Message: Message Text
Award Banner 2.png

2017 Hall of Fame Recipients

Specialty Food Association has created a Hall of Fame for the specialty food industry. The Hall’s Mission is to “honor individuals whose accomplishments, impact, contributions, innovations, and successes within the specialty food industry deserve praise and recognition.

27?individuals are being inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Summer Fancy Food Show in June, 2017. For just a list of the names of this year's inductees click here.

The Specialty Food Association congratulates the following inductees:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

John H. Affel, World Finer Foods, Inc.

With over 42 years of experience in the food business, John H. Affel has progressed in manufacturing, sales, marketing, and general management. John has traveled the entire U.S. and internationally, working with some of the best specialty products on the market. John has served as President of the Biscuit & Cracker Distribution Association and the international association CEISA (Circle of Specialty Food Distributors). John also was President of the Wessanen-held Liberty Richter Co.

Bruce Aidells, Aidells Sausage Company

Bruce Aidells’s culinary career began in 1979 at a small charcuterie, Poulet, in Berkeley. In 1983, Aidells Sausage Company was created to produce Cajun-style sausages for chefs in the Bay Area. The line grew and Bruce began showing his sausages at the Fancy Food Show, winning awards for Outstanding Meat and Outstanding Product Line. Bruce has written 12 cookbooks, mostly on meat and sausage cookery.

Ted Bolle, Telefood Magazine

Ted was the editor of Telefood, the major communications tool of the specialty food industry that announced the formation of NASFT. In 1973, Ted was Co-Chair of the Show Committee, making the Show more meaningful to buyers. Telefood allowed registered retailers to take gift basket orders at their location and deliver all over the U.S., similar to FTD.


Bob and Verna Budd, Oak Hill Farms

Bob and Verna Budd started Oak Hill Farms in 1983 in their kitchen, and for 20 years grew the organization to a multi-plant company of 120 employees. The company stands as an example of the successful use of a “branded” ingredient, the Vidalia onion, around which they built a product line. Bob continues to consult in the specialty food industry.

Jeffrey M. Cohen, Sutton Place Gourmet

In 1979, Jeffrey M. Cohen was working in the wine and food industry. He realized that the capital of our nation needed a fine wine and food market that could cater to the refined tastes of Ambassadors and residents. Working with a developer, he opened an extraordinary store called Sutton Place Gourmet in 1980. Christopher Driver of The Guardian wrote, “This emporium leaves Harrod’s food hall with little to boast about apart from the architecture.”

Al Cook, Melba Food Specialties, Inc.

In 1942, Al Cook started Melba Food Specialties on Hester Street in Little Italy. Realizing that Europeans were immigrating to NYC because of WWII, he had the vision to distribute Twinings Tea and other imported foods in the US. Always innovative, Al developed the Melba label for nuts, olives, capers, Hollandaise and Bernaise sauce and soups. Al was one of the people who helped create the Fancy Food Show.


Leo A Dick, Leo A Dick & Sons

Leo Dick grew up in the food distribution business. Following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps, he considers himself the last of an era of "wagon jobbers" selling groceries from the back of a truck. From five employees and a limited product selection in 1975, the company grew to 65 associates serving 400 manufacturers and 1,500 retailers over four states. In 2016, Leo sold the operating assets to Lipari Foods, Warren, MI.

Samuel W Edwards III, Edwards Virginia Smokehouse

Sam W. Edwards III is the President of Edwards Virginia Smokehouse, a 91-year-old family business that produces Virginia hams, bacon and sausage. A third-generation cure-master, Sam opened the company's first retail stores and developed the direct-to-consumer catalog and web sales. Sam is an industry leader in curing meats from certified humane, pasture-raised hogs and the first to bring European-style curing methods to America with the Surryano ham.

Kurt Hamburger, Jacob Hamburger Company, Inc.

As President of Jacob Hamburger Company, Inc., Kurt was a leader in distribution and marketing of new sustainable Northwest regional products as well as specialty foods. As an innovator, Kurt established an opening for emerging small businesses to enter the specialty food industry. Kurt’s interests outside of business were family, community and golf.


