18th Annual People’s Awards

Deli Business’ annual People’s Awards recognizes the best of the best in the industry. These individuals come from a wide range of backgrounds and experience but what they have in common is notable careers and contributions to the field. The following pages detail this year’s winners’ careers, business philosophies and crowning achievements, along with insight on their personal lives.

Gabrielle Micale


Gourmet Foods International

Decatur, GA

Q. How has your career evolved over the years? 

A.  I fell into the food industry four years ago after working in customer service, travel and finance. It was an easy transition, as I am passionate about cooking, eating, product quality and generally all aspects of food.

Q. What is your leadership philosophy? 

A.  Lead by example. It’s easy to spout philosophies, but I think most people take their cues from what you actually do, not what you say.

Q. What is the best advice you ever received and why? 

A.  Be your own advocate. No one cares as much about your career as you do. If I had waited for someone to tell me I was capable of more, I would still be working in a call center attached to a headset.

Q. How do you balance your work and personal life? 

A. I make it a point daily to leave work at work. I don’t get email notifications at night or on the weekends. When I turn off my computer, one of the first things I do is take a walk with my dogs. It helps clear my head and creates a dividing line between work and home, especially since I’ve been working from home for the last two years.

Q. What deli retail trends have impacted the industry most over the last year? 

A.  When people couldn’t go out because of the pandemic, they wanted to bring some of those going out experiences into their homes. I think the best example of that is the explosion in DIY charcuterie boards. Every board needs to do outdo the last in both taste and style. This hasn’t changed even as more people are going back to restaurants and bars.

Q. What technology or technical tools are indispensable to you in the workplace and why? 

A.  I wouldn’t be able to do my job if I couldn’t keep track of my tasks using spreadsheets and a shared calendar. I certainly couldn’t continue to work from home without a good webcam.

Q. What have been the biggest changes in the deli industry over the course of your career? 

A.  The pandemic upended everything we thought we knew about the food industry, and it continues to surprise us.

Q. What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome on the job? 

A.  I’ve had to learn that I can only control what I can control. As much as I might get frustrated by logistics delays and price hikes, I can’t drive trucks or unload containers. All I can do is communicate clearly and trust the process. It helps that we are all going through this together.

Q.  What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work? 

A.  I’m a voracious reader and use my library card regularly. I really got into gardening during the lockdown, and there’s nothing like pulling weeds to relieve stress. I also enjoy working out, especially doing cross training exercises and yoga.

Q. Are you married? If so, how long? How many children? 

A.  I’ve been married nearly 10 years and am currently pregnant with our first child.


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