You made it! Thank you and Congratulations!

August 18, 2010

A list full of NASFT members have reached notable membership anniversaries in the first half of 2010. We would like to recognize and thank these members for their years of commitment to the NASFT. The association has grown tremendously and it is companies like these that have helped make this happen. In this list, 100 companies marked their 5-year membership; 50 companies celebrated their 10-year anniversary; 11 companies have been members for 25 years; and finally, 1 company, Sopexa New York, has been with us for half a century! Take a look at this amazing list below and join us to congratulate them:

5 Years:

Tamcor Mexim USA

Delina Inc.

Decadent Tastes LLC

Desert Pepper Trading Co.

Larabar Foods Inc.

Montana Monster Munchies LLC.

Madera Enterprises, Inc.

Dalmatia Imports, Inc.

Art of Chipotle

Louise Ceccarelli & Associates

Z. A. S. International

Jake’s Barbeque Sauce & Seasonings Co.

Milton’s Baking Company

Sauce Goddess

Pasta By Valente, Inc.

Forever Cheese

Market Connections Group, LLC.

Ray Products, Inc.

Vanilla, Saffron Imports

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

Hawaii’s Special

Tiger Tiger USA

The ChocolateSmith

Tex-Mex Gourmet

Teance

Chuao Chocolatier

New Zealand Natural Goods Inc.

Pioneer Specialty Foods, Inc.

Offray Ribbon & Berwick Offray LLC.

The Hausen’Pepper Trading Co.

Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association

Sabra – Go Mediterranean

LesserEvil Inc.

King Arthur Flour Company, Inc.

SheerBliss Ice Cream

Champignon North America, Inc.

Late July Organic Snacks

Oregon Growers & Shippers

Roxy Trading

Wire Products Corporation

Bridge Brands Chocolate

Greek Gods, The

Barilla America, Inc.

Coupla Guys Foods

Mary’s Gone Crackers

Chef Dean Martin’s Sauce Haven

Renaissance Farm Inc.

East Bay POS

Marukan Vinegar (USA) Inc.

Abraham of North America, Inc.

Chef Creations, Inc.

Remington Sales & Marketing LLC

Red Lake Nation Foods

R.L. Cooperman & Associates LLC.

Gustiamo, Inc.

Pika’s Farm Table

Artisanal Cheese LLC

Wind & Willow, Inc.

Montana Department of Agriculture

Olivado USA

Dexpa

Louie’s Seasoning Co. Inc.

La Tourangelle

Peeled Snacks

E. F. Reimann Company

Harlow-HRK Sales & Marketing, Inc.

Cyprus Embassy Trade Center

Bariani Olive Oil LLC.

Fredericksburg Farms

New York Biscotti Company Inc.

West Virginia Development Office

The Crazy Baker

The Virginia Chutney Company LLC

BMA USA Inc.

Dillman Farm, Inc.

ThistleDew Farm Inc.

All Market, Inc.

Dulcet Cuisine

Cima-Mex Inc.

The Smoke House Market

Colorado Mountain Jam

Bodine Etc. Specialty Foods, LLC

Sahale Snacks LLC.

Viola Imports, Inc.

H E Witt Company

Deborah’s Kitchen, Inc.

Lady Fortunes, Inc

McGinnis Food Center, Inc.

Think*Plan*Deliver Inc.

Baker Maid Products

Nancy’s Candy Co.

D C Scott and Associates Food Brokerage, Inc.

Bombay Emerald Chutney Company LLC

Before and After Candy, LLC

Joe Perry’s Rock Your World, Inc.

The Perfect Bite Co.

Cooperstown Cookie Company

Cherrybrook Kitchen, Inc.

Bi-Rite Market

Rick’s Picks

10 Years:

Aunt Sally’s Praline Shops Inc.

Straub’s Markets

Queen Creek Olive Mill

V. Cimino & Son, Inc.

Epicure Foods Corporation

Revival Confections, Inc.

Casa Pons

Blasers USA Inc.

