August 01, 2012
I was in Miami, at the Doral Country Club during a monsoon, at the annual meeting of the Association of Healthcare Foodservice June 21, when I heard Mitch Schechter had died. Our dear friend, and Mitch’s, Donna Boss, was with us in Miami, and filled us in with what she knew. (And helped write the obit we published the following week.) She was, frankly, shocked and devastated, as we all were. She had hired Mitch almost three decades ago to work with her (well, for her) at Food Management. And it was just so unexpected.
There were many other New York friends of Mitch’s in Miami: Marc Fuchs, from M. Tucker, Tony Almeida, the head of foodservice at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Rutgers, the rep Joe Ferri and others. This is important because Mitch was a New Yorker through and through, and the New York foodservice community is a very small town. We all just looked at each other and said, Oh, my God!
Forgive me, but it made me realize, once again, that we are among the luckiest people in the history of the world. Mitch was younger than I am: He was 60, I’m 62. Donna said something that was very apt: “It’s just so sad.” And it is. Mitch had talent, personality and drive. He had great friends. He worked for manufacturers—he long had an equipment industry marketing practice—for operators, for associations, for a long list of industry publications.
He was fun, and droll, and a really nice guy. After we started Gill Ashton Publishing and Foodservice Equipment Reports, he became chief editor at Foodservice Equipment & Supplies and we competed against each other. But he was always an honorable competitor and a friend. Brian and Mitch would share cigarette breaks. He would tell us if we did something well. We would tell him the same.
But Mitch did so much more. He created The Foodie Connection, a compendium of the best restaurants we foodservice travelers find on the road. He started The Schechter Report website and Newz-Zoom enewsletter with his partner Bill Pagano. He was always working on the next idea. And he was always there if anyone needed insight into this business.
Those who know me well have heard me say this before: We live better than the kings of France. Mitch had a lot of fun and was able to do things and experience things that few of us get to do. And he did a great deal for this industry and all of us. We owe him thanks and we wish him (and his family and friends), peace.