"People give you cash and tell you you're great. It's pretty much the best thing ever."
When Korey Provencher, a television producer who worked on food and lifestyle shows, noticed the trend toward narrowly focused artisan food companies, he knew the time had come to call into service a nickname he'd been holding in reserve for years: Kors D'Oeuvres. Though it had started out as an offhand term of endearment, he had known that eventually "it would be a funny name for a little food business."
When he looked around a market already crowded with pickles and jam and baked goods, he realized that "dips were there for the taking." Since chips and dips were Provencher's "favorite food," he already had a number of recipes ready to go for flavors like sweet/savory Roasted Pumpkin, Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Spread, tangy Southern Bleu Cheese and Herb Dip, and Spicy Black Bean and Chipotle Dip. He applied for a spot at the Greenpoint Food Market and started selling to the public three weeks later.
Provencher's experience with lifestyle branding and marketing comes in handy for thinking up new ways connect with his customers. When it came time to add a new flavor recently, Provencher ran a "Big Dipper" contest, what he calls "the People's Choice Awards of Dip." For the contest, he developed four new flavors and had people sample them at the Brooklyn Flea, where he vends every Saturday, and vote for their favorite. The winner, Artichoke Parmesan, debuted as part of the permanent line at last week's Flea and sold out in under an hour.
These days, Provencher still works full-time as a producer, spends two nights a week working on Kors D'Oeuvres—one night of prep work and one night of dip making—then sells at the Flea on Saturdays, which he says is his favorite part. "People give you cash and tell you you're great," he says, "It's pretty much the best thing ever." While he's still a one-man show at this point, he's looking for an intern with some culinary experience to help with prep and production. (Interested? Email him at email@example.com.)
Provencher intends to work on the creative end of the business, developing new flavors and ways for people to enjoy them, like the catering package available through his website. "It's catering for the recession era," he says; since if you're serving them alongside other food, the $100 package of dips, chips, and crudites will feed up to 20 people. "A lot of people are getting them for the cocktail hour at weddings," he says—adding, "The dip station is the new chocolate fountain."
See the full range of products and vendors at KorsDoeuvres.com.