Stories related to "Food ".


Kernels of Wisdom

Chicago Booth was founded in 1898. When it comes to longevity, however, Tokyo-based Japan Corn Starch Co.—a privately held comprehensive corn starch manufacturer founded in 1867—has even the second-oldest business school in the United States beat. This July at the beautiful Hotel Okura Tokyo, the company’s president and CEO, Soichiro “Sean” Kurachi, ’85, hosted a celebration for the 150th anniversary of his family-owned business. The guest list for the event evidenced the company’s global reach—it has strong ties to the United States, sourcing all its corn from US farms and partnering with US academic institutions for research and development, and serves as the corn starch provider throughout Asia for many major companies, including Coca-Cola. Kurachi welcomed guests from around the world: representatives of suppliers, buyers, associations, farms, corporate partners, and academic institutions that have had partnerships with JCS, many of whom have had long-standing, close relationships with both the company and the Kurachi family.


Coffee Futures

Back when he worked in finance, Paulo Siqueira, ’04, used to wake up in the middle of the night worried that some market event would spoil his investments. But in 2010, Siqueira and his wife, Juliana Armelin, ’04, left corporate jobs to take the plunge into coffee, starting a farm some 400 miles north of their hometown of São Paulo. “Now, we wake up at night afraid there is going to be a frost in the morning,” Siqueira said.<br/>Despite the occasional weather-related insomnia, the couple has thrived in the coffee business. Two years ago, their farm, Fazenda Terra Alta, won the highest prize for espresso coffee in Brazil. Last year, it won again. Of course, that doesn’t mean the couple’s transition from business to beans has been easy. In growing their farm, they’ve faced a steep learning curve in a business just as volatile as stocks and hedge funds. “If we had known all the risks beforehand,” said Siqueira, “I don’t know if we would have had the guts to start.”


A Workday With Shilpa Gadhok

Shilpa Gadhok, ’13, is a strategic brand builder. Blending creative ideas with analytics, she has amplified the reach of Hershey brands and revitalized its iconic Kit Kat bar. When Chance the Rapper sang his own spin on Kit Kat’s famous jingle, Gadhok was behind that. Now the brand manager of barkThins, a craft snacking chocolate that Hershey recently acquired, she relishes the challenge of creating an appetite for a new product category. “I’m at a point where I know what I love and what I want to do, so I try to be intentional about myself and my career at every moment,” said Gadhok, who moved to Hershey, Pennsylvania, last summer. <br/>


The Innovator

A digital countdown clock sits atop a giant flat-screen monitor in Tyson Foods’ Innovation Lab. It reads 11 days, 0 hours, 1 minute and 14 seconds—and counting. The lab’s brain trust—led by Sally Grimes, ’97, Tyson’s group president, prepared foods—sit comfortably dispersed around the room. Today Grimes is getting the rundown on the Innovation Lab’s latest snack-food creation ¡Yappah! from her handpicked team, many of whom have colorful, self-appointed titles, such as culinary ninja and experimental brand dreamer. Grimes herself doesn’t really need a distinguishing sobriquet—she’s well-known around the halls of Tyson as not only a food innovation guru, but a key leader helping position the company for growth. She runs about $10 billion of Tyson’s $40 billion business worldwide, guides operations for 45 of the company’s 100-plus plants and facilities, and leads 20,000 team members, whom she readily admits are the backbone of the business. Despite her executive-level responsibilities, she has been intimately involved in many of the company’s biggest successes. Grimes is pleased with everything she’s hearing from the team. As promised, ¡Yappah! will be in stores within 11 days, a mere six months after the countdown clock began and the assorted flavors of the chicken-based snack now displayed before us were just an idea. <br/>


This is Working for Me: Sandra Stark, ’95

Fifteen years ago, Sandra Stark, ’95, went west to Seattle to Starbucks Coffee Company, where she worked with three others in new ventures, a group that behaved like a VC firm: buying Tazo Tea, introducing the Starbucks Card, and looking for other growth opportunities. She wasn’t managing a huge slice of the company’s total $22.4 billion business, as she does these days as a senior vice president managing the global product organization, but it gave her a first glimpse of the fast-growing company’s equitable culture. It’s this culture, she says, that informs “what we do and how we treat people—farmers, suppliers, partners in stores, customers—along the way. It permeates everything we do, it sets the tone, and it helps answer many, many questions. It’s our true north and it’s why I’ve been here 15 years.” A native of Waukesha, Wisconsin, and mother of three tweens, Stark recharges with her kids: skiing and playing tennis and basketball. “I have everything I could wish for in my life. Every single day I think, ‘I am so lucky to have this job.’” Coffee is the heart and soul of our business. Product is my responsibility: beverages, food, merchandise. It starts with coffee and expands from there. What’s the strategy? What’s the right portfolio? What’s the innovation? How are we staying ahead? Currently new to the mix are our Blonde Espresso, made with lightly roasted beans; nitrogen-infused cold brew, which is less acidic and richer tasting; and Teavana Tea Infusions. With merchandise, we’re thinking, what do our customers need to create the right coffee experience at home?


Picking Up the Tempo

Ryan Crane, ’15, stood in his kitchen with a wristwatch in each hand, carefully observing bubbling pots of loose-leaf teas and breathing in spices such as ginger and turmeric. Crane was trying to make a new tea blend that would energize him without the inevitable post-buzz crash. A couple of hours later, he stood with a chilled glass of sparkling tea in his hands. After months of experimentation, stained pots, and pleading conversations with a stubborn SodaStream machine, he had landed on a blend that felt perfect. That was the moment that Tempo became real.