Pacific Pickle Works Winner of the 2019 SFA Winter Fancy Food Show Front Burner Foodservice Pitch Competition

SAN FRANCISCO — Pacific Pickle Works and its Michelada Shrub triumphed at the Specialty Food Association’s Front Burner Foodservice Pitch Competition on January 14th at the 44th Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. The event was presented by the Foodservice Council of the Specialty Food Association and was hosted by Robert Irvine, world-class chef, fitness authority, and philanthropist.

Three finalists picked from hundreds of entries pitched their products to foodservice professionals at the event.

“Our Michelada Shrub is a unique product, and we’re excited and proud to have it recognized by the Specialty Food Association through the Front Burner Foodservice Pitch Competition,” said Victoria Ho, who made the Pacific Pickle Works’ winning pitch presentation. The two other contenders vying with Pacific Pickle Works for the crown were Thuan La, Mama La Kitchen – Beef Pho Concentrate and Ellona Ferson, Napa Hills – Cherry Rose Vineyard Enriched Water.

“The Specialty Food Association works nonstop as a champion for the success of our members. We use this program to connect members with the fast-growing foodservice sector,” said Phil Kafarakis, president of the Specialty Food Association. “Our Front Burner Competition reflects the importance of foodservice to the specialty food industry and educates entrepreneurs on what makes a product pitch successful. Pacific Pickle Works successfully sold their Michelada Shrub to the judges and we look forward to their product’s acceptance in the foodservice marketplace.”

In addition to hearing live pitches, judges tasted each product, and assigned scores for innovation, quality, and chef-appeal for foodservice. The judging panel included:

  • Jim Dodge, director of specialty culinary programs, Bon Appetit Management Company
  • Angela Flenoy, director of innovation and strategy, SYSCO
  • Hugh Groman, chef and proprietor, Hugh Groman Catering
  • George Morrone, director of culinary development, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

Pacific Pickle Works received a promotional prize package from the Specialty Food Association, including an ad in Specialty Food Magazine and coverage across the Association’s social media platform.

The first-ever Front Burner Foodservice Pitch Competition took place in January 2017 at the Winter Fancy Food Show. Past winners include Brooklyn Delhi Tomato Achaar condiment; Hummustir, a deconstructed hummus-making kit; black pepper bacon jam from TBJ Gourmet; and Mike’s Hot Honey, chili pepper-infused honey.

About the Specialty Food Association
The Specialty Food Association is a thriving community of food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs. Established in 1952 in New York, the not-for-profit trade association provides its 3,800 members in the U.S. and abroad with resources, knowledge and connections to champion and nurture their companies in an always-evolving marketplace. The Association owns and produces the Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows, and presents the sofi™ Awards honoring excellence in specialty food. Learn more at

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