Kelley’s Katch Caviar

Stello Foods Inc.

Rishi Tea

Valor Chocolates USA, Inc.

21st Century Snack Foods

Reliant Ribbon Corporation

Ronnybrook Farm Dairy

Belgium’s Chocolate Source

Mt. Vikos Inc.

Kelsick Gardens

Lu Yu Tea Company

Santa Barbara Pistachio Co.

Ultimate Gourmet

Holbrook Cottage Inc.

Lund Food Holdings

Cranberry Sweets, Inc.

Diane’s Gourmet Luxuries

Professional Image Inc.

Conca D’Oro Importers, Inc.

CHEFfield Presentation

The Cheese Shop of VA., Inc.

Acme Smoked Fish Corporation

Carmie’s Kitchen Inc.

Porky’s Gourmet Inc.

Niche Gourmet

Vermont Specialty Food Association

Avenue Gourmet

Beth’s Farm Kitchen

Ole Ole Foods Inc.

Bryant Preserving Company

Blair’s Death Sauces and Snacks

WorldPantry.com Inc.

African Bush Products

Rice Epicurean Markets

See’s Candies Inc.

Carrington Tea Company

Kate’s Homemade Butter Inc.

Mira International Foods Inc.

Hint Mint

Doral International

Harvest Import, Inc.

McDuffies of Scotland Inc.

25 Years:

Enstrom Candies, Inc.

De Medici Imports, Ltd.

Hormel Foods Ethnic Specialty Sales

Elki Corporation

Baycliff Company, Inc.

American Spoon Foods

Eden Foods, Inc.

Bernard Food Industries, Inc. Consumer Products Div.

Moon Shine Trading Company / Z Specialty Food, LLC

The Sweetery

SweetWorks, Inc.

50 Years:

Sopexa New York

Today, NASFT has near 2,900 members from around the world. NASFT members have exclusive access to the innovative hub of the global food and beverage marketplace. Opportunities such as exhibiting at the premier Fancy Food Shows and competing in the prestigious sofi™ Awards are the highlights of an NASFT membership. Members also receive discounts on a variety of NASFT products and programs from networking to education. To learn more about membership benefits, go to: http://specialtyfood.com/nasft/join-nasft/

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Interview with Winter Fancy Food Show Trend Game winner, Eddi Marie of Beckles Candies

May 20, 2010

Q: Please tell us about your current job and what it entails. Tell us something about yourself and your lovely shop in Modesto, California.
A: We have owned and operated Beckles Candies and Gifts in Modesto, California, since December of 1988. For the most part, Jim and I oversee the daily operation of the shop, including  making and selecting products, packaging, and interacting with the customers. We have known some of them since they were children!  Although Jim is not at the shop every day, he is a very important part of the business and readily “on call!”  Our daughter worked with us during her teenage years, and still covers for us in emergencies.

Beckles is an old time candy shop, selling chocolates, our on-site-made fudge,  gourmet truffles, a variety of licorices and candy jar favorites, including a nice selection of sugar free products.  We like to shop for things we believe our customer will enjoy. Custom packages are prepared in any gift item or container the customer selects and we pre-package in traditional and non-traditional containers. We also enjoy helping corporate clients and special event planners meet their unique needs and successfully stay within their budgets.

Q: How did you become so knowledgeable of food trends coming into the Winter Show? What professional food related publications, blogs, etc. do you read regularly?
A: I’m not at all sure I am that knowledgeable! I do try to listen, pay attention to food trends, and generally be aware of what is going on in our area.  The California Central Valley is known for it’s agricultural success. Staying “green” and being self-sustaining are very important to us. Personally, I am quite health conscious, while still allowing myself the joys of treats, sweets, and special indulgences. 

Several trade publications come across my desk regularly and I always find interesting material in them. Reading printed matter I can hold in my hands is more my style than reading screens! Although, blogs and Internet information is sometimes handy, indeed!

