Our focus is on celebrating confections – whether chocolate covered bon bons or gloriously simple caramels – produced using locally grown, natural, minimally processed ingredients that celebrate regional culture and tradition, highlight American terroir and exemplify excellence in the candy making craft. View the full criteria for entry.


Brittany Howlett is a baker, entrepreneur and writer who found her passion for serving and creating delicious and locally sourced food ignited when she moved to the Bay Area in 2004. Faced with the decision of applying for law school or embarking upon a creative career in the kitchen after graduating from UC Berkeley, she full-heartedly chose the latter and never looked back. She’s spent time working in both savory and confectionary capacities at Camino, Sons & Daughters, Ici Ice Cream, and most recently Beauty’s Bagel Shop in Oakland. In 2011 she co-founded the artisanal bakery Oakland Bakes where she designed and baked custom, seasonal, and organic wedding cakes. She’s since turned her focus back to helping grow the Bay Area’s small sustainable food business community that has lovingly supported her for the past 12 years.

Jesse Manis is the co-founder of Cacao, which celebrates flavor and quality, featuring a curated selection of chocolate bars from leading craft chocolate makers around the world, the best confectionary from Northwest chocolatiers, and a house-made selection of chocolate drinks. Jesse grew up making sweets for his large family and learned the confectionary ropes at Fran’s Chocolates in Seattle before leaving to open his own business. Jesse has been a judge for the Good Food Awards, The Northwest Chocolate Festival, The International Chocolate Awards and a variety of regional chocolate events.  He lives with his partner Aubrey in Portland where he enjoys exercising, gardening, traveling and spending time with his dog Cooper.

Susie Wyshak (Chair Emeritus) is author of Good Food, Great Business: How to Take Your Artisan Food Idea From Concept to Marketplace (Chronicle Books, 2014) and co-chaired the Good Food Awards Confections category for its first few years as well as the awards’ Chocolate category. She continues to support Good Food entrepreneurs as a strategist, marketer and consultant on and’s Food & Beverage industry channel.


Sophia Chang, Founder, Kitchener Oakland
Amy Guittard, Director of Marketing, Guittard Chocolate Company


Jackie Kai Ellis, Food & Travel Writer; Owner, Beaucoup Bakery & The Paris Tours
Chad Freilino, Director of Coffee, OTG Management
Shawn Gawle, Executive Pastry Chef, Quince
Teri Gelber, Founder, T Project Small Batch Artisan Teas
Mario Hernandez, Chef, Cookin’ the Market
Rich Higgins, Master Cicerone, Bon Marché Brasserie & Bar
Martha Holmberg, CEO, International Association of Culinary Professionals
Tom Johnson, Director of Retail & Hospitality, Skywalker Ranch & Vineyards
Bianca Kaprielian, Produce Buyer, Whole Foods Market
Michelle Lee, Baker, Tartine Bakery
Irvin Lin, Founder, Eat the Love
Todd Masonis, Co-Founder, Dandelion Chocolate
Kristen Miglore, Executive Editor, Food52
Joanna Miller, Cookie Scout, Carpe Cookie & Production Coordinator
Teague Moriarty, Proprietor & Chef, Sons & Daughters
Kristen Murray, Chef & Owner, MAURICE
Jenny Raven, Pastry Chef, Boot & Shoe Service
Jen Stevenson, Founder & Author, Under the Table with Jen
Anne Walker, Owner, Bi-Rite Creamery
Alexandra Whisnant, Founder & Chocolatière, gâté comme des filles
Eagranie Yuh, Author, The Chocolate Tasting Kit