Tag Archives: The Still-Room
The only time Susie Wyshak had parental sanction to play hooky from school was to go see Julia Child do a cooking demo; which is to say she grew up in a food-loving family in Los Angeles. So perhaps it is no wonder that, some years ago, she thought about launching her own artisanal food product.
She had fallen in love with forbidden black rice and started experimenting with roasting it to transform it into a crunchy, savory snack. But, right away, she faced seemingly insurmountable challenges; not least the fact that everyone thought it looked like mouse poop.
Wyshak was in the process of looking at roasting drums and considering having a co-packer produce it for her, when she realized the cost of getting the ingredients to the co-packer was prohibitively expensive. … Continue reading »
Last month, Berkeleyside held its second Local Business Forum, concentrating on “Startup Berkeley” — the strengths and weaknesses of the city for startups. If you weren’t able to attend, or if you just want a quick refresher on the evening, we’ve condensed the two hours into a little more than six minutes of highlights (above).
Speakers at the Forum were Mayor Tom Bates’ chief of staff, Judy Iglehart, Stupid Fun Club founder Will Wright, MOG founder and CEO … Continue reading »
What makes a city a magnet for startups? Why do entrepreneurs and financiers flock to the South Bay even though there are so few good places to eat there? Does Berkeley want to be Silicon Valley anyway? (You can guess the answer to that one.) Maybe Berkeley is just not hip enough to attract young talent? Does the city’s red tape makes it too cumbersome to be innovative? And, perhaps most significantly, is there just too much distrust of businesses as they thrive and grow? Perhaps Berkeley should focus on what it already does well: incubating startups then allowing them to fly to pastures new, be that San Francisco or Palo Alto.
All these questions were raised and debated at Berkeleyside’s Startup Berkeley Local Business Forum, last night in downtown Berkeley. An estimated 220 people gathered at the Freight & Salvage to listen and engage directly with two sets of panelists, and to discuss the issues among themselves both before and after the program.
Berkeleyside recently dropped in on June Taylor at The Still Room, the artisanal jam and preserve business she started in west Berkeley.
It’s citrus fruit season and Taylor and her small staff were nose to the grindstone turning Meyer lemons and blood oranges into candied peel and marmalades. Taylor is one of the country’s most respected artisan preserve makers and a shining example of a successful Berkeley-based entrepreneur. She is currently working to fill orders for scores of accounts in Japan, where her brand has something of a cult following.
For several decades, Berkeley — and the East Bay more generally — has looked longingly at the vibrant enterprise and job creation on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. Why can’t Silicon Valley spread its secret sauce across the Bay?
After all, Berkeley has two great research institutions — UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab — churning out innovations and the young scientists and technologists that spawn them. All too often, however, those ideas and people go elsewhere to commercialize their activities. Part of the discussion on March 5, at the Berkeleyside Local Business Forum on “Startup Berkeley” will examine whether that dynamic can change.
A recent comment by “Vbkly” on Berkeleyside provided a case in point: “Ah yes how do we overcome the Great Wall of Berkeley? You know the Wall that has stopped Sun, Linux, Medical Radioisotopes, the Manhattan Project, Andy Grove and most of the key people in Silicon Valley, Genentech, Intel, Apple, Inktomi, Google and not to mention RAVE (which overcame a major barrier to Moore’s Law). All of these companies started in Berkeley or were founded/run by Berkeley people.” … Continue reading »
Kalimah Priforce describes himself as “a madman on a mission”. Through his startup Qeyno Labs, Priforce works with local partners and schools to bring technology-enabled career discovery into under-served classrooms, using game-like rewards and mentorship from real-life professionals.
Priforce will be joining the panel at Berkeleyside’s Local Business Forum on March 5th to discuss his experience moving his project from Brooklyn — which is a considerable tech hotspot these days — to Berkeley.
“I needed to be tied into the ecosystem out here,” Priforce said. “There’s a lot happening in New York, but there’s no ecosystem there yet.”
He originally thought he’d locate in Silicon Valley or San Francisco, but decided the East Bay would be more fertile ground for his work in under-served classrooms. … Continue reading »
Berkeleyside is thrilled to announce that on Monday March 5th we will be hosting the Berkeleyside Local Business Forum 2012: Startup Berkeley.
The Forum’s focus will be the strengths, and weaknesses, of the city of Berkeley for startups. What does it take to turn an idea into a successful business, how can one nurture innovation, and what can be done to improve the startup climate here?
Featured panelists joining the conversation at the Forum include: Will Wright, creator of The Sims and founder of Stupid Fun Club; David Hyman, founder and CEO of streaming music service MOG, June Taylor, founder of jam and marmalade company The Still Room; and Rauly Butler, Senior Vice President Retail at Mechanics Bank.
“An extraordinary amount of innovation comes out of Berkeley in a variety of realms,” said Lance Knobel, one of the founders of Berkeleyside. “But Berkeley is still seen as rough ground for business startups. We want to examine the realities of Berkeley for new business ventures.” … Continue reading »
She will also share the recipe for candied Meyer lemon peel and give away some of her organic candied citrus peel.
The British-born Taylor runs her business from The Still-Room, a kitchen and storefront space on Fourth Street in West Berkeley. She has practiced preserving for more than 20 years and is as interested in the history … Continue reading »
June Taylor crafts the kind of conserves and fruit confections that make food writers swoon.
Case in point: Amanda Hesser’s description of Taylor’s preserves. “They are unlike any commercial preserves, not simply because she uses esoteric — virtually all organic — fruits like bergamots, kadota figs, and Santa Rosa plums, but also because she cooks them in such a way that underlines their essence,” wrote Hesser in a New York Times Magazine piece. “Sugar is used not as a crutch but a tool. Her silver-lime-and-ginger marmalade has a sting to it; her grapefruit-and-Meyer-lemon marmalade is bright, concentrated and vigorously bitter.”
Don’t just take a food scribe’s word for it. My son is partial to Taylor’s candied peels — Rangpur Lime, Oro Blanco grapefruit, and Citron — popped into porridge (oatmeal), granola, or directly in the mouth for a bittersweet treat. … Continue reading »