Q: When you go out to eat—do you go to the same place or do you explore other cultures and types of restaurants?
A: We have long time favorites and are basically traditionalists.  However, new places must be investigated, and authentically prepared food of other cultures can be most interesting and even enlightening! I am more adventurous than Jim!

Q: What is your favorite type of food? Favorite meal/dish?
A: I like Salmon or Halibut, usually baked (sans oiliness)! Al dente steamed vegetables rank high on my list, as do fresh fruits and vegetables of most any kind. Southern barbecue, but not too spicy hot, is another favorite. And, of course great chocolate desserts!!! I use lots of nuts when preparing dishes and, although I like both, I go for weeks without eating beef or pork.

Q: How was your experience at the Winter Fancy Food Show? What was your favorite part?
A: Jim and I had a really good time. It was a quick, one-day trip from Modesto. I think our favorite part is anything that directly relates to our business, especially items we can almost link to specific customers. At times it becomes a game we play.

The displays were great,  the vendors were most cordial, the products were varied, and the attendees were enthusiastic. While conscious of the economic situation, people were not overwhelmed with gloom! We mentioned that en route home.

Q: Have you ever been to a Summer Fancy Food Show? If yes, what are the major differences between the Winter Show and Summer Show?
A: We have never attended the Summer Show, but we are excited!

Q: Do you have any tips to offer for attending/walking the show?
A: I go with a plan, or at least a list of items about which  folks have inquired or in which I have a particular interest.  We usually go for the “What’s new “area first,  then walk the rest of the show rooms. Some of the seminars would be helpful; however, we are always on a limited time schedule.

Q: What are you most excited about for the upcoming Summer Fancy Food Show in New York?
A:
It is a new adventure! I’ve been told it is bigger than the Winter Show. It will be interesting to see how some of the winter focused items are doing, how they may have been adapted, and what’s new!

Q: Are you on any social media? (Twitter, Facebook or do you have a blog?) Website?
A: We do have a Beckles website.  It is in a stage of reconstruction, but viewable.  You can find it at BecklesCandiesandGifts.com


sofi Bloopers, Blunders, and Random Notes

May 11, 2010

By Louise Kramer, NASFT Communications Director

We’re enjoying a moment of calm in the 38th sofi™ Awards contest before the next wave of entries starts pouring in for the last two awards: Outstanding New Product and Outstanding Product Line.

So far, a great panel of specialty food experts has selected 125 finalists in 31 Awards categories, from Outstanding Appetizer, Antipasto, Salsa and Dip to Outstanding Vinegar.  Finalists are listed at www.specialtyfood.com/sofi. The judges spent three very full days at our new offices in midtown Manhattan tasting and evaluating 1,570 entries, including a rather prodigious amount of the world’s finest chocolate, cheese, olive oil, cookies, pasta sauces, and so much more.

Actually, the judges tasted almost everything. They were not required to taste entries for “Outstanding Non-Food Specialty Item” – how could we make them bite into a refrigerator magnet or muffin tin??? – nor did they have to sample submissions for Outstanding Pet Food. So hats off to judge Gantt Bumstead, co-president of United Supermarkets! He actually tasted a dog biscuit. His review: delicious!

The 2010 sofi Team

It is great fun to tell our members that their products have been selected as finalists. After all, a sofi honor means lots of publicity, potential sales, industry kudos, and the glow of victory for friends, family, staff and colleagues.

Here’s how one finalist, Kari Ani Shiozawa, reacted. Her Bakers Basics Banana Bread Mix is a finalist for Outstanding USDA-Approved Organic Product. “It was a huge blessing for me and I cried. My husband cried too,” she told me. “This is such a huge accomplishment. When you work so hard to get someplace and you get that recognition, it is tremendous. I still cry sometimes.”

The less fun part for us here at the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade is having the break the news to those hundreds of member companies who entered the contest but did not have their products selected as finalists. We totally “get it” that these awards are very important, and that our members put their heart and soul and money and dreams into making their great products. For many, a sofi makes it all seem worth it.

