Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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SHAWN MCBRIDE FOAH INTERNATIONAL LLC A drunk baker changed Shawn McBride's life. In 1971, as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, she got a summer job as a waitress at a resort in Estes Park, Colo. Paul Prudhomme was the exec- utive chef. "My second week into the job he called me in and said, 'My baker is coming in drunk every day. I see you have baking experience, and I want you to help out.'" McBride agreed, but with a caveat. She had worked weekends and summers at her grandparents' bakery in Hortonville, Wisc. and was familiar with the lonely, middle-of-the-night hours. She still wanted to work as a waitress in the dining room since it was more fun. Deal. The drunk baker was terminated. McBride worked all night, slept a few hours, then waitressed lunch and dinner. After that sum- mer, she and Chef Paul lost touch. McBride got a master's degree and became a speech and language pathologist and served as an elementary school principal, moving from Wisconsin to San Antonio to New Jersey. A friend of hers visited New Orleans and met Paul Prudhomme around the time he was becoming famous and expanding his reach. She mentioned their con- nection to Shawn McBride and he asked for her number. McBride, 69, ended up spending 30 years working with Chef Paul. She rose to CEO and president of Magic Seasonings. "I asked him later what made him think I could switch from edu- cation to this job," she says, "and he said, 'I looked at your work ethic, how you handled yourself in college.'" In 2012, McBride joined Foah International, which imports a number of Italian and other European specialty foods. She serves as its vice president and has been an active member of the Specialty Food Association for decades. "Chef Paul helped kick off my career and I like helping smaller food companies find their way," she says. —J.B. AHMED RAHIM & REEM HASSANI NUMI ORGANIC TEA A hmed Rahim spent the last few years opening up a number of European teahouses; learning the science and artistry of creating tea blends. Along with his sister Reem Hassani, he created Numi Organic Tea with the goal of bringing global flavors and innovations to the more traditional tea market of the U.S. With the company, named after the dried lime tea the siblings drank as children in their homeland of Iraq, they sought to differ- entiate themselves from other tea sellers by focusing on fuller leaf teas, global flavors and ingredients, and environmentally friendly practices. "We have led the charge; we aren't afraid to speak the truth about tea. We're not trying to be a marketing company, we want to be authentic to nature and let it speak for itself," Rahim says. Rahim is considered the "alchemist" behind Numi's tea blends, while Hassani is the marketing "artist", overseeing everything from packaging to brand campaigns. "Even though we're siblings, we're very different," Hassani says. "However, our philosophies and prin- ciples are fundamentally the same." In addition to creating delicious and authentic tea, Numi's mission includes making the world a better place. The Numi Foundation tackles issues from educating children in low-income schools to providing farming communities with safe drinking water, both home and abroad. "We wanted to make a difference close to home; in Iraq where we grew up and in our current home of Oakland, California." Rahim and Hassani believe that the food industry can make a huge impact on global issues such as food waste and climate change. "Activism in the food industry is more important than ever," Rahim says, "We are part of the solution." Hassani chimes in with advice for other companies looking to make a difference, saying, "Make sure that you're thoughtful every step of the way." —A.F. 56 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com HALL OF FAME

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