Don Odiorne
Don Odiorne

Don Odiorne may be best known for the infectious passion for Idaho potatoes he has shared for 25 years with renowned chefs and others in the foodservice industry.

But those close to the 67-year-old vice president of foodservice for the Eagle-based Idaho Potato Commission say he also has embraced social media to spread the virtues of Idaho potatoes.

“He’s certainly the oldest guy or possibly the least likely to be a social media guru, but he is,” said Seth Pemsler, commission vice president of retail/international. “He’s just kind of adapted to it, and now he’s into it.”

Sara O’Donnell, a Los Angeles recipe developer and blogger better known as Average Betty, has worked with Odiorne on several projects and said his greatest attribute is his listening skills.

“He embraces the changing environments of technology, new media and marketing and opens his ears to understand further the finer points of people submerged in these ever-changing micro-environments,” she said in an e-mail.

During his tenure at the commission, Odiorne has been the creative mind behind YouTube favorite Stunt Tater, the commission’s annual chefs’ calendar and the long-running blog, Ask Dr. Potato, to name a few.

“He’s not your typical marketer — he’s more a creative than a pragmatic marketer, which is great,” Pemsler said.

Odiorne said he decided to embrace social media after attending the intensive Camp Blogaway program several years ago. It was there that he met O’Donnell, with whom he’s collaborated on more than 20 YouTube videos.

“When Don expressed interest in creating content for YouTube, I knew this was a man I needed to speak with and learn from. I love both Idaho potatoes and creating YouTube videos,” O’Donnell said.

Odiorne has been active in produce and foodservice industry organizations, previously serving as president and treasurer for the International Foodservice Editorial Council, and as a foodservice board member for the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and the Produce Marketing Association.

Odiorne received The Packer’s 2013 Foodservice Achievement Award at PMA’s Foodservice Conference & Expo in July in Monterey, Calif.

“If you ask all in the foodservice industry who’s the best known person in the potato world, they’d say Don,” Pemsler said.