Martin Canellakis became especially interested in hot cereal when his young daughter went through a finicky eating phase and would only eat oatmeal. "I started doing blends with nuts and different grains and toppings," he says, "and I realized you can't buy any gourmet oatmeal products. There's nothing close to the natural form blended for a chef's palate." He adds, "I saw an opportunity."
Today, Canellakis runs hot cereal company Farm to Table Foods. "What we try to do," he explains, "is blend different grains at different milling weights." Since the grains cook at different rates, the result is a creamy base with nutty texture. In addition to the textural differences, Canellakis explains, "the different grains has different flavor profiles. People taste it and it's a revelation." Since grains do not grow well on the east coast, he maintains relationships with farmers across the country who raise organic grains like rye, barley, and spelt in a sustainable manner.
Farm to Table uses those grains in its four products: Organic Pure Oat Oatmeal, which is simply several textures of oats; Ultimate Organic, which combines a variety of grains, nuts, and seeds; Organic Ancient Grains, which uses spelt and kamut as its anchor grains and cooks more quickly than the other cereals; and Organic Apple Raisin Oatmeal, which is made with dried apples and raisins as well as a variety of grains.
"I wanted a staple," Canellakis says of his foray into the world of grains. "I wanted something that could be in your cupboard today that could also be there in 20 years or 40 years. This is not a flash-in-the-pan disco product."
About the author: Stephanie Klose has more mustard than you. You can follow her on twitter at @sklose.