Carla Hall Named Keynote Speaker for Specialty Food Business Summit

Specialty Food Association Helps Small Businesses Learn, Connect and Grow

Specialty Food Association logo. (PRNewsFoto/Specialty Food Association)

The Specialty Food Association today announced that famed chef and co-host of ABC’s The Chew, Carla Hall, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Specialty Food Business Summit to be held in Chicago, IL April 2-4.

“I’m thrilled to join the Specialty Food Association and this group of small business entrepreneurs,” said Carla.  “I hope to provide inspiration and insight to help make their entrepreneurial journey as exciting as my own.”

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3rd Saturday Diva Market Returns to Carol’s Book January 21

This month, the Diva Market will continue on Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 11am to 6pm at Carols Books located at 1913 Del Paso Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95815 with hopes of drawing an even larger crowd.

Third Saturday Diva Market, brought to you by Framed by Frankie a​nd Brown Sugar Art Gallery.  The event, which was covered by the Sacramento Observer, Good Day Sacramento, Jay King of the KDEE 97.5 Traffic Jam, Black Talk Sacramento (BTS) and the Del Paso Boulevard Partnership, filled with good vibes flowing between customers and vendors.   City Councilman, Allen Warren of District 2 also dropped by to give his support and stated that he “loves what the women are doing in the community.”

One of the most important things Diva Market founders Frankie Edwards Lee and Daphne Burgess strive to achieve with the market is bringing attention to local and small businesses.  While to some, this may not seem like such a huge deal, when given careful thought, this is a truly meaningful undertaking as it provides area consumers with the opportunity to keep more of their dollars circulating in the community in which they live.  Keeping that goal in mind, each month the Diva Market spotlights a business owner.

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My Mix Grab n’ Go brand Chocolate Pretzel Hearts Recalled due to Salmonella

Warning SymbolOverwaitea Food Group is recalling My Mix Grab n’ Go brand Chocolate Pretzel Hearts from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

The following product has been sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

If you think you became sick from consuming a recalled product, call your doctor.

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San Francisco’s The LunchPad Curates Upscale Sandwich Experiences

By V. Sheree Williams

lunchpad__q1b6366No matter how long I have lived in the Bay Area, there is always a new place to discover with good eats to indulge in.  A business meeting in 2015 would take me to the Noir Lounge in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood.  Located on Hayes Street, the name along with the location hinted (at least in my mind) to a swanky spot attracting millennials and other hipsters looking to dodge boredom on any given night.   Walking in, my preconceived notions weren’t far off as the wine bar known for its love of classic black and white movies, cozy nooks for couples or custom-made communal table for sharing food as well as conversations was silently letting me know that this is where I wanted to be.  A meeting and cocktail later, I was out pledging to myself to definitely return.

Last October, I did just that with an invitation to attend the launch of The Lunchpad, a the-lunchpad_biscuits-gravybacon-2new upscale sandwich experience “combining the finest ingredients with unexpected and original touches,” now offered inside the Noir Lounge.  In the company of other foodies and media professionals, I enjoyed sampling many of the items featured on the new menu that included the Italian beef sandwich, house-made pickles and habanero bacon to name a few.

I caught up with the mastermind behind this new culinary experience, chef Adam Hubbell who also leads pickling classes held at Noir Lounge, to get the inside scoop on why The Lunchpad will be the city’s hottest sandwich spot.

Tell us about the inspiration behind the menu and reinventing the sandwich experience for your guests?

My inspiration for the menu was from many years of trying out different flavor combinations.  I am a huge fan of sweet and savory combinations. I also spent several years cheffing at a southwest restaurant in Boulder, CO where I developed a love of spicy and fresh flavors. There is just something to be said about a well-balanced flavor combination.

What are a few special menu and/or ingredients highlights that may be exclusive to The Lunchpad SF?

I would say that our house bacon is pretty unique to The LunchPad. Candied habanero bacon has allowed us to kick up the flavor profile of many of our sandwiches. It has taken a few different forms over the years but I feel like we have really nailed it down. We also make our own giardiniera.  Giardiniera is a spicy pepper relish that has heat and a nice acidity that complements many of our sandwiches, but is featured on our Chicago style Italian beef sandwich, “The King Beef.”  We also do a cashew pesto that is a unique twist on an old standard. We sub roasted cashews for pine nuts and have created a fun almost buttery sweetness that adds another dimension to our flagship sandwich, “The Turkey Drizzle.”

There is an art to pickling. When it comes using pickled ingredients for menu items, how do they enhance one’s culinary experience from a taste perspective?

