Presenters

This year’s conference connects attendee to some of the most well known scientists, culinarians and industry leaders. We are excited to be able to welcome them to the 30th Chef Culinary Conference to share their expertise with you.

Matthew Britt

Categories: Presenters

Matthew Britt is a chef and associate professor contributing his years of experience running restaurants in Washington, DC to New England’s growing culinary scene. Britt has experience in several types of cuisines but specializes in tying New England tradition with world flavors. He currently works as a full-time faculty member at Johnson & Wales University, where he also serves as the lead organizer of the annual FIT Symposium.

Growing up in Nashua, New Hampshire, Britt became a dishwasher at the age of 16 and worked to advance his skills as a line cook at local restaurants. Like many in his field, Britt attended the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 2004. He went on to work at the Ritz Carlton in Boston and for the Back Bay Restaurant Group in that same city. In 2006, Chef Britt moved to Washington, DC and joined the Passion Food Hospitality family where rose to become the executive chef at the Latin inspired Ceiba, in 2011. After several years leading the Ceiba team, Britt and his wife Erin decided to relocate, returning to their roots in New England. There, Britt landed teaching positions at Le Cordon Bleu and then Johnson & Wales. Chef Britt holds a Master’s Degree in Education and celebrates incorporating the natural world into everything he cooks and teaches. From leveraging global flavors, to celebrating what thrives in our local eco-system, his goal is make every dining experience memorable.

Matthew Britt

Matthew Britt is a chef and associate professor contributing his years of...

Chrissy Carroll

Categories: Presenters

Chrissy Carroll is a vibrant Registered Dietitian, blogger, and consultant. Her website, Snacking in Sneakers, shares nutrition tips, training info, and recipes for runners, garnering more than 100,000 views every month. Chrissy was an early adopter of generative artificial intelligence for her own business, and enjoys sharing ways that fellow dietitians can use AI to save time and get more done. She has a professional certificate in Next-Generation Learning with Generative Artificial Intelligence Tools, and has attended the GenAI Conference for a deep dive into the implications of machine learning. Chrissy loves discussing the impact – both positive and negative – that AI may have in the world of nutrition, and practical ways to embrace this new digital world.

Chrissy Carroll

Chrissy Carroll is a vibrant Registered Dietitian, blogger, and consultant. Her website,...

Ashley Carter

Categories: Presenters

Ashley Carter, a registered dietitian, is renowned for her culturally focused approach to nutrition education. As the co-founder and director of EatWell Exchange, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, she champions the cause of enhancing food access and educating low-income, minority communities on preparing nutritious, budget-friendly meals. They have taught over 33,340 people since 2017 and have impacted more than 26 cities. Ashley’s academic journey includes a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Florida State University and a master’s in nutrition with a health informatics specialization from the University of North Florida. She also imparts her knowledge as an adjunct professor at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, teaching the Science of Nutrition.

With a decade of expertise in maternal and child health, Ashley is a prominent figure in her field. Ashley is also the author of “Enoch’s Little Lunch,” a children’s book promoting the enjoyment of cultural foods in school settings. Her work has earned acclaim in notable publications such as Eating Well, Today’s Dietitians, Essence, Miami Times, VeryWell Fit, Well+Good, and Kids Eat in Color. Her mission extends beyond immediate dietary changes; she aims to foster generational shifts in health outcomes, tackling issues like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases through culturally relevant foods. Her commitment and expertise position her as a pivotal force in transforming the health and well-being of the communities she dedicates her efforts.

Ashley Carter

Ashley Carter, a registered dietitian, is renowned for her culturally focused approach...

Maneet Chauhan

Categories: Presenters

Maneet Chauhan is an award-winning chef, author, television personality and founding partner and president of Morph Hospitality Group in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a recipient of the 2012 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award for her role as a permanent judge on Food Network’s “Chopped” and was honored with an Augie Award by The Culinary Institute of America in 2022.

Born in Punjab, India, chef Chauhan worked in some of the country’s finest hotels before moving to the U.S. to study at the Culinary Institute of America. She went on to work as executive chef in some of New York City and Chicago’s top restaurants, which received national acclaim under her leadership. After relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, Chauhan and her husband, Vivek Deora, co-founded Morph Hospitality Group, opening their first restaurant, Chauhan Ale & Masala House in 2014. Chef Chauhan is also a co-founder of Hop Springs, home to the state’s largest craft brewery and a fun-filled 84-acre beer park located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Maneet opened her latest restaurant, eet by Maneet Chauhan, at Disney Springs in fall 2023.

Chauhan is the author of two cookbooks, Flavors of My World and her most recent, Chaat: The Best Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India. Chaat was recognized as one of the most anticipated cookbooks in 2020 and appeared in the New York Times, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and more. It also received the IACP Cookbook Award in October 2021.

Maneet Chauhan

Maneet Chauhan is an award-winning chef, author, television personality and founding partner...

Lumi Cirstea

Categories: Presenters

Master Baker and Executive Pastry Chef Lumi Cirstea, honed her baking pastry skills at some of the most esteemed bakeries, hotels and restaurants not only in USA, but Europe, too. She taught and trained generations of baking & pastry students at Johnson & Wales University, RI for years, as well as consulting multiple food retails. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including Bread Lines, Baking and Pastry of America, and Providence Journal.

Lumi Cirstea

Master Baker and Executive Pastry Chef Lumi Cirstea, honed her baking pastry...

Kristy Del Coro

Categories: Presenters

Kristy Del Coro is a licensed dietitian nutritionist and trained culinary professional based in Southern Maine. With over 15 years of experience in culinary nutrition, Kristy combines her strong foundation in clinical nutrition with her culinary skills to develop healthy flavorful recipes and educate others on how to apply nutrition science in the kitchen. Kristy is the co-founder of the Culinary Nutrition Collaborative, a continuing education and consulting platform that reaches thousands of healthcare professionals nationwide, as well as a freelance food and health writer. Kristy is regularly quoted in the media as a culinary nutrition expert, has contributed to several textbooks on culinary nutrition, and is also an appointed member of the Medical Review Board for VeryWell Fit and Real Simple. 

Kristy has trained in and worked for a New York City-based Michelin-starred restaurant group that focused on seasonal, sustainable, and nutritious menus and consulted for myriad food service operations and global food companies, including college and university dining operations. During her time in New York City, Kristy served as an adjunct faculty member at her alma mater, New York University for several years where she developed and taught a culinary course for nutrition students. This experience inspired her to create a space to provide specific culinary-focused nutrition education for health professionals; through the Culinary Nutrition Collaborative, Kristy and her co-founder Jackie Topol host regular events in collaboration with industry experts that focus on culinary nutrition to combine the latest in nutrition research with practical application in everyday cooking. In 2021, they also launched a recurring annual virtual Global Cuisine Series that explores important food traditions and how practitioners can take these into consideration to provide more culturally appropriate education. Kristy has a bachelor’s degree in history from Boston College, a master’s in clinical nutrition from New York University, completed her dietetic internship training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and has a culinary arts diploma from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City.

Kristy Del Coro

Kristy Del Coro is a licensed dietitian nutritionist and trained culinary professional...

Musa Dağdeviren

Categories: Presenters

Musa Dağdeviren is chef-owner of Istanbul’s Çiya Sofrasi, where he is widely considered to be one of the foremost experts on the diverse regional cuisines of Turkey. Chef Dağdeviren has spent a lifetime learning about these food traditions, beginning in his uncle’s bakery at age five. Later as a teenager, he cooked alongside his uncle, where he was responsible for the wood burning oven and learned to make kebabs and appetizers in the Istanbul and Gaziantep styles, as well as to develop his skills with pide. In 1987 he opened Çiya Kebap, and in 1990, Zeynep Caliskan, who would later become his wife, joined the restaurant family. Musa’s experience and research interests allowed him to grow the kebab menu to over one-hundred items, including creating the first vegetarian lahmacun and kebab. In 1998 he opened Çiya Sofrasi, where he created a unique menu featuring regional recipes and techniques found because of Musa’s anthropological fieldwork to villages across the country. In 2001 he started another kebab restaurant, Ciya Kebap II. In 2005, Musa and Zeynep established Çiya Publishing Company and started to publish a semi-academic quarterly magazine called Food and Culture, as well as eight books – three of which they have translated. Musa’s work to keep regional Turkish dishes from going extinct was acknowledged on season five of the Netflix Emmy Award-winning docuseries, Chef’s Table (2018). In 2019, Phaidon published The Turkish Cookbook, which contains five-hundred-and-fifty recipes and is his first work in English. Musa and Zeynep established the Çiya Foundation ten years ago; it produces research and projects in relation to food culture.

Musa Dağdeviren

Musa Dağdeviren is chef-owner of Istanbul’s Çiya Sofrasi, where he is widely...

Mike Daley

Categories: Presenters

Growing up in New Hampshire, Mike was attracted to the kitchen early in life, starting at a family friend’s Southern Italian restaurant in Hanover, NH, when he was barely in his teens. Despite an athletic scholarship, it was only a year into his college career when his passion for food caused him to shift his education to the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) and return to New England.

Upon graduating from NECI’s accelerated program, Mike relocated to Philadelphia, where he worked at the renowned Striped Bass as well as its sister restaurant, Rouge. During this time, he was able to spend time periodically traveling to New York City, gaining invaluable experience at establishments such as Le Bernardin and Jean Georges.

After several great years in the Philadelphia area, he decided to embark on a new adventure, heading west and shifting focus to high-end hospitality and multi-unit management. Over the next decade, this adventure would lead him to roles as Executive Sous Chef at the Ritz-Carlton, Beaver Creek, CO, Executive Banquet Chef and opening team member at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, CA, and Executive Sous Chef of the acclaimed Mobile 5 Star, AAA 5 Diamond The Little Nell in Aspen, CO, where he helped the signature restaurant Element 47 earn a Mobile 5 Star rating in its first year.
Along the way, he and his wife fell in love with San Francisco, CA. The available produce, and easy access to the outdoors coupled with an incredible food, art, and music scene seemed like a dream come true. Eventually, the pull became too strong to ignore, and the couple set down roots in the Bay Area.
Here, Mike spent a year with the famed Traci DeJardins, helping develop her Presidio Foods Catering and Arguello projects before being introduced to Mourad Lahlou through mutual friends. The two worked together for 5 years, earning a Michelin Star at the flagship restaurant, Mourad, each year he served as the group’s Culinary Director. As the pandemic took hold, Mike and the team partnered with Jose Andreas and World Central Kitchen to provide meals for those in need in the Bay Area.

