Ignacio (Nacho) Gomez

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.


Maria Serna

Maria Serna
Field Merchandiser/Trainer - Southern California

Maria has been in the grocery industry for the last twelve years, eight of which have been in the bakery. There she learned to bake and soon after to cake decorate.

Maria is currently assigned to Ralph's Grocery Company.




Valerie Beard

Valerie Beard
Field Merchandiser/Trainer - Southern California

Valerie Beard was seven years old when she began training to bake and cake decorate in the family’s Corona California bakery. Val’s earliest memories were of going to the bakery in the morning with her father before he would drop her off at kindergarten. Dad taught her how to make Danish and, for fun, he would let her ice cupcakes. Spending time with her father really paid off as she developed the skills that set her on the path to become a successful baker.

By the time Valerie was sixteen years old the bakery had become a second home. The whole family worked and played together as the bakery was the focal point. Val drew knowledge from everyone that worked in the bakery to hone her skills to be able to reach her potential.

In 2002 Valerie’s baking career took a very different turn when she joined Vons Grocery Company as a full time baker and cake decorator. Soon she was promoted to bakery manager. This allowed her to continued her hands- on education by allowing her to see baking on a much higher production level, learn about the grocery business and understanding the role in-store bakeries play. What Val loved the most about Vons/Safeway was they were still a mostly scratch bakery.

Fast forward to August of 2015 and Valerie’s career moved on to Le Grand Marketing. She was introduced to the world of trainer/merchandiser and has been using her extensive experience and skills effectively ever since. If anyone asks, Val will be quick to say that she loves what she does and strives to share the passion and art of good baking with others.

Diana Keller

Diana Keller
Field Merchandiser/Trainer - Northern California

Diana started in the grocery industry at the age of sixteen. She worked as a deli clerk before moving into the bakery as a baker. Diana has been cake decorating for the last fifteen years. In her spare time, she enjoys creating three-dimensional cakes. She appreciates the level of creativity this provides. Additionally, she makes wedding cakes.

Diana joined Le Grand in the capacity of store level training in June 2007. She provides primary technical support throughout Northern California.

Jessica Soo

Jessica Soo
Field Merchandiser/Trainer - Southern California

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.

Ryan Davenport

Ryan Davenport
Field Merchandiser/Trainer - Pacific Northwest

Ryan was born and grew up in Longview Washington where he graduated from R.A. Long High School. He always excelled in Home Economics and baking at home for his family.

Shortly after graduation, he started in the bakery business going to work briefly for Top Food and Drug in Kelso as a donut fryer and back up baker for the day crew. Soon after he started, he moved on to work for an Oregon independent grocer, Lamb’s Thriftway in Wilsonville, Oregon. Beginning as a donut fryer and baker for the evening shift, over the years he moved up the ranks of the Lamb’s crew adding bread making , baking and cake decorating, eventually becoming Production Manager. In 2014, after 19 years, Ryan left Lamb’s and purchased a small bakery/cake shop in Portland. He enjoyed building relationships with the local customers with his baked goods and decorated cakes. After 5 years serving the greater Portland area, he decided to move on, working briefly for Bales as a cake decorator before it went out of business in 2019.

In October of 2019 Ryan joined the LeGrand Marketing team as a Field Merchandiser for the Oregon and Washington Region. He frequently works with Safeway/Albertsons as a bake tech, training and teaching handling of our vendor’s products. He also focuses on helping to grow Le Grand’s reach in the Pacific Northwest Independent Markets. Ryan works hard at being a friendly, hard working team player.

Brian Trujillo

Brian Trujillo
Field Merchandiser/Trainer - Arizona