"Food Oscars" & Fancy Food Shows
Every year the Speciality Food Association come together to recognize the best of the best in the specialty food industry through the presentation of their sofi™ Awards. With a mission to advance culinary excellence and creativity worldwide, the annual sofi™ Awards recognizes winners in categories ranging from best cookie to best cooking sauce. This year there were 2,900 entries-- the Speciality Food Association awarded 156 winners in 39 categories.
What makes the sofi™ Awards such a high honor is that each entry is judged strictly on a blind basis, meaning that the product is judged without packaging, pricing, or any brand identification-- leaving the focus solely on the taste and quality of the product itself. The judging process takes place over two to three weeks in New York. It begins with a team of professional chefs who prepare each product according the to producer’s instructions and present it to 50 food professionals. Judges include chefs, culinary instructors, recipe developers, food journalists, and specialty food buyers who are experts in a specific food category.
This year our very own Ancho Chile & Tamarind sauce had the honor of taking home the Gold sofi™, or as we like to call it the food Oscar, for best cooking sauce marinade. We were, and continue to be, honored to not only receive this recognition but to be able to represent some of the flavors and ingredients of Jalisco, Mexico.
A couple weeks ago our founder, Lori Sandoval, attended the summer Fancy Food Show-- the largest speciality food industry event in the country, hosted in New York City! While at the show, Lori had the chance to meet other sofi™winners and share the story of SALSAOLOGY with attendees.
Talking sofi™ Awards with Lori Sandoval:
What does sofi™ stand for?
Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation.
What does this award mean to you?
This award means volumes to me, not just on behalf of our SALSAOLOGY brand but also personally. When I first delved into the specialty food world, before I even had a product, I learned about the sofi™ Award and pretty much set that as a goal. I dreamt of one day holding the trophy and feeling the validation that I had created a high quality and exciting product. But arguably more importantly, I felt that if we obtained this notoriety, it would be one way of distinguishing Mexican cuisine among the ranks of classic European gourmet products - I wanted to showcase the excellence of my ancestor's culinary traditions. Now that I have the "food Oscar" in my hands it feels every bit of what I imagined and more!
What is your favorite dish to make using Ancho Chile & Tamarind sauce?
I love the chicken tinga recipe, which is basically boiling chicken with the sauce and it's done in less than 30 minutes! Once the chicken is shredded, the possibilities are endless, but I do default often to using it for tacos with a queso fresco topping and cilantro. There is something about that combination that I just love and go back to time and time again.
Where is your food oscar living now?
It's sitting in my office on shelving. I want it to not only give the team a sense of pride because everyone has contributed to our company's success thus far, but also it serves as inspiration and a reminder that dreams come true if you work your ass off for them.
Who was the first person you told when you found out you won?
I sent a group text message to my husband and family who have been a strong set of pillars for me on this journey. Their emotional support has been immeasurable and the free labor has been priceless!
What was your favorite thing about attending the Fancy Foods Show?
It was a first time attending the New York Fancy Food Show. I had heard that it was so much bigger and vibrant than the winter west coast show in San Francisco; and it was. In my opinion it was a bit more global which may have made for a more exciting selection of exhibiting products but also the buyers we got to meet. But what I really appreciated about being at this show was that all the category winners were being recognized at this show in one area and that was a big honor. I got to walk around meet the other winning brands and sample their winning products which of course were extraordinary! Plus the venue itself was so large and open that it just felt like we were submersed in a world of awesome food (aka heaven for me).
The entire SALSAOLOGY team is grateful for the sofi™ win and hope that all who taste our Ancho Chile & Tamarind sauce experience a little piece of Jalisco, Mexico in every bite. Buen provecho!