Minh Tsai – Founder , Director, CEO As a child in Vietnam, Minh often took morning strolls with his grandpa to the neighborhood tofu shack. The freshness and artisan-quality of the soymilk, tofu and yuba of his childhood eluded Minh for many years. Finally, in 2004, he founded Hodo Soy with the simple mission of crafting the highest quality, best-tasting, freshest soymilk, tofu, and yuba (tofu skins) possible. These days, Minh remains actively involved in the production and innovation of tofu, as well as being tofu’s ultimate ambassador by working with chefs, teaching tofu-craft, and educating culinary students to grow the next generation of tofu aficionados. Before becoming Hodo’s Tofu Master, Minh spent 10 years in strategic consulting and finance. He graduated from Columbia University with a BA and Masters in Economic Development.
John Notz – Founding Partner, Director, CFO In 2005, John was working on an organic farm and exploring the farmers’ markets in the Bay Area, looking for an up-and-coming artisan food business. He loved Hodo Soy’s bold approach to soy and teamed up with Minh to expand the business. Prior to Hodo Soy, John worked in China, building sales and distribution for Motorola, as well as earning a championship title in a dumpling-eating contest. More recently, he has worked in marketing and consulting for small businesses. John has a BA from Dartmouth College and a MBA from Kellogg.
Billy Bramblett – Partner and Director. Billy is an early pioneer in the natural foods industry and the co-founder of Wildwood Natural Foods, where he took on multiple roles including Tofu Maker, Product Development Chef and Controller. The company was acquired by Pulmuone, USA Inc. in 2004 and he continued to have an active role until 2009. In addition to consulting for the natural foods industry, Billy composes and performs music with his band, BillyLove Express. His numerous other interests also include gardening, mountain biking, the study of number theory, and of course, cooking and creating new innovations for friends and family.
John Scharffenberger – Partner, Director, and Chairman of the Board In addition to his work at Hodo Soy, John is a consultant to the farming and food production industries. His accomplished career path includes the development of companies in the wine, chocolate and forestry industries, including Scharffenberger Cellars, Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, and Lake Izabal Agroforestry. When not at The Beanery, John enjoys hiking, gardening, and taking care of his redwood forest.
Hodo Soy Advisory Board
Jeff Corey Jeff is an entrepreneur and consultant. He has helped grow a diverse set of start-ups in the technology and financial industries. Jeff was an early Hodo customer at his local farmers’ market in Santa Cruz.
Anya Fernald Anya is founder and Director of Live Culture Co., a venture dedicated to sustainable food and agriculture projects around the world. Anya has worked as a chef, a baker, and a cheesemaker, but left the kitchen behind to focus on advocacy and education for much of her career. Anya previously worked for Slow Food International, was Program Director at CAFF (an association of farmers from across California), and served as Executive Director of Slow Food Nation in San Francisco.
Snooky Robins Snooky is the owner of Robins & Associates and Blue Planet Green Builders, both construction firms. He has designed, supervised and constructed a wide variety of commercial, non-profit, and residential building projects. Snooky was an early Hodo customer at his local farmers’ market in Marin. In addition to being an adviser to Hodo, Snooky is an investor, and he was the general contractor of The Beanery in Oakland.
Bruce Silverman Bruce is a self-taught chef with more than 25 years of experience in the food industry. Most recently, he was Global Vice President of Whole Foods Market Private Label, leading a team that created over 2100 products under the company’s own brands. Bruce joined Whole Foods Market in Palo Alto, California in 1988 as a chef. He has held many leadership positions over the years, including Regional Prepared Foods Coordinator and Vice President of Marketing, Merchandising and Purchasing.
Olivia Wu Olivia is Executive Chef at Google, Inc., where she opened and oversees the menu at Café Jia, the Google campus’ only Asian cafe. Prior to Google, Olivia spent 20 years reporting about food and dining as a journalist, most recently as a staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle. She has also been a patissière, independent caterer, private chef and cooking teacher. Her book, “The Grand Wok Cookbook” won a Tastemaker Award (precursor to the Beard Awards). Olivia sought out Hodo as a provider to her café and continues to be a passionate supporter.