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Lafayette pharmacist fills friends requests for bread pudding mix

Advocate food editor
Published: Jan 11, 2007

Bread pudding is frugal comfort food because it is made from leftover, slightly stale bread.

There are dozens of recipes for bread pudding, and most restaurants have their own signature versions of the popular dessert.

There is also a line of bread pudding mixes available in the Baton Rouge and Lafayette markets. The mixes are packaged by Southern Seasonings in Broussard and sold under the Blue Magnolia label.

Blue Magnolia Bread Puddings come in four flavors: Original, Classic Cinnamon, Lemon-Chiffon and Pumpkin-Spice. The mix contains the correct proportion of sugar and seasonings to make a 9-inch square pan or 2 1/2-quart casserole-size bread pudding. Cooks add milk, eggs, bread and any desired extras, such as nuts, dried cranberries, coconut and raisins.

Requests from friends
Desiree Guillory, a pharmacist in Lafayette, developed the Blue Magnolia Bread Pudding Mix after a friend who was getting married asked for her bread pudding recipe. For years, friends had been asking her to come up with a packaged version of her bread pudding, so when the request for the recipe came, Guillory said she thought she might try developing a commercial bread pudding.

Also, true confession, Guillory admitted in a note to the food section, "When my friend asked me for my recipe as a gift for her recipe file, I had to tell her I didn't have a recipe. I just threw bread puddings together without measuring anything. Since she wanted it so badly, I decided to try to measure everything the next time I made one. Well, that didn't go so well. I messed the bread pudding up so bad I had to throw it away", Guillory said.

I worked on the recipe for over a month until I finally came up with a recipe that could be duplicated by anyone. It was then that I took everyone's suggestion and looked into marketing my bread pudding.

Doing the groundwork
From October 2003 until February 2004 I did a lot of groundwork. I talked to business people I knew, searched the Web for information, looked into logo development, label development, packaging, manufacturers, UPC codes, nutritional labels, basically everything it would take to get a food product launched, Guillory continued.

"In February 2004, I met with the owner of Southern Seasonings, Tom Riggs, in Broussard. He loved the concept and the product. He offered to manufacture it for me even though I was just starting and only needed a small order. By October 2004, I sold my first four cases to Bayou Country in New Orleans", Guillory said.

Now selling in 7 states
Since then she has sold the Blue Magnolia Bread Pudding Mix line to customers in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Texas.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita slowed down sales, but 2006 was a good year with sales doubling over the previous year, Guillory reported.

In addition, she now has a Web site, http://www.BlueMagnoliaProducts.com.

Guillory admitted she is passionate about her food company.

My small Blue Magnolia company is so much fun! I feel like I am living the American dream and definitely believe that if you have a passion to make something happen, it can happen with a little hard work, dedication and faith.