This year we gave our annual sofi Awards the star treatment they truly deserve. They’ve always been a highlight of the Summer Fancy Food Show, but we felt they deserved much more considering how important a sofi Award is for our members. So we staged our most glamorous Awards Ceremony ever. And we decided to capture the entire sofi process on video so we could try to capture the essence of the sofi Awards, the highest honor in the specialty food trade. sofi stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation.
The NASFT is typically very “hands on.” But this time we wanted to do it right. So we left our personal cameras to our family vacations, and brought in professional videographers, David Horvilleur and Patrick Sasso of Loop Seven in NYC. Both are true “foodies” and they said this was a dream assignment. We engaged them right before the first phase of judging last spring at our offices on Wall Street. (sofi awards are open to members of the NASFT). The finalists are picked by a nine-member panel of specialty food experts who meet at our offices to evaluate all the submissions. Then to pick the gold winners, the finalists are judged by retailers and foodservice buyers at the Summer Fancy Food Show.
During the initial judging David and Patrick arrived ready to shoot. They interviewed several of the judges, who were great about taking a break from their huge task of tasting and evaulating close to 2,000 specialty foods and beverages. Our final video features these interviews, including with Julie Wyrick of Pier 1 Imports and Tim Calderone from Meijer in Minneapolis. Once the finalists were selected, the video team visited a few including Rick’s Picks, Sarabeth’s Kitchen and Gustiamo.
Then the big event was the Summer Fancy Food Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center last month. Loop Seven arrived ready to roll. They set up an interview room off of the huge show floor and interviewed 100+ exhibitors and shot 15 + hours of footage. They had two crews blanket the 316,000 square feet of exhibit space that was filled with was filled with 140,000 specialty foods and beverages from across the U.S. and 70-plus countries.
They captured everything from the final sofi judging (more than 260 retailers sampled 125 finalists across all 33 awards categories) to the dazzling red-carpet awards ceremony hosted by noted Boston chef Ming Tsai. Chef Tsai delivered an inspiring and in-the-know keynote address about taste and innovation. Then he announced the winner in each category, alongside NASFT president Ann Daw and Vice President Ron Tanner. The video crew was there to capture the excitement. The next morning, the last day of the 55th Summer Fancy Food Show, Loop Seven raced through the show to capture many of the gold winners at their booths, who were still dazzled by their gold wins.
Then Loop Seven got to work again. The team spent four full days reviewing the footage, and another five in the editing suite. The fruits of their labor is our first ever sofi Awards video. We hope you enjoy it. Please let us know what you think.
–Betsy Schwartz (firstname.lastname@example.org), NASFT Creative Director