Vegan Women Summit™ Launches World’s First Female Founder Summit

VWS Pathfinder will feature a global summit and pitch competition on Dec. 5

Vegan Women Summit™, a media and events organization dedicated to inspiring, educating, and empowering rising female-identifying leaders to bring compassion to their career and industry, will continue to transform the food tech industry with the world’s first founder summit and pitch competition dedicated to female-identifying founders building the future of plant-based innovation.

On Dec. 5, VWS Pathfinder will help raise awareness of the persistent gender inequality that female entrepreneurs around the world face in fundraising and connect the brightest emerging ideas in plant-based innovation with leaders in venture capital. The top prize of the competition is valued at over $50,000, including a $10,000 cash prize sponsored by Purple Orange Ventures, $35,000 of branding services from Evolution Bureau, global membership to WeWork office space, and more.

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James Beard Foundation Announces The James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Investment Fund For Black And Indigenous Americans

In acknowledgment of the immeasurable contributions the Black and Indigenous communities have made to the modern American foodscape, the James Beard Foundation announced today the James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans, a new grant initiative to provide financial resources for food or beverage businesses that are majority-owned by Black or Indigenous individuals. The initiative is a component of the organization’s Open For Good campaign launched in April to rebuild an independent restaurant industry that is stronger, more equitable, more sustainable, and more resilient post-pandemic. 

“The new Fund is part of the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to continually lift up the Black and Indigenous business owners in its industry, not just in light of the pandemic, but for good,” said James Beard Foundation vice president of community Colleen Vincent. “Financial resource is that much more impactful when coupled with support from organizations and experts who make themselves available to provide guidance on professional skills like marketing, structuring business plans, and negotiating contracts. The Foundation is creating new partnerships to deliver this value to its grant recipients in an effort to see these businesses thrive for the long term.” 

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BTB Spotlight: Celeste Croxton-Tate, Lyndigo Spice®

Celeste J. Croxton - Tate of Lyndigo Spices

Celeste Croxton-Tate is CEO and founder of Lyndigo Spice, an artisanal small-batch line of chutneys, relishes, fruit spreads and spice blends launched in 2014. Her brand is low-sodium, sugar, vegan, gluten-free and packed with fresh ingredients.

Croxton-Tate, a native of Roxbury, Mass., started Lyndigo Catering in 2006 and operates Lyndigo Spice from CommonWealth Kitchen in Dorchester, Mass.

She published The Lyndigo Spice Cookbook: Full of Flavor with a Spicy Attitude, a Culinary Memoir this month and has been featured in Chowhound, Edible Boston, Boston Voyager, Boston Globe, Boston Magazine and PBS’ WGBH, and The CREATE Channel.

She lives in Boston with her husband and her two sons and is also a 24-year veteran of the Boston Police Department. I spoke with her about her journey in the food industry and gathered a little advice for those starting a food business.

Tell us a little about your culinary background?

By profession, I’m a Boston police officer. June 26 will be my 24th year in the Boston Police Department. It kind of picked me. My dad is a retired state trooper. My parents had all girls and my dad wanted someone to go into law enforcement. I guess it was me.

I wanted to teach. I went to Northeastern University after graduating from Boston Latin High School. I had taken the police exam twice. The first two times they called me, I was pregnant. I find myself, at my age, trying to please my parents.

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Crowns & Hops Launch ‘The 8 Trill Pils Initiative

Initiative will promote that closing the racial equity gap has the potential to generate a $8 trillion GDP increase in the U.S. by 2050

Crowns & Hops, the LA-based Black-owned craft beer brand that founded the #BlackPeopleLoveBeer movement, is announcing “The 8 Trill Pils Initiative,” a craft beer initiative dedicated to achieving racial equity within the industry. To jumpstart that effort, the initiative will kick-off with the launch of Crowns & Hops “8 Trill Pils Fund,” a $100,000 development fund that will be distributed to help establish more Black-owned breweries.

The 8 Trill Pils Initiative is named after a statistic from the Business Case for Racial Equity by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation case study that found the U.S. stands to realize a staggering $8 trillion gain in GDP by closing the racial equity gap by 2050. The report goes on to detail that, by closing the gap in the major ‘pillars’ of productivity – Healthcare, Education, Criminal Justice, Housing and Employment/Entrepreneurship – society can start to realize a substantial impact.

