There is simply no other chocolate frenzy as stupendous at the NYC Chocolate Show. Imagine over 30,000 chocolate lovers in one place over a 4 day period. It's non-stop, exhausting fun! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Thanks to all who visited too -- My mom, Lauren's Mom, Lauren's sister, Casey, Liz, Rob, Arsen, Bonnie, Tedrick, Nick, Danny, Ellen, David, Munbing, Rob, Elizabeth, and more!
sweetriot was truly honored to serve cacao at an event with Danny Meyer this week. If you're not familiar with Danny, he is truly one of the leading restaurateurs and business visionaries in the world. Danny was speaking to EO, the Entrepreneurs Organization, which brings together entrepreneurs from around NYC and the world. (I'm in EO's new program for start up entrepreneurs!) :)
Danny recently published a book, Setting the Table, and he shares pointers well beyond his own restaurant industry for any aspiring business leader. The event was also held at this amazing place overlooking the Hudson River, and the view was one you often don't see in NYC.
Right outside of the window, you could see the 'rays of light' that are shown at Ground Zero every 911 -- and the most special thing about the evening was what Danny shared about 911. He talked about his restaurant's responses -- for example, 11 Madison's team started cooking in the nearby Salvation Army where families were being taken, and Union Square Cafe stayed open just to serve its community as best it could. The Cafe became a place where those who couldn't find their loved ones were able to reunite. Those stories for him helped solidify the importance of his work overall as he realized his restaurants are indeed a 'home away from home' for his customers.
And most importantly, the restaurants individually all made their own decisions on how to carry out Danny's vision of giving and caring without his supervision in how to do it. I can imagine as a fellow entrepreneur how good it felt to see the teams around him fully empowered and executing in a meaningful and heartful way on such a tragic day. I commend Danny for his leadership in NYC and for creating institutions of warmth that welcome so many poeple from around the world every year. There simply is no other who can continue to claim top Zagats ratings in NYC year after year after year. Danny and the great team at Union Square Hospitality Group can.
And now a commercial break from our regular programming.
Have I mentioned that I love Mediterranean food?....And as for tomatoes, I adore them! Leave it to the Cypriots to make the best tomato salad ever. I'll let the photos speak for themselves - the size of the display alone speaks volumes. Yum!
Another month, another show. As you may know, trade shows are an important part of our business. We meet new retailers and see our current customers too. The most exciting part of this one was the Sustainability Forum!
We also had friends that rioted - Tedrick came to visit as did Tabitha and her sister. Bonnie & Clare came to riot, and we had cool neighbors too - Tony, Lyann, and Claude. You should join us at a show. Our next ones are Expo East,GreenFest-DC, and The Chocolate Show. Interested??
911 is still a painful subject for all New Yorkers. Today I was reminded of that pain watching the events unfold at my local firehouse -- the very firehouse which takes care of my Village home and my Village/Soho based company.
Two firefighters were killed at Ground Zero last night in an old Bank building there, and the amount of sadness at the FireHouse was overwhelming.
First I dropped off flowers, then as I walked by again, I realized they deserved even more than that. I wrote them a note and also told them they protected my home and my company. We can never take for granted the people who serve our country and firefighters who are core to our society.
I dropped off my note and a box of sweetriot and finally saw my first smile from them today.
We saw Zach Braff this past weekend spending some time at the infamous NYC Gay Pride Parade. Zach grew up in New Jersey and was the creator of Garden State, a great film about growing up in NJ in case you haven't seen it. (He has crazy fans too -- check out this youtube video!)
Zach was busy snapping photos at the parade, and because we're fans of his and he's a local boy, Edna hand delivered him some yummy cacao. Lucky Zach! In fact, check out Zach's site for some interesting insight on his summer in NYC.
He does say this: "I’m not sure when or why the tabloid angle on me was
decided that I am a cad. I would have much rather it had been that I am
secretly a dentist or that I love soup. I am in fact, merely doing what
every other single 32 year old man in NYC is doing this summer. I am
dating. If you must read that stuff, please don’t digest it as fact. It
is probably one of the only real shitty things one has to get used to
when living in the public eye, but I suppose one of the benefits of
this blog is that you can hear it directly from me. I haven’t had a vacation in 6 years and so I decided to take June and July off. I am having the best summer of my life! I am so happy here! I’m hanging out with my New York friends, my Jersey boys, my family and loving every single second of it. And yes; I am dating. When we shoot Scrubs I spend every waking hour of my life in an abandoned and haunted hospital. All I can date there are ghosts and they tend to be horrible snugglers. So anyway, blah, blah, blah. Don’t believe the hype. I love it here. I love NYC. I love the people, the arts, I love meeting strangers on the street and talking about the most random things in the world, I love parades where people dress up as mermaids and I really love peach/pomegranate iced tea. I see quite clearly that the east coast is a slightly better fit for me."
If you haven't heard about the Slow Food movement, read more here. Carlo Petrini started Slow Food in 1986 to promote food which is "good, clean, and fair" according to Slow Food. The organization has grown to over 80,000 members around the world today. I was excited to meet Carlo at a recent event celebrating Italian Food at the UN in New York City. He was in town from Italy with some of Italy's top chefs. As you can imagine there was delicious food and wine everywhere. Fresh parmesan cheese, risotto, and chocolate treats. I gave the jovial chefs and Carlos a little stash of sweetriot too!
During the annual GEL conference, I'm lucky to lead a great group of GEL attendees on a sweetriot cacao tour. We can't disclose all of our secret stops, but we love to visit special chocolate/foodie finds in the Village and also to share the history of sweetriot.
This is one of my favorite speaking engagements of the year as I also talk about the design background around sweetriot and how we designed with our customers rather than for them. We used forms of design ethnography, which you can learn more about here.
Geneve started this past week at sweetriot. Geneve is our new rioter from the West Coast, and she'll be with us for a few months in NYC before heading back to take care of our Western friends. She's already been found chasing UPS trucks, stocking shelves at stores, and more!
Geneve has a dark past of dealing pharma drugs, and we're excited she's moving to the healthy cacao dark side instead. You can read more about her bio here.