Even if the food-making process starts with a cook or chef, after a certain volume is surpassed you can almost assume there’s a food technologist involved. Maybe it’s fine-tuning a sauce for a restaurateur to bottle and sell, developing a menu item for a chain restaurant, or designing from scratch the latest fast-food sensation.
Gina Galvan’s done all that, in addition to founding, with husband Robert Zuetell, pioneering O.C. food truck Chomp Chomp Nation, which has developed into an Anaheim restaurant. You’ll find the stationary Chomp Chomp inside Wholesome Choice in Anaheim Hills, where business gets a Guy Fieri goose whenever the “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” episode featuring Chomp Chomp airs.
Most of the couple’s work, however, is related to Mood for Food, their food and beverage consulting firm. Galvan is the chef and food technologist, Zuetell is the “idea man,” in charge of marketing and development. Mood for Food has worked with a lot of brands you know—or would know, if so much of this sort of product development wasn’t shrouded in secrecy.
Galvan did divulge that she developed Irvine-based Taco Bell’s hugely successful double-decker taco, as well as Del Taco’s crispy shrimp taco—the biggest item in the Lake Forest chain’s history. Fans of Farmer John’s maple bacon can thank Galan for that, too, a product of “many trials, many days of smelling like a pancake breakfast” before arriving at the perfect formula, she says.
Mood for Food has just completed work on seasonal salads for Boudin of San Francisco, set to debut in spring of next year. More development for Taco Bell is underway, as well—and is well under wraps.