Share

Meet the kencko R&D team

A kencko smoothie goes through plenty of ingredient sampling, recipe formulation, and taste tests before it reaches your front door. Ever wondered who’s behind that development process?

A kencko smoothie goes through plenty of ingredient sampling, recipe formulation, and taste tests before it reaches your front door. Ever wondered who’s behind that development process?

 

While what goes into them generally does grow on trees, kencko smoothies themselves, do not.

So where do those magic little packets of organic powdered goodness originate? 

Why, from the minds of kencko’s research & development team, a four-person party whose members balance a rigorous, scientific approach to formulating recipes, with a romantic chef’s artistry and love for great flavor.

Working closely with our nutrition experts, the talented team behind R&D brings to the table a wide range of experience across the food and beverage industry, along with an unmatched passion for gastronomy. 

We were able to get them away from the lab — if your job was conceiving of and tasting new delicious smoothie recipes all day, you’d be hard to pry away from work, too! — recently for a quick chat. 

These interviews have been edited for clarity, and particularly for length. (Our R&D folks really, really, really like to talk about food!)

 

Mark, Head of R&D

What’s your favorite meal or cuisine?

“It’s really difficult to say – when you love food and drink you kind of love it all, and every cuisine has a uniqueness that’s going to speak to you. Ultimately, my go-to is a mix between American-style dishes (which are basically derived from European-style cooking) fused with more Asian-style cooking. I have members of my family with Indian heritage who have taught me how to cook curries, and love cooking that style of cuisine. I also love stews and roasts because they’re simple. You’ve got a little prep work but once it’s on the stove top it’s basically done, it’s just going to go through various stages as it cooks.”

 

What’s an ingredient you’re currently inspired by?

“Sesame oil – it’s delicious and goes really well with salads or with a bit of fish or meat. It adds a lot of flavor without having to do much.”

 

What do you like to do for fun?

“I love music. I play a little bit of drums and guitar, and I like to produce my own mixtapes (you can buy one at the end of this interview)! I don’t get to concerts as much as I’d like. But I’m overall trying to be healthier. I like walks, climbing, and table tennis. Table tennis has become an R&D addiction.”

 

What was your first job in food?

“My father passed away when I was young, so as an early teenager, I wanted to pitch in and felt I should get a weekend job. So I went to a local greasy spoon diner that turned into a Thai restaurant on weekends, run by this one older, Thai woman, and asked her for a job. She asked how old I was. I said I was 14. She said nope, sorry, can’t do it. Went back the next weekend. Same answer. Went back a third time, she relented. I was the dishwasher. She had another lady in the front of the house, but nobody else was allowed in the kitchen except her. She controlled the kitchen and had complete mastery of the space. Every action was calculated. Every movement was necessary. Her communication was sharp and purposeful. It was an incredible work experience. I think that’s where I learned a sense of haste. I couldn’t hold a candle to her, even cooking with one hand, but from there I wanted to learn how to cook.”

 

What’s your favorite kencko smoothie flavor?

“I’m going to take a cop-out approach and list three. 

  1. I really like mochas out of complexity– particularly with a mix of almond and oat milk, because I’m fresh that way! (Quick disclaimer, it’s great to add a hint of water to any of your milks before adding the smoothie. It can help to lift the fruit flavors.)

  2. When I think of a berry smoothie, reds is exactly what I expect. The strawberry, slight banana flavors, burgeoning sweetness. It takes me back to childhood.

  3. Especially with almond milk, yellows just reminds me of the nicer notes of marzipan, which I don’t ordinarily like but the fruitiness works for me here.”

 

Mauro, R&D Associate

What’s your favorite meal or cuisine?

“I agree with Mark. It’s hard to name one, but I tend to cook typical Portuguese style food… usually based on the season. In the winter, then more stews, in the summer, more sauteed-style stuff. I keep it simple. Decent portion of carbs, protein, vegetables.”

 

What’s an ingredient you’re currently inspired by?

“Because of Mark, I started using loads of cumin, actually. I have a son who likes soup, and so I use a lot of vegetables for those. Right now it’s mostly peppers.”

 

What do you like to do for fun?

“Sports, whatever involves moving. I used to play the drums in a band, so I love music. I do love cooking, it’s truly fun, the act of pairing flavors.”

 

What was your first job in food?

“My first job in the industry was at a steak joint near my house. I was bussing tables. But in that kind of job, people stop showing up, so I eventually got a chance to work behind the bar, and I liked that a lot more. Studied being a bartender a bit more, really liked it.”

 

What’s your favorite kencko smoothie flavor?

“mochas – it has so many layers to it, it’s an interesting smoothie. I don’t drink coffee so I really feel the buzz, and the flavor is so complex. I really like it and I’m proud to have worked on it. I recommend it with oat milk first, then almond milk next. Unsweetened.”

 

Ezra, R&D Consultant

What’s your favorite meal or cuisine?

