Cream of the crop: Manitoba sauce-maker named in Top 10 new food companies
Peter Fehr started sauce business Gourmet Inspirations after working as a chef in Winnipeg, northern Manitoba
Salted caramel whisky, sweet and spicy lemon and chocolate port are just a few of the wide range of flavours on offer by a Manitoba sauce-maker who just earned kudos from a national foodie magazine.
Peter Fehr is the chef and entrepreneur behind Gourmet Inspirations, a range of bottled sauces that won a spot on the Top 10 new companies list from Food in Canada magazine.
"I was shocked. It came totally out of the blue," Fehr said of the award.
Fehr said he got the idea for his business working as a chef at a fishing resort in northern Manitoba five years ago.
"We had a guest from Texas, and she loved a creamy peppercorn whisky sauce I made for a steak dinner," Fehr said. "And she said to me, 'You need to put that in a bottle and sell that.' And I said, 'Oh, that's a good idea.'"
From there, Fehr developed his business from the ground up, starting by developing the product, networking and selling small batches of sauce at farmers markets.
Now, he produces about 2,000 bottles in a month to be sold at 85 retailers, including ones in Vancouver and Toronto, although his biggest market is still in Manitoba.
"I kind of believe I was born with a love of cooking," he said. "My mom tells me as a little kid, instead of playing with the Tonka trucks I was in the cupboards playing with the pots and pans."
Now, Fehr said he loves being in the kitchen for the creativity and the opportunity to bring people together over a great meal.
"I love connecting people and bringing people together and eating together around the table. I'd say that, even more than the creativity, is the connecting of people," he said.
His passion for bringing people together shows in his other pursuits, too. He's one of the masterminds behind Love Local MB, a beer, wine and food event showcasing Manitoba makers.
Fehr said he plans to grow his business "little by little." Keep an eye out for new flavours, he added, including one in the works involving Saskatoon berries.
With files from Nadia Kidwai