There is an art to pickling and there is also a science. From the art perspective, you have creative freedom to add whatever spices and flavors you want. Pickles are really up to the consumer.  Some people like them sweet, others salty, more dill, more clove…etc. From a science perspective, you need to know the basics of preserving.  I recommend the Ball Blue Book to start your pickling experience or going to an educational seminar or class. Pickles are an awesome addition to sandwiches as they are a perfect match with savory flavor profiles lending a much need reprieve from the rich and salty, the sweet acidity balances it right out. We also do pickling classes at The Lunchpad a few times a year.

What can we look forward to from The Lunchpad in 2017?

2017 is going to bring is some fun new sandwiches and salads. We’re going to include a unique twist on a chef’s salad featuring our famous habanero candied bacon. We’ll be switching out some of our sandwiches on the daily specials menu and introducing a Shrimp Po’ Boy and a Meatloaf sandwich as well. All of this will be happening in mid-January. Lastly, we’ll be adding fried pickles as a menu item on select days.  In addition, we plan to really ramp up our corporate catering and are looking forward to putting out some new items that will truly make office lunches sing.

This all sounds really good and makes me hungry all over again.  The Lunchpad is open Monday – Friday from 9 am – 2:30 pm and from 11 am – 2:30 pm on Saturdays and Sundays and serves the brunch and lunch menu all day long.  The Noir Lounge is located at 581 Hayes Street in San Francisco.  For more information and to view The Lunchpad menu, visit

Photos courtesy The Lunchpad

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Looking For Talented Kid Chefs To Compete In 7th Annual Healthy Cooking Contest

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is looking for the next great kid chef to create a delicious and healthy side dish recipe. Finalists will sample their culinary creations at a Phoenix Suns home game and win great prizes.

For the seventh consecutive year, the company is on the hunt for original, great-tasting and kid-inspired side dish recipes for the Walk On! Kids Cooking Challenge. The program’s goal is to motivate Arizona’s youngest culinary masterminds to incorporate healthy options into their daily food choices.

Children ages 9–12, living anywhere in the state of Arizona, are encouraged to submit their healthy and tasty side dish creations for a chance to win a new bike. Finalists will also have an opportunity to prepare and share their masterpiece at a Phoenix Suns home game.

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Alcohol Addiction Awareness Essay Contest, works towards raising awareness of the alcohol abuse and addiction issues and hoping to encourage as many people as possible to realize the potential consequences of their drinking habits.  The organization will award three $6000 scholarships after the application period ends on February 1, 2017.

The scholarship recipients will be selected through an essay contest, and essays are judged based on their originality and content. There are no costs associated with submitting an application for this scholarship, and the next application period began October 10.

More information can be found on this page,

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MigVapor Offers $3000 Scholarships to Help Student Fight Tobacco Use


Mig Vapor, creates products designed to help people reduce their dependency on tobacco, and each semester we award $3,000 scholarships to students who help bring awareness to the dangers of smoking.

The scholarship recipients are selected through an essay contest. The winning essays will be selected on the basis of how well-written, compelling, and persuasive they are.  There are no costs associated with submitting an application for this scholarship, and the next application period starts January 9 and the deadline is May 31, 2017.

We want to get as much visibility as possible for this scholarship so that the students who are most qualified, and could most benefit from the scholarship, will have an opportunity to apply.

More information, as well as eligibility information, can be found here:

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PicoBrew Announces New Sous Vide Cooking Feature for Pico Beer Brewing Appliance

picobrewPicoBrew, Inc., maker of the multiple award-winning Pico™ and Zymatic ™ craft beer brewing appliances, announced today a new sous vide water-bath cooking capability for the Pico device, which is now shipping to consumers.

The PicoBrew Pico is the world’s first consumer countertop craft beer brewing appliance. It automatically brews five liter mini-kegs (equivalent to a 14-pack) of fresh craft beer from over 150 global award-winning craft breweries. Pico allows even those who have never brewed before to create great tasting beer their very first time, in the comfort of their own home. PicoBrew’s mission is to get the world brewing, allowing customers to enjoy the beer they want to drink and pair them with foods they savor.

“With the addition of the sous vide cooking feature to the Pico, PicoBrew really has created the ‘uber appliance’ for the kitchen,” said Dr. Bill Mitchell, CEO of PicoBrew. Customers can now enjoy not only exquisite, hard to find and custom-made craft beer fresh on tap, but they can also cook delectable steaks, seafood and even veggies using the same Pico appliance.

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