“I’m vegan, so if I’m cooking for me, I might make a lentil version of a meatloaf, or I’d go with something Mediterranean – it’s gotta be bright, and sharp, and rounded. A little bit of spice, nice herbs, stuff like that. Man, it’s so hard to talk about food in terms of favorites. Every aspect is so much fun. Even just squeezing a lemon, the smells, the flavors, the textures, the oils, it’s all great. If I’m cooking for someone else I might say classic Italian or French – country food, slow casseroles, things like that.”

 

What’s an ingredient you’re currently inspired by?

“For a long time I’ve adored legumes. I’m a huge fan, there’s so much variety, from Mexican refried beans style to North African stews. So many different textures.”

 

What do you like to do for fun?

“I ride my bike a lot. I’m into running. I just like to get out. I tend my garden – I have pretty green thumbs, both my grandmums and my mum are all gardeners. I love growing chilies. They can be a real pain and they all need different things. I also like growing ornamental flowers.”

 

What was your first job in food?

“Friend of my dad’s was the executive chef at a nice hotel here in Lisbon. There was a couple’s therapy kind of thing they’d host on some weekends, and as a teenager I got to work in the kitchen for that. It didn’t go great, but something must have imprinted because I’m still working in food and I love it now.”

 

What’s your favorite kencko smoothie flavor?

“I’m a sucker for a green juice, so really any of the green ones we’ve got is great. I’m also really stoked on blushes – that one was really fun to work on.”

 

Daniela, Food Scientist

What’s your favorite meal or cuisine?

“I was raised on Portuguese food. I love everything about it and I love everything made with fish. You can give me fish any day of the week and I’ll be happy.”

 

What’s an ingredient you’re currently inspired by?

“I like red bell pepper. Less so the green ones. And I love salmon – smoked salmon is heaven for me. I use it on salads and all sorts of things. Those are two ingredients I use a ton of at home.”

 

What do you like to do for fun?

“I like to go for walks, visit the mountains or countryside nearby. I love playing with my dog. I love being home.”

 

What was your first job in food?

“My first job was at a factory making bread crumbs and croutons – very much the opposite of this chill atmosphere, I was rushing everywhere! I was an R&D associate there, but I worked more closely with operations and production and quality assurance. My masters thesis was about continual improvement in logistics. Here I feel more like myself.”

 

What’s your favorite kencko smoothie flavor?

“I really like reds. I like to mix it with water, but it’s also really good with coconut milk. I also really like greens.”

Share

there's more good content where that came from

fruits and plants

Share

Meet the kencko R&D team

A kencko smoothie goes through plenty of ingredient sampling, recipe formulation, and taste tests before it reaches your front door. Ever wondered who’s behind that development process?

A kencko smoothie goes through plenty of ingredient sampling, recipe formulation, and taste tests before it reaches your front door. Ever wondered who’s behind that development process?

 

While what goes into them generally does grow on trees, kencko smoothies themselves, do not.

So where do those magic little packets of organic powdered goodness originate? 

Why, from the minds of kencko’s research & development team, a four-person party whose members balance a rigorous, scientific approach to formulating recipes, with a romantic chef’s artistry and love for great flavor.

Working closely with our nutrition experts, the talented team behind R&D brings to the table a wide range of experience across the food and beverage industry, along with an unmatched passion for gastronomy. 

We were able to get them away from the lab — if your job was conceiving of and tasting new delicious smoothie recipes all day, you’d be hard to pry away from work, too! — recently for a quick chat. 

These interviews have been edited for clarity, and particularly for length. (Our R&D folks really, really, really like to talk about food!)

 

Mark, Head of R&D

What’s your favorite meal or cuisine?

“It’s really difficult to say – when you love food and drink you kind of love it all, and every cuisine has a uniqueness that’s going to speak to you. Ultimately, my go-to is a mix between American-style dishes (which are basically derived from European-style cooking) fused with more Asian-style cooking. I have members of my family with Indian heritage who have taught me how to cook curries, and love cooking that style of cuisine. I also love stews and roasts because they’re simple. You’ve got a little prep work but once it’s on the stove top it’s basically done, it’s just going to go through various stages as it cooks.”

 

What’s an ingredient you’re currently inspired by?

“Sesame oil – it’s delicious and goes really well with salads or with a bit of fish or meat. It adds a lot of flavor without having to do much.”

 

What do you like to do for fun?

“I love music. I play a little bit of drums and guitar, and I like to produce my own mixtapes (you can buy one at the end of this interview)! I don’t get to concerts as much as I’d like. But I’m overall trying to be healthier. I like walks, climbing, and table tennis. Table tennis has become an R&D addiction.”

 

What was your first job in food?

