FoodMix is a marketing agency well known for its food and beverage marketing expertise. From growing Brand Love through strategy-based creativity, to supporting it with a dedicated account service team, there are many reasons to explain our success, but when it really comes down to it, our most important asset is our people. As part of our blog series, “Food Is Our Life,” we allow our unique team of experts to take the center stage and share their own perspectives on how their personal relationship with food has helped influence their professional relationships. Today we’ll be hearing from Miguel Molina, one of our Senior Account Executives, who also happens to be a foodie fanatic. His culinary passion is an inspiration to the entire FoodMix team to keep exploring and experiencing the universe of food with our minds wide open to all the delicious possibilities.
“I really wasn’t sure how old I was when it happened, but my world changed forever the moment I fell in love with food! It all happened one magical evening at my family’s favorite restaurant, Pappadeaux. Usually, I ordered a fried shrimp and catfish combo with a good helping of french fries and ketchup. It even came with crayons and a little coloring book. Up until this point, this one simple dish was the solitary center of my food universe. But, one Sunday, everything changed.
I had been asked to try something other than fried foods, and I naturally resisted. My parents suggested blackened catfish and shrimp over a bed of white rice to help keep me healthy. The dish arrived and was served with a plate of lemon wedges and a small ramekin of melted butter. I had my reservations. Cautiously, I spritzed the lemon over the fish and poured the butter over the shrimp. I cut a small piece and let it rest in my mouth. Bazinga!
What had I been eating all these years? The spiciness of the fish, the grilled flavor of the shrimp, the richness of the butter sauce and the subtle acidity of the lemon, all came together so perfectly and naturally. I was ready for more. This was my rite of passage into a life of greater food appreciation.
As is common with immigrant parents, the food and culture of the old country lives strongly in our home. Especially food! I began to appreciate my family’s Filipino cooking, with flavors of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and shrimp paste coming into my consciousness. I discovered the coalescing of flavors that impact Philippine cuisine, including Spanish, Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian, American, Indian and more. I had awakened my sense of taste.
Soon, my culinary journey was in full swing, and I began to learn how food cultures can meld and influence one another. I traveled to the land of my parents, the Philippines, where I was able to savor ensaymada (brioche buns loaded with butter, sugar and sharp cheddar cheese), giant baby clam ‘cooked’ in vinegar and Lucban longganisa (Filipino sausage stuffed with pork and a fist full of garlic).
Later, our family made a trip to Spain and got to explore the food capitals of Madrid and Barcelona. We sampled various styles of tapas and paellas. In addition, we appreciated Spanish comfort food that reminded me of my family’s Filipino cooking, with savory dishes like callos (tripe stew), morcillas (blood sausage) and sugary churros con chocolate.
All these experiences broadened my taste buds to flavors I never knew existed and opened my palate to a whole new world. But despite all of these, none could come close to my true culinary inspiration, my godmother, Tita Lorna.
Tita Lorna is my dad’s younger sister who lives in North Carolina with her husband, my godfather, Tito Pito. For as long as I can remember, their house always smelled heavenly, with plenty of homecooked meals ready to be enjoyed. From hearty mechado (Filipino beef stew) with a side of creamy potato salad, to intricate desserts (Filipino-flavored macarons, brazo de mercedes and croquembouche), we were never short of food. But what made this comfort food so special? Memories.
Tita Lorna would tell stories of her ‘second mother,’ Lola Manang, and how she would prepare food from scratch for the Molina family. It was from Lola Manang that my Tita Lorna was able to learn how to make Filipino lasagna (the secret: more garlic than you need), sans rival (never enough butter), and how to give all recipes plenty of love and care. It was from Tita Lorna that I learned to be more confident in the kitchen.
By the time I graduated from college, I was ready to take on the world with my degree in advertising. I applied for jobs at agencies of various sizes and specialties, from hospitality, to entertainment, to franchises, but one company caught my eye: FoodMix. At that time, I was at a crossroads. I had a job offer at a PR agency in downtown Chicago and an internship offer at FoodMix for an account management position.
Following conversations with my parents and Tita Lorna, I never thought I would be able to find the intersection of two passions, food and advertising. I knew I had to go with my gut. Almost three and a half years have passed, and I have been living my culinary adventure through my career. From working on innovation labs with clients like ASR Group and Smithfield Culinary, to creating and cooking craveable recipes for clients like Nature Fresh Farms and Carandini, I can have my cake and eat it too!
My hope is that I can continue to learn and share my culinary traditions with our clients by helping them create their own food memories for their customers and stakeholders. To be clear, I am not a food snob. But I am certainly guilty of being a foodie. Who knows where my future lies, but I know it will be with food. And that’s the kind of universe I want to live in.”
For more information about FoodMix and its comprehensive programs that include social campaigns, digital ads, print pieces, public relations, video and more, visit www.foodmix.net.