Sprouts Board of Advisors

Robert Collier

Robert Collier

President at Appanage Brands, San Francisco, CA

The Inside Scoop

What is your profession? What do you love most about your job?

I am the president of a luxury liquor company called Appanage Brands and we make unique artisanal products in California.  Before this I have worked as a banker in London, the head of Strategy for a Clean-Tech Company, as a substitute teacher in East Oakland, in wineries in the US and Italy, and as crew delivering sailboats around the mediterranean and across the Atlantic.  I am also a partner in some restaurants in New York. What I like about my job is not being bored.

Why are you interested in cooking and food education?

I grew up in kitchens and restaurants, starting to work in them in Berkeley when I was 13.  The non-culinary skills (like interacting with people, noticing things, planning) have served me well throughout my careers.  And I love sharing food and techniques, and learning and teaching, generally.  


What first made you interested in food?

Eating it?  Actually probably smells from kitchens and playing with fire and knives.

What is the connection between your work and the advising you do for Sprouts?

I do the relationship thing and know lots of people.  I don’t think the kids should have any alcohol I make.

Why do you think the work that Sprouts is doing is important?

The life skills learned through cooking, as well as an appreciation for food, serve anyone well in life, generally.  Access to those skills, especially at a young age and in fine-dining, is relatively rare, or privileged.  It is also intimidating.  Sprouts helps to give access to an entirely practical education, while also developing a love for food and cooking that demands an understanding of sourcing and (hence) sustainability.  And everyone should know how to make pasta correctly.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned from working with Sprouts?

Not learned for the first time, but that kids are waaaaaay more impressive and mature and reliable than we give them credit for, so long as they are given a shot.

Why is it important for kids to learn how to cook?

Nutrition and the environment.  They should also learn how to grow their own food.  Then they can start messing around with truffles.

What was one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had as a Sprouts fan?

Seeing the community that has and continues to develop around it.

Is there anything else that you would like Sprouts fans and foodies to know about you?

I always look forward to the summertime, when I can teach cooking classes to Sprouts’ kiddos.