“World travelers discover the joys of caramel corn.” That could be the headline, but it would have to be more specific: They discover The Art of Caramel.
Alycia Oh says that she always starts her time at the Fancy Food Shows with the Savor California booth. She and her partner Alex are importers and distributors of high-end, exceptional food products, both from all over the world and the U.S. So scouting the show is a way to find new and exciting companies and products.
In 2016, she discovered The Art of Caramel in the Savor California booth. Starting with a taste of the Kentucky Bourbon Caramel Corn, she became an instant fan.
A California native, Alycia grew up exposed to many cultures, both from family members and through the multicultural environment of Southern California. Her family is the typical American melting pot. Her father is Hispanic and brought Latin foods to the table, while her mom's family is from the Pacific northwest and Texas. Alycia learned how to prepare Asian foods from her friends.
“Our mother cooked dinner every night, and she borrowed from all these culinary cultures. She taught me, and when I ate over at friends’ houses, I always wanted to learn what their mother was cooking. On family trips, we’d stop at pick-your-own fruit farms, or to taste olives. Back at home we learned how to can them. Family traditions included barbecuing in the summer and making tamales for Christmas.”
Alycia’s mother had a kitchen garden and they raised chickens and rabbits, plus in high school, Alycia became very involved in FFA (Future Farmers of America). “This sparked an interest in agriculture and taught me to respect the food process, from raising an animal to knowing it will eventually be someone’s dinner.”
Alycia started working at 11 delivering newspapers on her bicycle, and she never stopped. After years in the mortgage business, raising her daughter Taylor, and cooking for friends she found a life partner with Alex, a Tunisian as interested in food as she was. She eventually joined him as the buyer for his importing and distributing business, Gourmet Food Solutions. They continue to explore new culinary delights with their son Hayden, who enjoys traveling with his parents.
“Alex was strongly influenced by French foods, and with my diverse culinary background, we’ve always enjoyed introducing each other to new things. One of the pleasures of our business is traveling to research new products to import. And the Fancy Food Show is another perfect opportunity to discover and to form new partnerships, as well as to support the companies we represent.”
The Art of Caramel had grown out of documentary film makers Keiko and Rob Feldman’s desire to give their clients a truly special gift. They had built its reputation with retailers, luxury hotels, and corporate gift companies, but as both their film company and The Art of Caramel grew, balancing the two became a challenge.
Alycia Oh and Gourmet Food Solutions started out as Rob and Keiko's distributor, and their commitment to the brand and the products grew into a mutually beneficial purchase of The Art of Caramel by Alycia.
“We believe in The Art of Caramel brand and are very enthusiastic about the current products and developing more flavors. Our daughter, Taylor, is committed fulltime to the company, and Keiko and Rob are still part of The Art of Caramel family as consultants. It’s a winning situation for them, for us, and for our customers.”