In one fortuitous moment, on a sunny afternoon in southern California, a haunting taste experience would change the course of Tom Pfleider’s life, taking him a world away from his frigid roots and his chosen career path.
Tom grew up in Anoka, Minnesota, the Halloween Capital of the world, which may account for his impish sense of humor. In 1972, he headed even further north to attend the University of Minnesota in Duluth. However, the highlight of his youth, and perhaps a glimpse of things to come, was time spent at the family cabin on Bay Lake, where Tom first began to hone his culinary skills. Weekend BBQs revealed his natural gift for the fine art of corn-on-the-cob and tater tots.
In 1978, after graduating with a MBA from the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Tom began working for American Dietary Products, a division of what is now Baxter Healthcare. In 1979, a promotion to Western Area Sales Manager brought him to southern California, and a grateful 100-degree temperature difference!
Considered an expert in stereotaxy of the brain, for over 20 years Tom has worked in the surgical industry, first as owner of Surgi Cal, Inc., and then, in 2003, as owner of META Dynamic, Inc., which provides computerized image-guided surgery capability to medical facilities in southern California. However, in 1999, Tom experienced a taste bud moment that would launch him into the amazing world of gourmet food as well—southwestern style! Tom was introduced to chipotle sauce at a backyard barbeque in southern California, hosted by a friend and world-renowned brain surgeon. Based on an old family recipe, the sauce had a complex and haunting flavor that was so unique, so rich and memorable, Tom knew that this was something special. Using that recipe as a starting point, by 2003, Tom had established Pfleider Pfoods, Inc. By 2004, he had created his first award-winning flavor extravaganza, Sweet Heat Addiction, and The Art of Chipotle was born.
A perfectionist at heart, Tom vowed to produce the finest, most authentic chipotle products available, products that are not only all natural, with rich gourmet flavor, but they also had to be a worthy of their enduring southwest heritage. To that end, Pfleider Pfoods, Inc. is based in southern California, with production facilities in Oregon and Texas, and their jalapeño peppers are domestically grown and processed by 5th generation pepper farmers in the American southwest—all of Pfleider Pfoods’ The Art of Chipotle products are produced, processed and packaged entirely in the US. The finest seeds are selected each year to produce the finest red jalapeño peppers. At the edge of the field, proprietary techniques destem, deseed and clean the chilies, before they are smoke-dried to perfection in a manner that masterfully duplicates the genuine, richly bold chipotle flavor of the old southwest. By incorporating state-if-the-art technology with old-world sensibilities, Pfleider Pfoods is able to achieve an authenticity not found in other chipotle products. Naturally low in fat, carbs, sodium and cholesterol, nothing is added that would interfere with the all natural, unrivaled flavor and quality of these superb products.
Tom Pfleider’s unwavering commitment to chipotle has made The Art of Chipotle the most awarded entry in the “medium heat” category of fiery food competitions since 2005—all sauces have won an award, as well as their wildly captivating pepperhead logo, depicting the Pfleider family. In addition, family-owned Pfleider Pfoods, Inc. contributes a portion of their proceeds to select organizations that support the needs of patients affected by brain disorders.
Tom and his wife Christina, a former Pasadena Rose Bowl Princess, were married in 1981 and lived in the mountain resort community of Lake Arrowhead until their recent move to Beaumont, California. Christina is a successful landscape designer, and their two children, Taryn and Evan, are pursuing careers in business, often working with their father at Pfleider Pfoods. Tom created his clever and quirky “Pepperheads” logo with actual pfamily pfotographs, which include Tom and Christina in the center, his two children on either side. Using Photoshop, Tom designed the logo and all of the labels with no artistic training whatsoever, which frustrates his wife Christina, who has a degree in art from Long Beach State. And in case you were wondering, he actively and intentionally misspells common words that start with the letter or sound of “f” as a takeoff on the pfamily name, Pfleider. Who said award-winning, premium quality gourmet cuisine can’t be pfun?
On a journey that has taken him from the frozen tundra of northern Minnesota to the sunshine state of California, from the complexities of brain surgery to the wild and wacky world of food, Tom Pfleider has proven to be a man of many talents. In The Art of Chipotle, he has perfected the art-form of transforming the hot and fiery jalapeño into a complex and full-bodied chipotle experience, one that will appeal to all ages, ethnicities and heat tolerances—a mélange of exquisite southwestern flavors, distinguished enough for the finest gourmet meal, yet quick and easy enough for an impromptu barbeque. The versatility of these flavor-packed products is limited only by your own imagination!
Thank you for visiting our site. Pfleider Pfoods is committed to providing you with unrivalled gourmet chipotle products that are all natural, nutritionally clean & gluten free. We welcome your suggestions, comments, recipes, & input. You are a valuable partner in our success & we would appreciate you sharing our site and products with family & friends.
Come and see why people can’t stop talking about the Art of Chipotle…
Tom, Christina, Taryn, and Evan Pfleider