Modesto, CA | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2006
Combine basic ingredients: a core
curriculum focused on biology, food
chemistry theory, and hands-on learning.
Add experience in quality control, food
production, research/development, and
sales. Season with a refined palate and
heightened olfactory skills. Mix well.
Next, savor success.
Each step of Mark Kimmel’s career
models a “no-fail” method for mastery.
Whether sampling red pepper-infused
tomato sauce with an Italian restaurant
chef or assessing quality control
throughout a twelve-hour production
shift, food safety ranks “job one.”
“At the end of the day, I know I’ve
made some good tomato products,” says
Kimmel. “I’d eat them myself and serve
them to my family, and that makes me
feel good about what I do.”
It might seem a surprising journey for
an animal sciences major. Purdue
Agriculture did not have a food science
department during Kimmel’s tenure, but
the animal science core curriculum gave
him the tools he needed to leap into the
food industry — it has been a tasty ride.
Kimmel’s responsibilities at Stanislaus
Food Products, an independent, familyowned
company that specializes in Italian
tomato products for restaurants throughout
North America, encompass production,
purchasing, quality control, research/
development, and sales. During his
tenure, the company expanded from 600
employees to 2,000; efficiency increased
by 30 percent; and capacity doubled. He
is responsible for sales volume increases
to multi-unit restaurant customers
including Olive Garden restaurants and
the Papa John’s Pizza chain.
While he “wows” the big names,
another appreciative audience rests
under his own roof – his wife, Sharron,
and daughters Christina, 23, and Lauren,
14. “I cook Italian at least once a week
at home,” says Kimmel, who also
practices diligently in the Stanislaus test
kitchens. “I can whip up some pretty
upscale, chef-requested sauces.”
“Through the animal sciences program’s core
curriculum, I gained a wealth of knowledge about
food engineering, dairy, and horticulture.
Professors — all experts in their fields — taught me
to take basic theories and keep asking questions.”