By: Trey Brusio
In order to fight off lovely old Sally Mae, I found a paid internship over the summer with Elite Spice Inc. Little did I know this opportunity would ignite a spark within me that I hadn’t even known existed. Elite Spice is a spice importer and custom product manufacturer. They have 6 facilities across the U.S. including 2 research facilities in Jessup, MD and Sparks, NV. Customers come from all lines of the food industry and request spices, seasonings, marinades and more for an uncountable number of applications. They can recreate almost any process that would be used in a manufacturing setting (vacuum tumbling, injecting, etc.) in order to ensure that the product is 100% consistent and in line with the customer’s request.
During my time with the Elite family, I worked side-by-side with the food scientists and helped to formulate some fantastic creations. One of my favorites included an array of popcorn seasonings. We produced easily recognizable flavors such as: sour cream and onion, barbeque, cheddar sour cream, and salt and pepper. We also concocted some maniacal and dangerously delicious flavors like bulgogi, strawberry yogurt, jalapeno popper and tomato soup with grilled cheese. Projects could last anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 weeks. We had to go through the steps of ideation, trial and error and finally, prototyping. I found the trivial process of trial and error not so trivial. I had so much fun and learned a lot in the process. This experience taught me a lot about my passion for food. I had already fallen in love with cooking, however, I really discovered a new found appreciation for making the end-product just right.
The time I spent with the Elite family is something that has changed my outlook on my future career. I released my inner-nerd and was able to play mad-science-chef for the entire summer. It was an eye opening experience that has helped me to realize what I want to do with my career. I am grateful for everything that this company has taught me and I hope to return to learn even more!