Co-founders of Simply Sorbets
(Richard and “Ben” Rizzuto)
Richard T Rizzuto
I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, but grew up in New Jersey. My grandmother’s family owned several restaurants named Compagno’s in New Orleans for 40 years. I loved to visit my grandparents. I can still smell my grandmother’s cooking. She used family recipes for Italian dishes as well as many New Orleans dishes and I grew to really savor everything she cooked.
I attended The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and graduated with a technical bachelor’s degree. While attending the University, I fell in love with the Cajun cuisine of Southwest Louisiana. I became interested in the culinary arts and began preparing my own dishes.
I moved back to New Orleans after graduation and was employed as a Microsoft Network Engineer. I am a Hurricane Katrina survivor! After losing my job due to Katrina, I formed my own IT Company of Network Engineers to provide computer refreshes for various businesses. But an inner voice began calling me to Austin, Texas. I sold my business, relocated and started a new life. I’m now an IT Administrator in Austin.
The culinary bug began biting me again upon visiting the many Texas food scenes and events. I also became very interested in Gelato and Sorbets, a throwback to my parents and their love for ice cream that was imparted to me. Considering the many patents my father has for sugar, I started to dabble with various Gelato and Sorbet recipes. For the past 3 years, I’ve enjoyed developing uniquely crafted Gelatos and Sorbets. The remainder of the story is history.
Anthony “Ben” Rizzuto
My dad, “Ben”, has been a driving force and a role model in my life. Ben was born in Baton Rouge, but the family moved to New Orleans where he was raised. A graduate of LSU with a dual degree in Chemistry and Zoology, Ben had a 2 year stint in the Army Chemical Corp. He then returned to Mississippi State and completed his master’s degree in Microbiology. Upon graduation, Ben accepted a position at Domino Sugar and eventually moved to New Jersey. During his tenure at Domino Sugar he became the Director of Research and Development for World Wide Operations.
Ben had a unique interest in the food industry (his mother’s Sicilian family were restaurateurs in New Orleans for many years). Ben became a research and developer with an emphasis in troubleshooting industry issues as it related to sugar. He was an innovator and pioneer of many Domino products in the Specialty Sugars Division. Ben had an amazing 34-year career at AMSTAR/Domino and, while there, he was named in 9 patents from the U.S. Patent office.