Standing in front of a handful of celebrity chefs, Victoria’s Toni Desrosiers was as cool as a cucumber.
The Victoria resident recently returned from the New York City Wine and Food Festival, a gathering of culinary icons and chefs from around the world.
She was the only Canadian entrepreneur to present her product to a number of high-profile celebrity chefs.
“I’m really not nervous talking about Abeego. I really believe in it, so it’s easy to talk to people about it,” said Desrosiers, adding this is the first wine and food festival she’s attended.
Desrosiers’ product, Abeego, is a reusable beeswax food wrap made from hemp, certified organic cotton infused with pure beeswax, certified organic jojoba oil and pine tree resin. It can be used to wrap fresh produce such as fruits, herbs, greens and onions, and is breathable and antibacterial.
As part of the three-day festival, chefs walk around to some 15 booths to check out the products. Owners have about a 10 second window to tell them about the product before they move on. If a product is interesting, chefs
will stick around to learn more.
Desrosiers believes it was the natural quality of the product that caught the attention of many well-known chefs such as Rachael Ray, french chef Daniel Boulud, and Carla Hall, a contestant on the popular show Chopped, who took home samples of her product.
“It was just the fact that Abeego is making a product that challenges a conventional concept around food storage and the fact that it’s natural, reusable and beautiful was something that resonated with them,” she said, adding she also met chef Emeril Lagasse, who said he owned and loved the product.
“A lot of these celebrity chefs work together every single day. They’re just really energetic and have these really intense friendships. It was about the chefs seeing Abeego and taking it over to their friends and sharing the experience with them. We really felt a lot of buzz in that room with them talking about Abeego amongst themselves.”
Desrosiers founded the company in 2008 as an alternative to plastic wrap after wanting a healthy, natural way to store the fresh foods she was eating. Abeego is now available in more than 750 stores across Canada and the U.S. and can be found at various stores in Victoria.