If you haven’t already heard or seen, SoHo has gotten its very own popcorn shop! Chef Inspired Popcorn Company hass “popped” into the space between Ciccio’s Water and Green Lemon on S. Howard Ave. We are most excited about the tons and tons of creative ways the crew at Chef Pop uses popcorn to treat their guests! Last week, we had some time to interview the owner, Lisette, to hear about all of the exciting things to coming to SoHo!
– What sets you apart from other local popcorn brands?
I’m going to resist the canned answer about our quality ingredients, freshness, cleanliness etc. All true, but not what I think ultimately sets us apart. At the risk of sounding cheesy, we are true believers in the transformative power of the lowly and very simple …. popcorn. Our Popcorn is synonymous with fun! You cannot eat our popcorn and be mad. You cannot walk in our store and remain sad. I sound like Dr.Seuss, but I get very excited when talking about our popcorn, and the shop. Have you ever seen someone not share their popcorn? Impossible, it is a social activity. We are true believers of the power of popcorn! Let me mention too that I have an amazing team. We are “all” believers here at Chef Inspired!
– What flavor(s) are your best sellers?
The best sellers are Windy City, which is a combination of our Cheddar and Caramel. You have sweet and savory. Birthday Cake, which we call our “Celebrity” popcorn. Birthday Cake is our most requested popcorn flavor. Salted Caramel is just the best. Sweet and lightly salted. This is one of my favorite flavors.
– What’s the most unique thing you have ever made using your popcorn?
We have done so many fun things from the traditional popcorn balls to popcorn cakes. Yes I said that….a popcorn double layer cake! Perfect for those with peanut and gluten allergies.
What I think is most unique about what we have done is transform our popcorn. Popcorn is a great vehicle for transporting flavor and it allows our imagination to run wild. We love to travel and wherever we go we seek to bring back our memories in the form of flavors to incorporate into our popcorn. Our most recent trip took us to Vancouver Canada. We brought back an organic maple infused sugar. We used it in one of our simplest products, Kettle Corn. OMG! it was a totally different product! (the best flavors are almost always found in the simplest forms). We also went to the world famous Boroughs Market in London and brought back some exotic Indian and Indonesia spices. With these spices we made some unique flavors like Paneer and Mango Popcorn, Tikka Pop and Samosa Chili Chutney Pop. They were to die for. We have done the same thing with our trips to Jamaica, Costa Rica among other places. Locally, we get many flavors to experiment with from vendors like Joe and Sons Olive Oil here on Bay to Bay and V Spicery on Cypress Avenue. Our Rosemary Olive Oil and Truffle Parmesan are two flavors we have create using local vendors. I just love these places here at home. The only limiting factor is our own imagination.
– Is there any other info that local popcorn lovers should know about Chef Inspired Popcorn Company?
Chef Inspired supports teachers and administrators year round with a 10% discount. We feel the same about Police Officers, Military and First Responders, so they also receive a 10% discount year round. We want everyone to know we are not a bakery! We are just a fun popcorn shop with a twist…..
Now, Lisette had lots to say that got us excited for this fun new spot in South Tampa. This was our favorite quote from our chat with owner, Lisette…”Obviously I love what I do. Make people smile with popcorn. In the end, that is what it is all about. One smile can just change the world!”
We hope you stay tuned to their Facebook and Instagram as they iron out all of the grand opening details and begin popping their tasty creations. We tried a bunch of samples of both their sweet recipes and their savory ones too! We can’t wait to try more flavors!