In life we pivot – like a dough hook in a mixer or a banker ‘churning’ into a baker. Having little training in the kitchen John said, “My first batch confirmed how much I needed to learn.” With a heap of research and a dash of dedication, former mortgage banker, John Burnett was able to rise to the title of successful baker.
Food & Beverage
When Tyler Wilson and his cousin Joseph Pitruzzelli started Wurstkuche, they didn’t know anything about sausages. They also didn’t know anything about starting a restaurant, but they committed to the idea that they were going to do sausages better than anyone in the business.
In 2004 a brother-sister team made it their quest to create the best plant-based burger on earth. After 12 years of trial, error, expansion and pilots in various cities (including their base, St. Louis), Jody and Todd’s self-funded project, Hungry Planet, is now a worldwide movement to improve the way we eat.
With entrepreneurship comes rejection and Carlos knew it well. When asked how he knew he’d succeed in the midst of serial failure he said, “I’ll be honest, I didn’t. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.”
A bolt from the blue can be a powerful guidepost in life that doesn’t come around very often. When it does, listen to it. Bill Bracken grew up in the small town of Wathena, Kansas. Population 1,364. He started cooking at home as a young man with his mom and grandmother.
As the second most traded food commodity in the world, the ethical and sustainable procurement of seafood is a hot topic these days. The practices of the fishing industry have a considerable effect on the health of our oceans, and significantly affect the biology of marine ecosystems.
One Santa Barbara-based company, founded by two marine scientists, is positioned to make a positive, lasting impact in the seafood industry. Salty Girl Seafood is a startup that offers traceable, sustainable seafood. The company is just over two years old, but founders Norah Eddy and Laura Johnson started working on the business concept while still in grad school at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB.
The pair met the first day of class at Bren, forming an instant camaraderie based on their similar academic paths, both studying Coastal Marine Resource Management. They say Bren School was instrumental in getting Salty Girl Seafood off the ground, offering them early encouragement and support from the get-go.
“parT of whaT makes The company inTeresTing and inspiring is ThaT seafood is an old indusTry rife wiTh problems and There’s a significanT barrier for women in The indusTry.”
Formation of the power team
Once Norah and Laura realized they had a viable business idea, they grew their team quickly, bringing in Gina Auriemma as their first employee, and Craig Cummings as their founding CEO. Craig has since taken on the role of Chairman of the Board, and Vanessa Tang, who comes to Salty Girl with 16+ years of consumer retail experience, now serves as CEO. Tang moved with her husband from Los Angeles to work with Salty Girl because she saw the immense potential of the company.
Salty Girl Seafood sells a line of products nationally. Utilizing their biology degrees to properly vet various fisheries, all fish are sustainably sourced. The company buys primarily from the North Pacific and Alaska and retailers include natural food stores like Whole Foods and Lazy Acres.
In order to aid customers in making informed buying choices, the story of where the fish comes from and how it was caught is actually displayed on the packaging itself. This information often includes the specific vessel it was caught on and even the name of the fisherman who caught it.
“Buyers need to be purchasing sustainably,” Norah asserts, “and they also need to communicate their process effectively to consumers in order to empower them to make good decisions.” It’s clear that in the case of seafood, the consumer really can “vote with her dollar,” and that the vote cast is one for the future health of our fisheries.
“salTy girl seafood has already become a flagship model of TraceabiliTy and sustain Ability in The seafood industry, helping educate consumers about The importance of informed choices.”
Santa Barbara for start-ups
Many will tell you that Santa Barbara is a hard place to start a business and “make it”. The women of Salty Girl Seafood have thus far found the opposite to be true. They say they’re glad to be in the area because there’s so much expertise, wealth and knowledge here. For Salty Girl, being based in this beachy paradise, surrounded by smart, accomplished people has given them access to great advisors. Norah says that they’ve had a number of people excited to mentor them and that those relationships have been invaluable. “I think people are inspired to see young people chasing a dream and climbing a really big hill.”
