Rice Is Nice

By Magazine Staff  |  Photo by Malia Leary

You’re pushing your cart through the grocery store and see a food demo…

Is it a new kind of chips? A different flavor of cola? Guess again.

It’s a sample of whole grains—a new concept created by Joe Gozzi, ’98, director of sales and product development for Village Harvest Rice in San Francisco, Calif.

Gozzi sees how surprised customers are to see something that healthy at a demo. Since launching the product four years ago, however, he has found he isn’t marketing a new product, but a new category, and he is working to introduce it to customers. The whole grains—brown rice, quinoa, farro, red rice, wheatberries, and barley—are cooked and frozen with nitrogen. Customers can microwave them simply and quickly.

“It opens up a portfolio for people to eat healthy at home,” said Gozzi, who, as a finance major at Loyola, cooked pizza and pasta for his friends—and reflects on how his education has helped his career. “Maybe Loyola just breeds passion.”

Gozzi was working for a hedge fund business when his passion for food and cooking led him to enroll in culinary school to get a better sense of how food gets “from seed to plate,” he said. His career change later led him to Village Harvest Rice.

As he markets his whole grain blends, he has turned to his father for advice. His father and his family have been in the supermarket business for 100 years. “I used to tease my father and say all my friends know how to build things and change carburetors, and I’m in the supermarket with my dad trying to explain the seasonality of peppers to me,” Gozzi said.

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