Chef Jody Adams says her priorities are working with people, working with food, and building a community, and she lives these priorities every day. Currently balancing chef and co-ownership roles at three restaurants in Boston, Jody’s priorities and passions have driven her long career in the kitchen, in her philanthropic work, and in communities near and far.
Her latest venture is a restaurant group with partners Eric Papachristos and John Mendez, growing new, innovative concepts in Mediterranean dining. The team opened TRADE in 2011, which serves elegant, Greek-inspired cuisine steeped in the warmth and comfort of that region. In 2016, they opened the first of three Saloniki restaurants, offering fast-casual, locally sourced, scratch-made food, as well as Porto, serving coastal Italian fare.
Jody graduated from Brown University with a degree in anthropology, determined to become a nurse practitioner. But a part-time job at a gourmet food store, a volunteer role at a fundraiser, and two important introductions put her on a different path. Prompted by Julia Child and Sara Moulton to go to Boston and work for Lydia Shire at Seasons, Jody spent 4 years cooking on the line, then 3 years as sous chef for Gordon Hamersley at Hamersley’s Bistro. Both jobs gave her an unparalleled education on French cuisine and restaurant operations. Her next move was to Michela’s, as executive chef under Michela Larson, exploring regional Italian culinary traditions. These experiences at three iconic Boston restaurants prepared her to open a new icon, Rialto, where she spent 22 years and won the James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Northeast Award along the way. Jody closed Rialto in 2016.
Jody is committed to the philanthropic work she does at the local, national, and international levels. The organizations she supports with both time and money focus on health and food insecurity, environmental stewardship, and restaurant and restaurant workers’ viability and security. Starting with a volunteer job at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in her 20s, Jody’s dedication continues through long associations with the Chef’s Collaborative, the Greater Boston Food Bank, the Women’s Lunch Place, and Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry, which named her Humanitarian of the Year in 2010. A prolific fundraiser, she has biked in the Pan-Mass Challenge for over 10 years, and donated her winnings on Top Chef Masters to Partners in Health, where she is a trustee and has traveled to Haiti and Rwanda to support public health education and infrastructure projects. In 2020, facing restaurant shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, she helped found Massachusetts Restaurants United to advocate for
restaurants, their workers, and legislation to give them financial and business support and, more importantly, a voice.
Jody is married to Ken Rivard, a photographer and co-author of Jody’s book, In the Hands of a Chef. They have two children, Oliver, a filmmaker, and Roxanne, an art curator. Travel continues to spur Jody’s interest in exploring new culinary territory, and she leads curated travel tours in Europe, often on a bike, exploring the food, kitchens, and communities where old ideas are renewed and new ideas are born.
Amelia Alonzo MS, RDN, CD-N is a Registered Dietitian at Yale Hospitality, Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Amelia is an integral part of the Hospitality team who works to ensure that bodies and minds are nourished through the provision of healthy, nutritious and allergen-friendly meals. She aids in menu structure and works closely with students who may have food allergies, medical conditions, athletic training considerations, religious dietary guidelines and lifestyle choices. She works to ensure that all of their dietary needs are met, and they are able to eat safely and with peace of mind. As a Registered Dietitian Practitioner, Amelia specializes in culinary nutrition, health, and wellness practices. After completing an undergraduate degree in culinary nutrition, she went on to obtain a Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health. With over five years of experience in the dietetic field, Amelia has worked with many esteemed nutrition professionals in a variety of areas including clinical health, individual counseling and health and wellness. Her approach encompasses a blend of traditional health care and integrative and functional medicine, to help individuals achieve optimal health, healing and vitality.
Freddie Bitsoie (48) is a proud Navajo and an award-winning chef. He is the former executive chef of Mitsitam Native Foods Café, located inside Washington, D.C.’s Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Bitsoie was previously the executive chef of Fire Rock Casino and is the winner of the Smithsonian’s Native Chef Competition. He has contributed to a number of Native American cookbooks, including America: The Cookbook (Phaidon, 2017) and James Beard Award–winner Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen (University of Minnesota Press, 2017). He lives in Gallup, New Mexico.
