In the Kitchen With Chef Christine
Ever wondered what – or rather, who – is behind Mosaic’s delicious meals?
From tangy Thai stir fries to hearty slow-cooked risottos, our menu features recipes inspired from around the globe, with a focus on thoughtfully sourced ingredients. Whether we’re upgrading a traditionally meat-based dish into a plant-based one, or recreating a classic with a special twist, our goal is always to surprise you with just how delicious and filling eating plant-based can be.
The mastermind behind it all? Meet Christine Malanga, Mosaic’s head chef.
A New Yorker of 15 years, Christine stumbled upon food as a passion almost purely by coincidence — working as a production assistant at The Food Network, Christine got her first taste of the food world through the chaos of set life: from working the green room to picking up Rachael Ray’s wardrobe in the Soho, Christine was inspired by the craziness of the cooking world, and decided to swap the production studio for the kitchen. That ultimately led her to culinary school, after which she worked behind the scenes on hit cooking shows like Barefoot Contessa and The Pioneer Woman before going on to join the product development team at Pret a Manger, a UK-based international sandwich chain. Now, Christine brings her expertise to the Mosaic kitchen, sharing her love of colorful, healthy food by way of delicious, accessible meals.
Between meeting with distributors, cooking up test recipes, and developing new ideas with Matt and Sam, it’s tough to catch Christine in a free moment. Below, here are some highlights from our chat – take a peek inside Christine’s brain as a chef, and find out what gets her excited!
What’s the recipe development process like? Where do you source inspiration from?
We start by deciding which product category we want to develop and then explore product trends, as well as specifics like pricing, nutritional claims, flavors, and packaging. My favorite part of this process is definitely the "comp shopping" – it’s where we have a huge tasting of products from all different sources and chat about what we like and don't like.
I'm absolutely inspired by the creativity of other chefs in the industry! I also find inspiration from what produce is in season, restaurants I've been to, food blogs, and Instagram. After we've aligned on strategy for a new product line, myself and our R&D Chef Cori will spend a few weeks in the kitchen working on recipes and ingredient sourcing before we present our concepts to the rest of the team. Once recipes are finalized, we work with Jose, our Operations Manager to produce the recipes at scale in our production kitchen.
For sneak peeks into product development and what it looks like with Christine and the team behind the scenes, follow us on Instagram!
What are your favorite ingredients to work with?
I've been really into using lemon oil and vegan chili paste lately, but most of our dishes start with onions and garlic so I can't forget those!
What are the most surprising aspects of new meals and new category development? Developing new product categories brings certain challenges, but I am always surprised how we’re able to problem solve and overcome them along the way. Another aspect is the amount of teamwork and logistics that it takes behind the scenes to launch our products throughout the country!
What's currently your favorite Mosaic meal?
I have a soft spot for the Spicy Dan Dan Noodles!
What are you most excited to work on in the next few months? We are in the process of working on a seasonal rotating menu that involves farm partnerships which is definitely a dream come true.
To stay up to date with our newest meal and category launches, follow us on Instagram for the latest!