Our Founder's Story
Mike Fry invented flavored and colored fortune cookies in 1988
A short history of our first quarter century baking gourmet fortune cookies
Baking high-quality fortune cookies is a team effort, but for 24 years there was one driving force behind it all: founder and flavor inventor Mike Fry. Sadly, Mike passed away in 2012, but his wife Erin continues to run the business and carry on his legacy. She worked alongside him for eight years, so she is well versed in all things fortune cookie.
All it took was one man on a cookie quest—okay, an obsession
It all started with Mike eating his 247th bad cookie. There he was enjoying Moo Goo Gai Pan at his favorite Fort Wayne, Indiana Chinese restaurant. As usual, he eagerly cracked open his fortune cookie—but for the first time wondered why fortune cookies had to be beige, bland and boring. While he was known as many fun things in his various careers (Ringling Brothers clown, TV Show Host, Toy Inventor) Mike Fry might as well have been called Mr. Fortune Cookie. As all inventors do, he asked the simple question: How can I make this better? Being the creative guy that he was, he immediately realized that fortune cookies would be greatly improved if they were colored and flavored. Now of course, it took many years of tireless testing and development to master the art of baking fortune cookies. In fact, Mike was the first non-Asian to do so. Along the way, lots of flavors and colors were tried and discarded, but after all this time and serious taste testing, we know we’ve achieved the ultimate in all things fortune cookie.
On top of that, Mike even invented his own fortune cookie machine, which took five years to develop, and that ensures that we can make the very best possible, consistent cookies on earth. We use 21st century technology combined with old-fashioned hard work and a serious dedication to quality. We will not sacrifice quality or taste just to make a few extra cents per cookie. While the old notion of a fortune cookie was as a free throwaway item, Mike was determined to create a delicious dessert that also happened to contain a fortune.
Happy was his first name
Mike also understood what we really sell are smiles. He
lived an exciting life with a varied and entertaining career, and the theme
that ran through all of it is JOY. It’s no accident his TV character was Happy
the Hobo. He firmly believed that life is supposed to be fun and that his
mission was to spread happiness—one fortune cookie at a time.
And that’s exactly what Mike did to everyone he met, and to his daughter Ella and wife Erin, who miss him every day.