I have the privilege of producing and hosting Talking Food in Maine, Intimate Conversations with an exemplary Maine tastemakers. This one was a master class from the Queen of Innovation in Specialty Foods – Cal Hancock, Founder of Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company.
When Cal Hancock turned 50 she decided that corporate America was no longer bringing her joy! She wanted to be in control of her own destiny and chart her own course. So she left Minnesota with just one thing: a recipe for Lobster Stew and a list of emails. She moved to Maine (where she summered since she was a little girl) and started Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company.
Note: She was 50! She wrote a 10-year business plan and thought, ok, I’ll retire at 60. Well, ten years into building her speciality food company she was at the top of her game! There was no way she was making her exit!
Cal was discovered by the Food Network and went on to beat out Bobby Flay on Throwdown with Bobby Flay with her insanely delicious Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese.
She continued to lead and innovate to much success for 10 more years. Her company exploded nationwide and she went on to win a total of 13 Sofi Awards ( think Oscars in Specialty Foods)
Cal and her brilliant team curated over 50 products for Williams Sonoma and several high-profile specialty food catalogs, among so many other verticals – it will leave you dizzy! Yes, she did make her exit in 2019-20 and went on to successfully sell the company. I am sure she’s planning her next chapter!!!
Thank you Cal Hancock for blowing us away with your inspiring entrepreneurial journey! Maine is so proud to call you it’s own. You built Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company in 2000 with one lobster stew recipe and a whole bucket load of strategic planning and innovation over the next two decades. You came back to Maine, you innovated, you delivered, you conquered (won 14 Sofi Awards) with your brilliant team and you made a graceful and successful exit in 2019!!!
And the best part was we all got to hear about it at Talking Food in Maine. Maine cannot wait to watch you unfold your third act! It’s NEVER too late to let your light shine brightly!
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