Photo: Frankie Frankeny

Photo: Frankie Frankeny

It was around 1980, and Hobbs Shore began smoking select meats and fish for his friends at their invitation. He simply reached back to his experiences growing up, where he carted Applewood chips to the smokehouse on his grandfather's farm in New York state. So what started out as a pastime for the retired economist, turned into a full-fledged business within several years... Hobbs' Applewood Smoked Meats.

Hobbs Shore set about creating enduring recipes for smoked essences, ones that set his products apart from others offered in the San Francisco Bay and Northern California valley areas, as he proceeded to process his own meats in his San Joaquin Valley smokehouse. He made a mark among fine restaurants with what is now known as "California-style" bacon, first dry-curing the pork with his own secret salt mix, bedding it down for two weeks to reduce the moisture and then curing it in sweet applewood smoke. Business expanded with more smoked offerings of Prosciutto, Coppa, Ham, Poultry and Sausages, as Hobbs oversaw his dry-curing of Pancetta in his San Leandro facility, his plant dedicated solely to this purpose.

Hobbs, as he was always called, was a one-man force to be reckoned with, emanating a bigger-than-life personality as he made the rounds, calling on discerning chefs.

"He's sort of like a mad scientist, father and great supporter all rolled into one," Krahling says. "When he comes into the kitchen, he ponies up next to you and talks and gives you pearls of wisdom. He's just a magical man."  -- San Francisco Chronicle, March 15, 2000

Hobbs was often back in the kitchens, serving up slivers of his specials meats.

"When I first bought Hobbs' product, it was around 1984, when I was chef at Pat O'Shea's Mad Hatter," said Nancy Oakes, now owner and co-founder of the restaurant Boulevard. "He came in in his plaid shirt and he had a fabulous personality about him. It was the beginning of the first wave of the food revolution. He came in with real, authentic (smoked meats), unpumped and unprocessed, and he was like that, too - not pumped and not processed. We all just fell in love with him."

-- San Francisco Chronicle, December 23, 2008

"He's the kind of man that, when he comes in, you want to get him a slice of pie and a cup of coffee", says Boulevard's Oakes.  -- San Francisco Chronicle, March 15, 2000

Not a lot has changed since Mr. "Hobbs" Shore passed away in 2008. Hobbs Applewood Smoked Meat is still a family-owned business and the company still carries on the same traditions of specializing in their own gourmet and specialty smoked meats.  

That is in no small part due to Kim Huynh. For nearly 20 years, Kim worked side-by-side with Mr. Shore. Hobbs provided the necessary Vision, Creativity and Personal Charisma, while Kim ensured everything worked to perfection.   Kim’s many years of personally making products, assuring on-time delivery, and providing “personal touch” service has been most instrumental in establishing Hobbs Applewood Smoked Meats as a supplier of Premium Products. 

Many chefs are already aware that Kim helped develop many of the company’s unique recipes and processing techniques. Hobbs was like a father to Kim, and his lasting influence is most noticeable in Kim’s passion for superior meat products, discerning palate, and love for his customers.  He takes great pride in seeing Hobbs' vision and legacy live on in everything we do.    As Operations Manager, Kim is now the primary face of the company.  As it should be! 

Kim graduated from Richmond High School and Contra Costa Community College.  He has two daughters, a son and one grandson all of whom live in the bay area.”