Here are some bloopers: One of our sofi staffers dropped a ketchup entry en route to the judging for “Outstanding Cooking Sauce or Flavor Enhancer,” and boy did it make a mess. And all the judges saw it.

A mini blooper: when it was time for the judges to taste and evaluate the 110 entries for Outstanding Chocolate—one of my favorite categories!–we realized that many of the packages were not opened. Time is of the essence during sofi judging. So we put out an all points bulletin to the entire NASFT staff (in the form of me running around begging for help while trying to look calm and professional). Special thanks to: Mary Jacobsen, executive administrator and Bill Lynch, senior director, membership and exhibitions, for jumping in.

Many thanks to our Part 1 judges, most of whom are pictured here: Sue Bicksler Taub, Holbrook Cottage, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.; Gantt Bumstead, United Texas, Lubbock, Texas; Mustafa Coskun and Robert Rosa, Garden of Eden Marketplace, New York, N.Y.; Patrick Crowl, Woodstock Farmers’ Market, Woodstock, Vt.; Franck Deletrain, John O’Neil and Lou Piuggi, Patina Group, New York, N.Y.; Faye Greenberg, Winn-Dixie, Jacksonville, Fla.; Madeline Romo, Savor the Flavor, Sierra Madre, Calif.; Lordes Reynoso, Institute of Culinary Education, New York, N.Y.; Celia Barbour and Rachel Mount, O, The Oprah Magazine, New York, N.Y.

Today, the sofi shelves are empty. The sofi team is wrapping up some important work. This week I am taking three days off to rejuvenate before sofi, Part Deux. Part 2 entry forms and information were mailed to NASFT members last week. Forms are also posted at www.specialtyfood.com/sofi.

Don’t forget to read the FAQ’s online. Questions? Email us at sofiawards@nasft.org.

And finally, thanks to all NASFT members who have entered so far this year, and for making it a great competition.


EDITOR’S LETTER: What sofi ™ is Telling Us About Trends

May 6, 2010

By Denise Purcell, Editor of Specialty Food Magazine

Following is Denise Purcell’s editor’s letter, which first appeared in the recent May issue of Specialty Food Magazine. It highlights trends spotted at the recent sofi Awards Finalist competition, Part 1.

The start of the annual sofi ™ Awards competition is unfolding around me as I write this. All week, hundreds of boxes have been arriving at the NASFT offices, and thousands of products are being unpacked and carefully sorted by the core sofi team, led by Communications Director Louise Kramer. I’m passing shelves of products every time I head to the kitchen or supply room, which is providing me the ideal opportunity to take a front line peek at what all those submissions are saying about industry trends.

As I was getting started, Project Manager Marilyn O’Hara and Project Consultant Fran Curiazza, two members of the team who were opening and logging every entry, were happy to chime in with their own trend-spotting—lots of products with honey and figs. They are absolutely right. These, like many other themes I spotted on the shelves, are on target with larger industry trends that have been recently identified through NASFT and Mintel International.

In case you missed it, in March, NASFT co-hosted a webinar with Mintel that revealed several overarching trends, including those a panel of food journalists identified as the top trends at the Winter Fancy Food Show (you can read more under the March 2010 issue in Food Trends or visit specialtyfood’s Knowledge Center to download the webinar.)


Here, in no particular order, are several industry trends that are supported by what we’re seeing in sofi entries.

Grown-Up Treats: Savory and sweet snacks with sophisticated flavor profiles:

• Candied walnuts

• Curry or fig flavored crackers

• Prickly pear dried snacks

• Honey Roasted Ham and Cranberry potato chips


Simple Made Special:
This is especially prevalent in nostalgic candies and treats such as toffee, caramels and marshmallows that are being updated:

• Marshmallows in flavors like Pistachio, Coffee and Toasted Coconut

• Sesame toffee

• Caramels in flavors like Carrot Cake


Good-for-You Foods:
Healthful twists including gluten-free, sugar-free, high fiber and antioxidants:

