Jessica Soo started at Ralphs Grocery Company in 2004 and was quickly promoted into the bakery department. Within two years, after running the bread aisle and becoming the main cake decorator and full time baker, she was promoted to bakery manager and ran four successful bakeries over the next eight years.
Jessica was dedicated to her job as manager and focused on building a strong team. While at a fast growing Fresh Fare in Irvine, she became the district trainer and gained a passion for teaching others.
In 2015 Jess joined the Le Grand team. She is eager to learn more herself and train others to be successful bakers. When she's not working, Jessica dedicates all her free time to her two amazing kids and husband.
Field Merchandiser/Trainer – Arizona
Joel Dark started his career at age seventeen in a bakery owned by a French gentleman in his hometown of Fresno, California. There he learned all aspects of European style scratch baking and spent the last two years as production manager. Joel then went on to be production manager at a wholesale artisan bread bakery, also in Fresno. During his seven year tenure, the bakery went from three accounts to over fifty. By the time he left, the bakery was producing 5,000 pounds of dough a day.
Getting back to the basics of baking, Joel then accepted a position with a tourist spot in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The location was featured in Southern Living magazine and on the Rachel Ray television show. Moving back to California, Joel was offered a position as regional general manager for a restaurant management company where he stayed for two years.
In 2011, Bashas Grocery offered him a spot as bakery manager in one of their Phoenix, Arizona locations. Joel was able to increase sales in each of the six years he was with the company, finishing his tenure 4th overall in percentage of store sales.
In July of 2017, Joel accepted a position with LeGrand Marketing as a field merchandiser. He is excited to be with a growing company and also to share what experience he has gained over the last 28 years.
Ignacio (Nacho) Gomez
Field Merchandiser/Trainer - Southern California
Ignacio (Nacho) Gomez grew up Guadalajara, Mexico and came to the United States on a work visa at age 18. He landed a job at a restaurant and bakery now located in Huntington Beach, California where for seventeen years he learned how to formulate and bake scratch recipes for breads, cakes and cookies.
Nacho was then recruited by Boudin San Francisco Sourdough Company and received intensive training in San Francisco on the same mother dough cultivated from a gold miner’s sourdough starter originally formulated in 1849. After his training he went to work at the Boudin located in Costa Mesa.
After three years there, Nacho took his scratch baking skills to Gelson’s Market in Newport Beach. At the same time he worked at Chapman University which serves 1,700 college students and 5,000 plates a day. Nacho also worked under Chapman Chef Jim Douglas’ catering business doing the baking for catering events for VIP Guests such as former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia, Spanish President Jose Marie Aznar and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Eli Wiesel.
Now as a merchandiser and trainer for Le Grand, Nacho has used his skills at store level to provided training at Ralphs, Gelsons, Smart & Final, Vons, Albertsons, Super King and Pavilions. His bilingual skills and Hispanic heritage have allowed Ignacio to effectively train and roll out new items at predominantly Hispanic chains like Superior Grocers and Northgate Markets. He also does a great job of presentation baking and has attended several Hispanic sales presentations where his impute has aided in a number of successful calls.
In 2014 Nacho was sworn in as a US Citizen and wants to continue to improve his skills as a baker and trainer. Nacho’s passion for baking is fueled by the satisfaction that his end product will bring a smile to someone’s face.