You might not recognize Adam Yee’s face if you saw him on the street, but there’s a chance you would recognize his voice. Yee created and runs the My Food Job Rocks podcast: a weekly show highlighting people with all kids of cool jobs in the food industry.
When he’s not behind a microphone, Yee is moonlighting as a food scientist for the Better Meat Co., a startup developing blended meats (part meat, part plant-based protein) to act as an alternative to animal products.
Yeah, he’s a busy guy. Yee will also be speaking at the Smart Kitchen Summit (SKS) in Seattle on October 8-9th. Come hear him (and see him!) as he interviews movers and shakers in the food world, and shares his own insight into the future of eating.
You’re the founder and host of the podcast My Food Job Rocks! What’s the podcast all about?
We interview experts in the food industry about career advice and new technologies every single week and we’ve done it for the past three years. With over 185+ episodes, we have people from big companies such as Coca-Cola, KraftHeinz, and Tyson Foods, to startups such as Beyond Meat, JUST, and FoodLogiQ and everything in-between such as the suppliers, legal counsels and market research groups that help the industry function. We specialize in interviewing the people in the trenches and have specific yet fascinating roles within the companies. However, I’ve been told our founder episodes have helped a ton of food businesses out as well.
Overall, My Food Job Rock’s purpose is to get people excited about the food industry. Students, prospecting entrepreneurs and food industry veterans love the podcast because it dives into why people are passionate about the food industry and why the food industry is not just being a cook at a restaurant, it’s so much more.
It seems like everyone and their mom has a podcast these days. How do you make yours stand out?
By posting on LinkedIn every week for the past three years.
I also record, edit, and publish all of my episodes so I work on the craft of podcasting and try and make the next episode better than the last.
For me, creating an episode every week is really important because showcasing what people do in this industry is important and what this specific person does is important. When you post without missing a week for a while, it’s more than just a hobby, it becomes a mission.
It’s very hard to be consistent when podcasting. Especially when you first start out and you hate your own voice but, it was important to share the stories because these stories aren’t being told. I think that’s the amazing part about podcasting is that we all have the power to share stories on whatever we want!
In my opinion, everyone and their mom should make a podcast because today, everyone has the power to share their voice and the best part is, there will be always someone who wants to listen. Not only does everyone have a story, everyone has a different perspective to tell their story.
You also helped found the startup Better Meat Co. Tell us more about what they do and your role with the company.
After I interviewed Paul Shapiro about his book, Clean Meat, he asked me if I knew any food scientists that could help him on a project. Well, I’m a food scientist so I volunteered to help. After creating the first prototype, Paul’s fiancée (now wife)’s dad tried it and liked it and Paul asked me to join him in creating Better Meat Co. Since a year and a half ago, I’ve been in charge of creating all of the Better Meat Co. products and developing production and quality systems to make them commercializable.
Because I knew the systems of navigating the food industry, and had the network [to ask] when I didn’t know things, we created a product in less than a year and started selling. About a year after the company launched, we collaborated with Perdue Farms to help them create their newest product, Chicken Plus, a blended chicken product using Better Meat Co. ingredients. I hear Chicken Plus is shipping to stores this week.
Describe one of your all-time favorite interviews from My Food Job Rocks.
I really like all of the episodes I’ve produced. However, I will list three that are a mixture of the most popular and have the best types of discussions.
- Episode 91 with Missy Schaaphok, who is a registered dietitian from Taco Bell is a fascinating story of someone who can take initiative to make fast food healthier. Missy has made a huge impact because of her skillset in Taco Bell by reducing the salt and sugar in all of their products. She also introduced the power menu and has made a ton of improvements making taco bell the low-key healthiest fast food option. What is amazing about Missy is that as a registered dietitian at a fast food company, she is making a huge impact in making the world healthier.
- Episode 119 with Tom Mastrobuoni, the CFO for Tyson Ventures is a great episode to understand why huge companies like Tyson are investing in companies that do plant-based foods, cell-based foods, and kitchen tech and I found diving into how big companies can shift to understand and take risks on innovation is more about culture than anything else. This was an amazing episode because Tom was so open about why Tyson is exploring in all of these spaces. This podcast was shared throughout the food-tech realm for the first time and as Better Meat Co got legs, people recognized my name because of this particular episode and that helped us in a lot of talks.
- Episode 177 with Eric Pierce from the New Hope Network was one of my favorites as well. I’ve listened to Eric talk on other podcasts and I’ve dreamed of having him on because he talks about trends so insightfully. Luckily, I met him when he was looking at the Better Meat Co’s booth at Expo West. We talked and I said I was a fan and I asked him if he wanted to be on the My Food Job Rocks podcast. We prepped a lot before actually interviewing, with Eric sharing me trend insights and me developing questions about them. My favorite part about this interview is we dig through the meta of why trends happen and I think that has helped a lot of people rethink on how to develop awesome products.
I could write a whole story about how I met each of my 180+ guests and how we’ve connected throughout the years. The connections made throughout each episode of My Food Job Rocks are all interesting stories.
Why do you think a podcast is an effective medium to discuss food technology — something that’s very tangible?
Podcasting has the ability to tell stories and they are stories with a voice… literally. They are effective because there are people who want to hear these stories, and with the digital age, people can find what they like anywhere.
But I think the best part about podcasting is that it shows authenticity. Written word misses the human element, video has too much production value to be completely authentic but podcasting, you can choose to edit out the umms and ahhs, you can ask questions that people are afraid to ask on-air, with podcasting, your voice carries authenticity and you have the ability to bring out that authenticity from your guest.
Since I am a food scientist and I did start a company from scratch, I have issues that are hard for me to solve alone, so I ask my guests about the parts when things get hard technically and when times are tough and on a personal level, the advice that has accumulated over the three years of doing this has made me a much better public speaker, food scientist, and person.