About Daniel Best

 

Since my youth, I’ve always liked the good, the bad and the ugly of “food”. Growing it, Dan's Photosampling it, making it, studying it, learning its history, cooking it…it’s all great fun. It’s also deadly serious business: look, for far too many people in this world, just obtaining affordable and safe food is a far-from-certain proposition. I try to never forget this and I refuse to take “food” for granted. I also try not to be flip or elitist, nor do I accept conventional wisdom at face value.
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As an idealistic graduate student, in a galaxy far away and long ago, I wanted to help save the world at a time when famines were plentiful and front-page news. My wake-up call came in the form of a discussion with agricultural economists who argued that the worst thing to do for poor countries suffering from hunger was to send them “free” food. Why? Because do so served to wipe out any indigenous food production systems in the target area and any hope of self-sufficiency. Often, food aid was sequestered by corrupt governments and used as a weapon. It would have been much better to first use food aid to buy-out local products. I’ve often been amazed, during the course of my career, at how often real solutions to real problems turn out to be counterintuitive.
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All this serves to introduce a pretty eclectic career at the science-business interfaces of food, beverage and nutrition. My university degrees have earned in psychology, biochemistry, nutrition, food science and a finance MBA. I’ve worked for big companies (General Mills), small companies (Rustco Products), trade publishing companies (Gorman Publishing), not-for-profits (Dairy Research Foundation) and innumerable clients, including myself. I broke out on my own (BEST VANTAGE Inc.) when I grew tired of working under the Damoclean sword of constant mergers, acquisitions and restructurings. I wanted stability for my family. Also, as we consultants like to joke, I’m probably A.D.D…we consultants get bored far too easily and constantly need new projects to keep us challenged. I have worked in business management, product development, food technology development, quality control, manufacturing, logistics, nutrition, marketing, technical editorial, professional presentations, financial planning, strategic development and merger and acquisitions support. Oh, and I also love to cook.
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My proudest technical accomplishments have been in food safety, where I helped developed pasteurization technologies for: a) shell eggs (a company and technology that I cofounded) and b) for seed grains, on behalf of a small-company client. My greatest satisfaction, however, has come from meeting and working with consumers, customers, college students and clients that I’ve been able to help during the course of my career, and with whom we’ve shared a common passion and enjoyment for food. I’ve never been seriously bored with my profession, nor have I had to question whether I was helping, rather than hurting, people. And for all that, I am eternally grateful.
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 For a more detailed bio, my LinkedIn profiled can be found here.