Previewing The Wharf Uncorked with Donny Rouse of Rouses Markets


September 11, 2018

Previewing The Wharf Uncorked with Donny Rouse of Rouses Markets
When it comes to grocery shopping on the Gulf Coast, you simply cannot beat Rouses Markets, our presenting sponsor of The Wharf Uncorked Food & Wine Festival. Thankfully, they’ll be providing fresh product for the whole weekend—and CEO Donny Rouse will even be a judge at our Grand Tasting Culinary Competition! We spoke to Donny to learn more about his role with the company, their presence on the Gulf Coast, and what he’s excited about for this year’s event. Give it a read, then come enjoy some food and wine with us this weekend!

What is your role with your company, and what is your background in the food service industry?
I grew up in the grocery business founded by my grandfather, Anthony J. Rouse, Sr. I worked in the stores after class, and on weekends and holidays. After I graduated from college, I stepped into a management role, working side by side with my father, Donald, and uncle, Tommy. Today I am the CEO and third generation to run the family business.
Rouses partners with some of the best chefs all along the Gulf Coast to develop new products and recipes just for us. You can also see some of these chefs in action during one of our in-store cooking demonstrations and classes, which our customers love.

For anyone new to The Wharf Uncorked experience, what do they need to know before attending?
The festival is larger than you might expect! There are so many great dishes to sample and over 100 wines to try. Plan ahead so you can get a full taste of all the festival has to offer. And pace yourself! This year we are sponsoring the culinary stage again. This is your chance to watch a great, all-star lineup of Gulf Coast chefs in action, including our own Chef Nino.

What are you looking for in a dish as you judge the Grand Tasting Culinary Competition?
I’m looking for the dish that has that WOW factor, from presentation to taste. I want the whole package.

What makes Rouses Markets unique?
Shopping at Rouses is an experience. You’ll find something new and interesting every time you visit. Our stores continue to be voted Best Grocery Store along the Gulf Coast, an achievement that really means a lot to our team.
And of course there’s the food! We place a much bigger emphasis on prepared foods and our bakery, which we do better than anyone else.

What is your favorite dish to create or eat from Rouses ingredients?
Lately my go to has been a simple pasta dish, aglio et olio, which is spaghetti with extra virgin Italian olive oil — our Rouses brand is imported from Sicily — and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. When the weather gets colder, I’ll make a lot of gumbo. On weekends, I make it from scratch, but on weeknights I’ll start with our Rouses Roux in a Jar.

What is your favorite wine to drink from Rouses?
There are too many great wines to choose just one! I am a red wine drinker though, and I typically prefer blends and cabs. We’ve recently expanded our Italian wine selection, which makes for pairing with our Authentic Italian products so easy.

For someone on the fence about attending The Wharf Uncorked, what would you say to hook them in?
It’s three days of food and wine celebrations in sunny Orange Beach at one of my favorite places, The Wharf. You just can’t beat that!

 

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