From software to sweets

ocumare_on_beans_highresolutionOne of my favorite parts of the sofi Awards is getting to speak to so many of our members outside the rush of our Fancy Food Shows in New York and San Francisco. Maybe it’s the ex-journalist in me, but I love hearing their stories. Quite a few are career changers, and lots are veteran slow foodies who live and breathe local, sustainable, and organic. Last week Joan Coukos Todd, chief executive of Chocolate Moderne in New York, told me she is an ex-banker. The folks at Seattle Chocolate Company used to work for Microsoft Corp.

Today I chatted with Art Pollard, president, founder and head chocolate maker for Amano Artisan Chocolate in Orem, Utah. Art, a software designer, couldn’t resist the siren call of chocolate. He says for a decade he would write code for search engines in one room and tinker with chocolate in another. In 2007 he got serious and started Amano. Amano won a 2007 sofi Silver Award for Outstanding New Product. “I’m hoping this year we can go all the way for the gold,” he said.

We field dozens of calls about the competition. Some questions are easy, and none are too dumb, I tell members. But I must admit I get frustrated that some callers don’t bother to read the rules and FAQs before dialing the sofi hotline. The deadline was last Thursday April 9. Since then we’ve heard plenty of “dog-ate-my-homework” tales. So when I opened an email this morning from Megan Duni of American Flatbread, I figured she was seeking an extension like a couple of other members. I was wrong. Here’s what she wrote:

I’m sure you guys are crazy with entries, and I just wanted to say thank you for your guidance and I hope you get to try our product either among other entries, or at the show in NYC. Best, Megan. 

Megan, you are most welcome. Sincerely, Louise, and the sofi team (Marilyn, Bruce, Meredith, Ryan, Andre, Fran, Kate, Cara, and Yana).

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