An exciting opportunity presented itself, allowing Mike and his family to relocate back to the East Coast in January of 2021. There he reconnected with longtime friend and colleague Matt Jennings. Now the Culinary Director for Campfire Hospitality, Mike is excited to bring the pieces of his experience together for a holistic and cohesive platform to the benefit of the growing restaurant group.
Mike spends his free time playing with his American Bulldogs Sir Reginald and Lord Remington, enjoying the amazing outdoors of New England, and traveling with his wife, Kat.

Mike Daley

Growing up in New Hampshire, Mike was attracted to the kitchen early...

Eric Decker

Categories: Presenters

Eric Decker is a Professor in the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Decker is actively conducting research to characterize mechanisms of lipid oxidation, antioxidant protection of foods and the health implications of bioactive lipids. Dr. Decker has over 460 publications and he has been listed as one of the Most Highly Cited Scientists in Agriculture since 2005. Dr. Decker has served on numerous committees for institutions such as FDA, National Academy of Science, Institute of Food Technologist, USDA and the American Heart Association. He has received recognition for his research and service from the American Oil Chemist Society, Agriculture and Food Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society, Institute of Food Technologists, University of Massachusetts and the University of Kentucky. Dr. Decker has also been elected to serve as an officer for American Meat Science Association, Institute of Food Technologists and most recently as the President of the American Oil Chemist Society.

Eric Decker

Eric Decker is a Professor in the Department of Food Science at...

Rick DeMaria

Categories: Presenters

Gennaro DeMaria, my father, proudly served as the proprietor of LaSalle Bakery in Providence, Rhode Island for four decades. My journey with the bakery began at the tender age of ten, where I enthusiastically tackled various tasks and odd jobs. Over the years, I honed my baking expertise across a spectrum of delights including danishes, muffins, croissants, breads, and cakes, dedicating myself to mastering each craft.

At the age of 22, after years of dedicated service, I transitioned to Marriott Hotels, where I spent the ensuing seven years refining my culinary skills. During this time, I delved deep into the intricacies of cooking, further enriching my repertoire.

Beyond my professional endeavors, I find immense fulfillment in sharing the art of Old-World Italian pastry, alongside the nuances of bread and roll production, with student clubs. It brings me joy to impart my knowledge and passion to aspiring bakers, preserving and perpetuating these cherished culinary traditions.

Rick DeMaria

Gennaro DeMaria, my father, proudly served as the proprietor of LaSalle Bakery...

Lisa Eberhart

Categories: Presenters

Lisa Eberhart is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist. She has pioneered effective methods to evaluate menus from virtually every type of food service operation. Lisa Eberhart is the Director of Nutrition and co-founder of Menu Analytics. She has 20+ years of C&U foodservice experience, including as Director of Nutritional Wellness at North Carolina State. She works to empower foodservice operators to provide inclusive and transparent menus to every guest.

Lisa Eberhart

Lisa Eberhart is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist. She has pioneered...

Burak Epir

Categories: Presenters

Chef Epir, a culinary virtuoso with a passion for innovation and a commitment to diverse culinary experiences, currently spearheads the gastronomic operations at Livin’ the Dream Cafe and five distinctive concepts at Meta headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Born with an inherent love for the culinary arts, Chef Epir has left an indelible mark on the culinary landscape, showcasing his talent in various prestigious establishments. His dedication to providing exceptional dining experiences is evident as he orchestrates the production of a staggering 3000 meals a day. In 2017, Chef Epir made culinary history by introducing an all Halal kitchen at Meta headquarters, setting a new standard for inclusivity and diversity in the corporate culinary world.

Before his current role, Chef Epir served as the Catering Chef for Vmware in Palo Alto, California, where he honed his skills in catering and event planning. His culinary journey took another significant turn when he assumed the role of Executive Chef at Stanford University in 2000. During his tenure, Chef Epir achieved a milestone by inaugurating one of the first nut-free university dining halls, showcasing his commitment to accommodating diverse dietary needs and fostering a safe dining environment.

Venturing into entrepreneurship, Chef Epir owned and operated the renowned Turkish restaurant “Pilita” in San Carlos, California, from 2007 to 2012. Pilita quickly became a culinary hotspot, showcasing Chef Epir’s ability to blend traditional Turkish flavors with a contemporary twist, earning the establishment a reputation for excellence in the local dining scene.

Chef Epir’s academic journey played a pivotal role in shaping his culinary prowess. He pursued studies in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of North Texas, gaining a strong foundation in hospitality. Furthering his dedication to the culinary arts, he also attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, refining his skills and expanding his culinary repertoire.

For the past two decades, Chef Epir has been sharing his culinary expertise and promoting the rich food culture of Turkey alongside Chef Musa. Together, they have conducted food demonstrations and culinary events, leaving a lasting impact on audiences around the world.

Burak Epir

Chef Epir, a culinary virtuoso with a passion for innovation and a...

Alessio Fasano

Categories: Presenters

Alessio Fasano, MD is a pediatric gastroenterologist and expert on the gut microbiome, Alessio Fasano, MD, is head of the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at MGH and widely sought after as an expert in celiac disease, intestinal permeability and autoimmune disorders. Dr. Fasano is the author of Gluten Freedom and co-author with Susie Flaherty of Gut Feelings: The Microbiome and Our Health, published in March 2021 by MIT Press.

Alessio Fasano

Alessio Fasano, MD is a pediatric gastroenterologist and expert on the gut...

Dan Flynn

Categories: Presenters

Dan Flynn was the founding executive director of the UC Davis Olive Center. His work elevated UC Davis as a global leader in olive research and education, earning the university’s highest honors. Additionally he oversaw the center’s olive harvest and olive oil production and served on internationally certified olive oil sensory panels.

Previously Dan was legislative director for members of the California State Senate and Assembly, as well as owner of an organic farm in the Sierra foothills. Currently he volunteers as global ambassador for the World Olive Center for Health based in Athens and as an advisor for the Hellenic Center of Excellence in Health and Wellness based in Boston and Crete.

Dan Flynn

Dan Flynn was the founding executive director of the UC Davis Olive...

Kenny Gilbert

Categories: Presenters

Chef Kenny Gilbert is best known for his appearance on “Top Chef” Season seven, where he displayed a big personality and instantly became one of the most likable cheftestants to date. An award winning-chef and restaurateur, Gilbert’s career spans over two decades and has graced him with opportunities to travel around the world and learn the authentic techniques and flavors of global cuisines. He has always had a love of cooking. Growing up in Cleveland, but with roots in the South, his father was an avid BBQ man with his own rubs and sauces while his mother was a fantastic home cook.

Gilbert has been featured on a number of cooking shows, competitions and segments on national television including, winning Beat Bobby Flay, Midnight Feast and Cutthroat Kitchen, serving as a judge on Chopped Junior, and has been featured on CBS Saturday Morning, The Today Show, and HGTV. He and his recipes have been published in a multitude of national magazines and blogs including Food & Wine, Coastal Living, Garden & Gun, Men’s Journal, Playboy and in O Magazine.
Oprah Winfrey often taps Gilbert to cater her holiday festivities as one of her preferred personal chefs. His food has also been featured in numerous cookbooks such as Oprah Winfrey’s Food Health and Happiness: 115 On Point Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life, Art Culinaire, Top 100 Toques of Black Chefs, Adrian Millers Black Smoke, and Beat Bobby Flay.

An entrepreneur, Gilbert launched a product line of spices in 2014, and then added on sauces in 2022. His restaurant Silkie’s Chicken & Champagne Bar in Jacksonville, Florida showcases a global take on the iconic Southern chicken and biscuits. In addition to Silkie’s, Kenny joined Grove Bay Hospitality in the Fall of 2022, where he serves as the VP of Culinary, overseeing all culinary operations. In April of 2023 Kenny released his very first cookbook, Southern Cooking, Global
Flavors from Rizzoli.

 

Kenny Gilbert

Chef Kenny Gilbert is best known for his appearance on “Top Chef”...

Alyssa Herrera

Categories: Presenters

Alyssa Herrera is a second-year student majoring in business psychology who serves as a Dining Ambassador at the University of California, San Diego. In this role, she plays a pivotal part in representing the university’s dining department at various events, organizes student outreach, and leads social media campaigns. With a keen eye for detail and excellent communication skills, she excels in providing top-notch service while showcasing the diverse offerings of the university’s restaurants.

Alyssa Herrera

Alyssa Herrera is a second-year student majoring in business psychology who serves...

Frank Hu

Categories: Presenters

Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, is the Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology and Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His major research interests include epidemiology and prevention of cardiometabolic diseases through diet and lifestyle; gene-environment interactions and risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes; nutritional metabolomics in type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease; and nutrition transition, metabolic phenotypes, and cardiovascular disease in low and middle-income countries. Dr. Hu serves as Director of Dietary Biomarker Development Center and Co-director of Obesity Epidemiology and Prevention Program at Harvard. He has published a textbook on Obesity Epidemiology (Oxford University Press) and >1000 peer-reviewed papers with an H-index of 310. Dr. Hu served on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, USDA/HHS. He has served on the editorial/advisory board of The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Diabetes Care, and Clinical Chemistry. Dr. Hu was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2015.

Frank Hu

Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, is the Fredrick J. Stare Professor of...

Matt Jennings

Categories: Presenters

Matt Jennings began working in the foodservice business at the early age of 14, as a prep cook and stock boy for a grocery and café in Massachusetts. From here, Matt enrolled at New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, after a brief stint at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.

A Distinguished Graduate of New England Culinary Institute, Matt continued to pursue cooking after school, working at Truc restaurant in Boston’s South End and then helping open Stan Frankenthaller’s Salamander, in Back Bay. Chef Matt was always obsessed with seeking impeccable ingredients as his foundation in cooking and in 2000, decided to accept the role of the Specialty Foods Buyer, Head Cheesemonger and Manager of Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he gained invaluable experience running a gourmet shop and falling further in love with the world of artisan ingredients- as well as falling in love with wife-to-be Kate, who was baking for Formaggio at the time.

Kate and Matt moved to California in 2002, allowing Kate to pursue her pastry degree at Culinary Institute Of America at Greystone in Napa Valley. While in California, Matt worked with Cowgirl Creamery and Tomales Bay Foods, and continuing to cook for numerous Bay Area restaurants, part time.