Ashley Carter is a registered dietitian who believes in providing nutrition education with a culturally focused approach. She is the co-founder and director of EatWell Exchange, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps improve access to healthier foods, and initiatives to teach low-income, minority communities how to cook nutritious and affordable foods. Based in Miami, she works with communities throughout the nation to help increase access, knowledge, and affordability of healthier foods. Her specialty involves simplifying scientific and nutritional information for communities to understand. She provides training and events for health care professionals as well to teach the importance of cultural foods and inclusion throughout their profession and how that can positively impact the clients they serve. Ashley graduated from Florida State University with a degree in dietetics and a minor in religion and obtained her master’s in nutrition with a focus on health informatics from the University of North Florida. She has been in the maternal and child health field for 10 years and is currently pursuing her certified lactation certification. She is an adjunct professor at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University teaching Science of Nutrition. Ashley has been featured in Eating Well, Today’s Dietitians, Essence, Miami Times, VeryWell Fit, Well+Good, and Kids Eat in Color. Her goal is to provide realistic generational changes using foods accustomed to different cultures to decrease negative health outcomes like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Lilian Cheung, DSc, RD, is lecturer, director of health promotion & communication, and director of mindfulness research & practice at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition.
She is the editorial director of The Nutrition Source, the school’s nutrition information website for health professionals, journalists, and consumers. Cheung also serves as co-editorial director of the Asian Diabetes Prevention Initiative and the Obesity Prevention Source. Her work focuses on the translation of science-based recommendations into public health communications and programs, to promote healthy lifestyles for chronic disease prevention and control. Cheung was the co-principal investigator and co-author of “Eat Well & Keep Moving” (2001; 2nd edition, 2007; 3rd edition, 2016), a widely disseminated school-based nutrition and physical activity program for upper elementary school children.
She co-edited “Child Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity” (1995) with the late Surgeon General Dr. Julius Richmond, and co-authored “Be Healthy! It’s A Girl Thing: Food, Fitness and Feeling Great!” (2003; 2nd edition, 2010), with Mavis Jukes. Cheung also co-authored “Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life” (2010, 2011) with Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, which has been acquired for translation in 17 countries.
She is a member of The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Board of Dean Advisors, and The National Academy of Medicine Society. She has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club of Boston, and a trustee for The Roxbury Latin School and The Meadowbrook School of Weston.
Sherene is an award-winning dietitian and chef focused on building a more equitable and sustainable food system through the intersection of plant-based nutrition, inclusive culinary education, and social justice. She’s collaborated with national brands and institutions to build innovative programs for more accessible and inclusive nutrition education. She served as the Chair for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Vegetarian Nutrition Practice Group, Nutrition Committee for the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative, Nutrition Advisor for the Plant Based Foods Association, and currently on Padilla’s DE+I Collective.
She co-developed the first Culinary Medicine course at Keck USC School of Medicine, the Certificate of Training on Sustainable Food Systems for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and was featured as one of Today’s Dietitian Magazine’s 10 RDs Making a Difference in 2019. In 2020, she co-founded Food + Planet, an initiative to empower 1 million healthcare professionals to transform the food system and was featured in the New York Times on the importance of diversifying healthcare. You can follow her work @eatsustainablefoods on Instagram.
Lumi honed her baking pastry skills at some of the most esteemed bakeries, hotels and restaurants in USA and Europe. She was teaching generations of pastry & baking students at Johnson & Wales University, RI as well as managing one of Seven Stars café shops in Providence, RI.
Lumi’s interest in business led her to pursue a Master’s in Business and Administration majoring in Hospitality. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Telecommunication from her native country of Romania, and another Bachelor of Science Degree in Food Service Management from Johnson & Wales University Providence, RI.
Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including Bread Lines, Baking and Pastry of America and Providence Journal. In 2017, she received her title of Master Baker from Retailed Baker of America, while in 2018 she received the title of Artisan Bread Baker from Bread Bakers Guild of America.
