Written by The Business Journal Staff
J. Peter De Young, President / CEO
Culinary Competitions International
What we do:
We are a full-service public relations firm with a highly specialized set of talents and experience. Our mission is to creatively assist Agricultural Commodity Boards and Private Branded Agriculture Products to promote the consumption of their products in target markets all over the world. We do this by organizing and producing high profile, culinary competitions, exhibitions, focus groups, as well as public relations initiatives in those target regions.
B.A. Marketing & Communications
Saint Mary’s College
Culinary Arts Training
Culinary Institute of America at Greystone
College in St. Helena, CA
Wife: Angela, Son: Nico (20) and Daughter: Gina (19)
How did you come to develop Culinary Competitions International?
In 1999, we established Alliance Advertising & Public Relations, an award-winning, Fresno based full-service advertising agency, which we still operate today. Through the years we were approached by several commodity boards, on different occasions, to assist them with their international marketing. These organizations challenged us to come up with new ways to get the attention of targeted international consumers in the U.K., Mexico, Indonesia, China and Japan. We were then focused on food service professionals, beverage managers and chefs. We developed a number of events designed to engage these groups in ways they had never experienced. As an agency focused on our clients successes, we quickly realized that we were on to something unique and affective.
How did your involvement in the industry begin, Peter?
I believe it all started when I was still in grade school. The youngest of nine children in a family that celebrated good food, good times, travel and the art of telling a great story. I published and sold my own “Neighborhood Newspaper” (5 cents a copy) when I was only 7, learned to cook from my amazingly talented parents (before I could ride a bike to the store to buy ingredients) and directed my own television shows in high school and college with guests ranging from the ‘60s rock promoter legend Bill Graham and the very young actor / comedian Rob Schneider to the creators of Gumby. Soon after starting Alliance in 1999, I founded (and still own) the River Park Farmer’s Market — now Fresno’s largest California certified farmer’s Market, where I fell in love with locally grown fruits and vegetables and the amazing people who grow them. The rest…is…as they say, “history” (smile).
The agency has announced the production of dedicated television show for to help showcase its clients, how did that idea develop, Peter?
Throughout my career I have been a food TV junky. I have seen it all, from the early days of the Galloping Gourmet and Julia Childs (yes, save the liver!) to the explosion of the Food Network and the copycats that followed. When we began to conceive CCI as a standalone company, I knew that the concept of our very own TV show would emerge. In 2014 we made the decision to create something new, something unique in food TV — one part agriculture education, one part international travel, and two parts fun. Global Bites is now in production and follows the clients we serve all over the planet. Our host is TV Celebrity Chef (BRAVO TV’s Top Chef, FOOD Network, YAHOO TV) New York Times Best Selling Author and restaurateur extraordinaire Fabio Viviani.
How many shows have been filmed, Peter?
We have begun production on what will be our initial six episodes of Global Bites. Once we have these “in the can” we will share our creations with the History Channel, The Food Network, Discover and other interested networks.
How big of an audience are you hoping to reach, Peter?
We believe that Global Bites will eventually become a household titled TV show that both teaches and entertains. The way people use, say, kiwi in the United States is so very different they are used throughout Europe where chefs cook with them. Every culture prepares foods in a different way, celebrating their own unique cooking techniques, spice parings, etc. Our show will inspire people to try new things and look at food differently.
What has been your proudest accomplishment in the industry, Peter?
CCI is currently coordinating the California Fig Fest (previously the “Fig Fest”) in cooperation with the California Fig Advisory Board. We are taking what was a regional celebration of the amazing fig and turning it into a major, statewide culinary event (August 15th on the campus of Fresno State). It will feature 26 executive chefs and bakers from throughout California, each representing their restaurants and/or bakeries as they compete for fig recipe bragging rights. Attendees will have an opportunity to sample their fig inspired creations along with leading California wineries, and much more. Additionally, attendees will have an opportunity to be a part of a live TV audience as we shoot an episode of Global Bites with Celebrity Chef Fabio Viviani right here at home, in Fresno. We expect a crowd of 3,000 to 5,000 to attend.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it, Peter?
My first job was a “Petroleum Bi-Product Dispersal Engineer” (I pumped gas at a carwash while in high school). I learned that customer service is an art form and that hard work always pays off. I learned to treat others the way you want to be treated (or served) and that if you don’t take care of the customer, someone else will.
Who has been a mentor for you and what did you learn from him/her, Peter?
My Father was an amazing influence on who I am today. He was orphaned at 12 and had no relatives other that a 15 year old brother. He worked as an elevator operator in the San Joaquin Light & Power building in downtown Fresno (later to become PG&E) and 46 years later retired from PG&E as a vice [resident. All the while he and my mother raised a family of 9 children, all successful individuals in their own right. He taught me to be a good person, to work hard (and smart) and to NEVER GIVE UP. He instilled in me the importance of always doing the right thing and to keep God as the center of my world. He taught by example.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Peter?
I love to fish, catch and release mostly…unless it’s salmon! I love salmon.
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and to create amazing things for them in the kitchen. I really enjoy going to our farmer’s markets and watching people smile. And yes, I love to travel. I’d better! Right!?