In 2003 it was time for the couple to move back to New England, where they settled in Providence, Rhode Island to open what would become their highly successful and beloved artisan foods specialty shop and adjacent New England bistro, Farmstead.

Matt and Kate owned and operated Farmstead for twelve years, garnering regional and national recognition, including Matt’s four of five James Beard Foundation nominations for Best Chef Northeast (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). Matt was also given a nod from Food & Wine, selected as one of the country’s “40 Under 40” for ‘Changing The Way American Eats’ in 2010. Matt was awarded Mother Nature Network’s ‘Most Sustainable Chefs In The Country’ award in 2010 as well, and was chosen as a Coastal New England Rising Star Chef in 2014 by Star Chefs.

In 2015, the couple relocated to Matt’s native Boston, to open Townsman restaurant- their 140 seat, celebrated ‘New England Brasserie’ concept. Townsman went on to receive numerous accolades including Food & Wine Magazine’s 2016 Restaurant Of The Year as well as landing on Esquire Magazine’s prestigious ‘Best New Restaurants’ list.

In 2017, Matt wrote his first cookbook, ‘Homegrown; Cooking From My New England Roots’. The book garnered much attention and was a finalist for a James Beard Award for best regional cookbook and was shortlisted for IACP’s prestigious ‘Best New Cookbook’ category.

After Matt worked through some personal health issues, the restaurant was sold in 2018, allowing Matt to start Full Heart Hospitality- a food, beverage and hospitality consultancy with his partner, Chef Jason Rose. In July of 2019, Matt and his family relocated to Kate’s native Vermont and purchased a small farm 15 minutes south of Burlington. During this time, Matt also worked as the Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations for renowned culinary legend, and fierce collaborator and friend, Andrew Zimmern.

Matt’s food writing and recipes have been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, Sunset Magazine, Yankee Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Saveur Magazine, Esquire and many more. Matt has appeared on PBS, The Travel Channel, The Food Network and many other national programs.

In the winter of 2024, Matt started Campfire Hospitality – a Burlington, Vermont based restaurant group that owns and operates six unique culinary outposts including American Flatbread (Burlington and Stowe locations), Idletyme Brewing Company (also in Stowe), Zero Gravity Beer Hall, August First Bakery and cocktail bar, Devil Takes A Holiday.

Matt and Kate have two sons, Sawyer (age 14) and Coleman (age 10) as well as Hank, a Bluetick Hound, Stella, a French Bulldog and a smattering of chickens, pigs and other farm friends.

Matt Jennings

Matt Jennings began working in the foodservice business at the early age...

Phil Kafarakis

Categories: Presenters

Phil Kafarakis is a global food industry executive with more than four decades of leadership experience within food manufacturing companies and non-profit food industry associations. Currently, Phil serves as President & CEO of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) and its Education Foundation, a 70-year-old U.S. non-profit trade group representing food, beverage, packaging, and equipment manufacturers, supply-chain, and restaurant companies within the $1.3 Tillion Food-Away-From-Home industry.

Prior to his IFMA appointment, Phil served as President of the Specialty Food Association (SFA), the owner and producer of the Fancy Food Shows, representing more than 4,000 small and emerging food entrepreneurs in the $180 Billion U.S. Specialty Food Industry and previously, as Chief Innovation & Member Advancement Officer at the National Restaurant Association (NRA), the leading business association for the $900 Billion restaurant industry. Preceding his executive leadership with non-profits, Phil successfully led and managed foodservice and retail businesses at McCormick & Co., Cargill, Jones Dairy Farm, and Kraft. Over the years, his Teams earned numerous customer excellence and innovation awards, both domestically and internationally.

Phil is a graduate of Northern Arizona University (BS Business) and Georgetown University McDonagh School of Business (Exec. MBA), a Forbes contributor, and a frequently quoted and sought after food industry influencer. Phil also volunteers on several industry Boards, including the Northern Arizona University W.A. Franke College of Business School of Hotel & Restaurant Management Advisory Board, the Foodservice GS-1 US Standards Committee Executive Leadership Council, is a mentor at the Endeavor Global Entrepreneur Incubator, and serves as a judge to the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s Scholarship Program.

Mr. Kafarakis was born in Athens, Greece and immigrated to the U.S. with his family as a child. A proud father of four adult children and grandfather to two toddler grandsons, Phil is a devoted Greek Orthodox Christian who serves the Ecumenical Patriarchate as an Archon, supports the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of American through Leadership100 membership and is a benefactor of his local parish of Sts. Constantine & Helen of Washington D.C. in Silver Spring, MD. His family philanthropy reaches homeless orphans and the elderly on his home island of Lefkada, Greece. He and his wife live in Potomac, Maryland.

Phil Kafarakis

Phil Kafarakis is a global food industry executive with more than four...

Breana Killeen

Categories: Presenters

Breana Lai Killeen is a food writer, recipe developer, culinary nutritionist, and farmer with 15+ years of experience creating editorial and digital content. She has written and edited over 3000 recipes, articles and presentations for top brands including EatingWell, AllRecipes, Food & Wine, Cabot Creamery, Hello Fresh, POM Wonderful, the National Beef Council, and the Dairy Council. Breana has a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu London, a Wine Spirit & Education Trust trained sommelier and is a registered dietitian.

Breana loves teaching people how to cook, especially if it involves using up all the bits and pieces left in the veggie drawer to make something seemingly impressive for her 3-year-old twins. When she’s not cooking or chasing toddlers, you can find her out on Killeen Crossroads Farm in Vermont wrangling 200 chickens, 10 cows, 2 dogs and her tractor-loving husband.

Breana Killeen

Breana Lai Killeen is a food writer, recipe developer, culinary nutritionist, and...

Sylvia Klinger

Categories: Presenters

Sylvia is a global nutrition communicator, award-winning author, nutrition and culinary consultant, and the founder of Hispanic Food Communications. Sylvia is an internationally recognized nutrition expert who is relentlessly passionate about helping people fall in love with creating and enjoying delicious and nutritious foods. Her most recent global nutrition project in Africa is fulfilling one of her aspirations by developing a sustainable community nutrition program to help improve the nutritional health status of malnourished children. In October 2022, Loma Linda University awarded her Women of the Year award for her compassionate work with underserved communities.

Sylvia Klinger

Sylvia is a global nutrition communicator, award-winning author, nutrition and culinary consultant,...

Mike Kostyo

Categories: Presenters

Mike Kostyo is the Vice President at Menu Matters. Kostyo has been a recurring guest on Fusion TV’s “The A.V. Club” show; has been featured on NBC News, CBS Radio and Gimlet Media’s “Why We Eat What We Eat” podcast; is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines; speaks at numerous conferences across the country; and was a judge on Food Network’s “Eating America.” For nearly 11 years, Mike was an associate director and trends expert at one of the industry’s largest research firms. Kostyo has a master’s in Gastronomy from Boston University, plus certificates in the culinary arts, baking arts, wine and artisan cheese production.

Mike Kostyo

Mike Kostyo is the Vice President at Menu Matters. Kostyo has been...

Branden Lewis

Categories: Presenters

Doctor Branden Lewis, Professor at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, is a Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation and a specialist in international cuisines and sustainable food systems. He believes sustainability topics should be incorporated into culinary education since chefs can have a tremendous influence on the food system through sourcing ingredients, cultivating relationships, and advocating for sustainable practices.

Since returning to his ala mater, Branden has led a team of faculty to develop the school’s Sustainable Food Systems Bachelors program and Culinary Sustainability minor. Through this curriculum, he helps students explore their food web by employing innovative experiential education methodology.

In 2008, he was named one of Edible Rhody Magazine’s “Food Heroes” for his work serving immigrant and refugee communities. In 2013, he was showcased in the Rhode Island episode of Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern which focused on local sustainably caught seafood. As a faculty member at Johnson & Wales, he has been selected for numerous awards and recognition, including the Distinguished Scholarship Award, Outstanding Service Award, Advisor of the Year, and Robert M. Nograd Teacher of the Year.

Branden’s interest in sustainable food systems continues to drive his research into Culinary Sustainability Education where he publishes peer reviewed works.

Branden Lewis

Doctor Branden Lewis, Professor at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode...

Sally Ling

Categories: Presenters

Sally Ling is one of the most well known restaurateur’s in Boston’s history of fine dining.Sally Ling launched her restaurant in 1984 on the waterfront, Esquire Magazine named it the top Chinese restaurant in the country. The Boston Globe and Boston Magazine mentioned it as the top Chinese restaurant Boston had ever seen. Thirty nine employees that trained and worked at Sally Ling’s ended up opening restaurants of their own. Sally’s daughter now has five restaurants in the Boston area and a line of frozen foods and sauces, all inspired by her recipes.Sally taught cooking at the Chef’s series at Boston University alongside Julia Child. Julia Child, Yo Yo Ma, Martin Yan, Jasper White, just to name a few, all frequented Sally Ling’s. Sally and her daughter, Nadia Liu Spellman wrote a book in 2022, the Dumpling Daughter cookbook: Heirloom recipes from our restaurants and home kitchens, rated top coolest cookbook by Forbes in 2022.

Sally Ling

Sally Ling is one of the most well known restaurateur’s in Boston’s...

Nadia Liu

Categories: Presenters

Nadia’s parents launched the most high-end Chinese restaurant New England had ever seen in the 1980’s. Growing up in a family where fine cuisine and mom’s
home cooking were essential, Nadia was inspired to launch Dumpling Daughter in 2014. As an ode and respect to what her parents started, today, she showcases her childhood favorites and family’s home recipes through multiple restaurants in the Boston area and frozen foods and sauce. Dumpling Daughter frozen foods and Signature Spicy Sweet Soy sauce are now in over 1,200 markets and available nationwide on Amazon Prime and dumplingdaughter.com. Nadia launched her cookbook with her mother, celebrity chef, Sally Ling in 2022, the Dumpling Daughter cookbook: Heirloom recipes from our restaurants and home kitchens, rated top coolest cookbook by Forbes in 2022. The family cookbook, frozen products, sauce, and all fun things Dumpling Daughter are sold through Dumpling Daughter’s ecommerce store, available nationwide.

Nadia Liu

Nadia’s parents launched the most high-end Chinese restaurant New England had ever...

Julie Lopez

Categories: Presenters

Julie Lopez, RD strikes a balance between her work as an expert dietitian and chef. What started out as just cooking for family members has grown into something much more meaningful to Julie – education about nutrition through the lens of food. She’s passionate about helping others get in touch with their inner chefs by teaching them how to appreciate all different ways foods can be prepared and giving them the confidence, they need when it comes time to cook themselves some delicious meals from!