Rex Howell-Smith, Central Market

Rex Howell-Smith began his food career in restaurants, followed by hotel and other hospitality operations. He has also been a personal chef and hosted a radio show on food and wine in Hawaii. In 2012, Rex relocated to Texas and began his career with Central Market. This environment of high caliber and devoted co-workers has allowed him to foster many relationships with domestic and foreign producers, building collaboration between the store teams and suppliers.

Scott Jensen, Stubb’s Bar-B-Q & Rhythm Superfoods

Scott Jensen is Co-Founder and CEO of Rhythm Superfoods, a manufacturer of plant-based superfoods snacks. Scott was Co-founder and former CEO of One World Foods (Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Sauce Co.) which sold to McCormick & Co. in 2015. Scott is a member of YPO Gold, a board member at SKU, an Austin-based CPG Accelerator, and co-founder of Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, the famous Bar-B-Q and live music venue in Austin.

Natalie King, Stonewall Kitchen

Natalie King joined Stonewall Kitchen in 1996 to develop and drive the company’s sales and marketing programs. Natalie has led the operations of all Stonewall Kitchen’s profit centers, including the Wholesale Division, 10 Company Stores, Cooking School, Café, Catalog and Internet in addition to the Product Development, Merchandising Planning and Buying, Marketing and Design, and Guest Services teams. She has exhibited for 20 years, and also served on the SFA Board.


Paula Lambert, The Mozzarella Company

From her love of Italy and food, Paula Lambert founded an artisanal cheese factory in Dallas, Texas, that has flourished for 35 years. The Mozzarella Company has grown from making a few pounds of fresh mozzarella to producing thousands of pounds of over 30 different types of hand-made cheeses, recognized continuously among the best cheeses in the USA with countless awards. Paula was honored to be inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who in Food and Wine in America.”

David Lemberger, Lemberger Candy Corp.

David Lemberger joined Lemberger Food Co. in 1954 and succeeded his father as president in 1979, changing the name to Lemberger Candy Corp. The company concentrated on candy and chocolate products for the children's novelty market, eventually 100% were trademarked by Lemberger Candy and manufactured by contract manufacturers. Choc-Aid and Gummi- Aid were the most unique and the best sellers.

Leo Lemberger, Lemberger Candy Corp.

Leo Lemberger founded Lemberger Food Co. shortly after arriving as a refugee with his wife and two children from Germany in 1938, initially selling food staples to door-to-door peddlers from his apartment. Leo started importing confectionery from Europe after World War II. Some of these products are now among the best known brands in the U.S. Leo was one of the original members of the NASFT.


Fred Meyer, Fred Meyer Stores/Kroger

Fred Meyer was the retailer who invented one-stop shopping, described by the Wall Street Journal as “the last of the great American entrepreneurs.” He started out at age 22 in Portland OR, selling coffee from a horse drawn cart to workers at farms and lumber camps. He opened Fred Meyer in 1922 and incorporated meat, produce, cheese and other goods under one roof.

Joseph Moskowitz, Larkin Cold Storage & Columbia Cheese

Joe Moskowitz is a pioneer in product and logistics. He began his career at Walker in 1958. In 1978, he started Larkin Cold Storage. From there he has been a serial entrepreneur. Some of Joe’s greatest hits: Columbia Cheese, Champignon North America, Somerdale USA, Emmi USA, Redondo Iglesias USA and EuroLarkin.

Nell Newman, Newman’s Own Organics

Nell Newman co-founded Newman's Own Organics in 1993 with Paul Newman - her father, philanthropist and iconic actor - and created the #1 snack for the natural foods industry in that first year. By 2015, her company had over 150 SKU's and provided over $40 million to charity through the Newman's Own Foundation. Nell continues with her passions in the organic farming, food and lifestyle sectors, as well as her on-going commitment to philanthropy.


Frank Patrick, George DeLallo Co.

As Senior Vice President for Tree of Life, Frank and his team grew specialty food sales from $110 million to over $1.5 billion in 10 years. He was instrumental in Tree being the first distributor to service all 50 states and all 13 Canadian Provinces and Territories. Frank served as the final President of the National Food Distributors Association, and led the move to close the organization and transfer assets to NASFT. Currently, Frank leads the National Grocery Team for the George DeLallo Company.

