The Bold Faced Blog™

August 30, 2016

Ashton212 Participates in Behind the Business Conference

Posted 2 years 326 days ago by Gretchen Hirsch

Cuisine Noir, the Oakland-based online and print publication targeting the food and beverage industry, is holding its first Behind the Business Conference. Designed for professionals in the culinary, wine/beer/spirits, restaurant, food truck and specialty gourmet foods industries, the conference provides attendees with the information they need on all aspects of building and sustaining a successful food-oriented business.


Conceived in 2015 by Cuisine Noir’s publisher and editor, Sheree Williams, this two-day event opens Friday, September 16, with a Networking Reception at San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora. Catered by Whole Foods, the event will feature wine from Mouton Noir Wines.


After a continental breakfast on Saturday, workshops presented by speakers from across the country will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the South San Francisco Conference Center. Participants may choose from among four tracks:

  • Culinary
  • Restaurants, Food Trucks and Pop-Ups
  • Wine, Beer and Spirits
  • Specialty Gourmet Food and Beverage


Sheila Lewis, Ashton212’s CEO, will open the culinary track with Getting Real About Starting and Running a Business. Sheila was recently interviewed for the Behind the Business Insights blog about being an entrepreneur and building two successful businesses. Greg Webb, Managing Director, Quantitative Business Solutions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will participate on the Diversity in the Craft Beer Industry: How to Get in the Game panel in the Wine, Beer and Spirits Track. Greg is a member of Ashton212’s Lookout Team.


Other speakers include:


Winemaker and entrepreneur Andre Hueston Mack, owner of Mouton Noir Wine, will keynote the luncheon that starts at noon. After a successful career with Citicorp Investment Services, Andre left his “desk job” to pursue his passion for wine, eventually becoming a sommelier for Thomas Kelly’s restaurants, The French Laundry in Yountville, California and Per Se in New York . In 2007, he was honored with The Network Journal’s 40-Under-Forty Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to business. In 2008, he and his team released their first label, Mouton Noir Wines' Montgomery Place, which was made in their California warehouse. Mouton Noir Wine is now the country’s largest African American wine label. Mack has been featured in major publications including Food & Wine, Wine & Spirits Magazine, The New York Times, Ebony and the Wall Street Journal.  


“I am honored to have Andre Mack grace us with his presence at our inaugural conference in San Francisco. His participation signals the importance of a conference of this type,” says Sheree Williams. “I know that his story will encourage and inspire future winemakers and food and beverage entrepreneurs. Our guests will leave with the sense that they, too, can achieve their dream of success in the food and beverage industry.”


The luncheon will conclude with a panel discussion about the opportunities and obstacles of funding a small business. Sheila will facilitate a discussion among representatives from several Bay Area funding organizations. Presenting ideas from the most traditional to the most innovative, panelists will explain how to access the funding needed to establish and grow a successful business.


Whether you are just starting out or have been running a business for a long time, there is something for everyone at the Behind the Business Conference. Register today! 


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