Mark Herman is about to be crowned the new king of caviar. The former Food Network marketing executive recently launched Caviar Shark, a New York City-based company that specializes in what he calls Caviar Crowns — “pies” that come in various flavor combinations. His original Caviar Crown, for example, is a savory cake with a light, fluffy base of homemade egg salad, followed by a layer of whipped crème fraîche and cream cheese, and topped with caviar covered in edible gold leaf and flowers. Herman, whose goal is to make caviar approachable, was inspired to launch his company after discovering a version of the culinary creation while living in Hong Kong. Luckily for caviar fans, the entrepreneur’s various refined Caviar Crowns have arrived just in time to hold court at this summer’s chicest events.
Grazia caught up with the Caviar Shark founder to find out more about discovering his passion for caviar, creating new designs and expanding into the Hamptons.
How did your background at Food Network come into play when creating this brand?
I found that you always had to be thinking about what’s new and exciting as that’s what advertisers and the television producers and chefs wanted. What Food Network is good at is making foods approachable and fun. I think what I (and probably most people) find about caviar is that it is a bit intimidating and highbrow. I love the taste of it and if you give it a more casual spin — layered homemade egg salad, crème fraîche and cream cheese, for example — and then keep it chic with gold leaf and flowers, it can be enjoyed and celebrated without the question of how do I enjoy it without making a fool of myself at a party. Just as Food Network has introduced cooking as something fun and easy, I want The Caviar Shark to be that for the caviar world: exciting, yet also approachable — and Instagrammable, too!
Were Caviar Crowns inspired by an existing dish?
Instead of coming up with the “never been done before” ideas in the food world, it’s always a sure win when you take an old classic recipe and put a new spin on it. The caviar pie is actually a fairly old party recipe that got lost in the mix of all the new food products and ideas out there today and I wanted to bring it back with a glam twist.
Do you do custom Caviar Crowns or take special requests?
I do have special requests but I think what’s so nice is most customers want me to take the lead and trust the creative caviar product I end up delivering. I do love when someone has maybe a one-word direction and then I take it from there. It allows me be creative but also gives the customer what they want while also sometimes inspires me on my next Crown idea.
What are some of the most memorable or extraordinary Crowns you have created?
Holiday themed Crowns are my favorite, because growing up I always loved decorating for the holidays and going a little “extra” around the house. Color-themed Crowns are fun too!
What is your favorite style Crown?
I love making the Le Petit Crown — the smallest size but still equally a show stopper of the collection — with simple color-blocking flowers around one flower in the middle. Both my mom and my grandma growing up were gardening enthusiasts and I’d like to think I got my green thumb, or at least love for flowers, from them. I also love taking elements from the seasons or locations I’m in and decorating them that way. The Le Petit is simple yet elegant and leaves you craving more.
What’s next for Caviar Shark?
Since my business is just taking off, I want consumers to get to know the flavors, sizes and looks before I start mixing it up too much. Like a shark, I am always swimming around for new ideas, one being an “on-the-go” picnic Crown.
Can you get a Caviar Crown anywhere in the country?
This summer I’m doing limited delivery to NYC and The Hamptons and then hope to start shipping to more locations on the East Coast later this year.
How can someone order a Crown or find out more?