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2018 Hall of Fame Recipients

Specialty Food Association created a Hall of Fame for the Specialty Food Industry in 2015 and has been inducting industry leaders ever since.

At the upcoming 2018 Summer Fancy Food Show, eight additional inductees will join the Hall of Fame. These individuals pioneered and shepherded change in the industry. They created product categories, launched companies, provided livelihood to employees and have built the specialty food industry into the food leader that it is today.

As the Mission Statement for the Hall of Fame declares, “To honor individuals whose accomplishments, impact, contributions, innovations, and successes within the Specialty Food Industry deserve praise and recognition.”

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

Fran Bigelow, Fran’s Chocolates

Fran Bigelow’s love of fine chocolate and celebration led her to found Fran’s Chocolates in 1982, in Seattle, WA. Thirty six years later, Fran’s has grown to include four Seattle-area boutiques and thriving mail order and wholesale lines. Fran’s commitment to preserving pure chocolate flavor is evident in each delicious confection, and she has been credited with sparking the artisan chocolate renaissance in the U.S.

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Annie Chun and Stephen Broad, Annie Chun’s/gimMe Snacks

Since 1992, Annie Chun and Steve Broad have been revolutionizing the Asian food category. Starting in a NorCal farmers’ market, they created the first all-natural, pan-Asian convenience brand, Annie Chun’s, and then pioneered organic seaweed snacking as founders of gimMe Snacks, today's leading seaweed brand. With an intense focus on quality, taste, nutrition, and sustainability, Annie and Steve have changed the way Asian CPG is presented to Western culture.

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Sue Conley and Peg Smith, Cowgirl Creamery

Sue Conley and Peg Smith met at the University of Tennessee, then made their way to San Francisco. Sue, after 15 years as co-owner of Bette’s Oceanview Diner, and Peg, after 17 years cooking at Chez Panisse, got together to open Cowgirl Creamery and Tomales Bay Foods. Their vision is to produce organic cheese made from Straus milk and represent other agricultural sustainably minded cheese makers.

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Craig and Cindy Makela, Santa Barbara Olive Co, California Coast Naturals, Oleavicin

Craig and Cindy Makela are founders of Santa Barbara Olive Co, California Specialty Foods Group, California Coast Naturals and Oleavicin. The Makelas founded the Santa Barbara Olive Co. in 1983 and built it into one of the U.S. top olive brands. The Makelas have also served as current or past directors of NASFT, American Institute of Wine and Food, National Grocers Association, California Grocers Association, and local organizations. They have been married for 40 years, with four children and four grandchildren.

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Russell McCall, Gourmet Foods International

In 1967, Russ McCall opened a single wine and cheese shop in Atlanta. This grew into Gourmet Foods International, a leader in specialty cheese and gourmet foods distribution. In the 1990's, he began growing grapes on the North Fork of Long Island and now produces wine and Charolais beef for McCall Wines and McCall Ranch.

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Sam Mogannam, Bi-Rite Family of Businesses

Sam Mogannam is the second-generation owner of the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses, a B Corporation, which under his direction has grown to include a farm, creamery, two markets, a café and 18 Reasons, a non-profit cooking school. Sam was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2012 and selected to be on Forbes Small Giants list in 2016.

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Doug Renfro, Renfro Foods, Inc.

Doug Renfro is the grandson of founders George and Arthurine Renfro. During the past 26 years of working with his father, uncle and two cousins, Doug has overseen product development, managed the company’s co-packing business, and taken on a wide range of responsibilities, ranging from legal to software to the purchasing of salt . . . hey, it’s a small family business, it can’t all be glamorous!

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Nassem Ziyad, Ziyad Brothers Importing

Nassem Ziyad, COO of Ziyad Brothers Importing (ZBI), along with his brothers (Nemer, Nazmy and Nezar Ziyad) have built ZBI into one of the largest Mediterranean sales and marketing companies in the U.S. Founded by the late Ahmad and his brother Ibrahim, ZBI has been in the specialty food business for over 50 years and still holds to their family motto of “Quality Products from our family to yours.”

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A full list of 2018?Hall of Fame Inductees

Fran Bigelow Fran’s Chocolates
Annie Chun and Stephen Broad Annie Chun’s/gimMe Snacks
Sue Conley and Peg Smith Cowgirl Creamery
Craig and Cindy Makela Santa Barbara Olive Co, California Coast Naturals, Oleavicin
Russell McCall Gourmet Foods International
Sam Mogannam Bi-Rite Family of Businesses
Doug Renfro Renfro Foods, Inc.
Nassem Ziyad Ziyad Brothers Importing

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