Faces of Ace: Alberto Gonzalez

April 6, 2022
Image courtesy of Alberto Gonzalez

Welcome to the fourth installment of Faces of Ace. Last month, you met Bini Reilly, who helms Ace’s retail division. This month, you’ll meet Ace’s COO, Alberto Gonzalez. Read on to learn about the food he grew up eating, his love of Italian cuisine, and his trajectory into the health food industry…

“Growing up, being Argentinian, we ate a lot of beef, salad, and potatoes,” says Alberto. “I actually grew up eating beef twice a day, maybe five times a week. That’s what Argentinians used to eat, we were all about beef.”

Image courtesy of GustOrganics

Today, Alberto doesn’t cook, but he’s still a foodie. “If I cooked, people would make lines to kick my face,” he laughs. “No, no, no, I don’t want to get hurt.” Alberto is also half Italian and his heritage is clear in his gustatory preferences, where southern Italian cuisine outranks all others. “I really appreciate Italian cuisine because you can get a lot of flavors with simple and healthy ingredients and it’s very playful,” says Alberto. “Pasta with funghi is probably my favorite food right now. Pappardelle with white mushrooms, an oil base, and other spices.”

While he didn’t grow up in the natural food world, once he was introduced to it the conversion was immediate. “In the mid-90s, I went to an organic food seminar that took place in the UK embassy in Buenos Aires,” remembers Alberto. “And I got completely hooked on the concept of organic food—the idea of feeding people with food that didn’t have any chemicals on it—right there.” 

Image courtesy of GustOrganics

At the time, Alberto was working as a business consultant in change management. But he soon decided to move to the United States and start GustOrganics, New York’s first certified organic restaurant. “I’m passionate about sustainable development,” says Alberto. “And organic agriculture is super related to sustainable development. The way that you produce food is so important. I started to be very interested in all these things that you can do in order just to leave a better world than the way we found it.” 

Alberto also believes that large-scale environmental and social change starts with for-profit businesses leading the way. This is the philosophy that drives a lot of the projects he has overseen since joining Ace back in 2013.

Image courtesy of Alberto Gonzalez

“My position is to try to do the right things right—for the people and for the environment—from the very beginning,” says Alberto. “Sometimes it’s not the easiest choice but it’s the right one. This is the theory of how we’re going to accelerate transformative change. Let’s use businesses to heal the world, to do better things for the planet and for the people. This is what we’re trying to do at Ace.

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