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SoCalGas Launches Restaurant Recovery Program Donating $75,000 to Black-Owned Restaurants in Los Angeles County & Inland Empire

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced the launch of the company’s Restaurant Recovery Program, which aims to assist Black-owned restaurants in both Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will be administered by the Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation (VSEDC), a community-based organization that provides economic opportunities for prosperity by infusing resources into neighborhoods that need support the most. The Restaurant Recovery Program was announced in conjunction with Los Angeles Black Restaurant Week, of which SoCalGas is a proud sponsor. Black Restaurant Week is part of a larger, ongoing effort to support Black-owned businesses in the Los Angeles area.

“Black restaurant owners suffer disproportionately from the ills of this pandemic,” said VSEDC’s President & CEO Joseph T. Rouzan III. “This critical infusion of capital allows restaurateurs to make vital upgrades to help stay afloat during these challenging times.”

“As our nation faces the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to support business owners in the communities we serve. The Restaurant Recovery Program will provide some relief to Black-owned restaurant owners struggling during this time,” said Trisha Muse, director of community relations at SoCalGas. “We are also pleased to support Black Restaurant Week Los Angeles. This is a wonderful way to celebrate and support Black-owned businesses in our community and we look forward to participating.”

Awarded to restaurants including Watts Coffee House, Hot and Cool Cafe, Post and Beam, and Pip’s on La Brea, the grants range from $1,000 to $5,000 and can be used for payroll assistance, sanitizing and personal protective equipment, plexiglass, energy efficiency upgrades or repairs, energy audits and more. The Restaurant Recovery Program runs through the end of the year or until funds are depleted.

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Virtual Restaurant Consulting Launches to Support an Industry in Crisis

Designed to promote approximately 500,000 small, independent restaurants across the country, is a free site positioned as a friendly “town square” to elevate the needs of diners and local restaurants alike.

Over 500,000 independent restaurants, most often referred to as “mom & pops,” support more than 11 million much-needed jobs across the nation. These small businesses, often minority-owned, are essential for local economies to thrive — and vital for providing communities with safe places to eat, drink, and socialize — whether dining in or ordering out.

Over the last three years, Virtual Restaurant Consulting (VRC) has made it their business to help independent restaurateurs develop and grow off-premise dining sales. Without the financial backing of large corporate structures, these eateries and their employees rely on customer loyalty to survive — and that’s in the good times.

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Rouxbe Partners with Bay Area Community College Consortium to Provide Online Culinary Curriculum for Students

The Culinary Arts package from Rouxbe will provide supplementary tools to students embarking on their culinary education this fall.

Rouxbe, the world’s leading online culinary school, announced today a partnership with the Bay Area Community College Consortium (BACCC), a group of 28 colleges surrounding the San Francisco and Monterey Bays. Seven member schools with culinary programs will be using the Culinary Arts Package provided by Rouxbe, in conjunction with college instructors, to teach the techniques and foundations needed to embark on a culinary arts career. This news comes as all California schools are instructed to be conducted online.

“With the current situation around COVID-19, faculty are using Rouxbe in a creative way to move forward with a blended learning environment,” said Scott Samuel, Vice President of Culinary, at Rouxbe. “Over the past 15 years, we have taught tens of thousands of students the foundations of the culinary skills they will need to succeed in the food industry. We like to think of Rouxbe as a digital library that culinary students can use to enhance the actual physical act of learning to cook.”

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Allset Launches Free Contactless Ordering for Restaurants Nationwide

Los Angeles-based food pre-ordering platform Allset ( today announced the launch of its free Contactless Ordering solution to help restaurants provide a safer and more seamless dining experience to in-store guests. Diners can place orders for pickup or dine-in, pay, and track order status securely from their phones, reducing the need for interaction with the restaurant staff. 
“The new low-contact dining environment is a challenge for everyone. We want to help restaurants better adapt to the situation, meet the government guidelines for re-opening, and keep the guests and employees safe while delivering the same great dining experience,” said Stas Matviyenko, CEO of Allset. “We believe that today we lay the ground for a safer and more seamless era of dining out, as the post-pandemic world will be more digitized and there will be a greater appreciation of on-demand convenience.”

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