Chef Lou Schorr
Lou Schorr credits his mother, Denise Khaitmann Schorr, with launching him on a culinary career. It was Denise, a culinary teacher, cookbook author, and caterer, a Guild stalwart and former president, who gave him his early training and experience in the kitchen. Like his siblings, he assisted her during cooking classes and helped with catering.
After working in local restaurants and a country club, he went to France for a course at La Varenne. He joined Friendly Ice Cream's management in 1974, relocating to Ohio just as the firm was expanding into the Midwest. He opened several stores the4 approving store locations, hiring and training new employees, and designing the dining-room-style stores that replaced the previous lunch-counter set-up. When Hershey's took over Friendly's in 1979 and brought in a new corporate culture, Lou and many other employees left.
He stayed on in Columbus, first trying various jobs in the food field, but eventually settling in at a placement firm, where he enjoyed working with people. One day he received a call from human resources contact at Radio Shack. After listening to the job description, he said he had the perfect candidate in mind. "When can he get here the caller asked. "When do you want me?" he replied. He went on to be a regional manager for the company in Kentucky and southern Indiana.
When Lou's father, Stanley, became terminally ill, he knew it was time for him to head back East and be with his family. He found a niche at an uncle's plumbing and heating supply firm in Worcester, an association which still continues.
One evening, about fifteen years ago, Denise Schorr's dear friend Charlotte Kaner, a professional product demonstrator and also a Guild member, was at the Schorrs' for dinner; she mentioned that the cookware firm Berndes needed someone to demonstrate their equipment in New England and urged Lou to give it a try. Lou's career took off from there, success following success, with new accounts coming to him based on performance and reputation. He now represents All-Clad, Viking, Girimi, Italian firm specializing in small electrics, and Williams-Sonoma, among others.
He travels to stores and trade shows around the country, and has demonstrated products on QVC. He is becoming a popular TV and radio personality, appearing about once amonth as a guest on Pax TV's Fooding Around with John Rega. (For more information on channels and hours, see www.foodingaround.com.) He is also a frequent guest on Rega's radio show on WBET 1460AM in Boston for two-hour food conversations, Wednesdays from 12 noon-2 p.m.
In demand as a teacher of training classes for aspiring product demonstrators, Lou has taught at Gray Goose Cookery in Mystic, CT, and will be giving classes at the Ansel Gurney House in Marion and at H. H. Snow's in Orleans this spring.
Lou attributes his success to his enthusiasm for his workólie never promotes a product that lie does not believe in and feel is worth buying. As his own boss, and not a member of a corporate hierarchy, he is free from company polities and has more latitude than employees: for instance, he can spend more time with an interested consumer than a store clerk, because he has no quotas or other duties. lie advises anyone interested in a career in product demonstration that it's essential to have patience, energy, and enthusiasm; the only caveat is to realize that getting established may take a while. The rewards arc in making sales, generating interest in the products, and pride in a job well done.
Lou has been the Guild's Corporate Member≠ship Chair, since 1997, the first and, so far, only holder of the position. His many contacts in all areas of the food community have yielded us an ever-increasing number of these valued supporters.
Lou ended the conversation as he had begun it, giving all credit and thanks to his mother for the culinary education she gave him, and for her love and support.
Profile: Lou Schorr *
by Rosa Rasiel
Lou will appear at Williams-Sonoma branches throughout New England conducting three- hour. Watch for him at a store near you.
* From The Culinary Guild of New England Newsletter Volume12, Number 4