Success Stories

San Francisco Chef Creates Business that Offers Interactive Culinary Events that Educate and Entertain

Founded on the concept that nothing brings people together better than cooking, Parties That Cook offers classic hands on cooking parties for private celebrations as well as specialized events designed for corporate team building, client entertainment and employee appreciation.

Parties That Cook Founder and CEO Bibby Gignilliat left a successful career in marketing for Williams Sonoma, to follow her culinary dream and founded her first hands-on cooking party company Gourmet Gatherings in 1999. With the company's portfolio of Fortune 500 clients growing in leaps and bounds, Gignilliat decided to refine her initial concept. In 2006 Gignilliat created her new company Parties That Cook to better serve her expanding corporate base.

A group cooking class hosted by Parties That Cook encourages teamwork and collaboration. “Our events inspire guests to connect with each other, build camaraderie and gain confidence in the kitchen,” the award winning Gignilliat observed. Parties... Read More

Humboldt Bakery finds high demand for artisan, gluten-free and allergy friendly pies

     With plans to expand throughout California, Oregon, and Washington, Natural Decadence is poised to take advantage of the high demand for delicious, artisan pies that are gluten-free and allergy friendly.

     Undaunted but realistic, Lando offered the following observation and encouragement to other aspiring entrepreneurs: “It takes ten times as much money, ten times as much time, ten times as many people than you would have ever imagined. But if you have the passion – starting and running your own business is the greatest reward imaginable!” It all started with two lifelong friends who were touched by food allergies at the same time. Rosa May Dixon's personal story of having a young child with celiac disease is similar to the countless moms she meets running a gluten-free business. Her young daughter, Solea, was constantly sick, vomiting on average 17 times a day and measuring in the 1 percentile for her age and weight. After several misdiagnoses, a doctor confirmed... Read More

Sustainable Chicken products find success in Santa Rosa and beyond

     Jennifer Johnson and Serafina Palandech created Hip Chick Farms as a natural extension of their love of food, family and their desire to provide family-friendly solutions for lunch and dinner.

     Johnson is the Chef and Chief Operations Officer for Hip Chick Farms.  She has a real passion for cooking and is a perfectionist in the kitchen. Johnson has worked with great chefs, such as Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. For the last ten years, Johnson has served as the Executive Private Chef for Ann and Gordon Getty. When Mrs. Getty started a Montessori school in her home, Johnson’s role expanded to cooking a family style lunch for 25 children every day.  The kids in the school loved her food, and when they went home at night, they would ask their moms for Chef Jen’s chicken fingers.  The moms in turn started asking Jen for her products.

     Palandech, the President for Hip Chick Farms works closely with Sonoma County farmers to support the local economy and ensure... Read More

Succession and Success go together for African-American Family-Owned Technology Firm

In 1995, Frank Tucker realized his lifelong dream to become an entrepreneur.  Today, Tucker Technology, Inc. is a full service telecommunications and information technology contractor employing 48 workers. Tucker Technology provides engineering, installation and maintenance of structured cabling solutions for a wide range of telecommunications cabling infrastructure projects and offers contract and project based staffing.    

In 1996 in the process of starting his business, Tucker heard from friends about the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program, a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses, which offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.  Under the Small Business Act, certain individuals are presumed socially disadvantaged: African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Native Americans (American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, or Native... Read More