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BIOGRAPHY Manuel Valdes Manuel (Manny) Valdes was born in Havana, Cuba in 1962. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1972 via Miami, Florida. Manny received a Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State University in 1985. Upon graduation, he served as a management consultant with Arthur Andersen & Co. for seven years where he developed business strategies for a wide breadth of firms, including companies in Asia, Latin America, and the United States. Manny received his Masters of Management degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management in 1993. He subsequently spent four years as a marketing manager with Kraft Foods where he gained a rich understanding of marketing consumer food products. In 1996, Manny partnered with Rick Bayless to create Frontera Foods, Inc, makers of gourmet Mexican food products. Today, Frontera Foods has more than sixty products including fire-roasted salsas, premium Mexican-inspired pizza, stone-ground tortilla chips, enchilada sauces and barbecue sauces. Frontera also creates private label products for distinguished retailers. Manny currently serves as President and CEO of Frontera Foods, Frontera Media Productions (producers of Mexico—One Plate at a time with Rick Bayless for Public Television), Frontera Fresco (a quick-service restaurant in Chicago specializing in Mexican street fare) and Red Fork Natural Foods (makers of gourmet American products). In 1998, Gourmet News selected Manny as an outstanding entrepreneur in the specialty food business. Forbes Magazine profiled the creative partnership of Manny and Rick in 2006. Frontera Foods has won many awards including the NASFT’s awards for Outstanding Product, finalist for Outstanding Product Line and Outstanding Best Seller Award for Frontera Chipotle Salsa. Manny lives in Wilmette, Illinois, with his wife, Conchita (a sales manager for Frontera) and their two daughters. He is a dedicated runner and an enthusiastic cook.
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