• Baked lentil and falafel chips

• Gluten-free sugar cookie mix and brownie mix made with stevia

• Raspberry Rooibos chocolate


Latest Flavors:
Many of these were spotted at the Fancy Food Show, by

the Food Trend panel as well as the editors of Specialty Food Magazine who tweeted from the Show floor at twitter.com/nasft. Coconut, bacon, maple, cherry, walnut, lime, honey—all hot. Here’s a sampling:

• Cherry Merlot Wine ice cream

• Coconut popcorn

• Maple Bacon pretzels

• Plantain chips with lime

• Salsa with cherry and peri-peri

• Carob seed honey from Morocco

• Walnut vinegar

The sofi Award submissions are telling us a lot already and at presstime packages were still arriving for the 31 categories in Part 1 of the competition. Like the rest of the trade, I’ll eagerly await what the full breadth of entries and judges’ picks ultimately reveal about the industry’s best foods and beverages.


The New specialtyfood.com

April 30, 2010

By Matt Thomas, Publisher of Specialty Food Magazine

For seven years, specialtyfood.com has been my go-to source anytime I needed more information on some aspect of the trade. Whether I was looking for manufacturer contact information, specific category trends, the dates of the 2012 Summer Fancy Food Show, whatever<it was always right there.

Yet, all long-running reference sources take on a Rube Goldbergesque quality as needs change and different features get tacked on to the side. It was with great pride that I could find almost anything on that site, no matter how buried, but it was time for a new edition.

After dozens of meetings involving every department of the NASFT, dozens more rounds of wireframes and hundreds of hours of programming, testing and debugging, the switch has been thrown and the new site is here.

As I was thankfully spared most of the development process, I am looking at the new site with what I believe are fresh eyes and can tell you that to refer to the new specialtyfood.com as a relaunch would be a gross understatement. Encompassed on the site are several thousand brands, tens of thousands of pages of content, a seemingly infinite number of products and all of it carefully organized and tagged to make it intuitively navigable for people like you and me. The result of all this intensive activity is a greatly improved user experience.

All the content from our old site is still there but is much more accessible and easy to find. For instance, content from Specialty Food Magazine can be accessed via the foodle™ search engine or through the Magazine Archive in the News & Trends tab. Content has also been tagged in helpful categories such as Retail Operations, Food Trends, Prepared Food Recipes and so on. When it’s time to plan your Fancy Food Show experience, either as an attendee or exhibitor, you can find everything you need through simple tabs.  All of NASFT’s education information from the past five years can now be accessed and downloaded under the Knowledge Center. Put simply, pretty much anything you used specialtyfood.com for in the past will be better and easier with the new site.

Where things get really interesting is in the new features. Under the Community tab you will find a wealth of exciting functions. For the first time we will have a dedicated specialty food industry Job Board. There’s also a Classifieds section where you can sell your used equipment or offer services to the trade. If you’re an expert, believe you are or at least have a topic you’re passionate about, you can create your own blog. Or post pressing questions for advice from your peers.

I will miss that old workhorse but the new site looks better, works better and has lots of useful new features. So dive in, explore the new resources and features and let us know what you think so we can continue to improve content and functionality. |SFM|

Find us at:  http://www.facebook.com/specialtyfoodmedia


Winter Fancy Food Video Coverage!

February 10, 2010

We have finally wrapped up the final visual pieces of the 2010 Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. The lists below consist of the links including live interview footage with Nicole Ravlin from the Social Media Booth, and featured floor segments, as well as links to other coverage!