As a culinary nutrition consultant, author, spokesperson, and cooking instructor, Julie has worked with numerous companies to create new recipes and culinary nutrition communications to educate on making healthy taste delicious. Julie published her first cookbook “The Healing Soup Cookbook” and she continues to teach cooking classes both in person and virtually.

Julie is also the co-founder of Culinary Nutrition Studio, which provides culinary nutrition education to healthcare professionals, through webinars, cooking demonstrations, hands-on workshops, and self-paced courses.

Recently, Julie has launched the Virtual Teaching Kitchen offering free virtual nutrition-focused cooking classes.

She currently resides in New Jersey with her official recipe taste tester (her husband), daughter Emma, and their corgi, Wally.

Learn more about Julie at ChefJulieRD.com and connect with her via @ChefJulie_RD social media.

Julie Lopez

Julie Lopez, RD strikes a balance between her work as an expert...

John Masi

Categories: Presenters

John Noble Masi started his career in foodservice when he was just knee high to his Dad making fresh baked rolls, cookies, and danish in his father’s bakery. John loved food so much, he later attended the premiere culinary school in the world in 1984: The Culinary Institute of America before he moved to Florida to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management and Master’s degree in Business Administration at Florida International University. John has recently entered the doctoral program at Florida Atlantic University pursuing a PhD in Educational Leadership with an anticipated graduation date in 2025.

Since graduating FIU in 1991, John has dedicated more than 30 years to a career in culinary arts and hospitality, working in both front of house and kitchen/bakery operations for hotels, cruise ships, premiere catering companies, and 2 of the top 3 global foodservice management companies in positions that continually increased his responsibility from an Executive Chef to a Regional Vice President role. John has also had the pleasure of serving as 2-term President of his local ACF chapter in South Florida. Today, John teaches young hospitality professionals, various culinary and other courses as the Lead Culinary Faculty at the Chaplin School of Hospitality Management & Tourism at Florida International University.

In 2011, John formed Hospitality Performance Partners, bringing this same hospitality Passion to a new consulting company focusing on a broad range of activities. The company’s Culinary trainings and Operational Performance “Fresh Eyes” reviews have helped many clients improve their hospitality operations both financially and operationally.

John is truly excited to be a part of this year’s Conference.

For more information on John and his work at Florida International University or his company Hospitality Performance Partners, please connect with him on LinkedIn, follow him on Instagram at @johnnoblemasi or visit his consulting website at www.hppus.com

John Masi

John Noble Masi started his career in foodservice when he was just...

Stuart McAllister

Categories: Presenters

As VP B2B Fruit Solutions for the Dole Sunshine Company, Stuart McAllister leads foodservice team in all aspects of the sales and marketing of a full line of frozen, canned, and snack fruit solution products. Dole makes it easy to add the color, flavor, and nutrition from a variety of fruit ingredients on menus for education, health, and restaurant operators.

Stuart’s journey with Dole started as a Summer Intern in 1989, and over the next 4 decades enjoyed a wide range of duties with increasing responsibility including international marketing and operations, sales systems development, sales strategy, channel marketing, and for the last 18 years in foodservice sales and marketing. He collaborated directly on projects for a long list of customers across a full spectrum of retailers and foodservice operators.

Stuart earned Bachelors degrees in Animal Science and Economics at the University of California at Davis, and a Masters degree in Agribusiness at Santa Clara University. He is a member of the School Nutrition Association, the National Association of College and University Food Services, the International Foodservice Distributors Association, the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, and is a Fellow at the Culinary Institute of America.

Stuart and his wife Jocelyn enjoy living in Southern California, while they frequently visit their 3 daughters to try new restaurants in New York City, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City.

Stuart McAllister

As VP B2B Fruit Solutions for the Dole Sunshine Company, Stuart McAllister...

David Julian McClements

Categories: Presenters

David Julian McClements is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Massachusetts, an Adjunct Professor at Zhejiang Gongshang University, and a Visiting Professor at Harvard University. He specializes in food biopolymers and colloids, with a special emphasis on using structural design principles to improve the quality, safety, shelf-life, sustainability, and nutrition of foods. Recently, his research focusses on food nanotechnology, edible delivery systems, and creating next generation plant-based foods. He is the author of ten books, including “Meat Less: The Next Food Revolution” (2023), “Food Nanotechnology” (2022), “Next generation Plant-based Foods” (2022), “Future Foods: How Modern Science is Transforming the Way We Eat” (2019). He has published over 1400 articles in scientific journals (H-index 190, Google Scholar).

David Julian McClements

David Julian McClements is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Massachusetts,...

Hiroo Nagahara

Categories: Presenters

Chef Hiroo Nagahara was born and raised in Tokyo but spent most of his adult life honing his culinary career in the United States. He’s worked with some of the finest chefs and restaurateurs in the industry including Charlie Trotter. His career blossomed when he landed the executive chef position at Bar Charlie in Las Vegas. Working with Trotter’s team opened doors for Hiroo to stage with some of the world’s most talented Michelin-starred chefs like Guy Savoy (Restaurant Guy Savoy), Hideki Ishikawa (Kagurazaka Ishikawa) and Yoshihiro Narisawa (Narisawa).

In 2010, Nagahara moved to San Francisco and partnered with Mobi Munch to launch The Chairman, an award-winning food truck that blurred the lines between fine-dining and street food. After the success of The Chairman, Hiroo went on to open Nomica, a modern Japanese restaurant serving refined rustic cuisine in the heart of the Castro District. And in 2019 with Bao Hiroo, Nagahara brought his pedigreed resume and mother’s cherished recipes for stuffed bao to the Arts Distrist in DTLA. His menu offered a unique mix of sweet, savory, steamed, baked and fried bao, all hand-crafted and delicious.

Chef Nagahara has earned a number of accolades including a Michelin 1 Star Award while working for Charlie Trotter in Las Vegas. With The Chairman, his truck was named one of America’s Top Asian Food Trucks by Details Magazine as well as Most Mouth-Watering Food Trucks by Maxim. He also competed on Iron Chef Showdown in 2017.

Hiroo Nagahara

Chef Hiroo Nagahara was born and raised in Tokyo but spent most...

Michelle Nardi

Categories: Presenters

Michelle Nardi joined the Cornell Dining team in Fall 2019 as the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Within this role, she was responsible for helping students with allergies and other dietary restrictions navigate within the dining eco system, providing educational outreach to dining guests, and promoting health, nutrition and dietary inclusivity within the Dining program and across campus partnerships. Under Michelle’s leadership, the Nutrition team has expanded to include two additional dietitians, and she now serves as Nutrition Program Manager. Michelle is a member of the Culinary, Wellness and Innovation team, providing guidance and support for initiatives within the Cornell Dining program including menu review, recipe development and ingredient approval as well as general programmatic development. Michelle also plays an integral role at Risley – Cornell’s Allercheck Approved Residential Dining Hall.

Prior to her role at Cornell Dining, Michelle worked in a variety of settings including Cortland Regional Medical Center and the Tompkins/Cortland VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic.

Michelle completed her Bachelor’s Degree and Dietetic Internship at Cornell University and has received accolades including the NYSAND Emerging Dietetics Leader Award.

Michelle Nardi

Michelle Nardi joined the Cornell Dining team in Fall 2019 as the...

Robert Nelson

Categories: Presenters

Robert Nelson, a Certified Association Executive (CAE), is president and chief executive officer of the National Association of College & University Food Services, an organization dedicated to promoting excellence in college dining. Prior to NACUFS, Nelson led Nelson Strategic Consulting, a firm focused on strategic problem solving, and creating high impact strategies and governance systems.

Robert also served for almost two decades as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Coffee Association (NCA) of U.S.A. Nelson and his team transformed the association into a strategic thinking entity, resulting in a financially healthy, internationally influential, growing organization, successful at advocating for the industry. During his tenure, he worked with the private sector and governments worldwide to design and facilitate strategy development and problem solving think tanks to address complex challenges and issues ranging from acrylamide to producer sustainability to small farmer access to credit. In fact, his strategic response to a global economic crisis resulted in a Harvard Business School case study.

While at the NCA, Nelson served as a member of the official United States government delegation to the International Coffee Organization, where he actively participated in multi-lateral negotiations. Further, Nelson sat on Harvard University’s Institute of Politics Global Food Policy Advisory Board and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Executive Seminar on Agribusiness.

Nelson has successfully advocated for businesses interests in front of governments at the local, state, national and international levels for over a quarter of a century. In addition, he has developed successful voter referendum strategies.

For a decade, Nelson served at the Florida Restaurant Association, where he was Senior Director of Government Affairs. In addition to his executive level positions in association management, Nelson held corporate level management positions with two food service chains: York Restaurants of General Mills, Inc. and RAX Restaurants.

He is the recipient of the Colombian Manuel Mejia Medal of Merit and The Mayor’s Award for Distinguished Public Service (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania).

Robert Nelson

Robert Nelson, a Certified Association Executive (CAE), is president and chief executive...

Larry Oberkfell

Categories: Presenters

Larry is a partner at Kinetic 12 Consulting, joining the firm in 2023. He has extensive food manufacturing experience at the CEO and President positions in retail and foodservice. Most recently and for a dozen years, Larry was President & CEO of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association. Prior to holding this position, Larry held the roles of Chairman, and all senior leadership positions on the IFMA Board as a representative of the manufacturer community. His manufacturer leadership roles included the Schwan Food Company, Anchor Foods Appetizer Company, The Orval Kent Company, and Rich Products. In addition to these positions his expertise has been as a turnaround specialist and high growth leader.

Larry has served on many industry committees and boards including the National Restaurant Association, Pritzker Private Capital, e2p Private Equity, and as Executive Director of The Foodservice Sales & Marketing Association. He is the first recipient of the IFMA Oberkfell Award, given to him by the IFMA Board of Directors for exemplary contribution to the industry.

Larry has an MBA from St. Louis University and a BSBA in Marketing from The University of Missouri.

Larry Oberkfell

Larry is a partner at Kinetic 12 Consulting, joining the firm in...

Victoria Roos Olsson

Categories: Presenters

Victoria is an expert in leadership development and has coached leaders across the world for the past 20 years. Originally from Sweden she now lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia. She has led Commercial as well as Learning & Development teams for large corporations across Europe and the Middle East.

