FOODIES & WINOS LIVE LARGE AND GIVE BIG
Katie Hamilton Shaffer
WHEN ASKED AS A KID WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP, it was either a professional soccer player or Martha Stewart. Dancing between tomboy and hopeful entertainer, I played competitive sports on the youth circuit while making handcrafted invitations for my childhood birthday parties and teaching myself to properly cook a filet mignon at age 12. This childhood obsession with Martha Stewart morphed over the years into a true passion for food, wine and entertaining. But there was more. What if I could combine my passions for food, wine, and making people happy for a greater cause? It’s this thought that has directed my unique career path all these years.
After the sale of my Napa winery last year (Toolbox Wine Co.), my new company, Feast it Forward, is set to fully launch later this fall of 2013. I have a stellar group who are equally committed to living and promoting a philanthropic lifestyle, and together we’re making this childhood dream become a reality. My co-founders are husband and wife Navy Veterans and entrepreneurs Kevin and Rebecca Gouveia, and ironically my CEO Brook Altman is the former producer and brand expert who launched Martha Stewart Living (winning 4 Emmy Awards). I was also lucky to bring on good friend and social media maven Christine Trice as my Chief Marketing Officer. Christine launched the fabulous site, OMG I So Need A Glass of Wine or I’m Gonna Sell My Kids –a self-described exclusive virtual gathering of domestic goddesses.
It’s quite a team.
Feast it Forward will showcase good will and charitable giving through culinary and wine-related content. Food and wine enthusiasts (we like to say “Foodies & Winos”) will be involved with causes around the country, alongside the chefs and winemakers who are inspired by them. Proceeds from our product line and special events will go to support everything from mental health to children & family services, cancer care to community health, animal rescue to land trusts – and much more.
We’re very ambitious. After all, Community Services can be more than local, it can reach far and wide, as in national. So to tackle all this, we’ll have food & wine fundraisers, various events at “off the beaten path” wineries, vintners opening up their homes for intimate tastings and gourmet fare, a website of course, and even a behind the scenes, content-rich cable program. Think Food Network meets Martha-you-know-who.
As a matter of fact, our most recent accomplishment was to be nominated for the coveted Martha Stewart’s American Made 2013 Award. American Made spotlights “the makers” — creative artists and artisans involved in specialty food, hand-made crafts, gardens, style and technology.
To fulfill our goal of “raising a glass and raising awareness” we’re working with local chefs and artisans to create unique products. Earlier this year, a line of gourmet spices (Harissa Spice, White Truffle Salt, Chipolte & Honey Rub, Japanese Seven Spice, and more) was developed together with Whole Spice. These fine flavorings can now be found in local California shops, and will soon be on shelves across the nation. Next came our spice-infused chocolates — decadent ganache bites. Then, having previously owned a Napa wine brand, it only made sense to release a killer wine – a select 200 cases of a 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. To support our philanthropic vision, a portion of proceeds are donated directly to charitable organizations and causes.
The Feast it Forward team is also looking to expand our product line into kitchenware, baby food and animal foods, cookbooks and other top of the line products, all benefiting well over 20 charitable causes.
Overall, the growing Feast it Forward community will include foodies and winos, makers and givers, tastemakers and brand ambassadors from around the country, and even across the globe. It will be an opportunity to create, cook, taste, share inspiring stories, and network with like-minded people. And to give. Because it’s one thing to imbibe, eat well, and enjoy the moveable feast – it’s an even better thing to live large and give big, too.
The former contributing vintner to Cooking Wild Magazine, Katie Hamilton Shaffer was named one of the “Magnificent 7” leading entrepreneurs in Bay Area Food & Wine in 2011. She launched her own wine label in 2009 with a mission to craft affordable, quality wines (while giving a portion of proceeds to Habitat for Humanity). In 2011 she founded Feast it Forward. Learn more at www.feastitforward.com
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