Well versed in the foundations of classical pastry and emerging techniques in Artisan Bread Baking and Viennoiseries, Lumi’s passion is continuing educating pastry professionals in the art and science of baking and pastry.
Betsy Craig is the nation’s leading expert on food allergies, menu labeling and certifying products and facilities as free from food allergens. As CEO and founder of MenuTrinfo®, LLC, she and her team are dedicated to helping foodservice operators protect lives and health every day. MenuTrinfo exists to inform food service and manufacturers what they can safely serve their customers. To date MenuTrinfo is responsible for menu nutritional information at over 100K US restaurants, food allergy and gluten free training for hundreds of thousands of food service professionals and providing allergen transparency to today’s food allergic consumer through ISO 17065 certification of spaces in dining and consumer packaged goods.
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.
Chef Abbie Gellman, MS RD CDN is a spokesperson, recipe and product developer, educator, nationally recognized culinary nutrition expert, and Director of Teaching Kitchen and Culinary Medicine at St. Barnabas Hospital. She creates, produces, and hosts cooking and nutrition videos and works with a wide variety of food companies/brands, commodity boards, foodservice operators, health professionals, and private clients. She has three published cookbooks and appears in local and regional broadcast media and contributes to many publications as both an expert and an author. She is the consulting “Better for You” R&D Chef/RD for the private company Happi Foodi and has created two lines of healthy frozen meals for them under the WalMart Better For You Great Value brand and the Happi Foodi brand; both can currently be found at WalMart. Abbie lives in NYC with her daughter, Olivia, and many shelves of cookbooks. Learn more about her at ChefAbbieGellman.com and connect with her via @ChefAbbieGellman on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest.
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 is in Jacksonville, Florida showcasing a global take on the iconic Southern chicken and biscuits. In the Spring of 2023 he will release his very first cookbook, Southern Cooking, Global Flavors from Rizzoli.
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 at Harvard University. He has published a textbook on Obesity Epidemiology (Oxford University Press) and >1400 peer-reviewed papers with an H-index of 300. 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.
Celebrated chef and cookbook author Matt Jennings got his start in the food world as a 14-year-old prep cook and stock boy at a grocery and café in his native Massachusetts. After graduating from the New England Culinary Institute with distinction, Jennings worked at notable restaurants around the country and abroad before opening Farmstead in Providence, Rhode Island, where he garnered four James Beard Foundation nominations. In 2014, he returned home to Boston and opened Townsman—a New England Brasserie concept that was named “Restaurant of the Year” in 2016 by Food & Wine Magazine and Esquire’s ‘Best New Restaurant In America” in 2017. Today, Jennings lives on a small organic farm in Vermont’s Champlain Valley with his pastry chef wife, Kate, and their two sons. Together, they raise chickens, pigs, sheep and operate Red Barn Kitchen—a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen that acts as home base for their distinctive, seasonal catering, pop-up events, and cooking classes that focus on the bounty of the New England growing region. Red Barn Kitchen is also the home base for Jennings’ busy food, beverage and hospitality consulting business, where he creates innovative concepts for national brands.
Phil Kafarakis is a global food industry executive with more than 30-years of leadership experience in food manufacturing as well as managing non-profit organizations. Currently, Phil serves as President & CEO of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA), a U.S. trade group representing food manufacturing companies within the $1.2 Trillion Food-Away-From-Home business segment. Prior to his IFMA appointment, Phil served as President of the Specialty Food Association (SFA) representing more than 4,000 small and emerging food entrepreneurs in the $160 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. Prior to his association executive roles, Phil successfully led and directly managed businesses at McCormick & Co., Cargill, Jones Dairy Farm, and Kraft.
Mr. Kafarakis was born in Athens, Greece and immigrated to the U.S. with his family as a child. He holds an International Executive MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and a BSBA from Northern Arizona University.