She works closely with the FranklinCovey innovations team and is one of the authors of FranklinCovey’s bestselling book on Leadership: Everyone Deserves A Great Manager – the 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team.

Victoria is an experienced facilitator and public speaker who engages her audience, on stage, online and in the classroom, no matter if 20 or 2000 people are in the audience. Her global leadership experience makes her at ease both in the boardroom as well as with first level leaders. She always strives to help her participants move from insight to action, combining enthusiasm with focus and drive to help leadership teams achieve their desired results. She is a popular executive coach.

Victoria Roos Olsson

Victoria is an expert in leadership development and has coached leaders across...

Carolyn Oneill

Categories: Presenters

Cookbook Author, TV Presenter, Food & Travel Journalist, Registered Dietitian

Multi-Award winning food and travel journalist, speaker, author, nutrition communications consultant, television personality and registered dietitian nutritionist, Carolyn O’Neil, MS, RDN connects the worlds of food, nutrition and cuisine with a love of global travel and cultural exploration.

Carolyn writes about food, nutrition, travel and healthy lifestyles for numerous publications including VIE Magazine, OLTRE, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine, Southern Living Magazine and Food & Wine Magazines. She is on the Nutrition Review Board for Southern Living Magazine and Forbes Health.

Her social media platforms including her blog www.TheHappyHealthyKitchen.com present lively content on food, nutrition, culinary travel and healthy lifestyles with a mission to share what’s “Good for people and the planet!”

Carolyn is a member of the Delta Air Lines Culinary Council as a nutrition consultant to help update and guide the airline’s inflight menu planning for special meals and wellness initiatives. She is also a member of the invite-only Google Food Lab, an international group of thought leaders in all areas of food from farming to finance.

As a media spokesperson, Carolyn has worked with multiply leading brands including Nestle, The Wonderful Company, Quaker, Sunsweet, Danone, ConAgra and many others.

Carolyn has been a professor of nutrition science and nutrition communication for Florida State University’s London Study Centre and professor of journalism for Emory University in Atlanta.
She is a contributor to NBC Atlanta & Company and can be seen as “The Lady of the Refrigerator” on Alton Brown’s Good Eats on Food Network.

Carolyn is the author of Southern Living’s best selling The Slim Down South Cookbook and co-author of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous winner a the World Food Media awards.

A pioneer in food television, Carolyn launched and led CNN’s coverage of food and nutrition for nearly 20 years as anchor and executive producer of CNN On The Menu and was senior correspondent and anchor for CNN’s Travel Now program. She’s earned two James Beard Foundation Awards for excellence in broadcast food journalism and is a member of the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage.

She has also been honored by the National Restaurant Association, the American Heart Association, the American Society for Nutrition and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for her pioneering work in nutrition communications.

Her master’s degree in Nutrition is from Boston University and undergraduate degree in Foods and Nutrition is from Florida State University. Carolyn lives in Atlanta.

Carolyn Oneill

Cookbook Author, TV Presenter, Food & Travel Journalist, Registered Dietitian Multi-Award winning...

Cassidy Ozowara

Categories: Presenters

Cassidy is the Food Allergy and Inclusive Nutrition Programs Manager for Stanford Dining, Hospitality & Auxiliaries (SDHA). She has a master’s in nutritional science and more than six years of experience in food service. Cassidy draws on her expertise to empower students in taking charge of their needs and advocating for themselves. Driven to help students with the complexities of special diets away from home, Cassidy has spent the greater part of her career understanding food allergies and special diets in the college/university setting. She has worked with a wide variety of clients with various needs. Cassidy’s expertise in nutrition and experience as a former student-athlete, vegetarian, and someone with special dietary needs has led her to share her knowledge with individuals, while scaling best practices that improve the dining experience for all.

Cassidy Ozowara

Cassidy is the Food Allergy and Inclusive Nutrition Programs Manager for Stanford...

Jeffrey Palmer

Categories: Presenters

Jeffrey Palmer is a visionary leader with more than three decades of experience in the hospitality industry, with a focus on enhancing the student experience and leveraging technology to improve program effectiveness. He currently serves as the senior director of campus dining for UC San Diego, ranked third in the nation for student housing inventory. In his role, Jeffrey oversees all aspects of residential dining operations, including menu development, procurement, budget management, and staff training.

Under his guidance, residential dining at UC San Diego has undergone a transformative journey, introducing innovative dining concepts, embracing sustainability initiatives, and prioritizing the use of locally sourced ingredients. His strategic mindset and dedication to continuous improvement have earned him a reputation as a forward-thinking leader in the field.

Jeffrey graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Hospitality Program. His journey in the hospitality world began with formal training, where he honed his skills in culinary arts and management, laying the foundation for a career marked by innovation and excellence.

Jeffrey Palmer

Jeffrey Palmer is a visionary leader with more than three decades of...

Steven Petusevsky

Categories: Presenters

Steven Petusevsky works as a culinary resource and industry consultant to innovate and create food service programs for major retail and restaurant chains and institutions including Google, Lettuce Entertain You Group, Canyon Ranch, UCLA, UMASS, Yale, Roundy’s, Mariano’s, Foodland Farms, and Lucky’s Markets, among others. His passion and expertise in “plant forward” and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine remains the central focus of his work.

He was the National Director of Creative Food Development for Whole Foods Market from 1990 to 2002. Along with creating many of their gold standard recipes that remain, Steven authored The Whole Foods Market Cookbook – A Guide to Natural Foods with 350 Recipes published by Clarkson Potter in the fall of 2002.

His other books, The Diabetes Vegetarian Cookbook and Sizzle and Smoke: Diabetes Friendly Recipes for Charcoal, Gas and Stovetop Grills were published by the American Diabetes Association in 2013 and 2014. Chef Steve was contributing editor for Cooking Light Magazine and contributes to several major cooking publications for both consumer and industry professionals.

He has worked with many commodity boards and organizations such as; Avocadoes From Mexico, The Blueberry Council, USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, & American Pulse Association, and The National Pecan Growers Association. Additionally, Steven works with various national fresh meal programs such as Amazon Go, as an expert resource insuring that all meals meet consumer expectations for quality and authenticity.

Steven Petusevsky can be reached at:
[email protected]
https://www.linkedin.com/in/chefstevenpetusevsky/

Steven Petusevsky

Steven Petusevsky works as a culinary resource and industry consultant to innovate...

Mai Pham

Categories: Presenters

Mai Pham is the chef/owner of the nationally acclaimed Lemon Grass and Star Ginger restaurants in Sacramento, California. A recognized expert on Asian cuisine, Chef Pham is known for her fresh Southeast Asian cuisine featuring flavors from Vietnam, Thailand and beyond. She’s the host of TV Food Network “Vietnam: My Country, My Kitchen” and author of Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table, which received a James Beard Award nomination and named as among the best cookbook titles by The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking, which was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air and Martha Stewart Living magazine. One of her cookbooks, Flavors of Asia, is a collaboration with The Culinary Institute of America and features the best recipes from seven countries in Asia.

Chef Pham and her team are known for their pioneering work in bringing authentic Asian flavors to campus and corporate dining. Her popular Star Ginger concept can be found in various venues nationwide from Stanford University, University of UMASS at Amherst to Delta Airlines World Headquarters and the FDA.

Born in Saigon and raised in Vietnam and Thailand, Chef Pham and her family fled to the U.S. after the end of the Vietnam War. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism, she worked as a television reporter for various ABC News affiliates and later, as a speechwriter for a California governor before returning to her love of food and cooking.

Mai Pham

Mai Pham is the chef/owner of the nationally acclaimed Lemon Grass and...

Colin Porter

Categories: Presenters

Colin Porter is the Director of Hospitality Services at Western University, University of Western Ontario, one of the largest institutional hospitality programs in Canada, having previously been the Executive Director at the University of Toronto.

He has enjoyed 30 plus years in the industry having begun his career in the UK before immigrating to Canada.
Colin’s experience crosses multiple sectors from hotels and resorts to corporate dining, QSR, retail and healthcare before moving into higher education.
He has experienced great success throughout his career and is extremely driven when it comes to enhancing the client experience and enjoys measuring performance that ensures continual business growth.

Colin is passionate about embracing innovation and change within the industry that delivers to the evolving needs of the client, attends to social and environmental issues and addresses the challenging labor market currently being experienced within the industry.
Away from the day to day Colin is a keen sports enthusiast with football (soccer), rugby and cricket being his sports of choice and he’s a keen runner having recently completed his 12th full marathon.

Colin is looking forward to connecting and networking with his colleagues during the conference.

Colin Porter

Colin Porter is the Director of Hospitality Services at Western University, University...

Jonathan Poyourow

Categories: Presenters

Chef Poyourow is a graduate of the culinary nutrition program from Johnson & Wales University. Following his graduation, he completed his Registered Dietitian internship with the US Army and worked in various medical centers as a clinical dietitian and chief of food service. He quickly established himself as one of the lead sports dietitian’s in the Army and worked with various elite units such as the US Army Rangers, Special Forces and eventually he became the Division Dietitian to the 101stAirborne Division and deployed with them to Afghanistan. Now Chef Poyourow uses his skills educating the students at Johnson & Wales University as an Associate Professor in the culinary nutrition program, Chef Poyourow is also featured bi-weekly on NBC 10’s Cooking with Class segments.

Jonathan Poyourow

Chef Poyourow is a graduate of the culinary nutrition program from Johnson...

Herb Ring

Categories: Presenters

Herb Ring leads the foodservice sales and marketing effort as National Foodservice Director for The Hershey Company. Since joining the company in January of 2004, he has been responsible for expanding sales to all segments of the foodservice industry. In addition, he works with Sales and Marketing agencies to further expand sales and marketing efforts with College and University, national and regional accounts, hotels, B&I locations, bakeries, and manufacturers. Currently, Herb is the past two-year Chairman of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) which he has served since 2017. He is the 2014 winner of the Excellence in Partnership Award given by The Foodservice Sales and Marketing Agency Alliance. He is a five-time Gold and Silver medal winner for The Milton Hershey Awards of Excellence.

Prior to joining The Hershey Company, Herb spent over 15 years with The JM Smucker Company, most recently as the Foodservice National Sales Director. He also worked in national accounts developing solutions for companies like Aramark, McDonald’s, Cracker Barrel and Hilton Hotels. Herb was salesperson of the year for the JM Smucker Company and a two-time recipient of the Founder’s award.

