Raymond Hook – Managing Partner
Raymond’s true love of quality is the driving force behind his 30-year career in the art and business of artisan cheeses and specialty foods. Within the industry, Raymond has owned and run restaurants, managed one of the leading specialty food retailers in the United States, worked with producers and suppliers across the globe, acted as a New York City sales manager for a national distributor and developed extensive media contacts across the country. Raymond’s sweeping successes in his field brought him recognition as one of the Saveur 100 in 2002. He has both acted as a cheese judge at the California State Fair and sat on the Board of Directors of the California Artisan Cheese Guild. Raymond has also participated as both a moderator and a panelist for multiple classes at the American Cheese Society, and writes a popular weekly cheese column for the top-five ranked food website The Daily Meal. Raymond is well known for his depth of knowledge, his passion and the infectious enthusiasm he brings to his work; his clients understand that he only represents products that have earned his respect. While an acknowledged pioneer in the New York City specialty food marketing and consulting field, Raymond is still affectionately known to his friends as “The Cheese Guy.”
Bryan Crittenden – Partner
A senior business and financial executive with global experience working with multi-nationals, private equity and start-ups, Bryan has over 30 years of experience working in multiple food and beverage categories across more than 30 countries. He spent 25 of those years working with companies including PepsiCo, Groupe Danone, The Hershey Company and Campbell Soup. For the past five years he has worked with private equity holding positions as CEO, COO and CFO for portfolio companies in the food sector. Bryan has built and led companies in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Poland and Brazil. Some of his accomplishments include rebuilding two specialty food companies as CEO/President in North America, restructuring a $200m confectionery company in Poland as CEO and CFO, building a $100m biscuit business as VP-Country Manager and creating a $50m joint venture for chocolate in the Brazilian market. He has also restructured a $1b beverage business in the United States as the CFO and built a global acquisition pipeline of over 20 targets as VP-Business Development.
Jennifer Gillis – Project Manager, San Francisco
With over 20 years experience, Jennifer found her way to the food and wine industry through the usual, albeit sideways, path; a liberal arts degree. During and after attaining her BA in Ancient History at UC Berkeley she embarked on a food and wine career, winding her way through the lower echelons of both restaurant and retail staff in both the brick and motor world as well as the online marketplace. A brief flirtation with academia and social justice resulted in a Masters in Education from the University of Michigan as well as a few years of much cherished experience as a fishmonger in Ann Arbor, preceded a retreat to the food industry in the San Francisco bay area. Since returning from Michigan, Jennifer has worked as a cheese monger at a number of bay area institutions, and worked in distribution for a number specialty distributors handling specialty accounts throughout the western United States.
Madeleine James – Project Manager, New York
Madeleine has a multi-faceted background in the fields of fine dining, public relations and organizational management. She spent five years working with Dressler, the Michelin-starred, pioneering Brooklyn restaurant, was the public relations manager for a top New York City acting coach and most recently worked as the copy editor and marketing coordinator for a bestselling author. Her passion for food and interest in New York City’s ever-exciting restaurant scene inspired her to work with Raymond Hook Specialty, where she is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the company and the execution of special projects. Madeleine has a strong eye for detail, a savvy marketing sense and a love of great food. She graduated from NYU with a degree in French Literature, and particularly loves exploring French-inspired cuisine in New York and beyond.