as told by
Jennifer Roughton Schaumburg
Our corporate name is Antique Mall Ltd and we've been in business since 1972. What do antiques have to do with food? We know our name is a little unique for a specialty food company, but it makes a really good story! Let me tell you the history of Taste of Gourmet:
Our family and our company, Taste of Gourmet, has deep roots in the gourmet food industry – since 1972 we have been making people happy with food! But back in 1964, when my mother and father, Evelyn could not cook! She literally burned water (or the pot she put it in on the stove) and burning buttered toast under the broiler was her specialty! But she was determined to be as good a cook as her mother and grandmother, and my daddy was very patient.
The Air Force moved them around a lot, and Moma learned more about food everywhere they went. She says that cooking on a charcoal hibachi in Thailand for a year was the biggest challenge. My parents moved to England in 1968 when I was 9 months old and we lived there for four years. It was there that Moma fell in love with antiques and started studying European cuisines.
In 1972, in the middle of a cotton field in the hot Mississippi Delta, we opened our doors as The Antique Mall, and began importing antiques from England. In 1976, to draw more customers out in the country to us, we opened the Crown Tea Room, serving lunch and afternoon tea. I keep saying WE because it was, and still is very much a family business. I was the little girl pushing the Victorian oak Dessert Cart from table to table on Saturdays and during the summers - with slices of Fudge Pie and Plantation Pie and Lemon Pie.
By the early 80’s my mother was getting quite a reputation for her cooking and for The Crown Restaurant! The farm-raised Catfish industry had started in the Delta, and The Crown was (and still is) a show place for gourmet ways to serve Catfish. In 1985 we were featured in Southern Living and Cook’s Magazine! In the mid 80's a Catfish farmer’s daughter was getting married and they wanted everything served at the reception to be Catfish. This was an extreme challenge, but a deliciously successful one. Moma adapted an English friend’s recipe for smoked salmon that was the hit of the wedding. That dish became our Smoked Catfish Pate’.
We started selling the Pate to customers by mail order and it won the Outstanding Hors d’Oeuvre award at the International Fancy Food Show in New York in 1990! Since that time we’ve won numerous awards for our Catfish Pates and our Pie Mixes and we’ve been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Food and Wine, The Washington Post, Forbes, on CNN, and in other magazines and newspapers nationwide.
In 2003 we were featured on the Food Network's Food Finds and Food Nation with Bobby Flay! In 2005 Turner South Network featured our Delta Bisque on Blue Ribbon and those programs are all still showing! Good food does get great publicity. That’s why we can say, “We are the food company that really knows Food!”
We learned that putting a bite of Smoked Catfish Pate or Praline Pie, into someone’s mouth was a “sure fire” way of selling him on the product – and that realization, in 1996, led us to our dream of starting Taste of Gourmet! Selling directly to the customer - letting the customer savor our products at a Tasting! Just the perfect way to sell our delicious foods!
We joined the DSA in 1998 and in 2000 Taste of Gourmet was included in First Magazine’s list of five top Direct Selling Companies – “Choose from the big winners!” the article said!
Our products are truly delicious – my Moma sees to that! And our Consultants and their customers are our highest priority! We’ve already been in business for over 35 years – since 1972 – giving people pleasure with the services we offer! This business is also our family's history – We thank you for sharing that business with us and being a part of our family!
Jennifer Roughton Schaumburg, CEO
Taste of Gourmet/Antique Mall Ltd. and Crown Restaurant
Indianola, Mississippi 38751