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Stephanie Kovacs, Harbinger
Frustrated by the lack of specialty foods in the city, she opened lesley stowe fine foods, offering consumers a wide range of world class cheeses, breads, homemade entrées, desserts and hard-to-find grocery items. Lesley was also a frontrunner in offering tastings and classes to the public. Her specialty fine foods store was one of the first in the city providing Vancouverites the chance to sample extra virgin olive oils and 25-year-old balsamic vinegars and quickly became a destination shop.
Lesley’s ability to predict and capitalize on food trends resulted in the creation of raincoast crisps®, an artisan cracker that was featured on Oprah’s O List and in Martha Stewart Living magazine. Today, the crisps have expanded into more than 4,000 stores across North America. In response to many consumer requests, Lesley introduced raincoast oat crisps™ to accommodate the growing number of consumers avoiding wheat in their diets. By 2016, product offerings had expanded to include raincoast crisps® on-the-go and a new line of products perfect for all types of entertaining occasions, raincoast veggie flats™.
Lesley has established herself as a culinary pioneer and entertaining expert, authoring two cookbooks and has been featured on many national and international broadcast programs including Entertainment Tonight Canada, CTV Morning Live, Breakfast Television and California Life, providing tips on how to create her homemade recipes and offering entertaining and decorating advice for a variety of different events and occasions.
Lesley is active in the community, with involvement in the Canadian Cancer Society and Vancouver International Wine Festival. She is also a Trustee for the Vancouver Art Gallery and a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a society of professional women in the food and beverage industry that promotes appreciation, education and assistance to women advancing careers in the food, beverage and hospitality industry.