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


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


Jesse Bladyka, Roastery Director, Flying Goat Coffee
Vanessa Chang, Marketing & Education Manager, Creminelli Fine Meats
Gina Conedera, Owner, Chunky Pig & Founder, Pavé Consulting
Katie DeFrisco, Kitchen Manager, Ici Ice Cream
Chad Freilino, Sales Director, Irving Farm Coffee Roasters
Liz Gutman, Journalist & Writer, Serious Eats & Proprietor, Liddabit Sweets
Mario Hernandez, Chef, Cookin’ the Market
Martha Holmberg, CEO, International Association of Culinary Professionals
Bianca Kaprielian, Produce Buyer, Whole Foods Market
Anna Lappé, Author, Diet for a Hot Planet & Co-Founder, Small Planet Institute
Michelle Lee, Pastry Director, Tartine Manufactory
Karen Liebowitz, Co-Founder & Manager of Communications, The Perennial
Aubrey Lindley, Co-Founder, Cacao
Todd Masonis, CEO & Co-Founder, Dandelion Chocolate
Alice Medrich, Author, Dessert Chef & Chocolatier
Stephanie Prida, Pastry Chef, Manresa
Steven Rosenberg, Owner & Good Food Evangelist, Liberty Heights Fresh
Avery Ruzicka, Head Baker & Partner, Manresa Bread
Dave Selden, Chief Janitor & Creator, 33 Books Co.
Jen Stevenson, Founder & Author, Under the Table with Jen
Susie Wyshak, Author & Strategist, FoodStarter; Author & Producer, Chocolate Chip Cookie School