularly update our existing recipes. This allows us to respond to increasing customer demands, such as reduced salt and sugar.”

To which Deliva team do you belong? And what does this team look like?

Marco: “I am part of Research and Development, there are three of us. Dietician Stefanie, Business & Product Development Manager Peter Goossens and me. A new colleague will join us in August: a professional chef who is going to help us innovate our recipes.

Who do you work most closely with in the company? How is this collaboration?

Marco: “With everyone, really. We work in an open-plan office, together with purchasing, production manager, quality, planning, and a colleague from ICT. Because we are literally sat together, useful information relevant for all the departments is shared quickly, such as raw material price increases, etc.”

What skills do you need in this role to complete your tasks successfully?

Marco: “Good tasting skills! But IT knowledge is also very handy, because we work with quite complex systems. And personality-wise: patience and being able to listen to the customer’s needs. As a chef, you have to prepare what the customer wants, whether you agree or not!”

“I can really indulge in all my passions in this job”

How did you end up at Deliva?

Marco: ”When I was eighteen, I started as a cook in Hassotel and then I worked as a chef at Pietersheim for Horeservi. Horeservi is the predecessor of what we now know as Umami Catering. To bring more uniformity to the recipes, a central production unit was established at the time, and that was Deliva. LUC, now UHasselt, was one of our first customers. Our growth is easy to measure by the number of soup kettles in use: first a 100-litre kettle, then a 300-litre kettle, and now we already have two 1000-litre kettles.” (laughs)

 

And how did you end up in this role?

Marco: “I was part of Deliva’s inception and carried out different roles throughout the years. I’ve been a production supervisor, and I did the planning for about eight years. The latter taught me a lot in particular. I helped implement our current ERP package, Lisa. After that, it was time for a new challenge. So when I was asked for this job, it didn’t take a long time to make my mind up. I have been doing this for about two years now and I still love it. I can really indulge in all my passions in this job.”

 

Is Deliva a good employer? What makes working here fun?

Marco: “Certainly! The atmosphere here is great, and my colleagues are friendly. It is a big company, but not too big. It means almost everyone knows each other, and is very informal.”

Do you have a good story or funny anecdote about your job?

“Last week, we had a visit from three Ukrainian housewives to our test kitchen to demonstrate how to prepare their two most important national dishes, borsjstj (a thick meat soup with beetroot) and lecso (a type of paprika goulash). That was a fun and informative experience for us, because we discovered the culture and customs of these people. But they were over the moon too, to be able to be in the kitchen again. Seeing them enjoy themselves and have fun really made it doubly rewarding!”

As a gourmet, what is your favourite dish?

Marco: “I am a real meat-eater, so I will never say no to a good ribeye steak, T-bone steak, or fillet steak. Unfortunately, my daughters are both vegetarians, so this pleasure is reserved for restaurants. And that’s where I get very critical: I want quality on my plate. It’s a logical consequence of my job!”

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