Livestream Interviews

  1. 1300 on Fillmore, David Lawrence
  2. Amrani Chocolates, Antoine Amrani and Martha Seidner
  3. Bambu, Jeff Delkin
  4. Bedford Industries, Gene Story
  5. Bella Chi Cha, Chi-Cha Russo-Boyes
  6. Bella Cucina, Alisa Barry
  7. Best of the West, Peter Wyckoff
  8. Black Market Bakery, Rachel Klemek
  9. Braswell’s, Chris McMahon
  10. Char Crust, Susan Eriksen
  11. Chocoveda, Julia Lungin
  12. CulinaryMuse.com, Karletta Moniz
  13. Culinary Papers, Scott Mille
  14. Eat More Heat, James Beck
  15. Elaine’s Toffee, Janet A. Long
  16. Fall River Wild Rice, Hiram Oilar
  17. Feed the Hungry, David Flowers
  18. Jer’s Chocolates, Jerry Swain
  19. Larry Chiang
  20. Little Cow Cookies, Rae Stacks
  21. Lotus Foods, Caryl Levine
  22. Mediterranean Snacks, Vincent James
  23. Meyenberg, Tracy Darrimon
  24. Mrs. Renfro’s, Dan Fore
  25. Nature’s Indulgence, Rebbi Burdett
  26. Olivia’s Croutons, Francie Caccavo
  27. Original Juan, Greg Dennis
  28. Pamela’s, Stephanie Robbins
  29. Plocky’s, Paul Cipolla
  30. Pollen Ranch, Rebb Firman
  31. Republic of Tea, Kristina Richens
  32. Sables Gourmet Cookie Dough, Barbara Hazen
  33. Salsa Buena, Leah Aguayo
  34. Savor California, Jane St. Claire
  35. Silence Tea, Ross Darroodi
  36. Simply Boulder, Seth Mendelsohn
  37. Slow Cow, Keith Whitlock
  38. Smoked Olive, Brenda Chatelain
  39. Spice Hunter, Heidi Ripplinger
  40. Tanka Bar, Mark A. Tilsen
  41. Thatsanice!, Anthony Marciona and Joseph Lobue
  42. Valor Chocolates, Gonzalo Sanchez
  43. Vibrant Flavors, Donna Dockins
  44. Waffle Lady, Jeanne Scott
  45. Wine Soiree, Andrew Lazorchak

Featured Video Descriptions

  1. Charcuterie– The best charcuterie from all around the world featuring Framani Handcrafted Salumi, Fabrique Delices, Colombo Importing & Trois Petits Cochons.
  2. ChocolatesThe delicious chocolates of the NASFT’s 35th Winter Fancy Food Show. Featuring Fairytale Brownies, John Kelly Chocolates, TCHO Chocolate, and Xan Confections.
  3. Cold Beverages– A selection of some of the cold beverages found at NASFT’s 35th Winter Fancy Food Show. Featuring beverages from Activate, the Brewer’s Association, Dream Foods International, and Fizzy Lizzy.
  4. Feed the Hungry Donation VideoWhen NASFT’s 35th Winter Fancy Food Show ended, Feed The Hungry came in and collected donations from all the exhibitors. In total, over 130,000lbs were donated.
  5. Hot BeveragesHot Beverages from NASFT’s 35th Winter Fancy Food Show. Featuring products from Adagio Teas, Choice Organic Teas, Peerless Coffee and Tea, and Tom and Sally’s Handmade Chocolates.
  6. International Exhibitors– Many of the different countries and international vendors exhibiting at NASFT’s 35th Winter Fancy Food Show. Featuring Fabio Imports from Italy, Mrs. Palmer’s Pantry from Canada, and Isigny Ste Mere and Chevaliers D’Argouges, both from France.
  7. New Products– Some of the new products being introduced and exhibited at NASFT’s 35th Winter Fancy Food Show. Featuring products from Crazy Uncle Jester’s, Cugino’s, Hotlips Soda and Kenny’s Candy Company.
  8. Non-Chocolate CandiesNon-chocolate candy at the 2010 Winter Fancy Food Show including Hammond’s Candies, Sahagian & Associates, Kenny’s Candy Company, & Linda’s Lollies.
  9. Organics and Natural Foods– A sampling of the many tasty organic and natural products at this years Winter Fancy Food Show. Featuring Amy E’s Bakery, Caffe Ibis, Coffaro’s Baking Company, and Pearl River Pastry
  10. People of the Show– Video of attendees, buyers and exhibitors at NASFT’s 35th Winter Fancy Food Show.
  11. Snacks– Snack foods at NASFT’s 35th Winter Fancy Food Show. Featuring snacks from Deep River Snacks, KIND Healthy Snacks, Popcornopolis, and KIND Healthy Snacks.
  12. Sofi Winners– A video highlighting just a few of the many Sofi Winners exhibiting at NASFT’s 35th Winter Fancy Food Show. Featuring Anette’s Chocolates, The Ginger People, Nutorious Nut Confections, and Oregon Growers and Shippers.
  13. Trends– A few products from the show that fit into the trends at NASFT’s 35th Winter Fancy Food Show. Featuring products from Aliseo, Bissinger’s, Black Garlic, Kitchen Naturals, Savory Creations and Shakespeare’s Gourmet Chocolate.

