Connoisseur Creations, Inc

Andrea Wasko and Meaghan Gilbert started their woman owned small business Connoisseur Creations in 1996.  They learned everything about the food industry through the school of hard knocks.  They completed all aspects including R&D, Product Development, Product Safety Testing, Packaging Design, Component Procurement, Manufacturing, Intellectual Property, Marketing, Advertising, Incorporation and Sales.  After introducing several products in the late 1990’s, they added an International Brokerage and Development Division that successfully pioneered over 1000 food and non-food products from 20 different countries into distribution. 

Connoisseur Creation’s flagship creation, the Quick Pickle Kit, is a Safe, Quick, Simple, Natural way to make pickles that are ready to enjoy in just a few days.  It is a great gift for cooks, DIYers, vegetarians, vegans, family, dieters, snackers and gardeners.  Reduce food waste and pickle any vegetable in a fraction of the time and with minimal effort.  They utilized 100-year-old family favorite recipes for the Quick Pickle Kit. The Quick Pickle Kit contains a reusable 2L (1/2 gal) sealing European glass jar, a 44-page recipe/instructional booklet, a reusable gasket and three premeasured packets of seasonings.  Pickles made with the Quick Pickle Kit are a healthy, low-sodium, low-calorie, crunchy and satiating snack.  By listening to their customers, they also offer Spice Packets (Bread & Butter, Dill and Sweet) that can be used as refills for the Quick Pickle Kit or with your own jars and process. 

Andrea and Meaghan have each been developing and launching new products for over 30 years.  Andrea Wasko, President, is best described as having “Midwestern manners and California drive”.  Andrea has over 30 years of leadership, consulting and innovation experience and has held executive positions in Business Development, Finance, Operations, Marketing, Manufacturing and Sales for a variety of companies including Eli Lilly and Guidant (Boston Scientific and Abbott Labs).  She received her MBA from Golden Gate University and her BS degree from Youngstown State University. 

She enjoys food and having struggled with weight issues, wanted to develop healthy food options to satiate people.  Woman of the Year was awarded to Andrea for her generous contributions to the success of over 100 for-profits and non-profits. This award was recognized by the San Luis Obispo County Commission on the Status of Women, California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, National Association of Commissions for Women, California Legislature Assembly and United States Congress. 

Meaghan Gilbert, Vice-President, spent many years in New Product Development with companies including Apple Computer, Cisco Systems and several others.  At Apple, she worked with Steve Jobs and was one of the original 100 Macintosh team members. 

Meaghan has over 30 years of strong leadership and innovation experience.  Her greatest strengths are in the areas of New Product Development, Program Management, Business Development, Manufacturing, Finance and Engineering.  As a former competitive swimmer, she was interested in healthy foods, has always enjoyed pickles and was excited about the Quick Pickle Kit and Connoisseur Creations, Inc. product offerings. 

Connoisseur Creations has strong company values with a focus on health and giving back to the community. Connoisseur Creations provides jobs for developmentally disabled adults and the company donates 10% of their gross website sales to nonprofit agencies.  Additionally, their products can be used as a healthy fundraising tool for schools and nonprofits.  They also work with local organizations to teach adults and youth about pickling as a way to reduce food waste.  By collaborating with farmers and Community Supported Agriculture organizations, the company is helping reduce food waste by showing how their product can be used to preserve excess or slightly blemished food.  “Pickle the less attractive vegetables,” as Andrea advocates!

Operating as an S Corporation in Los Osos, California, with warehouses across the state, Connoisseur Creations used assistance from Mission Community Services Women’s Business Center to help them make the decision to relocate the company from the Bay Area to California Central Coast. They also assisted with connecting Andrea and Meaghan to commercial kitchens, co-packers, and warehouses to help them with production.

With  leadership, consulting and innovation experience gained from executive positions in Business Development, Finance, Operations, Marketing, Manufacturing and Sales, Andrea was eventually recruited by the Women’s Business Center to become a consultant for them.  She spent over six years helping other female and male entrepreneurs develop and successfully bring new products to market.

The Quick Pickle Kit and Spice Packets are available directly from QuickPickleKit.com, retailers and on Amazon. After looking at retail outlets as the primary channel for getting to consumers, the company has found that their online sales are the best way to reach customers. Looking for opportunities to take their company to the next level, Andrea and Meaghan are considering the possibility of collaborating with produce companies, farmers, retailers, exporting and perhaps even selling the business.  Today, they not only market their own products, but also pass along their knowledge as Consultants to assist food and non-food companies with all facets of Product, Service and Business Development.  Given the breadth and depth of their team’s experience, they are the silent collaborators behind several successful national and international companies.  They thrive on developing creative food and non-food products.  Solving problems or making life easier and more enjoyable for others is very rewarding for them.  At any time, they have 5-10 innovative market-ready products that are available for private label launch or to be licensed by another company.