Well-known throughout the fresh food and produce industry, Chef Tony Merola® has spent his career in marketing, merchandising, sales and publicity capacities for fresh produce organizations from coast to coast. His flair for creating high- quality recipes that are innovative, delicious and easy-to-prepare had made Chef Tony a sought-after source in the food industry.

A graduate of the New York Culinary Institute, he gained expertise and versatility in a number of restaurants in the New York area, including the world-famous Biltmore Hotel. Chef Tony began his fresh produce career at Calavo Growers of California as vice president of Eastern sales. He went on to serve as national merchandising director for the California Avocado Commission and, in 1992; he joined Brooks Tropicals as director of marketing and executive chef.

Tapping into his restaurant and fresh produce experience, he established Tony Merola Associates, a foodservice and fresh produce marketing, merchandising, promotion and publicity service in 1994.

In 1998, he started the Merola Marketing Group, Inc., a marketing and merchandising company working for niche growers in Florida, California and Arizona.

Chef Tony teamed up with an old friend, Chuck Busalacchi and began Merola/Busalacchi Foods, LLC in 2006. The company has developed new product lines including gourmet salad dressings, barbeque sauces and their newest creation, Must-A-Kraut®. Clients include consumers and retail customers, who can sell under a private label program or under the Chef Tony Merola® brand.

Throughout his career, he has traveled the country educating consumers, produce professionals and retail staff about the latest developments and products in the produce aisle of the supermarket. His name is synonymous with quality in produce and food products. It is his mission to educate, train, motivate and provide a better understanding of fresh foods.

Chef Tony is the author of several cookbooks available in bookstores nationwide and at amazon.com. His most recent book, Floribbean Flavors, features tips on cooking with tropical fruits and vegetables.