Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

My wife just completed an online course in Cajun cuisine and was excited to try her hand at making seafood gumbo. Now, I love my wife and I am quite fond of the New Orleans staple, but I was a bit suspicious—how much could one actually learn about food preparation online? The answer is, quite a lot actually. She decided to make shrimp, my favorite, and was planning to make her own shrimp stock. I was nervous, but impressed.

I watched my normally impatient wife set out in the morning to shop for ingredients—starting with scouring three different supermarkets for Gumbo file´, a little used spice made from the sassafras plant and used for thickening soups, stews and gumbo while adding delicate flavor. Her half-day sojourn ended at the fish market where she purchased head-on shrimp. She was serious.

Mrs. Winston returned home in a remarkably chipper mood considering all the shopping and driving she had done. She promptly shooed me out of the kitchen and began to prepare homemade stock, which involved beheading and deveining about three pounds of shrimp. She was a whirlwind of chopping, sautéing and boiling for the next hour, at which point she started making a roux—a soup or gravy base that is made by cooking flour in fat. Hers was the dark variety and, in addition using two sticks of butter (this dish is not on any diet plan), it took well over an hour of constant stirring to make. After over three solid hours of cooking, my wife emerged to let us all know that dinner would be ready in forty-five minutes. Knowing that the meal had taken all day to prepare, I ran upstairs to inform the kids that they would not only eat the gumbo with gusto, but would act like it was the best meal they had ever eaten.

As it turns out, I didn’t need to; the gumbo was absolutely sublime. When I asked my tired but very proud wife how she did it, she smiled and said, “Patience.” It was as if she had discovered to secret to happiness, and you know, maybe she had. I think we all could learn a lesson from Mrs. Winston and practice patience in our businesses. So, if your marketing campaign is not yielding immediate results or your last round of direct mail fliers have not resulted in instant sales, stop for a moment and remember that building a business takes time. After all, if you want a quick meal, you can pop some instant soup into the microwave and be eating in less time than it takes to shuttle through a commercial on TiVo. But if you want a delicious meal that sticks to your ribs and is worth remembering, you’ve got to let it simmer.

Today’s featured promotional product is Tall-Boy Tins – Super Mints because, take it from me, after two bowls of shrimp gumbo, you need more than a regular mint. Well, I’m off to New Orleans—after that meal I decided to surprise the wife with a trip to the Big Easy. Maybe she’ll try making an Étouffée next. Until next time, no matter what you are doing “Have fun. Do something nobody else had done before, or has done since.”
Paul Prudhomme, world-renowned Chef.