MediaSee how busy Chef V has been and who’s talking about Indulge Right® products!
The Business Journal | August 12th, 2022
The Executive Profile
On Friday, Chef Varouj was featured again in The Business Journal.
at we do:
We are a mission-driven company with a goal to end the obesity pandemic. We produce chef-crafted, dietitian-approved, fiber-rich, sugar-free and allergen-free caramel and chocolate sauces. Our products are versatile and can be used in a variety of applications, from breakfast to dessert. Soon we will be launching a variety of sugar-free caramels, bars and institutional-use sauces.
Tell us a little about your career to your current position:
Food industry veteran, classically trained savory and sweet chef. Owned and operated several restaurants, cafes and bakeries in the Bay Area and Fresno. A health challenge led me to start looking at food from a different perspective, approaching food as medicine. Ultimately lead me to start IRF, creating products that are delicious and nutritious and to prove that you can live healthier without depriving yourself.
We always say, don’t change your habits, change your company. The change will happen from inside out.
How long have you been at your current position?
I started working on the idea back in 2014/15. Did not succeed in financing the first idea/product line. After a few years of modifying, changing and adapting to current consumer’s demands, I self-funded and launched the current products line in 2018/19 using a co-manufacturer. Of course, the pandemic hit and made me rethink my business model, so I relocated to Fresno and re-launched in the first quarter of 2021. We now produce everything in house, right here in Fresno.
What was your first experience in the kitchen?
Oh, I still remember it very vividly. Making a big mess trying to bake a cake at the age of 8. Standing on a chair so I can see inside the mixing bowl on top of this high farm kitchen table we had (or maybe it seemed so high because I was a shorty). Of course, I had to time it when no one was home because I don’t think they would have allowed me to bake (cooking/baking wasn’t fashionable back then). I had to make sure the kitchen doors were closed just in case someone came home. I guess I knew I was going to get in trouble, and I did! The cake came out pretty good though for a first-timer.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
Taking classics and making them healthier, sugar-free, gluten-free (since I have been gluten free for over a decade now) diabetic-safe and guilt-free. Of course, it always has to do with baking, pastries, desserts. I got a sweet tooth; I can’t help it. Currently, hooked on a gluten-free sourdough bread.
What is your impression of the Fresno community?
As a chef and a foodie, you are in the heart of freshness. I am grateful for the community’s support over the years in all my ventures. The Valley has some amazing talent that is underrated and somewhat undiscovered in our community.
What cause/organization is close to your heart?
I have a soft spot for kids. So, any organization that provides, feeds and supports children is special to me. Saint Jude’s has been my charity of choice forever. Locally, we like to support. In fact Indulge Right donates a portion of the proceeds to such an organization. I had the pleasure of partnering with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). Also working with a local branch of Feeding America and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
What was your very first job and what did you learn from it?
Growing up overseas, I’ve done all kinds of summer jobs. Keep in mind there is no such thing as too young or underage labor overseas. I did plumbing and electrical with my oldest brother for a few summers. I loved going to construction sites with my dad. I did cabinetry, windows and door assembly with my uncle for a couple summers. Painted houses for a short time with my other brother, worked on the ranch doing whatever was needed before all these jobs. This was all pre-culinary days. Culinary didn’t start until I left the country to go to Italy at the age of 14 or 15.
I think there is tremendous value in doing odd jobs as a kid. Even though you don’t get to master them, you learn so much by observing, and you will be surprised how much of it sticks with you. I still use what I learnt to this day.
Besides the tidbits that stick with you from every job, I think you learn work ethic, respect, self-sufficiency. Professionalism gets instilled in you at a young age, you develop an appreciation for craftsmanship, not to mention it keeps you active. To this day I operate and apply what I learned from my father and brothers, “to do something right, or don’t bother doing it at all.”
That’s why I overanalyze all aspects of our products before releasing them. And that is also why I feel very comfortable offering money back if at any time you feel that our products did not meet or exceed your expectations.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Being an introvert, after a long day of interaction and running a business, I look forward to my quiet time. I draw my energy from nature, mountains or oceans. So, anything outdoors, I am there. Fishing hiking, hunting, a long drive alone, trips to the coasts and hanging out with close friends and family.
Central Valley Talk | August 11, 2022
Chef Varouj was a guest on Central Valley Talk.
The Business Journal | June 6th, 2022
The Great Day Kitchen | August 3rd, 2021
Chef V visited The Great Day Kitchen where he prepared healthy and delicious pancakes, walnut caramel-crusted chicken breasts, yogurt with crunchy granola and fresh fruit, and pecan pie. All with the guilt-free products he has created in his own kitchen. Watch below where he makes each delicious dish in a matter of minutes.
These healthy and delicious pancakes are high-protein, gluten-free, sugar-free, and can easily be dairy-free.
Caramel Yogurt with Crunchy Granola and Fruit
This is a great snack alternative to help create a healthier lifestyle.
Walnut Caramel Crusted Chicken Breast
This is a great option for those who like “sweet and sour” and don’t want to give up those flavors.
Pecan Caramel Pie
This pecan pie is so simple, you could make it in less than two minutes. The best part? It’s HEALTHY and tastes AMAZING!