A third-generation foodservice professional, Herb started his
career with Sweetheart/Lily Cup. He holds a Bachelor of Liberal Science degree from Hillsdale College. Herb is married to Ann-Marie. They have two children, Tristen, 23 and Madelyn, 19.

Herb Ring

Herb Ring leads the foodservice sales and marketing effort as National Foodservice...

Lesley Schatz

Categories: Presenters

I am a chef and Registered Dietitian, and I bring my love of all things food to my work. My focus areas are inclusive menu and recipe development and plant-forward plates, with an eye towards accessible and budget-friendly ingredients and techniques. I work diligently to ensure menu & recipe labels are as accurate and transparent as possible. I love bringing people a taste of home, wherever home may be — I’m always excited to learn new dishes or techniques and have a passion for sharing that information. I love listening to food podcasts, doing deep dives into food history and contemporary issues, and flipping through old cookbooks and menus for art and inspiration.

Lesley Schatz

I am a chef and Registered Dietitian, and I bring my love...

Barton Seaver

Categories: Presenters

Barton Seaver is on a mission to restore our relationship with the ocean, the land, and with each other—through dinner. He has translated his illustrious career as a chef to become one of the world’s leading experts and educators in the area of sustainable seafood innovations. Barton is a firm believer that human health depends on the health of the ocean and that the best way to connect the two is at the dinner table.

Barton began his career as an executive chef in Washington DC. He opened seven restaurants awarded both for their cuisine and as environmentally-conscious businesses. Highlights of his culinary career include three Rising Culinary Star awards, twice earning Best New Restaurant awards, and being honored in 2009 by Esquire magazine as Chef of the Year. His restaurant, Hook, was named by Bon Appétit magazine as one of the top ten eco-friendly restaurants in America, serving nearly 100 unique species of seafood in it’s first year.

Upon leaving the restaurant world, Barton became involved with a number of local and international initiatives. In 2012, he was named by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the United States Culinary Ambassador Corp. He uses this designation to curate international conversations on sustainability and the role of food in resource management and public health. As the Director of the Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Barton spearheaded initiatives to inform consumers and institutions about how our choices for diet and menus can promote healthier people, resillient ecosystems, more secure food supplies, and thriving communities. He also served as a Senior Advisor in Sustainable Seafood Innovations at the University of New England and as a Sustainability Fellow at the New England Aquarium.

Barton is the author of 8 highly regarded books. For Cod and Country: Simple, Delicious, Sustainable Cooking introduces the idea of seasonal eating to seafood. Where There’s Smoke highlights the art of cooking over fire. His book, Superfood Seagreens: A Guide to Cooking with Power-packed Seaweed explores the health benefits of this emerging player in the superfood realm. His second sustainable seafood-centric cookbook is entitled Two if by Sea. He is also the author of two books in his role as a fellow with the National Geographic Society: The National Geographic Kid’s Cookbook and Foods for Health, a science-based guide to healthy, everyday eating. American Seafood: Heritage, Culture & Cookery From Sea to Shining Sea, is an essential guide to more than 500 species, as well as a riveting history of one of our country’s most iconic industries. His most recent book: The Joy of Seafood is a compilation of over 900 recipes.

An internationally recognized speaker, Barton has delivered lectures, seminars, and demos to a multitude of audiences. Seaver hosted the national television program In Search of Food on the Ovation Network and Eat: The History of Food on National Geographic TV. He has appeared on 60 Minutes, CNN, NPR, and 20/20. His 2010 Mission Blue Voyage TED Talk entitled “Sustainable Seafood? Let’s Get Smart” garnered over half a million views. Seaver has contributed to Coastal Living, The Coastal Table, Cooking Light, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Fine Cooking, Fortune, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Saveur, the Washington Post, among many others.

He is the founder of Coastal Culinary Academy, a multi-platform initiative that seeks to increase seafood consumption through seafood-specific culinary education for all levels of cooks, which includes the online program SeafoodLiteracy.com.

Barton resides in coastal Maine just a stone’s throw away from a working waterfront, with his wife, two sons.

Barton Seaver

Barton Seaver is on a mission to restore our relationship with the...

Chai Siriyarn

Categories: Presenters

Chai Siriyarn is the chef-owner of Marnee Thai restaurant, which has two locations in San Francisco since 1986. Marnee Thai has been among the Zagat Survey’s Top Thai restaurants in the city for almost 30 years and has been recommended by the Michelin guide for 3 consecutive years. Marnee Thai has received the Thai Select Signature Award from Thailand for many years since 2015 and chef Chai was voted as the Thai Select Rising Star for the Westcoast in 2019.

Bangkok born and bred, chef Siriyarn grew up in a culinary family and spent his childhood steeped in the restaurant business. His culinary accolades include winning the grand prize in the Los Angeles Pad Thai Festival contest in 2000 and earning the “Thailand Superchef Award”

In 2003. He was also named “International Chef of the Year” by the Awards of the Americas in New York City in 2001. Chef Siriyarn was also a guest chef to the Royal Thai Embassy for a Tsunami Relief Fundraising event held in Washington D.C. He has been a guest chef at The Culinary Institute of America, at Greystone since the year 2000. Chef Siriyrn has also been a guest chef at the University of Massachusetts, (Amherst), Cornell University (Ithaca), and Stanford University. He is the author of Thai Cuisine Beyond Curry.

Chai Siriyarn

Chai Siriyarn is the chef-owner of Marnee Thai restaurant, which has two...

Ed Staros

Categories: Presenters

Edward V. Staros served as Vice President and Managing Director of the Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond Ritz-Carlton, Naples for almost 37 years, since October 1999 until his retirement on December 31, 2019. Ed Staros moved to Naples, Florida from The Ritz-Carlton Headquarters, where he served as the brand’s Vice President of Worldwide Operations since 1992. In 2002, he oversaw the development of The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort and The Ritz-Carlton Spa, both located in Naples. As the Managing Director and Vice President, Mr. Staros was responsible for the overall operations of both luxury resorts.

When The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. was established in 1983, Mr. Staros was one of the company’s six “founding fathers”. He was instrumental in creating the now-legendary Gold Standards for The Ritz-Carlton, including its Mission Statement, Credo and Basics. These Gold Standards set the industry benchmark for product and service excellence and are the key differentiators among the leading luxury hospitality brand’s competitors.

Past positions with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company include Corporate Director of Rooms; General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta (Downtown) and The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. In 1988, he was promoted to the company’s first Regional Vice President, a position which Mr. Staros held until January of 1992, when he was promoted to Vice President of Worldwide Operations for The Ritz-Carlton brand. He was formerly with the Hyatt Corporation from 1972, until he joined the Ritz-Carlton in 1983.

Mr. Staros is a profound community leader, currently sitting on two advisory boards at Florida Gulf Coast University; the Lutgert College of Business Advisory Board and Resort & Hospitality Management Advisory Board. Through his FGCU involvement, Mr. Staros has played an instrumental role in supporting many academic programs and resources, including the state-of-the-art Herbert J. Sugden Hall, home to the university’s hospitality program. Additionally, he is a founding sponsor of the Naples Winter Wine Festival and honorary trustee of the event which funds the Naples Children & Education Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that supports programs to improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of underprivileged and at risk children living in Collier County. Mr. Staros also sits on several local and national hospitality related boards as well as being a board member of the Florida affiliate of Fifth Third Bank.

Mr. Staros holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Florida State University’s School of Business, with a major in Hospitality and minor in Finance. He is married with two grown children and resides in Naples, Florida.

Ed Staros

Edward V. Staros served as Vice President and Managing Director of the...

Rich Steele

Categories: Presenters

Rich Steele has served as the CEO for NACAS since February 2024. He has 37 years of higher education experience, including 30 years of student auxiliary services expertise.

Rich served as the Senior Director for Auxiliary Services at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA. Recently, he served as the interim associate vice chancellor for Campus Enterprises at NC State University, associate vice chancellor for Business Services, and associate vice chancellor for Facilities Management at UNC Charlotte.

Rich’s expertise in student auxiliary services was recognized by his election in 2016 as President of NACAS-South. He was elected President of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) in 2008 and has served as president of multiple non-profit corporations affiliated with campuses where he worked.

Rich has received several awards. He was honored by NACAS with the Regional Mentor Award in 2018. He received the inaugural Rich Steele Campus Services Award from Georgia Tech upon his retirement in 2017. In 2009, he received the inaugural ACUI Region 6 Richard Steele Distinguished Service Award (now the ACUI Region 3 Smith-Steele Distinguished Service Award).

Rich holds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree from Georgia Tech, where he was active in the Student Center Program Council and undergraduate research. As a staff member at Georgia Tech, he was inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honorary and the ANAK Society, which is considered the highest honor at Georgia Tech.

Rich Steele

Rich Steele has served as the CEO for NACAS since February 2024....

Emily Svennevik

Categories: Presenters

Emily Svennevik started her current role as the Vanderbilt Campus Dietitian in the summer of 2022. She helps to maintain Vanderbilt’s allergen program of over 100 students, as well as maintain certifications for 5 nut free locations, 1 gluten + nut free location, and 1 top 9 free location. She meets with students who may have an allergen or general nutrition concern. Prior to this role, she was the Campus Dining Dietitian for the Athletic Dining Room at Vanderbilt. Emily has a Bachelor of Education in Kinesiology and a Minor in Nutrition from the University of Tennessee, and her Masters of Public Health in Nutrition from the University of Michigan. Her view on nutrition is one that focuses on balance and remembering that food is fun and should not be feared!

Emily Svennevik

Emily Svennevik started her current role as the Vanderbilt Campus Dietitian in...

Jet Tila

Categories: Presenters

From battling the legendary Masaharu Morimoto on Iron Chef America, opening Encore Hotel in Las Vegas and guiding Anthony Bourdain through many markets and restaurants, Chef Jet Tila is internationally celebrated for his culinary expertise. This two-time Emmy, James Beard nominee and best-selling author grew up in the first family of Thai food and then later attending both French and Japanese culinary schools, Jet is a born educator and storyteller. Jet was appointed as the inaugural Culinary Ambassador of Thai Cuisine by the Royal Thai Consulate, the first-ever chef to represent his country’s culture and cuisine.

Chef Jet’s culinary operations includes VP Culinary of Pei Wei Group 160 restaurants & Managing Partner Dragon Tiger Noodle Co in Las Vegas. He has partnerships with Compass Group, Schwan’s CJ food, HSN, Mr. Bings & NBC Universal/DreamWorks. His food reaches millions of people a year.
He appears as a host, co-host, judge, and competitor on many Food Network shows as Tournament of Champions, Iron Chef America, Cutthroat Kitchen, Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay and Guy’s Grocery Games. As well as an array of shows ranging from the Today show, MasterChef, Rachel Ray and holds six culinary Guinness World Records.