Stanley Poll, William Poll, Inc.

Stanley Poll’s experience in marketing has enabled his Upper East Side Manhattan store to reach its 95th anniversary. Focused on customer satisfaction, Stanley has expanded the line of products and concentrates on foods produced in-house. There are plans for more additional in-house products as Stanley and his brother James focus on the 100th anniversary.

Ron Shalinsky, The Better Cheddar

In 1983, Ron Shalinsky purchased a small cheese and sandwich shop in Kansas City. It has morphed into the destination for cheese and specialty foods in the Midwest. Carefully curated, the shop is packed to the ceiling with accoutrements of every variety. In 2003, SFA honored The Better Cheddar as an “Outstanding Retailer of the Year.”


Michael Silver, Neomonde Baking Co.

Mike Silver joined Dewey’s Bakery, a family-owned baking company with over 60 years of history in Winston-Salem, NC, in 1992. Mike developed and ran the wholesale division, Salem Baking Company, bringing it into national and international prominence. In 2008, Mike joined Neomonde Baking Company in Morrisville, NC. Mike has served on over 20 SFA/NASFT committees, is a Past Chair of the Board and was instrumental in the formulation of the Specialty Food Foundation.

Hal Theis, Reese Finer Foods

As General Manager/Head of Reese Finer Foods, Hal Theis presided over one of the most important importers of foods from Europe and Australia. Reese was known for its specialty foods and holiday gift packages and was a pioneer in bringing specialty foods to supermarkets.

Michael Thompson, Dare Foods Limited

Recruited by Dare Foods to build its brand in the U.S., Michael Thompson launched Breton crackers and built them into a national brand within 3 years, justifying the building of a bakery in South Carolina. On Michael’s retirement, Breton crackers were shipped or licensed in 40 countries. He served as Chairman of the Biscuit and Crackers Distribution Association, Chairman of the Manufacturers Council and Director at NFDA, and Director of the SFA.


Pete Young, Young’s Specialty Foods

In 1953, Pete Young joined Young’s Market Company. He founded the Specialty Food Division in 1963, and became President and General Manager. From 1963 to 1992, the Specialty Food Division grew from five employees to over 400, and pioneered the integration of specialty food products, health foods, Hispanic foods, bottled waters, and diet foods into supermarkets in California. Young’s food division was sold to ConAgra in 1992.

Yuval Zaliouk, YZ Enterprises/

Yuval Zaliouk, an internationally known symphony conductor and chef, always had a special place in his heart (and stomach) for this crispy thin cookie with the delicate flavor of roasted almonds and natural sweetness of plump raisins. Almondina? is the inspiring success story of a man whose great loves are music, food and Grandmother Dina’s secret recipe she called “Petit Gateau Sec.”

A full list of 2017?Hall of Fame Inductees

John H. Affel World Finer Foods, Inc.
Bruce Aidells Aidells Sausage Company
Ted Bolle Telefood Magazine
Bob & Verna Budd Oak Hill Farms
Jeffrey M. Cohen Sutton Place Gourmet
Al Cook Melba Food Specialties, Inc.
Leo A. Dick Leo A. Dick & Sons Co.
Samuel W. Edwards III Edwards Virginia Smokehouse
Kurt Hamburger Jacob Hamburger Company. Inc.
Rex Howell-Smith Central Market
Scott Jensen Stubb’s Bar-B-Q & Rhythm Superfoods
Natalie King Stonewall Kitchen
Paula Lambert Mozzarella Co.
David Lemberger Lemberger Candy Corp.
Leo Lemberger Lemberger Candy Corp.
Fred Meyer Fred Meyer/Kroger
Joseph Moskowitz Larkin Cold Storage & Columbia Cheese
Nell Newman Newman's Own Organics
Frank Patrick George Delallo Co.
Stanley Poll William Poll, Inc.
Ron Shalinsky The Better Cheddar
Michael Silver Neomonde Baking Company
Hal Theis Reese Finer Foods
Michael Thompson Venus Wafers, Inc.
Peter Young Young's Specialty Foods
Yuval Zaliouk YZ Enterprises/Almondina