No offense to Carlos “The Empanada Guy,” but I am still waiting for a piece of the Van Cleve Crab Pie.

Panel! Photo: Lifetime

Panel! Photo: Lifetime

Supermarket Superstars – Dinner Entrees – Recap

Those Supermarket Superstars were serving up dinner entrees in season 1, episode 9.

Charming Host

Stacy Keibler is great. I just adore her. I am not sure if I like her hair so dark, but she always has it styled so glamorously.

The Competitors

Monica Van Cleve – Maryland Crab Pie
Carlos Serrano aka The Empanada Guy – Empanada’s
Heather Larican- Healthy Nut Noodles

About Them, and the First Round!

Heather is a single, working Mother who wanted everyone to eat healthier. I was excited to get on board with this… until I realized she seemed a bit …”off” in the head… she was claiming this food product would do X Y and Z (like, reduce this, lower that… just too many things to believe them all.) Then, she didn’t even have a lot of enough vegetables in her dish! And because the flavor just wasn’t there (yet was also too spicy) she was eliminated in the first round. Sorry, Heather. I do want to take your fitness class, though. It almost looked like she was teaching Bollywood dancing.
Monica had a crab shack restaurant with her family, and it was easy to root for her for the first few seconds. I love crab, so her product really resonated with me, too. But then… she was obviously a super catty person, who kept smiling in a super smarmy way whenever someone else got bad feedback. She had only negative things to say. And THEN, she refused to take any of the feedback – even from THE Mrs. Fields, herself. She relented, but she was driving me crazy. I wouldn’t ever want to work with her, and I honestly don’t think I’d even want to buy a product that she was behind. She has no likeability. Plusplusplus – if this is an ENTREE, why would Monica refuse the idea of putting veggies in there? That’s what makes it a complete entree!

Carlos probably makes great empanada’s in his food truck… but when you take away the frying part… is that empanada really that much better than what’s already in stores? He did have a lot of likeability, though. I like him! He seems really nice, like a great family guy, too. I wanted him to win.

Branding and Promotion

The Five P’s are important, so let’s go over them: product, price it, position it, placement in store, promotion.

A designer from 99 Designs worked with both Monica and Carlos for this part of the show.

Carlos had a great tagline previously, “let the addiction begin.” But he was told that parents wouldn’t really like that. It’s too bad, because I like that sense of humor! Kind of like how Jimmy John’s has a sign in their window that says, “free smells.” I like that creative edge!

Monica had the name of “The Virginia Crab Pie Co.” But then she could never sell other things that weren’t pie’s. She changed it to, “The Virginia Seafood Company.” But then it was too generic! Yikes. Then, “Van Cleve Seafood Company.” She wondered if it sounded posh enough, but – ugh, of course a name like that does. Get out of here with your false modesty! Oh,are you sure my diamond tiara is really pretty enough for the ball? Blark!

Buyers Room

Time for the buyer to be snarky!

Carlos turned himself into a superhero, and I liked the humor he conveyed with his new branding. There would be 8 pieces at a price a bit under ten dollars. To me, that seems like too much. I’d rather buy 4 for 5 dollars.

Monica presented her crab pie with a new logo. Although the intent was to make it look refined..I actually read it as kind of generic. There was nothing handmade or artisan about it. I also thought it was dumb how she called it a, “sexier” crab cake. I don’t like to eat sexy food, sorry. She was selling 4 pies for $7.49. I would buy that…but not as often as I’d buy other things.

Decision Time

The market for Latin Foods is growing, and Heather’s might not appeal to everyone as such a posh product. In the end, the winner was CARLOS SERRANO. Let’s eat empanada’s!

But wait….

I want to say that I can’t find anything when I google for Heather and her Healthy Nut Noodle stuff, even though I do have a site below you can click. Carlo’s website is still there, but the logo hasn’t been changed (seems like a lazy oversight.) And then you have Heather Van Cleve, who does have an ambitious work ethic and has already (apparently) re-designed her logo again. And this one looks a TON better. I’m proud of her for bending and taking in this feedback. I really hope that the competition just kind of brought out the worst in her, because as long as I can believe she’s truly a nice person, I won’t feel weird about buying her product. And I do hope it’s available online too, maybe even on Amazon?

Heather’s site says she is now a personal chef, and I hope she does well with that. However…she didn’t seem to have much general culinary knowledge (with flavor profiles, and getting the shitake mushroom water to use…) so I wouldn’t really trust her as a chef. I think she’s someone who just wants to cook healthy foods. Give her a few years and she’ll probably get better. (And charge more, haha!)

What’s interesting to note is that, yes, even though Carlos won, his is not the product I am hoping to someday taste. But this might also be because I much prefer seafood to Latin food.

Where can I buy the … on Supermarket Superstars?

Asian Noodle Dish:
Crab Pie:
Empanada Guy: