Our Story

What Chefs Want serves chefs, foodservice operators and restaurateurs by offering them unparalleled services and quality products conveniently through a digital platform.

Having a non commissioned sales team means you get daily delivery, competitive pricing, broken cases on all lines, late cut off times, 24/7 customer service, simplified ordering process, real time pricing and catalog and more.

Our goal is to get your deliveries to you as quick and easy as possible so you can run your business efficiently. No pesky sales folks bothering you for an order or up-selling you. Just order what you need, when you need it.

Our History

In the late 1980’s, retired school superintendent Bob Holmes was way ahead of the times when he started supplying the Louisville community with local produce, edible flowers, baby vegetables and artisan salads to select restaurants that yearned for something more.   Soon after, in 1997, Bob partnered with Ron and Mollie Turnier, the owners of a Main Street building that offered the opportunity for the niche business to grow and serve the blossoming restaurant scene.   Unfortunately, Bob wasn’t around long to see it, but grow – we did!

Against the crowded backdrop of several old school competitors, with one employee, one minivan, and limited food service knowledge, we set out to differentiate Creation Gardens from the pack by first asking chefs and restaurateurs: “what can we do differently to help you succeed?”   Wow! What chefs wanted, set us on a remarkable path to offer our customers an entirely different set of highly valued products and services that had never before been seen.   From that simple question, we formulated the trademark of What Chefs Want!   A moniker we use daily to constantly remind us that we must always be responsive to the changing demands of chefs and restaurateurs alike.

Listening to our customers and our passion for their success has led us to build outstanding teams of specialists that serve in challenging product lines:   Produce, Meats, Seafood, Gourmet Foods, Dairy, Eco Paper, and Broadline Back Up items. We serve over 4,500 restaurants by utilizing a small, non-commissioned sales force.   By using advanced technology and operating in tight urban footprints, we can offer you 6,000 products on a produce delivery service platform that provides customers with no minimums, broken cases on products, chef driven customer service 24/7, industry leading cut off times and more!

In 2018 we transitioned from Creation Gardens to now being known as What Chefs Want!   It now not only serves as our company name but our philosophy.

Facts

  • Over 500 dedicated employees
  • Serving over 4,500 restaurants
  • 125 Route trucks in 9 regions.
  • 6,000 products
  • Over 220,000 square feet of combined space
  • 1 mission: Wow Chefs!

Timeline

  • 1987 Bob Holmes forms Creation Gardens
  • 1997 Ron and Mollie Turnier purchase Creation Gardens
  • 1999 Jim Walker and Garden Market join the Creation Gardens team
  • 2000 Creation Gardens begins operations in Lexington, KY
  • 2004 Creation Gardens acquires Melvin’s Produce and Ron Zirnheld comes aboard
  • 2006 Creation Gardens Purchases EcoSteward paper company
  • 2008 Creation Gardens Begins operations in Nashville
  • 2009 Creation Gardens Begins operations in Evansville
  • 2010 Creation Gardens moves to 60,000 square foot facility
  • 2011 Creation Gardens purchases Ernest Williams produce company in Nashville
  • 2014 Creation Gardens purchases Murphy Produce in Nashville
  • 2014 Creation Gardens begins operations in Cincinnati
  • 2014 Creation Gardens purchase Speiss Specialty foods in Cincinnati
  • 2015 Creation Gardens purchases Mattingly Foods to join the A. Thomas and Irish Hill meat teams
  • 2016 Creation Gardens purchases ReFresh Produce in Cincinnati to gain specialized fruit and vegetable processing operation and renames it Prep Kitchen.
  • 2017 Creation Gardens purchases Coe Cantazaro & Son’s Produce, Joe Lasita & Son’s Produce and Bluefin Seafoods.
  • 2017 Creation Gardens beings operations in Indianapolis, Columbus and Dayton
  • 2018 Transitions from Creation Gardens to What Chefs Want
  • 2018 What Chefs Want begins operations in Chattanooga
  • 2018 Prep Kitchen builds state of the art facility in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 2018 What Chefs Want purchases Mid/West Fresh Produce of Columbus, Ohio
  • 2018 What Chefs Want purchases Roby Country Gardens Produce of Bardstown, Kentucky