Jet Tila

From battling the legendary Masaharu Morimoto on Iron Chef America, opening Encore...

Jackie Topol

Categories: Presenters

Jackie Topol MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and co-founder of the Culinary Nutrition Collaborative. Her mission is to help people use food-as-medicine to manage and reverse a variety of health conditions. She has a master’s in clinical nutrition from New York University and shares her passion for healthy eating and therapeutic cooking through culinary classes and demos, which she has been leading in various settings for over 15 years. She was a lead instructor of health-focused classes at the Jewish Community Center in New York City for over a decade and worked
at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, the #1 hospital in NY, for over 8 years where she led cooking demos both on in-patient units and in the outpatient setting. In 2020 she opened her private practice where she incorporates both clinical and culinary nutrition into her counseling. Her focus is on disease prevention and she primarily sees patients who have prediabetes and high cholesterol. Jackie also regularly gives nutrition lectures to the public, both in-person and virtually.

She co-founded the Culinary Nutrition Collaborative (CNC) with fellow RD Kristy Del Coro in 2017 because they both felt there was a gap in training for dietitians on how to translate nutrition science in the kitchen. CNC offers year-round continuing education events for dietitians and health professionals as well as culinary nutrition consulting for businesses within the food industry. Featuring workshops on hot topics in the field and an entire series dedicated to global cuisine, their platform reaches thousands of healthcare professionals across the nation and world. Jackie resides in Rockaway, NJ with her husband and two children.

Jackie Topol

Jackie Topol MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and co-founder of...

Ana Torrealba

Categories: Presenters

Ana Torrealba is the Chef de Cuisine at El Naranjo restaurant in Austin, Texas. She was born in Mexico City, growing up in the beautiful city of Oaxaca in Southwest Mexico, a city well known for its food. She grew up at her family’s restaurant, El Naranjo, always surrounded with the aromas of corn, chiles and freshly baked bread. During school vacation, she helped her parents bake bread and make desserts. In 2006, she moved to the United States and eventually realized that she wanted to make a career in the food industry too and got her start working at various bakeries and restaurants.

Torrealba graduated from The Culinary Institute of America with an Associate’s Degree in Baking and Pastry. Then, she returned to Austin to work at her family’s restaurant for a couple of years. In 2015, Zagat included her in their list “30 under 30” best chefs in Austin. Since she was deeply interested in learning more about the process and chemistry of food, in 2016 she moved to Mexico City to study a career in food engineering. She graduated in 2020.
Since her return to Austin, chef Torrealba has been working at El Naranjo, developing various breads, desserts, and pastries, as well as other parts of the savory menu of the restaurant and gradually taking over the whole menu.

Ana Torrealba

Ana Torrealba is the Chef de Cuisine at El Naranjo restaurant in...

Ed Townsley

Categories: Presenters

Ed Townsley is the Associate Vice President of Ancillary Services at the University of Guelph. His portfolio includes Student Housing Services, Hospitality Services, University Bookstore, Retail Services, Parking Services, Campus Card Office, Concessions, Vending, and Mail Services. The University of Guelph is a self-operated school in Southwestern Ontario.

As the Executive Director of Canadian College and University Food Service Association (CCUFSA) he leads a team of nineteen (19) volunteers voted by their peers from across Canada to carry out the business of the association.

Formed in Ontario in 1978, the Association has grown into a national group comprised of Food Service Directors and Managers from self-operated and contracted schools, as well as Senior Administrators that oversee Food Services as part of their portfolio.

CCUFSA is divided into three Canadian regions – Western, Central & Eastern. Each region is represented by two regional Vice-Presidents, elected at our national conference.

Ed Townsley

Ed Townsley is the Associate Vice President of Ancillary Services at the...

Iliana de la Vega

Categories: Presenters

Chef Iliana de la Vega is the first James Beard Award winner for Best Chef Texas in 2022.

Iliana is a Mexican-born chef, who has dedicated her professional life to the study and dissemination of the Mexican gastronomy. She is an educator, a restaurateur, and culinary consultant, and leads culinary trips to Mexico. She also works with different communities of rare chiles of Oaxaca.

From 2007 to 2012, Chef de la Vega served as the Mexican Cuisines Specialist for The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). She created and launched the Latin Cuisines Certificate Program.

Chef de la Vega won worldwide acclaim for her interpretation of Oaxacan cuisine at her restaurant and cooking school, El Naranjo, in Oaxaca, Mexico from 1997 to 2006.

In May 2012, Chef de la Vega opened El Naranjo Restaurant in Austin TX.

In 2014 The Mexican Government awarded Chef de la Vega the prestigious Ohtli award in recognition of her work in Mexican Gastronomy and the Hispanic population.

Since 2015 alongside with her anthropologist/journalist daughter Isabel Torrealba created Mexican Culinary Traditions, a culinary travel company. Exploring various regions of Mexico.

Chef de la Vega is a consultant- partner for Stanford University and has the honor to be the Texas delegate for the Conservatorio de la Cultura Gastronómica Mexicana.

elnaranjorestaurant.com
mexicanculinarytraditions.com

Iliana de la Vega

Chef Iliana de la Vega is the first James Beard Award winner...

Fleur Veldhoven

Categories: Presenters

Fleur Veldhoven is Vice President of Marketing – Food with Nestlé Professional Solutions. In this role, Fleur leads the food business for Nestlé’s out-of-home division, managing a team of marketers, business development managers, nutrition and sustainability managers, event managers, and innovation chefs responsible for brands including MINOR’S®, STOUFFER’S®, CHEF-MATE® and the CUSTOM INNOVATION GROUP™. Fleur’s career with Nestlé Professional extends across 18 years in expanding foodservice marketing and business leadership roles, including leading the savory foodservice category globally at the Nestlé headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland. Prior to Nestlé Professional, Fleur led multiple marketing and sales roles in other industries including retail consumer products and travel. Fleur is experienced in managing businesses and teams, driving marketing and sales strategy, planning and execution, and leading digital, event, product innovation and sustainability initiatives. Fleur Veldhoven earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics from Northwestern University.

Fleur Veldhoven

Fleur Veldhoven is Vice President of Marketing – Food with Nestlé Professional...

Maeve Webster

Categories: Presenters

Maeve Webster, President of Menu Matters LLC, is a consultant and thought leader for the food and beverage industry with nearly 25 years of experience. Maeve founded Menu Matters LLC in 2015 with the mission of supporting clients with exceptional one-on-one expertise that puts their strategies and objectives first. What Maeve excels at is helping her clients find the critical, relevant meaning within data and insights, and to use those insights to inform innovation, messaging and strategy. Maeve has practical foodservice experience, having owned a café in Bennington, VT, for four years and is a regular speaker at leading industry events.

Maeve Webster

Maeve Webster, President of Menu Matters LLC, is a consultant and thought...

Joanne Weir

Categories: Presenters

Ms. Weir is a James Beard award-winning cookbook author, international cooking teacher, television host, restaurateur, and renowned chef. A fourth-generation professional chef, Ms. Weir spent five years cooking with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California and studied with Madeleine Kamman in France, where she was awarded a Master Chef Diploma with honors. Her ultimate calling is teaching others to cook in the United States and throughout the world — Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, UK, South America, Mexico and Canada. Joanne won the inaugural International Association of Culinary Professionals Cooking Teacher Award of Excellence in 2010. In 2015, Joanne won the Tour Operator of the Year Award also from the International Association of Culinary Professionals for her highly acclaimed Culinary Tours. She spends several months of the year touring the globe sharing her extensive cooking background, knowledge, and experience.

Ms. Weir has a twenty-three-year history as a host for her award-winning cooking shows which air nationally on Public Television and Create TV. Her current television series, “Joanne Weir’s Plates and Places” won Best New Series from Taste Awards in 2019 and 2022. Several of her 17 cookbooks have received James Beard nominations and awards including Weir Cooking in the City (Simon & Schuster, 2004) her first book, From Tapas to Meze (Crown, 1994,) You Say Tomato (Broadway Books 1998) and More Cooking in the Wine Country (Simon & Schuster 2001). Her most recent book is a food memoir, Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food (Oxmoor House, 2015) and features a foreword by Alice Waters.

Her book called Tequila, a Guide to Flights, Types, Cocktails & Bites (Ten Speed Press, 2009) is the impetus for Joanne and partners to open her first restaurant in 2012 called Copita, a tequileria & restaurant in Sausalito, California. To much acclaim, Joanne very recently opened her second Copita, on two floors complete with a rooftop bar and an extensive tequila and mezcal collection, located in Silicon Valley.

Ms. Weir is the Chef Ambassador for the European Union supported campaign for Icons of European Taste promoting Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto di San Danielle and Grana Padano. She is also the acting Guest Chef for Sonoma International Film Festival. Joanne as appointed as one of 60 American chefs to the American Chef Corp by the US State Department, 20 of whom are women.

Weir has written and been featured in many national magazines and websites and appears frequently on national television. Her real love is the tours that she hosts in the countries that surround the Mediterranean. http://www.joanneweir.com

In her spare time, you will find Joanne working on various design projects, doing yoga, walking in the hills of her hometown of San Francisco and traveling the Mediterranean.

Joanne Weir

Ms. Weir is a James Beard award-winning cookbook author, international cooking teacher,...

Jasmine Westbrooks

Categories: Presenters

Jasmine is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist residing in Raleigh, North Carolina. She believes in a realistic approach to improving nutritional habits for a better quality of life. Her interest in nutrition blossomed from health problems dominating her and her family’s lives but could have been corrected through preventive diet measures. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition Dietetics from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and her Master’s Degree in Nutrition Education from Rosalind Franklin University in Chicago.

She is the co-founder of EatWell Exchange Inc. a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the primary goal of bridging the gap in health outcomes by guiding communities in making positive life-long changes while respectfully maintaining their culture. She provides community outreach and various culturally relevant nutrition programs to prevent chronic diseases—Jasmine partners with nonprofits, businesses, organizations, and schools to reach various low-socioeconomic populations. Since 2017, her organization has impacted over 30,000 people.

