By Robin Mather
The Specialty Food Association honored seven members with Lifetime Achievement awards, and inducted 26 members into its Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York in July.
The Lifetime Achievement awards went to:
- Lorie and the late Harold Alexander of Koppers Chocolate, which has exhibited at every Fancy Food Show since 1955. Harold is credited with being the first to produce chocolate-covered espresso beans.
- The late Ted Koryn of Liberty Foods, honored posthumously. He took part in the very first Fancy Food Show and earned the loving nickname of “The Cecil B. DeMille of the specialty food industry.”
- Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw of the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. Zingerman’s 10 businesses have a combined $60 million in annual sales, and the pair were named among “The World’s 10 Top CEOs” by INC magazine.
- Jerry Santucci of Santucci Associates, honored posthumously. Founder of one of the first specialty food brokerage firms, Santucci was lauded as a mentor to countless individuals and served twice as president of the National Association of Specialty Food & Confection Brokers.
- Winston Stona of Busha Browne’s line of Jamaican condiments. Stona is also a well-known Jamaican actor, and he is committed to promoting Caribbean development all over the world through exports.
New inductees into the Hall of Fame are:
- John H. Affel of World Finer Foods Inc., who has more than 40 years of experience in specialty food manufacturing, sales, marketing and general management.
- Bruce Aidells of Aidells Sausage Company, author of 12 cookbooks and winner of awards for outstanding meat and outstanding product line. He started Aidells Sausage Company in 1983 to produce Cajun sausages for Bay Area chefs.
- Ted Bolle of Telefood Magazine, and an early co-chair of the Fancy Food Show committee, who helped the show become more meaningful to specialty food buyers.
- Bob and Verna Budd of Oak Hill Farms, who made the Vidalia onion a household name. The Budds started their business in their kitchen in 1983, and eventually grew to a multi-plant company with 120 employees.
- Jeffrey Cohen of Sutton Place Gourmet, the Metro Washington, D.C., shop that opened in 1980 to cater to sophisticated international diplomats.
- Al Cook of Melba Food Specialties Inc. in New York. He helped create the Fancy Food Show, and specialized in international imports, including Twinings Tea.
- Leo A. Dick of L.A. Dick Imports, LLC, founded in 1975 with five employees. The company grew to 65 associates serving 400 manufacturers and 1,500 retailers before it was sold to Lipari Foods of Warren, Michigan, in 2016.
- Samuel W. Edwards III of Edwards Virginia Smokehouse of Surry, Virginia. A third-generation cure-master, Edwards opened the company’s first retail stores and began direct-to-consumer sales via catalog and web. The company specializes in curing meats from certified humane, pasture-raised hogs.
- Kurt Hamburger, President of the Jacob Hamburger Company. Hamburger was a leader in distribution and marketing of sustainable Northwest regional products and specialty foods.
- Rex Howell-Smith of Central Market in Texas. The market’s high-caliber and devoted employees have forged relationships with foreign and domestic producers, bringing specialty food products to their customers.
- Scott Jensen of Stubb’s Bar-B-Q and Rhythm Superfoods. After co-founding One World Foods, which produced Stubb’s, Jensen founded Rhythm Superfoods after One World Foods was sold to McCormick in 2015. Rhythm Superfoods manufactures plant-based superfoods snacks.
- Natalie King of Stonewall Kitchen. King joined Stonewall Kitchens in 1996, and has led all of the company’s profit centers since then. She has exhibited at the Fancy Food Show for 20 years, and has served on the Specialty Food Association’s board.
- Paula Lambert of the Mozzarella Company in Dallas, which grew from a few pounds of fresh mozzarella to producing thousands of pounds of more than 30 different hand-made cheeses in its 35 years. Lambert has been inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who in Food and Wine in America.”
- David Lemberger of the Lemberger Candy Corporation. The company, which began as Lemberger Food Co. in 1954, concentrated on candy and chocolate for the children’s novelty market. Choc-Aid and Gummi-Aid were its best known and best-selling products.
Leo Lemberger of the Lemberger Food Company, David Lemberger’s father. He started the company in 1938 after arriving from Germany with his wife and two children as refugees. After World War II, Leo Lemberger began importing products from Europe, and some are still among the best-known in the U.S.
- Fred Meyer of the Fred Meyer Company. Credited with inventing “one-stop shopping,” Meyer was called “the last of the great American entrepreneurs” by the Wall Street Journal. He started at age 22 selling coffee from a horse-drawn cart, and opened the first Fred Meyer store in 1922.
- Joseph Markowitz of Larkin Cold Storage/Columbia Cheese. Markowitz’s pioneering work in product and logistics led him on an entrepreneurial streak. Among his start-ups were Champignon North America, Somerdale USA, Emmi USA and Redondo Iglesias USA.
- Nell Newman of Newman’s Own Organics. Co-founded in 1993 with her father, the iconic actor and philanthropist Paul Newman, Newman’s Own created the number one snack in the natural foods industry that year. By 2015, the company had donated more than $40 million to charity.
- Frank Patrick of the George Delallo Company. Patrick leads the national grocery team at George Delallo. While he was senior vice president of Tree of Life, he and his group grew specialty foods sales from $110 million to more than $1.5 billion in 10 years.
- Stanley Poll of William Poll Gourmet Foods and Catering. Poll’s Upper East Side Manhattan store has expanded its line of products, concentrating on foods produced in-house, during its 95-year run. Stanley and his brother James are now focusing on the company’s 100th anniversary.
- Ron Shalinsky of The Better Cheddar, the Kansas City destination shop for cheese and specialty foods. Shalinsky started the small cheese and sandwich shop in 1983, and by 2003, the Specialty Food Association honored the shops, now in two locations, as an “Outstanding Retailer of the Year.”
- Michael Silver of Neomonde Baking Co. in Morrisville, North Carolina. Silver has served on more than 20 Specialty Food Association committees, is a past chair of the board for the organization and helped set up the Specialty Food Foundation.
- Hal Theis of Reese Finer Foods, which was one of the most important importers of European and Australian foods. Reece was a pioneer in bringing specialty foods to supermarkets.