Editor Bernie Pacyniak and Associate Editor Crystal Lindell at last year’s Kettle Awards Reception, which was held at the Union League Club in downtown Chicago during the Sweets & Snacks Expo. 

In case anyone doesn’t recognize the prettier face on this page, that’s Crystal Lindell, my associate editor. And in case anyone doesn’t recognize where this was

As many of you know, each year Candy Industry recognizes individuals within the industry by nominating them for the Kettle Award. Given the stellar history of nominees and recipients for the past 66 years — check out our Saluting the Kettle supplement in this issue for details — it’s no wonder the event is recognized as the “Oscars” of the U.S. confectionery industry.taken, it was at the Union League Club during the Sweets & Snacks Expo last year at Candy Industry’s Kettle Awards reception.

As expected, it’s a bit of a dress-up affair — the Union League Club doesn’t allow jeans. But if you’ve never been to our reception, it’s definitely worth the extra fashion effort to see the industry’s who’s who at a very exclusive venue in Chicago.

This year, we once again — thanks to the efforts of our illustrious committee — have four outstanding nominees: James S. Buffardi, cfo of Ferrara Pan Candy Co.;  Mitchell Goetze, president and ceo of Goetze’s Candy Co.; R. Anthony Sweet, chairman of Sweet Candy Co.; and Charles Flavelle, chairman of R.C. Purdy Chocolates, Ltd.

I would imagine most of you are very familiar with the individuals cited. If not, simply check out their accomplishments within the Saluting the Kettle section. Every one of them, of course, is deserving to be named a Kettle Award recipient.

Alas, as has been the case for the past several years, readers and committee members have had to struggle in choosing one individual. From the committee’s and magazine’s perspective, that’s the way it should be.

Easy — that is deciding upon one individual from a stellar slate — it should never become, particularly because this industry has a habit of bringing out the best in so many executives and professionals.

As Don Gussow, founder and publisher of Candy Industry, explained in establishing the Kettle Awards, the honor represents “recognition of the contribution for ‘great or good’ of the industry, not only on the part of the person selected for the distinction, but of every member of the confectionery field who has devoted himself in whatever measure to make the business of candy making and selling a more profitable and happier one.”

In other words, the Kettle Awards honor everyone who works within the confectionery industry. Having covered both the snack and baking industries in my career as a b-to-b editor, I have to honestly say that the sweets segment fosters a camaraderie and collegiality that’s unique.

What’s even more amazing is that the close ties apply globally. Anyone having attended confectionery-related shows abroad or who have had the opportunity to visit confectioners throughout the world can surely attest to that truism.

Hence,  Kris Collins, our  publisher, Crystal and I invite all of you to bask in a bit of back patting and celebration on May 9 (Union League Club, downtown Chicago, 6 - 7:30 p.m.), one that recognizes not only our nominees, but this entire wonderful industry of ours.

Moreover, we’re buying. So, mark your calendars and come and join us as we toast our nominees and all of you.