Other Coverage:

  1. FoodChannel Food Channel coverage expanded throughout the week at the 2010 Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. They have multiple articles and video interviews!
  2. Feed the Hungry NASFT members donated 130,000 lbs of donated food for the Feed the Hungry local and international efforts after the 2010 Winter Fancy Food Show. Click here to watch an exclusive video.

We hope you enjoyed the coverage of the 2010 Winter Fancy Food Show, including some of our featured product and company segments.  We look forward to seeing you at the 2010 Summer Fancy Food Show for live coverage at the Social Media Lounge and product features on the show floors!


January Trend Game Winner Announced!

January 12, 2010

Congratulations Laura!

Everyone! Please come and join us to congratulate one of our January Food Trend Game winner, Laura Stec, from Portola Valley, CA! Yeah!

Laura will be at the Winter Fancy Food Show taking place this Sunday, but do read on! We hope you enjoy this exclusive interview and get to know her even before the Show!

Q:   So Laura, we heard you own your own business, can you tell us about it?
A:
Yes, I own a business called Green Cuisine. We offer “high-vibe” food production and promotion services, connecting local foods, family farms and artisan producers to you, the consumers! I am a personal chef, Culinary Health Educator and Green Cuisine Trend and Distribution Expert. Check out my website at www.laurastec.com.

Q:    What professional food related publications, blogs, etc. do you read regularly?
A:
I read Sunset, Martha Stewart Living and the newsletter produced by the San Francisco Professional Food Society. I also take pleasure writing for the Sierra Club Climate Crossroads Food Blog.

Q:    When you dine out, do you like to try out different types of restaurants and cuisines?
A:
Living in the San Francisco Bay area – it is a culinary sin (!) to go to the same restaurant all the time. I visit all kinds of places, the trendy and established ones in particular.

Q:   What is your favorite type of food? Or Favorite meal/dish?
A:
Contemporary nutritional, “high-vibe” organic cuisine. My favorite food is actually a fresh, high-vibe salad!

Q:    What about a favorite cookbook and cooking resource?
A:
I wrote a book in coordination with Dr. Eugene Cordero, called “Cool Cuisine – Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming.” And as for my take on using other resources: everyone has good information! I breeze through numerous sources looking for tidbits of gold, rather then just taking anyone/thing in particular too seriously.

Q:    How many Fancy Food Shows have you participated in the past and do you have any tips to offer for attending/walking the show?
A:
This will be my fourth show. It is absolutely essential to keep sweet and savory foods separate – don’t eat them at the same time!  I do a “savory trip” first, followed by a break of coffee, wine and a short walk. Then I come back and do a “sweet trip” around the show. If you can find the Underberg Natural Herbal Digestive Bitters booth at the show – make sure to drink down one of those in between savory and sweet courses!

Q:    What are you most excited about for the upcoming Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco?
A:
I am interested in seeing any new “green cuisine” developments from the exhibiting businesses and the NASFT in general.

Thanks for the advice Laura and sharing with us your passion and interests. Congratulations again!

The 2010 Winter Fancy Food Show is coming up soon. Hurry, there’s still time to register and play the Trend Game at the Show. See you all in San Francisco!