Michael Mendes

Experienced Senior Business Executive

About Michael Mendes

The current president and chief executive officer of Oakland, California’s Just Desserts, Michael Mendes oversees the marketing of quality dessert and snack products throughout North America as well as select markets in the Pacific Rim. Since assuming leadership of the company in 2013, he has recapitalized Just Desserts’ balance sheet, redesigned its corporate logo, and launched a new line of organic products for distribution in the United States. Michael Mendes succeeded in reducing Just Desserts’ total debt and interest cost by over 40 percent in less than six months.

Michael J. Mendes previously served as the president, chief executive officer, and board chairman of Diamond Foods, a publicly traded food company that offers a wide variety of products under the Diamond, Pop Secret, Emerald, and Kettle brand names. In addition to his current responsibilities with Just Desserts, Michael J. Mendes sits on the board of directors for several professional organizations, including the Grocery Outlet and the National Raisin Company.

City Ballet School Invites Applicants for Its Summer Intensive Program

Michael J. Mendes serves as chief executive officer and director of the San Francisco Bay area’s Just Desserts. Since he took over these roles in late 2013, he has guided the turnaround of the 40-year-old bakery, helping to reduce debt and increase efficiency. Michael J. Mendes remains active within his community, and supports youth education. He serves as chairman and a member of the board of directors for the City Ballet Foundation of San Francisco.

With its location in the heart of San Francisco, the City Ballet School offers one of the best classical Russian Vaganova based ballet training programs in the United States. The City Ballet Foundation supports deserving students with scholarships, helps support performances, artistic residency, and provides access to this art form for underprivileged children.

Galina Alexandrova and Nikolai Kaaniaev of SF City Ballet School

Michael Mendes currently operates as the managing partner and chief executive officer of Just Desserts. Outside of his leadership responsibilities at the national provider of hand-crafted baked goods, he enjoys supporting several charitable causes. As a chairman of the foundation board of directors, Michael J. Mendes is particularly engaged with the San Francisco City Ballet School.

The City Ballet School in San Francisco provides students with premier training in the Vaganova method of ballet dancing. All City Ballet instructors are led by Galina Alexandrova, the school’s artistic director. Ms. Alexandrova grew up in Russia as the child of accomplished dancers. She studied at and graduated from the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow before attending City Ballet for eight years.

Boys' and men’s director Nikolai Kabaniaev, meanwhile, attended St. Petersburg’s Vaganova Academy and later danced for seven years in the United States with the Kirov Ballet. His official titles with Kirov Ballet included associate artistic director, choreographer, and men’s technique and partnering instructor. Over the course of his career, Kabaniaev has choreographed more than 30 original ballets for companies like Miami City Ballet and the Faruk Rusimatov Touring Company.

Cakes and Cupcakes at Just Desserts in the San Francisco Bay Area

Michael J. Mendes began his career in the industry as a manager of international sales and marketing with the Los Angeles based Dole Foods. Michael Mendes presently serves as the chief executive officer and director of the San Francisco Bay area’s Just Desserts.

Just Desserts provides customers with a variety of classic American desserts made from high-quality ingredients. The company’s cakes, like all of its products, are made from scratch and decorated by hand. Some of Just Desserts' unique offerings include its cookies and cream, raspberry dark chocolate, and mocha cream cakes. Customers can also purchase the company’s pumpkin spice cake on a seasonal basis.

Just Desserts also provides a number of cupcake flavors that are individually packed for convenience, as well as a line of single-serve cakes. The Just Desserts cupcake line features a variety of flavors that range from fruity to chocolaty, and the company's single-serve cake line features lemon, carrot, and chocolate cake flavors, as both bundt cakes and traditional frosted cakes.

Just Desserts has introduced a line of Organic Cakes, Cupcakes and Bites, which offer all the great taste of the heritage product offering, yet passed through the rigor of CCOF and USDA organic certification. Just Desserts new organic Strawberry Filled Cake is the fastest growing of the new line, and is available in select stores nationally. These new items are now available in unique, contemporary packaging with a proprietary design developed by Just Desserts.

Requirements for Organic Labeling

Michael J. Mendes serves as CEO of Just Desserts, a baker of high-end, all-natural treats. In 2014, Michael Mendes led the company's introduction of its first line of organic products.

For a product to carry the USDA Organic symbol, it must meet particular requirements for both production and labeling. Manufacture of the product needs to avoid all disallowed methods, including genetic engineering, and its ingredients must be in line with the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. An authorized certifying agent of the USDA National Organic Program must also oversee accreditation of the product.

A product may state that it is “made with” organic ingredients, provided that 70 percent of the product is certified organic and the manufacturer used no excluded methods or disallowed ingredients. The label must indicate organic ingredients but may not carry the “USDA Organic” label. By contrast, a product with no more than 5 percent allowed non-organic ingredients and all certified organic agricultural ingredients may carry the “Organic” label and the USDA seal. For a product to carry the “100 Percent Organic” label as well as the seal, all ingredients and processing aids must be organic and the label must indicate the certifying agency.

Cardiac Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

As CEO of Just Desserts, Michael J. Mendes led the introduction of the company's line of premium organic desserts in 2014. Michael Mendes is currently spearheading the launch of Just Desserts' newest product, the Midnight Vegan Chocolate Cake.

Many people find dark chocolate to be satisfying, decadent, and indulgent. Fortunately, science has determined that it can also be beneficial for heart health. Cocoa is rich in antioxidant flavonoids that destroy free radicals, which studies have shown to be contributing factors for high blood pressure, heart disease, and other conditions. One study, conducted at the University of Cologne in Germany, found that consumers of dark chocolate experienced a drop in blood pressure.

Similarly, studies at Italy's National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research revealed that participants who consumed 100 grams of dark chocolate had higher antioxidant levels when compared to those who consumed chocolate in combination with milk ingredients. Other investigations have found links between chocolate consumption and a decreased risk of heart attack and an improvement in blood flow through the arteries.

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