“My father passed away when I was young, so as an early teenager, I wanted to pitch in and felt I should get a weekend job. So I went to a local greasy spoon diner that turned into a Thai restaurant on weekends, run by this one older, Thai woman, and asked her for a job. She asked how old I was. I said I was 14. She said nope, sorry, can’t do it. Went back the next weekend. Same answer. Went back a third time, she relented. I was the dishwasher. She had another lady in the front of the house, but nobody else was allowed in the kitchen except her. She controlled the kitchen and had complete mastery of the space. Every action was calculated. Every movement was necessary. Her communication was sharp and purposeful. It was an incredible work experience. I think that’s where I learned a sense of haste. I couldn’t hold a candle to her, even cooking with one hand, but from there I wanted to learn how to cook.”

 

What’s your favorite kencko smoothie flavor?

“I’m going to take a cop-out approach and list three. 

  1. I really like mochas out of complexity– particularly with a mix of almond and oat milk, because I’m fresh that way! (Quick disclaimer, it’s great to add a hint of water to any of your milks before adding the smoothie. It can help to lift the fruit flavors.)

  2. When I think of a berry smoothie, reds is exactly what I expect. The strawberry, slight banana flavors, burgeoning sweetness. It takes me back to childhood.

  3. Especially with almond milk, yellows just reminds me of the nicer notes of marzipan, which I don’t ordinarily like but the fruitiness works for me here.”

 

Mauro, R&D Associate

What’s your favorite meal or cuisine?

“I agree with Mark. It’s hard to name one, but I tend to cook typical Portuguese style food… usually based on the season. In the winter, then more stews, in the summer, more sauteed-style stuff. I keep it simple. Decent portion of carbs, protein, vegetables.”

 

What’s an ingredient you’re currently inspired by?

“Because of Mark, I started using loads of cumin, actually. I have a son who likes soup, and so I use a lot of vegetables for those. Right now it’s mostly peppers.”

 

What do you like to do for fun?

“Sports, whatever involves moving. I used to play the drums in a band, so I love music. I do love cooking, it’s truly fun, the act of pairing flavors.”

 

What was your first job in food?

“My first job in the industry was at a steak joint near my house. I was bussing tables. But in that kind of job, people stop showing up, so I eventually got a chance to work behind the bar, and I liked that a lot more. Studied being a bartender a bit more, really liked it.”

 

What’s your favorite kencko smoothie flavor?

“mochas – it has so many layers to it, it’s an interesting smoothie. I don’t drink coffee so I really feel the buzz, and the flavor is so complex. I really like it and I’m proud to have worked on it. I recommend it with oat milk first, then almond milk next. Unsweetened.”

 

Ezra, R&D Consultant

What’s your favorite meal or cuisine?

“I’m vegan, so if I’m cooking for me, I might make a lentil version of a meatloaf, or I’d go with something Mediterranean – it’s gotta be bright, and sharp, and rounded. A little bit of spice, nice herbs, stuff like that. Man, it’s so hard to talk about food in terms of favorites. Every aspect is so much fun. Even just squeezing a lemon, the smells, the flavors, the textures, the oils, it’s all great. If I’m cooking for someone else I might say classic Italian or French – country food, slow casseroles, things like that.”

 

What’s an ingredient you’re currently inspired by?

“For a long time I’ve adored legumes. I’m a huge fan, there’s so much variety, from Mexican refried beans style to North African stews. So many different textures.”

 

What do you like to do for fun?

“I ride my bike a lot. I’m into running. I just like to get out. I tend my garden – I have pretty green thumbs, both my grandmums and my mum are all gardeners. I love growing chilies. They can be a real pain and they all need different things. I also like growing ornamental flowers.”

 

What was your first job in food?

“Friend of my dad’s was the executive chef at a nice hotel here in Lisbon. There was a couple’s therapy kind of thing they’d host on some weekends, and as a teenager I got to work in the kitchen for that. It didn’t go great, but something must have imprinted because I’m still working in food and I love it now.”

 

What’s your favorite kencko smoothie flavor?

“I’m a sucker for a green juice, so really any of the green ones we’ve got is great. I’m also really stoked on blushes – that one was really fun to work on.”

 

Daniela, Food Scientist

What’s your favorite meal or cuisine?

“I was raised on Portuguese food. I love everything about it and I love everything made with fish. You can give me fish any day of the week and I’ll be happy.”

 

What’s an ingredient you’re currently inspired by?

“I like red bell pepper. Less so the green ones. And I love salmon – smoked salmon is heaven for me. I use it on salads and all sorts of things. Those are two ingredients I use a ton of at home.”

 

What do you like to do for fun?

“I like to go for walks, visit the mountains or countryside nearby. I love playing with my dog. I love being home.”

 

What was your first job in food?

“My first job was at a factory making bread crumbs and croutons – very much the opposite of this chill atmosphere, I was rushing everywhere! I was an R&D associate there, but I worked more closely with operations and production and quality assurance. My masters thesis was about continual improvement in logistics. Here I feel more like myself.”

 

What’s your favorite kencko smoothie flavor?

“I really like reds. I like to mix it with water, but it’s also really good with coconut milk. I also really like greens.”

Share

there's more good content where that came from

fruits and plants