Onion Crunch creator Nick Loeb talks about the inspiration behind his crunchy condiment, his favorite Onion Crunch pairings and date night with fiancé Sofia Vergara.
AndrewZimmern.com: How did you go from working at Universal Studios to developing a condiment company?
Nick Loeb: Well, there was a lot in between, a 12 year gap from Universal to the launch of Onion Crunch. I started a film production company when I was 23 and produced a movie that I sold to MGM, HBO and Showtime called “The Smokers,” and a documentary series for PBS called “The Living Century.” Then I started a company to re-develop homes in Los Angeles. Honestly, I was always really an entrepreneur looking for new ideas for companies to build. It led me to launch Onion Crunch because I’ve always had a passion for the food industry too. It was the perfect combination.
AZ.com: What’s the inspiration behind Onion Crunch?
NL: Growing up, I spent three years with my dad, John Loeb Jr, in Denmark, where he served as US ambassador. Living there, I first tasted crispy fried onions as a topping at all the hot dog stands and fell in love with them then. I rediscovered the topping during trips to Sweden as a young adult and was fascinated with its popularity in the region and perplexed by the lack of similar products in the United States. Since the launch in 2011, we’ve added new Onion Crunch flavors, chipotle, bacon and barbecue, and next up is Pickle Crunch, which we are launching in early 2014.
AZ.com: Sure you can put Onion Crunch on hot dogs and hamburgers, but what are some out-of-the-box pairing ideas?
NL: Omelets, dips, hummus, mac and cheese and Bloody Marys are some of my favorites. I’ve tried it on frozen yogurt too and it’s really pretty good!
AZ.com: When taking your fiancée, Sofia Vergara, out for a date night, what restaurants are at the top of your list?
AZ.com: What’s in your fridge?
NL: Fresh squeezed orange juice, mayonnaise, turkey and ham; and for Sofia, vegetables and coconut water.
Mr. Loeb began his career working at Universal Studios in corporate development and motion picture finance before forming IPC (International Production Company) where he produced an MGM film THE SMOKERS with Quincy Jones and a documentary series with Executive Producer Barbara Streisand, THE LIVING CENTURY. He then formed Loeb Investments, a private investment company focusing on real estate and small ventures. After his move to Florida, Mr. Loeb worked at Lehman Brothers in a business development capacity, making introductions and generating deal flow to the firm’s wealth management, investment banking and real estate divisions. He was invited to speak at Tulane University to the MBA’s on the highs and lows of private banking. He then founded Carbon Solutions America (CSA) where he previously served as a Managing Partner. CSA provides climate change advisory services to corporate and government clients and now serves on their board of directors. In 2006 he formed Loeb’s Foods and began to develop his latest venture, the brand Onion Crunch. In April of 2011, he finally launched securing his first customer and within a year was able to get Onion Crunch into over 7,000 stores generating over a million dollars in revenue. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and Finance from the A.B. Freeman School Business at Tulane University in 1998.