America’s most acclaimed chefs and down-home mom-and-pop operations alike work with self-proclaimed “Ham Evangelist” Keith Roberts to procure S. Wallace Edwards & Sons salt-cured and smoked meats.
With over four decades of food service industry experience, the Virginia native’s passion for the culinary world started early. Roberts fell in love with the business as a teenager during his first minimum-wage restaurant gig. His passion for hospitality continued throughout his young adult life, where his path led to both front- and back-of-house positions in a number of Washington, D.C. area restaurants. It was during that time that Roberts became enthralled with growing small businesses, preserving American culinary traditions, and educating the public on quality cuisine and ingredients.
After 22 in the nation’s capital, the devoted father and husband moved his family to Virginia Beach, VA in hopes of a more simple life on the coast “selling fries and ketchup”. Roberts landed a job at Sysco Hampton Roads, where he redesigned the company’s training and customer relations programs, and sales methods. After working for the company for over a decade, Roberts’ position fell victim to the recession. Roberts’ relationship with his former Sysco client, S. Wallace Edwards & Sons, soon opened a new door.
In 2010, Roberts joined the Edwards team, where he works closely with third-generation cure master Sam Edwards III as the company’s National Wholesale Sales Manager. In this role, Roberts has doubled Edwards’ wholesale business and grabbed the attention of James Beard Award-winning chefs like David Chang and Sean Brock as well as spots on their respective restaurant menus, securing Edwards’ place in the modern culinary conversation. Roberts works tirelessly to educate Americans on the company’s time-honored tradition of curing and smoking meats, positioning S. Wallace Edwards & Sons for continued growth and success for the fourth generation and beyond. In the last five years, Roberts’ efforts have helped Edwards land numerous accolades, including the Good Food Awards “Charcuterie Division Award”, the Virginia Department of Agriculture “Best New Product Award”, Specialty Food Associations “Sofi Award”, and multiple National Country Ham Association Grand/Reserve Champion Titles.
A 37-mile commute on Virginia’s picturesque country roads separates Roberts from his home in Chesapeake to Edwards’ headquarters in Surry. When he’s not spreading the gospel of ham and smoked meats, Roberts spends his cherished free time with his wife and two college-aged sons.