This week Tasting Table quipped “If we had a nickel for every tech-industry veteran turned food artisan, we would have retired in Ibiza by now.” It’s been a while since I’ve put my pen to this blog, but that made me smile. It’s something I think about a lot – the kitchen divide between the career food professionals the tech escapees gone food who have a nest egg or ongoing job to turn to for funding.
Having looked into options for producing spices with a co-packer, it is more complex than you can imagine with all the variables. The people I’ve met are sourcing, grinding, and packaging themselves which lends itself to more flexibility and creativity in blends as well as the side benefit that you might know the growers.
Visions of spice (sans sugar) ran through my head as I wondered how many tech veterans I know who’ve entered the spice trade:
Origin Spices makes a beautiful, Indian-inspired spice box with various spice mixes, salts, and rubs to keep handy while cooking for a pinch here and there. Chris’ pedigree includes being a recovering strategy consultant and e-commerce expert. He got the spice bug from his world travels and now hand grinds his spices in Oakland.
Juliet Mae trumps the tech-scapee trend. Kathy was a finance industry professional who followed the call to also hand grind spices in small batches for people and chefs. I was lucky enough to visit their old kitchen at a mess hall in the Presidio. Talk about startup!
napa farmhouse 1885 reflects Diane Padoven’s style and values, honed over years with Levi’s. Having consumed her spices and preserves extensively I can say 1885 is just as classic as a pair of 501s.
Smith and Truslow sprang from a designer and ex-corporate exec of undetermined industry.
And Just Cook, which Tasting Table profiled, is an ex-tech sales fellow and his wife. I look forward to meeting them.
My conclusion: Spice artisans come from all walks of life, not just tech. This has been an unscientific, inadequate sample size but it was still fun to write about!
Now: Who are the non-corporate escapee spice companies you love?
Now, who have I missed?