Meet the Woman Behind the Culinary Culture at Purina

Posted on: January 24, 2014

Have you ever wanted to learn how to appreciate a good meal? Chef Amanda would advise you to start by looking to your pet.

“Our pets can teach us a lot about the joy of eating. Their body language is undeniable and the enjoyment that they show us during eating occasions gives us a sense of joy.”

Chef Amanda considers it her life’s work to create as much of that joy as possible. Her role as a chef at Purina is unique. You might guess that she is responsible for creating pet food recipes, but in fact she creates meals designed to inspire the people who come up with those recipes.

After tasting their way through one of her carefully crafted menus, her colleagues then get to work creating pet foods based on the flavors and insights presented in her kitchen, resulting in a lot of the new products you see in stores today.

Coming up with all these new food ideas often puts Chef Amanda in a role more akin to an anthropologist, requiring hours and hours studying human behavior history, why we crave the foods we do, which dishes trigger certain emotions and what new eating trends are on the horizon.

“When we open up a bag of pet food, we look at it, poke it, smell it. I want to make sure our pets are getting the full food experience that we humans get. My goal is to bridge the gap between human food and pet food.”

For Chef Amanda, mealtime has always been a bonding experience, and she believes it would be a missed opportunity to not use that time to bond with our pets too.

“Whether it’s the twinkle in their eye or the little dance they do when the food hits the bowl, watching their mealtime expressions makes us feel good too.”

As the proud parent of three cats and a dog, she’s also aided by years of studying her own pets’ behaviors, never realizing how well it would serve her in what she now considers her dream job.

After working for decades in many facets of the hospitality and food industries, Chef Amanda has found a home at Purina, where she feels her talents and passion are challenged and invigorated. There is a bigger picture, though, and Amanda credits the satisfaction she gets from her work to the values put in place to create healthy, balanced food that pets enjoy eating. 

“Nutrition is an enormous part of what we do at Purina, and for good reason. But it’s really about a love of food. This is a culture that truly appreciates the value food plays in the life of our pets.”

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