As a trailblazer and entrepreneur, Mitch Berliner's endeavors over the past forty years have put him in the forefront of Washingtonians who have been instrumental in making this area a world-class food market. Today seasonal farm markets and freshly made food to go are familiar to most people, but Mitch did both and started the gourmet-to-go concept fresh out of college in 1971. Expanding into natural and super premium ice creams in 1974, Mitch founded Berliner Foods introducing people in the mid-Atlantic to some of their favorite treats: Haagen Dazs, Ben & Jerrys, Dove Bars and numerous other high quality and organic frozen products. After Edy's acquired his business in 1985, Mitch opened Berliner Specialty Distributors and introduced an array of organic and specialty foods to the area. Always the trendsetter and innovator, Mitch helped develop products for American Café, was a founding partner of Louisiana Express restaurant in Bethesda and has consulted for many food establishments in Washington.
Among the many philanthropic organizations that Mitch is involved with, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation, on the fundraising committees of Share Our Strength and The Washington Capital Area Food Bank. In 2007, Mitch was inducted into the Maryland Food Industry Hall of Fame for his contribution to the food industry and his longstanding involvement with numerous charitable and civic organizations. He serves on the board of Bethesda Green and is back to his roots of bringing the best fresh foods to the area as co-founder of Central Farm Markets.
Keeping to the mission of bringing great, locally sourced foods to the area, Mitch along with his wife Debra Moser and partner Stanley Feder founded MeatCrafters two years ago.
Stanley Feder was a serious cook and a foodie before the term was coined. In the 1960s, as a teenager in New York and later in Boston, Stan sought out new eating experiences among family-run ethnic restaurants and the best ingredients—and there were plenty in those cities before celebrity chefs, Dean & Delucca, the current Balducci's, and Whole Foods. When Stan found the food at college mediocre he started cooking delicious meals on a hot plate in his dorm room. By the end of his sophomore year, Stan had cooked his way through two Indian cookbooks, filling his dorm with exotic aromas.
On Stan's first trip to France in 1972 he had charcuterie for the first time. It was love at first bite. On returning home, Stan bought Jane Grigson's Charcuterie and Fresh Pork Cookery and soon was producing salt pork and an array of sausages and pâtés. In retrospect it's clear that he was more devoted to great cooking than he was to political science in which he has a Ph.D.
After a satisfying career as a research political scientist at the CIA (not the Culinary Institute of America) and a less satisfying stint in consulting, Stan's passion landed him in the food business. It was clear to him that the Washington area needed high quality salamis and sausages on a par with those found in France and Italy.
In 2005 Stan founded Simply Sausage. Along the way Stan did two short apprenticeships with European-trained Master of Sausage making Jan Van der Lieck in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2007 Chef José Andres sent Stan to northern Spain to learn the fine points of making Catalan sausages. Stan returned to Spain again in 2010 to learn to make Catalan dried sausages such as fuet and chorizo.
Stan is a member of Slow Food, a charter member of the National Capital Area chapter of the American Institute of Food and Wine, and a former director of The Regional Food Council/Local Food, a not-for-profit that worked to strengthen links between small farmers and the citizens of the greater Washington, DC, area. He was part of the team that organized the Mt. Pleasant Farmers' Market in Washington, DC.
In partnering with Mitch Berliner and Debra Moser, Stan will realize his dream of making salamis and other dried charcuterie and salami.