Gender Relations & Leadership: Outlook of the Future of the Food & Bev Industry

On this podcast recorded at Fodoable.io in Seattle, our host Yareli Quintana speaks with three leaders in the foodservice and beverage industry who also happen to be women. The conversation begins by each identifying some of the changes they’ve seen happen in their respected industries throughout the years.

First, you’ll hear from Zoi Antonitsas, executive chef of Little Fish, Seattle’s first modern-day craft cannery and restaurant which will be found in the heart of Pike Place Market once it opens. Chef Antonitsas has over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry and says she’s been fortunate to have worked with incredible men and women up and down the West Coast.

“I’ve never really felt like I’ve ever been discriminated against as far as being a woman, with the exception of a few, I would say, financial question marks…,” says Antonitsas. “There have definitely been a couple of times where I’ve had to fight to get financial compensation for my work, where I know for a fact that some male counterparts have received more money without having to ask.”

Then, you’ll hear from Brenda Lobbato, the Northwest Region Vice President at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. She got into the beverage industry 30 years ago and has been in her current role since 2016, where she manages 26 percent of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates’ revenue totaling to $698M. Lobbato shares with the speakers that she’s recently seeing a lot more women getting into the beverage industry, which, for a long time, has been a “good ol’ boys network.” She’s proud to share that she’s helping spearhead a women’s group within Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

“We have this thing we call Women of  Wine... we call ourselves WOW and so we started this WOW organization from the standpoint of having concerns that affect all employees, but that women are bringing forward,” says Lobbato. “So, if that’s a mentoring program or that’s a skills program, like public speaking or financial acumen, whatever that is… it’s making those topics and resources safe to talk about.”

Throughout the podcast, you’ll also hear from Roz Edison, co-founder of Marination Ma Kai, a food truck turned into brick-and-mortar locations serving up Hawaiian-Korean fusion cuisine across Seattle. Ten years ago, Marination Ma Kai’s food truck was “the first on 10 rolling in the streets of Seattle.” That number has grown tremendously since then and now Edison and her business partner are also established entrepreneurs in the fast casual space.

“Sadly, though, I just came from a 3-day conference from my industry. It’s called the Fast Casual Executive Summit, so about 150 to 300 C-level folks from chains that range from 50 to 800 units. Almost every single panel had 100 percent white, male panelists…,” says Edison. “...I had really hoped I would run into a female CEO or a female director of operations. That, I’m not seeing in the fast-casual side of it.”

The four speakers later dive into topics like employee relations, mentorship, and hopes for the future of the industry as it pertains to women. Stay tuned to hear which direction this interesting conversation took and how each panelist feels about each topic discussed!

Supreme Court Sides With the Colorado Baker Who Turned Down Gay Couple

Supreme Court Sides With the Colorado Baker Who Turned Down Gay Couple

The Supreme Court has sided with the Colorado baker this week in the case that placed gay rights against claims of religious freedom. Leaving the question of whether or not a business can discriminate against LGBTQ based on rights that’re protected by the First Amendment.


The 7-2 decision stated that state commission violated the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom ruling against the baker, Jack Phillips, who had refused to create a custom wedding cake for a gay couple.

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Your Restaurant's Off-Premise Success Depends On Building A Strong Foundation

Your Restaurant's Off-Premise Success Depends On Building A Strong Foundation
  • The 5 Pillars provide a foundation for your restaurant's takeout, delivery, and catering business. 

  • Learn how industry visionaries took the steps required to develop and execute successful off-premises programs.

The 5 Pillars of Successful Restaurant Takeout, Delivery and Catering, authored by Erle Dardick, is the foundation of building a strategic profitable off-premise sector of your business.  Centralized service strategies, sales and marketing, smart and effective operations, and strong leadership from the C-suite are paramount when it comes to building a scalable and profitable off-premises business. In this episode of The Takeout, Delivery, and Catering show hosts Erle Dardick and Valerie Killifer discuss actionable steps that can change the way your restaurant handles its off-premise business.

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Can Aquaponics Change the Food System?

Can Aquaponics Change the Food System?
  • Flourish Farms takes eco-friendly practices to the next level and uses about 11,000 gallons of water in total, which recirculates through a single pump over and over again.

  • GrowHaus, where Flourish Farms is housed, aims to provide healthy, affordable options to the neighborhood of Elyria-Swansea, a Colorado food desert.

In this episode of Sustain, we meet JD Sawyer, founder of Colorado Aquaponics, which houses an aquaponics farm known as Flourish Farms. “The food system is out of balance. We’ve got to figure out a way to have higher quality foods using less resources, period, or it’s not gonna work. It’s really gonna take a grassroots effort. Instead of fighting the model, we’re just gonna have to change it.” Says JD and he believes that Aquaponics can be the solution. 

Aquaponics is defined as an eco-friendly system that recirculates water from a fish tank through a vegetable grow bed. Nutrients from the fish waste feed the plants and the plants filter the water to keep the fish healthy. 

Raising fish, including one-and-a-half to two-pound striped bass, is a huge part of the equation for Flourish Farms from both a financial and nutritional standpoint. “It’s a cheaper source of nutrients or fertilizer, if you will, than typical hydroponic solutions.”

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Billy Dec Talks Best Meals On His New Podcast

Billy Dec Talks Best Meals On His New Podcast

A new podcast from restaurateur, Billy Dec explores the world of food with celebrity interviews and more. The Emmy Award-winning TV host and actor, restaurateur, and founder of Rockit Ranch hospitality group, Dec has plenty of experience in the restaurant scene. Now, he's taking his love of food to another level, with his upcoming podcast, The Meal Of Your Life.

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