Features Food & Beverage

Christine Johnson – Le Duff America

In 1983, a businessman moved from France to Dallas, Texas, where he dreamed of recreating the perfect baguette in a region defined by barbecue and tortillas. In pursuit of his vision, la Madeleine, a bakery and cafe in Dallas, was born. A cult-like following throughout the city developed for fast French fare, blossoming into a […]

CMI – Hector Del Río

Building infrastructure, laying down electrical grids, producing foods for an international market and providing development opportunities to communities across Central America: It’s an interesting business model developed by Guatemala’s CMI, especially if one considers the business got famous for its fried chicken, says Hector Del Río. But as CMI Foods legal director explains, supporting communities […]

DeeDee Drays – Bellisio Foods Inc.

From a young age DeeDee Drays has always followed her sense of adventure, be it to the jungles of Sumatra or the mountains of Tibet. While a law student at the University of Texas, she even considered joining the Peace Corps after graduation. So it comes as no surprise that her legal career became just […]

Donna Bunch Coaxum – OSI Group

For Donna Bunch Coaxum, food isn’t just something that goes on her dinner table; it’s her career. Her first job was as business counsel for Kraft Food Inc., where she stayed from the early 1990s to 2001. Following that job, she became senior counsel for OSI Group LLC, an over $7 billion global consumer food […]

George Pauta – sweetgreen

While attending Georgetown University in the mid-2000’s, a trio of friends—Nicolas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru and Jonathan Neman—would often lament how difficult it was to find affordable, healthy food quickly. As business students, they knew there was a demand for such fare. They just needed to create the supply. After graduating in 2007, the three opened […]

Hadiya C. J. Claxton – McIlhenny Company

Hadiya C. J. Claxton knew what was in the bottles when she joined the McIlhenny Company—makers of the famed Tabasco brand pepper sauce—as its first chief legal officer and global general counsel, as well as its first African American corporate officer. Little did she know just how hot the contents would become. Hired in January […]

Heather A. Lacey – The Legal Sea Foods Group

The Legal Sea Foods Group has been given a lifeline at a most precarious time. Like so many others in the restaurant industry, the iconic Boston-based company was severely impacted by COVID-19. The crisis lingering and challenges mounting, owners of the family-owned company decided the best option for the brand and its employees was to […]

Jeannette Knudsen and Adam Ekonomon – The J.M. Smucker Company

A $3.3 billion transaction is never simple, and exponentially more challenging when the fine print has got to be acceptable to all sides in a matter of hours. Which describes the scenario that Jeannette Knudsen and Adam Ekonomon faced in the summer of 2008, in their respective roles as in-house corporate counsel for The J.M. […]

Jennifer McConnell – Compass Group North America

Jennifer McConnell remembers how she worked her way through college and law school waiting tables. Cheerful and eager to please, she reflected well on every restaurant where she’d greet customers, take their orders and make sure their drinks stayed full. While being a career waitress wasn’t in the cards, McConnell learned early how the skills […]

Joseph Longo – Longo’s

Family legend has it that back in the 1950s, the only way to keep Antonio Longo Sr. from working in the dangerous coal ovens in the Canadian steel mills was for his family to start a company—and once that was done, he’d come work for it. By 1956, that’s exactly what had happened. Based in […]

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