Jasmine is the CEO of her consulting company, Nourish Through Nutrition, teaching about diabetes, mindful eating, and making behavioral changes with all foods. She emphasizes making changes around their lifestyle while also debunking food myths, helping people develop better relationships with their food, and making healthier food choices that are sustainable and last a lifetime. As a media dietitian, she has been featured on many local and national media outlets, and health panels such as Today’s Dietitian, WFLA Tampa, Philadelphia Channel 17, NBC Miami, Real Simple, Self, Essence Magazine and many more local TV stations and publications.

Jasmine has been mentioned and quoted as a contributor to articles for Real Simple, Self, Whole 30, and Essense Magazine. She has been featured in Epicurious, Daily Harvest, Weight Watchers, and Quaker Oaks. She has worked in partnerships with WakeMed, Duke, Memphis Grizzlies, and Hello Fresh, just to name a few.

Jasmine Westbrooks

Jasmine is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education...

Walter Willett

Categories: Presenters

Dr. Walter Willett is a physician and epidemiologist and Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He served as Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard for 25 years. Much of his work has been on the development of methods, using both questionnaire and biochemical approaches, to study the effects of diet on the occurrence of major diseases. He has applied these methods starting in 1980 in the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Together, these cohorts that include nearly 300,000 men and women with repeated dietary assessments are providing the most detailed information on the long-term health consequences of food choices. Dr. Willett has published over 2,000 research papers, primarily on lifestyle risk factors for heart disease and cancer, and has written the textbook, Nutritional Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press. He also has four books for the general public. Dr. Willett is the most cited nutritional scientist internationally. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the recipient of many national and international awards for his research.

Walter Willett

Dr. Walter Willett is a physician and epidemiologist and Professor of Epidemiology...

Virginia Willis

Categories: Presenters

Virginia Willis is a Beard award-winning cookbook author, chef, content creator, and motivational speaker. She’s the founder of Good and Good for You, a real-life approach to health and wellness initiated by her own experiences with weight loss.

Virginia has lost 65# and kept it off for more than 3 years. Because of her own health journey, she is a cheerleader for others seeking to make lifestyle changes to feel healthier and happier.

Good and Good for You with Virginia Willis is a lifestyle brand that shares health and wellness strategies through digital channels, print media, and public speaking. Good and Good for You offers the science-backed tools, encouragement, and support to empower folks to live a better life. Fans love her approachable spirit and friendly down-to-earth style. For more information visit virginiawillis.com

Virginia Willis

Virginia Willis is a Beard award-winning cookbook author, chef, content creator, and...

Michael Wu

Categories: Presenters

Dr. Michael Wu is one of the world’s premier authorities on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), data science, and behavioral economics. He’s currently the Chief AI Strategist at PROS (NYSE: PRO), an AI-powered SaaS provider that helps companies monetize more efficiently in the digital economy. He’s been appointed as a Senior Research Fellow at the Ecole des Ponts Business School for his work in Data Science, and he serves as an advisor and a lecturer for UC Berkeley Extension’s AI programs.

Prior to PROS, Michael was the Chief Scientist at Lithium for a decade, where he focuses on developing predictive and prescriptive algorithms to extract insights from social media big data. His research spans many areas, including customer experience, CRM, online influence, gamification, digital transformation, AI, etc. His R&D won him the recognition as an Influential Leader by CRM Magazine along with Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Benioff and other industry giants.

Michael has served as a DOE fellow at the Los Alamos National Lab conducting research in face recognition and was awarded 4 years of full fellowship under the Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. Prior to industry, Michael received his triple major undergraduate degree in Applied Math, Physics, and Molecular & Cell Biology; and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley’s Biophysics program, where he uses machine learning to model visual processing within the human brain. Michael believes in knowledge dissemination, and speaks internationally at universities, conferences, and enterprises. His insights have inspired many global enterprises and are made accessible through “The Science of Social,” and “The Science of Social 2”—two easy-reading e-books.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelwuphd/

Michael Wu

Dr. Michael Wu is one of the world’s premier authorities on artificial...

Martin Yan

Categories: Presenters

Born in Guangzhou, China, from a restaurant and grocery family, Chef Yan acquired a passion for cooking at an early age as a young apprentice in a popular restaurant in Hong Kong. He honed his skills further at the Overseas Institute of Cookery in Hong Kong and later received a Master Degree of Food Science at the University of California, Davis in the U.S., where he also discovered a flair for teaching as a chef-instructor in the university’s extension program. In 1978, he launched the now classic Yan Can Cook series, infusing cooking lessons with his brand of humor and skill.

For four decades the Yan Can Cook show has been broadcast on public television in the U.S. Generations of audiences have grown up watching his shows and learning the joy and wonders of Chinese and Asian cuisines. In the past decade, Chef Yan has filmed his popular series in other Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Korea and Thailand. Yan Can Cook: Spice Kingdom, a 13-part series based in Chengdu, China, has just made its debut on public television in the U.S. This will be followed by Taste of Malaysia with Martin Yan, a 13-part series produced on location throughout Malaysia, and another 13-part series of Korea Food Alive.
Teaching remains close and dear to the heart of Chef Yan. He has been a popular guest instructor at many top culinary institutions around the world such as The Culinary Institute of America, Johnson & Wales University, and Le Cordon Bleu Schools.

Summary:
Celebrity Chef Martin Yan

  • One of the most recognizable Chinese American icons in the culinary world with career spanning over four decades
  • More than 32 cookbooks
  • more than 3,500 culinary and travel TV shows

Yan Can Cook motto: “If Yan can cook, So can you”

Not only a chef, tireless promoter of many social causes and cross-cultural exchanges between Asia and North America. His passion and love for food and cooking have touched millions of hearts around the world.

Believes in:
Food brings people together.
Food breaks down barriers.
Food helps us to respect and appreciate each other.

  • Awarded multiple James Beard Awards, including the most recent Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022
  • The 26th annual SIFF (Sonoma International Film Festival) Honors Chef Martin Yan Culinary Excellence Award in 2023.
  • In 2023, UC Davis Library Archives and Special Collections created the Martin Yan Legacy Archive, a collection which includes over 3000 cookbooks collected over the years, photographs, videos, media clips and slides taken as he traveled the world for his food and travel shows, Yan Can Cook awards Yan received over the years

Martin Yan

Born in Guangzhou, China, from a restaurant and grocery family, Chef Yan...

Grace Young

Categories: Presenters

Grace Young is an award-winning cookbook author, culinary historian and activist working to save and support America’s Chinatowns. She is a 2023 Forbes 50 Over 50 honoree and is the 2022 recipient of the Julia Child Award. She received the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2022 and is a USA Today Women of the Year honoree for her advocacy. Dubbed the “accidental voice for Chinatown” by Grub Street, Grace has been featured on CBS Mornings, Today Show, PBS Newshour, and NPR’s All Things Considered. She has also been profiled by The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Smithsonian, Vogue and Cherry Bombe. Her accolades include James Beard Awards for her Wok Therapist comedy video and cookbook Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge. She is currently partnering with the James Beard Foundation on the #SupportChinatowns social media campaign to raise public awareness to preserve and protect America’s Chinatowns.

Grace Young

Grace Young is an award-winning cookbook author, culinary historian and activist working...

Andrew Zimmern

Categories: Presenters

Andrew Zimmern is an Emmy-winning and four-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer and passionate global citizen. As the creator, executive producer and host of the Bizarre Foods franchise, Andrew Zimmern’s Driven by Food, MSNBC’s What’s Eating America, Magnolia Network’s Emmy-nominated Family Dinner, Outdoor Channel’s Wild Game Kitchen and the Emmy-winning The Zimmern List, he has devoted his life to exploring and promoting cultural acceptance, tolerance and understanding through food. You can also find him judging Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend on Netflix, The Silos Baking Competition on HBO Max and mentoring young chefs on Food Network’s All-Star Academy. Later this year, he will premiere Andrew Zimmern’s Field to Fire.

Andrew is the founder and chairman of Intuitive Content, named one of the top 100 production companies in the world by Realscreen for three years in a row. A full-service production company that develops and produces television, digital content and advertisements, Intuitive Content works with a diverse group of networks including MSNBC, Magnolia, Hulu, Travel Channel, Outdoor Channel, Reelz, Discovery, HBO Max, and Food Network, as well as companies like Whirlpool, Marriott, Caribou Coffee, Sleep Number, Hy-Vee, Cointreau, the National Football League and AquaChile. In 2020, IC premiered What’s Eating America, a series for MSNBC exploring the civic stories of our time through the lens of food. In 2021, they premiered Family Dinner, which follows Andrew as he discovers how the cultural, regional, and historical facets of who we are inform how we eat. In 2023, Family Dinner was nominated for two Emmy awards for Culinary Series and Culinary Host. In 2022, they premiered Andrew Zimmern’s Wild Game Kitchen, and in 2024 they will premiere Field to Fire, both on the Outdoor Channel. Other IC series include Hope in the Water, Zoe Bakes, Big Food Truck Tip, Crash Test World, How to Survive a Murder, Feral and The Zimmern List, which won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Travel and Adventure Program.

In 2015, Andrew launched Passport Hospitality, which provides consulting services to restaurant and retail projects and creates unique culinary concepts, including the hot dog and burger concept Patty & Frank’s in Atlanta’s Chattahoochee Works food hall. Andrew collaborated with Minneapolis chef Gavin Kaysen to create KZ ProVisioning, a catering company for professional sports franchises, including the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, the NBA’s Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Lynx. Passport’s largest effort to date is overseeing all food service contracting and development for the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream in Washington DC, opening in 2024.

Andrew has written four books—The Bizarre Truth, Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre World of Food, Andrew Zimmern’s Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild & Wonderful Food, and Alliance of World Explorers: AZ and the Lost City of Ophir, which won the Gold IPPY in Juvenile Fiction. Andrew sits on the board of directors of Services for the UnderServed, EXPLR Media, Soigne Hospitality, Giving Kitchen and Beans is How. He is on the advisory board of Procure Impact and the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, and serves on City Harvest’s Food Council. Andrew is a Global Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme and The Nature Conservancy, and is the International Rescue Committee’s Voice for Nutrition. He is a founding member of the Coalition for Sustainable Aquaculture and the Independent Restaurant Coalition, fighting to save restaurants affected by Covid-19. Other charities Andrew works with include Lovin’ Spoonfuls, ONE, Food Policy Action Committee, and No Kid Hungry. In his rare downtime, Andrew relaxes in Minneapolis, spending time with family and his dogs Luca and Clemmie.

Andrew Zimmern

Andrew Zimmern is an Emmy-winning and four-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality,...