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Prepared Foods

Say Hello To Laura Majkrzak, Production Lead

How long have you been with Heinen's?
17 years now! I started at the Middleburg store in the deli until they built the kitchen there—and then that’s when I moved into the production area.

And how did you know that was the place for you?
Oh gosh. I think it’s because I was working at restaurants before I came to Heinen’s, so I had that experience. And then when I moved into the grocery industry, I found that I liked making these dishes and having them “appear” in the store. It’s fun being part of that, making things happen.

What do you like to introduce customers to?
Actually, it’s our Heinen’s sanitation standards. Safe food is just so important. I want our customers to know that we take this very seriously. Everything from the way we handle our foods, to how we record everything.

Here’s an example: We use blast chillers to cool things down after they’ve been cooked. As grocers go, Heinen’s was one of the pioneers do this. When we prepare an item, instead of leaving it out to cool or using a conventional refrigerator, we blast chill it to bring it down to a certain temperature very quickly. Not only does this mean there’s not a chance for bacteria to grow, it means the customer gets a better quality product when it’s finished at home.

What are some of the unique items that Heinen’s creates?
Oh, our homemade blue cheese pancakes. They’re out of this world. Then our Broccoli Delight salad— many have tried to copy that. And then our Superfoods Salads—they’re very big right now.

Do you have a personal favorite item to make in the store kitchen?
I really enjoy when we make appetizers. Our stuffed jalapeno bites are so good; I like hot things! We also make our prairie fire shrimp on a skewer; that’s very neat. And our bacon wrapped pineapple is great because you have the sweet and the salty.

So you cook at home. What ingredients would we always find in your kitchen?
  • That would be my hot sauce. I’ve got to have my hot sauce.
  • probably cilantro
  • limes
  • A fresh lettuce mix for a good salad
  • And Gerber’s chicken—always have the Gerber’s Chicken!

What tools or utensils are you always reaching for in the kitchen?
That’s easy. My zester and my food processor. I have this whole museum of kitchen things that I no longer use, but my food processor? That lives on!

Do you have a favorite cookbook?
Actually, I love the internet. No matter what mood you’re in or what diet you’re following that week, you’ll find a recipe. I just print them out.

And while you were growing up? Did your mother have a go-to cookbook or favorite food?
Oh yeah! My mother had her grandmother’s handwritten recipes. And my favorite dish was probably my mother stuffed cabbage. As a little Polish girl growing up, let me tell you. Nobody’s stuffed cabbage is like your mom’s! It’s always the best!