Ep. 056 – Learning to Cook in Corporate with Kimber Lew, R and D Coordinator at La Terra Fina

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Today’s episode is with Kimber Lew, R and D Coordinator at La Terra Fina. They make quiches and dips.

Kimber is a graduate from UC Davis and is pretty involved in her chapter at Northern California IFT’ section.

The biggest highlight in this interview is Kimber’s experience with research chefs in her previous company. They taught her not only how to cook, but to taste which I think all product developers should know how to do. It sure has helped Kimber progress in her career.

Other than that, we talk a ton about how to get a product to market, awesome food science titles and most importantly, an important discussion about Ramen Noodles.

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About Kimber Lew

Kimber Lew is an SF Bay Area native whose path towards the food industry began while watching Alton Brown’s Good Eats show on the Food Network. She graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor’s of Science in Food Science, and worked in the research lab of Dr. Charlie Bamforth (aka the Pope of Foam) studying the properties of beer. She ultimately found her passion in product development, and worked at both Valley Fine Foods and La Terra Fina, the latter of which she’s been at for over two years. She aspires to make food products that are not only tasty and healthy for consumers, but for the planet as well. She’s also an active member of the Northern California section of the Institute of Food Technologists — currently she serves on the section’s Scholarship Committee and writes articles for the section’s newsletter, The Hornblower. Outside of work, Kimber is an avid yogi and indoor rock climber, and enjoys cooking and baking for her loved ones when not exploring other ways to procrastinate on folding her clean laundry.


This episode is sponsored by FoodGrads, an interactive platform for the Food & Beverage Industry, which focuses on closing the gap between students/recent graduates and employers. With a broader mission to attract and retain people to a meaningful career in food. From Food Scientists to Farmers, Chefs to Plant Managers, QA Technicians to Dietitians or R&D to Sales, no matter what your passion–there’s something for everyone in Food—and they will help you find it.

Join FoodGrads for support, mentorship and guidance to start your career. You’ll see an amazing new website in Spring 2017. Just go to foodgrads.com

Key Takeaways

  • Marketing woes when it comes to communicating with Product Developers
  • Why Kimber moved away from the brewing industry
  • How working with research chef made her a better food scientist
  • A discussion on eggs in ramen

Question Summary

What do you tell people what you do for a living?: I’m a food scientist. I’m a product developer.
How do you make products?: Sales and Marketing will give an idea, they will make it and they will internally try it and then bid for buyers
Steps to get to where you are today: Food Science at UC Davis (transfer) –> Brewing interest –> New food product class –> Internship at Valley Fine Foods –> Worked with Research Chefs –> Got a call from La Terra Fina
What’s one skill you think is important in your job: You don’t have to measure your success based on what gets commercialized, you have to base it on what
My Food Job Rocks: I have to talk to every department to succeed
Do Product Developers need to be artistic?: There is an artistic element
Your dream job title: Food Science Extraordinaire, Food Master, Product Ninja
Favorite Food Technology: Salt Reduction Techniques (different types of salts being used, and flavor profiles). Convenient hand held breakfast things
Biggest challenge the food industry needs to face: Sustainability and food shortages. For example, Brewing companies. Bug companies and the perception of eating bugs
Favorite Kitchen Item: Kitchen Aid
Favorite Food: Real authentic Ramen. Sous vide technology for eggs
Any advice on getting in the food industry: Get some culinary experience such as books, classes, mentorship. Try to shadow other sectors in the food industry
What would you tell your freshman self?: You can shadow people for free. The food industry is very receptive. Go join a food science based club.

Other Links

See Kimber’s Bio

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