Food Entrepreneurs Abound at The Gourmet Experience

by on October 12, 2011

Sharone Hakman of Masterchef and Hak's BBQ Sauce (and me)

Sharone Hakman of Masterchef and Hak's BBQ Sauce (and me)

I love to watch entrepreneurship in action – people with a dream and a business plan (or perhaps not) and the moxie to see it all come to fruition. When I went back to school for an MBA  my hope was that some day I would run my own successful business. That dream is still alive – and to an extent, through my blogging, I’ve already started to realize it. But for the time being I live vicariously through the men and women who are truly taking the plunge and rockin’ it out. I encountered many such individuals this past weekend at a trade show called The Gourmet Experience here in San Diego.

At booth after booth I found proud, hopeful, enthusiastic faces of those who were presenting their products. Some of these faces were familiar, including Sharone Hakman (you might remember him from the first U.S. season of Masterchef) who was outside the pavilion grilling juicy burger sliders with a shot of his chipotle bourbon Hak’s BBQ Sauce. Others had been in business for just a matter of months.

Praline Patisserie

Praline Patisserie

One of the best things I tasted at the show was the Smoked Applewood Caramel Sauce from Cruz Caudillo at Praline Patisserie. The smokiness was so subtle but – oh wow – does that ever take caramel to the next level. Theirs is a relatively new business and it looks to be off to a promising start.

Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen

Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen

Another amazing bite of the day was the Almond Champagne mini cupcake (with champagne buttercream frosting!) I tried from Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen. They have a shop up the road in Vista which I may have to trek out to visit one day soon so I can have another one of those.

Christiana Robb and Nina Burr of Good Habit

Christiana Robb and Nina Burr of Good Habit

I’m not usually the first to rush to sample gluten-free cookies but these gorgeous ladies at the Good Habit booth sure looked like they had good taste. And so, as it turned out, did their cookies! Seriously, the Apple Pie a la Mode cookie I sampled lived up to its name and was a real treat.

Skinny Batches

Skinny Batches

After all of these sweet indulgences, the girls from Skinny Batches drew me in with their “bite-sized, guilt-free goodies”.  I also think their company name is incredibly clever!

Eddie's Sweetie Pies

Eddie's Sweetie Pies

I didn’t have a chance to try one of Eddie’s Sweetie Pies – there were quite a few people reaching in for samples at that moment – but I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of this gentleman in his awesome chef hat.

Lisa Ann Savage of Dippy Cups

Lisa Ann Savage of Dippy Cups

One of the first people I came across at the show was Lisa Ann Savage who has invented Dippy Cupssmall bear-shaped silicone cups to hold ketchup, yogurt or other sauces for kids to dip their food into. They don’t slide around the plate – how genius!

The Devilicious Truck

I couldn’t leave the show without paying a visit to Devilicious, the San Diego food truck best known for its Butter-Poached Lobster Grilled Cheese and its appearance in the most recent season of The Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network. Since I’m allergic to lobster (I know, sad!) I let my husband feast on that amazing grilled cheese sandwich while I had the equally incredible Smoked Turkey Sandwich with Bacon Apple Slaw.

Maybe one day soon I’ll arrive at a show like this without a press pass. Until then, I’ll continue to be inspired by these entrepreneurial folks and lend them my support where I can.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective October 13, 2011 at 6:26 am

Kathy, what a cool event. Wish I could have come along!
Sommer@ASpicyPerspective´s last blog post ..Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Frosting

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2 The Cilantropist October 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm

So great to hear about these fantastic people and their foods! I will have to keep an eye out for these rising stars in the future! 🙂
The Cilantropist´s last blog post ..Carrot Cake Cupcakes, with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

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3 Kathy October 13, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Thanks, Amanda! They’re all local here in southern CA so you just may come across them.

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4 Kalyn October 13, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Looks fun and what a great picture of you!
Kalyn´s last blog post ..Recipe for Pop-Eye Eggs with Cheese and Salsa

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5 I am LOVD October 14, 2011 at 6:56 am

Great to see all the creativeness with food!! Go for it you beautiful entrepreneurs.
I am LOVD´s last blog post ..Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 16.

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6 Divya October 26, 2011 at 9:20 am

I’m always so inspired by food entrepreneurs! They have a drive and passion that I don’t see anywhere else.

I hope that one day I’ll have my own food-related business too! I’m already starting to develop products!

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