AUA Forms New Food Platform

AUA Forms New Food Platform

AUA Private Equity Partners has formed Gourmet Culinary Holdings (GCH) as a new platform to acquire US-based premium specialty food manufacturers serving the foodservice and retail sectors.

The new platform already has two operating companies. In March, GCH acquired 100% of the equity of Gourmet Kitchen, a Neptune, NJ-based manufacturer of specialty prepared foods for hotels, restaurants, universities, corporate campuses, and distributors. The company’s products include appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, breakfast items, ethnic products, desserts and other custom and chef-inspired specialty foods ( In April, GCH acquired its second company with the buy of 100% of the equity of Kabobs, a Lake City, GA-based manufacturer of hors d’oeuvres, side items and ethnic and breakfast products that are sold to foodservice operators, hotels, convention centers, corporate campuses, professional caterers and universities (

“We are extremely enthusiastic to partner with AUA and the owners of Gourmet Kitchen,” said R. Terry Hunt, chairman of Kabobs. “As we sought to grow our company and expand our facility, we felt AUA was the ideal partner to help accelerate that growth. We share their vision of creating a premium specialty prepared foods platform with a focus on quality, consistency, and extraordinary customer service.”

“We have been thinking about a partnership with Kabobs for years,” said Michael Lacey, president of Gourmet Kitchen. “AUA was able to make that a reality. Together, we will be able to provide a broader product offering and expansive customer service.”

The management teams of both Gourmet Kitchen and Kabobs will continue to be active with their businesses and each companies’ owners have substantial equity stakes in GCH in partnership with AUA. Future add-on acquisitions for GCH will utilize similar transaction structures.

“We are pleased to establish Gourmet Culinary Holdings in partnership with the owners of Gourmet Kitchen and Kabobs as we create the leading premium specialty prepared foods platform in the U.S. Combining the resources, expertise and industry knowledge of our partners will lead to significant synergies across our platform,” said Steven Flyer, a partner of AUA. The formation of GCH and the buys of Gourmet Kitchen and Kabobs was led by Mr.  Flyer, Managing Director Kyce Chihi, and Vice President Ari David.

“We are excited to establish the Gourmet Culinary Holdings platform and partner with talented operators at each of Gourmet Kitchen and Kabobs,” said Andy Unanue, AUA’s managing partner. “Based on the strong performance in our portfolio company Indulge Desserts Holdings, we hope to create similar economies of scale that will allow our partners to accelerate growth and continue to offer premium customized solutions to our customers.” AUA acquired Indulge Desserts in June 2016 and has actively been building the company through add-on acquisitions including the buys of Newark, NJ-based Joey’s Fine Foods (October 2018), Lyndhurst, NJ-based Elegant Desserts (March 2017), and Freeport, NY-based Love & Quiches (January 2017).

AUA Private Equity makes equity investments from $15 million to $75 million in companies with at least $5 million of EBITDA. Sectors of interest include consumer products and services with a focus on family-owned businesses and companies benefiting from the growth of the US Hispanic population. AUA is headquartered in New York (

NXT Capital ( provided financing for the transaction and Foley & Lardner ( provided legal services.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | May 7, 2019

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