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May 23, 2023

Mario Carbone, the acclaimed chef and restaurateur, believes that if you’re going to do something, you should strive to be the best at it. That’s – quite literally – the secret to his sauce.

The co-founder of globally renowned restaurant company Major Food Group, Carbone is a native New Yorker who learned his craft under the tutelage of some of the city’s best known and admired chefs, including Daniel Boulud and Wylie Dufresne. In 2011, Carbone and business partners Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick launched Major Food Group, which currently operates 27 upscale eateries across the world, anchored by his namesake Carbone restaurants.

Two years ago, Major Food Group launched Carbone Fine Food, a brand created to “bring the taste of the iconic, beloved Carbone dining experience” into consumers’ homes. Helmed by CPG veteran and former Rao’s Specialty Foods CEO Eric Skae, the company markets a nine-SKU line of pasta sauces that has rapidly become one of most widely distributed and best selling within the premium sauce category.

In this episode, Carbone and Skae spoke about their shared vision and the growth strategy for Carbone Fine Food, how they attempt to incorporate the flair and panache of Carbone restaurants into the brand,  who they identify as the products’ target consumer, their thoughtful pricing and promotional strategy and why they are cautious about new product development.

Show notes:

0:46: Interview: Mario Carbone, Co-Founder & Eric Skae, CEO, Carbone Fine Food – Taste Radio editor Ray Latif asked Carbone about his decision to relocate from New York to Miami, how his vision for Carbone Fine Food compares with that of former colleague David Chang and his Momofuku Goods brand and how timing was involved in the rollout of the sauces. Carbone and Skae also discussed the company’s pricing strategy and target consumer and how each fits into retail planning, why quality of ingredients is the brand’s key point of differentiation and how they consider innovation and brand extensions.

Brands in this episode: Carbone Fine Food, Rao’s, Momofuku Goods