World-renowned chef and businessman Gordon Ramsay has signed on as an adviser and strategic partner with food tech innovation company Borealis Foods, whose Saluda-based subsidiary Palmetto Gourmet Foods produces the popular Chef Woo and Ramen Express brand ramen meals.
“We are privileged that Gordon Ramsay has chosen to become a strategic partner and adviser, helping us advance our objectives with his culinary guidance, business acumen and international recognition,” said Borealis founder and CEO Reza Soltanzadeh in a news release.“His partnership will help further build momentum around our mission to address a key issue facing many people in the U.S. and around the world: access to nutritious, high-protein meals at an affordable price.”
Chef Woo Ramen, made by Palmetto Gourmet Foods, was developed with the goal of providing healthy, affordable and convenient meals to those who lack access to proper nutrition, according to company materials. Chef Woo is the world’s first plant-based ramen noodle, with 20 grams of complete protein per serving.
Soltanzadeh founded Borealis in 2019 with a goal of providing affordable, nutritious meals and to address the issue of food insecurity. He said the partnership with Ramsay will build on those goals.
Gordon Ramsay is a Michelin starred chef, restaurateur, TV presenter and author as well as an entrepreneur. The Gordan Ramsay Restaurant Group is one of the largest private owned restaurant groups in the United Kingdom and has a growing presence across Europe, the U.S. and Asia. The group’s flagship venue, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, has held three Michelin stars for 21 years. His Studio Ramsay Global is known for TV programs such as Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen and Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted. He has also published more than 25 books with sales of more than 10 million copies worldwide and has a worldwide following on social media.
“With the current cost-of-living crisis on everyone’s minds and rising food prices being a world-wide problem, now more than ever, households across America face the very real issue of food insecurity,” Ramsay said in a statement. In conversation with Reza, I discovered we share a similar vision on how important it is to make nutritious and delicious options that are readily available, and more importantly, affordable. I’ve already got some big ideas, and I’m really looking forward to collaborating with the Borealis Foods team on their Chef Woo products in the coming months.”
Chef Woo is a plant-based ramen noodle with 20 grams of complete protein per serving. The Chef Woo Ramen brand and the popular Ramen Express are available nationwide in more than 15,000 stores, including major retailers such as Walmart and Costco. These products are also being exported coast-to-coast in Canada, with growing international demand, according to the release.
The alliance with Ramsay is just the latest episode in the continuing evolution and growth of Palmetto Gourmet Foods.
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The company has grown from a startup in 2019 to approximately 300 employees today at its 220,000-square-foot plant. Officials expect to hire another 700 people by 2028 and eventually produce more than 1 billion meals annually.
In June, the company announced plans to invest $100 million over the next five years for new facilities and a new solar power infrastructure to accommodate a growing demand for its products, officials said.
The investment will fund construction of new factories, including a dedicated gluten-free ramen facility and construction of a solar plant with a goal of powering the company’s facilities entirely with renewable energy.
Borealis is currently privately held but is being bought by Oxus Acquisition Corp. and will then be listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange in late 2023, the release said.