Part of what makes the company inspiring is that seafood is an old industry, rife with problems and there is a significant barrier for women. Salty Girl Seafood combats these challenges with a great business model, a strong desire to improve the planet, and perhaps most importantly, an exceptional work ethic. Also unique is that their founders have actually spent time working on fishing boats and in fishing communities and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
The Salty Girl team understands the immensity of the challenges they are undertaking, but are confident in their ability to provide practical solutions. “It’s important not to fear monger and to instead bring out the positive cases, and to empower people to make a good choice,” Norah explains. “Like, here is what you can do today to address this problem if it’s meaningful to you.”
Dreams as big as the oceans
Salty Girl Seafood has already become a flagship model of traceability and sustainability in the seafood industry, helping educate consumers about the importance of informed choices. Their goal is to become large enough to positively influence the health of entire fishing communities and their biology. The team reports that they have exciting partnerships in the pipeline with large NGOs and new clients that may help them realize that dream sooner than they had imagined. Let’s hope they keep dreaming big.
For More Information Visit: saltygirlseafood.com
Drew Cuddy is well acquainted with both the science and the art of farming. Having grown up on a large farm in Canada, Drew draws upon his vast knowledge-base in his role as a wine professional and creator of Impact Hub’s much-anticipated café and wine bar Satellite Santa Barbara.
As an undergraduate student, Drew moved to Vancouver to study geography, and since then, he has entered the world of wine through the London-based Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) program, which he is expecting to graduate from this year.
Throughout college, Drew helped his father establish a wine importing company, producing much of the marketing material, including video and photography content. He was the lucky one who got to spend his summers in Europe working for the winemakers with whom they partnered and quite literally, he began his wine career trimming vines and picking grapes.
After college, Drew worked for a stint with distributor The Henry Wine Group, followed by a harvest season with Sonoma County winery Medlock Ames. It was just after his time in Sonoma that Drew was asked to put together a concept for Satellite Santa Barbara.
The intent of Satellite is to stand as a nexus for the education and exploration of excellent wine, and be a place to enjoy bites from a well crafted, locally sourced food menu. Satellite is teaming up with the much-loved restaurant Scarlett Begonia to provide a simple menu that pairs well with wine and beer and is comprised of sustainable, organic foods. A catering service for Impact Hub events will also be established by this same collaboration through Satellite.
As the mastermind behind all of this, Drew can talk at length about any wine, region, or soil type. With a deep understanding of growing wine grapes, he views wine and its impact on the earth and our societies from a wider lens. “Wine is an expression of place, of history, of culture, and of individuality,” he explains. “But it’s also a product that requires really good farming.”
“The goal of saTelliTe is To sTand as a nexus for The educaTion and exploraTion of excellenT wine.”
From farm to table…and tasting room
Cuddy’s goal for Satellite’s wine menu is to offer patrons high-quality wines from all over the world at great value. Local wine lovers will be in good hands as well. Satellite plans to pay tribute to small, independent, local wines via weekly ‘flight night’ parties. During these parties, there will be a set wine tasting menu from a winery that will be showcased by a representative, who will pour and talk about the wines.
Drew plans to rotate through thematic menus that expose people to wines ranging from just $6-$14, and to alternate those wines every week or so. Satellite will also offer a wine club membership to encourage members to learn all they can about new wines on a regular basis.
Impact Hub is enthusiastic to have Cuddy in town. Drew moved to Santa Barbara in June specifically to launch Satellite and says that Impact Hub has been a great base for him. “I’m getting to know my clientele on a day-to-day basis. I’m making friends and coming to understand what people are looking for.” He talks about the environment at Impact Hub as comfortable and inspiring, because everyone is working toward his/her goals and supports one another in that growth.
As passionate about food and wine as he is about entrepreneurship, with Drew’s vision, Satellite customers and Impact Hub members are in for a unique experience full of variety and high-quality product. (PS – Impact Hub members will happily benefit from a discount!)
For More Information Visit: satellitesb.com