Gary Guittard proudly holds up Candy Industry’s 2008 Kettle Award.

Gary Guittard is flanked by his son, Jesse, and daughter, Amy.

Glowing recognition

Despite the shorter turnaround time in preparing for this year’s Kettle Award - the switch back from autumn to a late spring date for All Candy Expo by the National Confectioners gave the Kettle Committee only three months to search out and submit suitable candidates  - there was no shortage of stellar nominees.

With such candidates as Edmund Opler, chairman & ceo, World’s Finest Chocolate; Gary Guittard, president of Guittard Chocolate Co.; Patrick Huffman, president of The Warrell Corp.; and Lance Gimbal, Gimbal’s Fine Candies topping the ballot, Candy Industry readers were faced with a truly difficult decision as to whom to vote for as this year’s recipient.

In the end, when Kettle Committee Vice Chairman Lee Hartman handed Chairman James Heinz the envelope on Tuesday evening on May 20th, the crowd of nearly 250 quickly went silent in the Intercontinental Hotel’s Renaissance Ballroom. Whoops and hollers immediately followed, however, when Heinz read Gary Guittard’s name as the 2008 Kettle Award recipient.

Visibly moved, Guittard thanked those in attendance as well as his fellow nominees for the recognition. With son, Jesse, and daughter, Amy, beside him, Guittard’s face glowed as brightly as the copper kettle he was holding.

The 2008 Candy Industry Kettle Committee: Bottom row: Joni Stern, president of Stern Industries. First row: Jim Greenberg, co-president – Union Confectionery Machinery Co., and Bill Copeland, president, Second row: Rod Oringer, national sales/marketing manager, Oringer Div. – Concord Foods; William Wetzel, sales manager, Bemis Flexible Packaging – Milprint Division; and James Heinz, president & ceo, Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. and Committee Chairman. Third row: Ross Crosio, president, Crosio & Associates; and Jim Bourne, president of Hilliard’s Chocolate Systems. Fourth row: Bernard Pacyniak, editor-in-chief of Candy Industry magazine; Moreno Roncato, president, Carle & Montanari USA; John Zima, director of retail confectionery sales & marketing, ADM Cocoa; and Ed Wilson, sales & marketing director, AarhusKarlshamn. Top row: Chuck Phelan, district manager, Peter’s Chocolate, and Committee Secretary; Chuck Dodson, director of consumer insights & marketing; A.M. Todd Ingredients & Flavors; Bryan Bainbridge, partner, Bainbridge & Associates; Ross Craig, sweeteners director/ T& S industry manager, Danisco USA; Jeff Cummings, publisher, Candy Industry & Confection and Snack Retailing magazines; Lee Hartman, sales manager, Printpack, Inc. and Committee Vice Chairman; and Fred Hintlian, president of Varick Enterprises.