Delicious and delectable, Linda’s Latkes are the perfect addition to your freezer, and ultimately your table. Just the way in which the alliterated “L” rolls off the tongue, is yet one additional reason why Linda’s Latkes is a business that was meant to be!
A friend of mine for nearly 15 years, Linda and I raised our kids together. The fact that she is a fellow Canadian, (she hails from Montreal), adds to our kinship.
In celebration of the upcoming Jewish holiday of Chanukah, (December 16-24), I am featuring Linda’s delicious Latkes and taking a week off from my recipe of the week.
If you have never tried them, I urge you to do so. It is the one shortcut in which I indulge, year in and year out. But don’t wait for Chanukah as an excuse to serve them, these tasty gems are the perfect appetizer at a party or as a meal in and of themselves.
Linda credits her husband’s sister with the inspiration for her latkes. “She made really good latkes,” she says, and 25 years later, so does Linda! So good, in fact, that her latkes are now sold locally at Gelson’s, Whole Foods and Vicente Foods as well as the Williams Sonoma, Dean and De Luca, Wolfermans and Sur La Table catalogues and online stores.
All of this is in addition to her own online store. She has been featured in Real Simple Magazine and twice in Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine.
Linda’s Gourmet Latkes was born in 2004, as somewhat of a fluke. Having chaired the Casserole Bake Sale at her daughters’ school, Linda received multiple requests and orders for her own casserole. She thought, “if people are buying my casseroles, maybe they will buy my latkes, too.” She sent out an email to 50 of her friends and family members. After selling 120 tins of latkes, she thought that she was onto something!
Linda approached the frozen foods buyer at her local grocer’s, Vicente Foods, who after tasting one, gave her the thumbs up and agreed to sell them.
The next hurdle would be the distribution of the latkes. She considers the frozen foods buyer at Bristol Farms, her mentor, as he guided her through the distribution aspect of the business. Ironically, Bristol Farms does not carry her latkes, big loss for them!
A cold call to Williams Sonoma landed her a spot in their catalogue; she thought they would go perfectly with the caviar that they sell. After sending them taste samples along with her story, they agreed to feature her.
Her big break came when New York Times food editor, Florence Fabricant called Linda. At first, Linda thought one of her friends was pulling a prank. Ms. Fabricant’s vote of approval led to “a zillion orders,” and Linda’s Gourmet Latkes were the newest and hottest destination on the food map!
Her husband, Jimmy, thought it was time to move from the home kitchen to an industrial one. She now has a staff of people who work for her. Linda’s Gourmet Latkes come in several flavors: original, sweet potato, green onion, curry, artichoke, southwest, vegan, gluten free, gluten free vegan as well as gluten free vegan sweet potato. Clearly, Linda has been sensitive to everyone’s food allergies and preferences, as there is something for everyone! Linda is one fabulous lady, a great friend and a true inspiration.