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

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

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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