Stefanos N. Kales
Stefanos N. Kales MD, MPH, FACP, FACOEM
Dr. Kales is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Professor & Director of the Occupational Medicine Residency at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). He is also Chief of Occupational Medicine /Medical Director- Employee Health at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard-affiliated hospital system. He organized and hosted Harvard’s groundbreaking 2014 Mediterranean Diet Conference, and he was Scientific Chair of the landmark 2017 Mediterranean Diet & Health Conference in
Greece. In 2019, Dr. Kales received competitive funding from Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study to organize and host the invitation-only Exploratory Seminar: “Mediterranean Diet: Promotion and
Dissemination of Healthy Eating”. He is the founder of the Hellenic Center for Excellence in Health & Wellness, and was the scientific organizer of the 2022 Cretan lifestyle conference.
Dr. Kales has participated in a wide range of medical/public health research, advisory and teaching activities on five continents resulting in over 220 publications and wide recognition nationally and internationally. He serves on the editorial boards of several biomedical journals and is a faculty member in Harvard’s Cardiovascular Epidemiology Program and Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine.
Dr. Kales has received numerous honors, including the 2013 Kehoe Award for Excellence in Education and Research and 2014 Harriet Hardy Award for outstanding scientific contributions to the field. He has also received honors from the International Association of Fire Chiefs and was inducted into the Order of Emperor Dom Pedro II by the Federal Corp of Brazilian Military Firefighters. He has also received several million dollars in competitive US federal funding, including an ambitious Mediterranean Diet Intervention trial (“Feeding America’s Bravest: Survival Mediterranean Style) among Midwestern firefighters which was awarded the 2017 Silver Medal for Health Research by the Oleocanthal International Society, and another recent grant to create a Healthy Lifestyle smartphone application.
Dr. Kales grew up around traditional Greek foods prepared by his beloved grandmother in the family kitchen and expanded these formative experiences through extensive travels in Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Italy. As a health educator, he seeks to lead by example; following a Mediterranean diet, practicing regular physical fitness and good sleep hygiene. Based on his combined medical and public health training, his research and clinical practice, he is convinced that lifestyle measures like Mediterranean nutrition are the most accessible, effective and valuable means of chronic disease prevention and control. Dr. Kales’ ultimate goal is to use innovative approaches to disseminate healthy Mediterranean eating in schools, workplaces and hospitals. Dr. Kales recently co-authored the “Textbook of Lifestyle Medicine”, from Wiley & Sons publishers, which emphasizes olive oil and Mediterranean lifestyle as the gold standard for healthy living. In May 2022, he participated as an invited speaker in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences symposium: “The Art & Science of Olive Oil” at the Vatican. He also co-organized and led a conference in Cyprus on lifestyle for dementia prevention under the auspices of the A. G. Leventis Foundation. He was also recently invited to participate as an expert advisor to Greece’s National Public Health Organization (EODY). He was the President and scientific organizer of the 2022 Cretan lifestyle conference.
Mike Kostyo is the resident Trendologist and an Associate Director at Datassential, the food industry’s leading market research and trends company. At Datassential, Kostyo oversees the company’s seven TrendSpotting magazines, custom client publications, and he leads trend immersion tours and ideation sessions across the country. Kostyo was a recurring guest on Fusion TV’s “The AV Club Show”; has been featured on WGN Radio, 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 annually; and he was a judge on Food Network’s “Eating America.” He has a master’s in gastronomy from Boston University, plus certificates in the culinary arts, baking arts, wine, and artisan cheese production. In his spare time, he teaches cooking classes and co-founded a monthly food swap in Chicago. For more information on Kostyo, visit mikekostyo.com or check out this article.
John Noble Masi
John Noble Masi
President of Hospitality Performance Partners
Lead Culinary Faculty at The Chaplin School of Hospitality Management & Tourism at Florida International University
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
David Julian McClements
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 eight 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 1300 articles in scientific journals (H-index 176, Google Scholar).
Alissa Nolden is an Assistant Professor at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the Department of Food Science who works with her colleagues and students to enhance the field of food science and human health. Alissa believes understanding factors influencing sensory perception and taste preferences are important in increasing consumption and creation of delicious, healthful, and sustainable foods. She has conducted consumer surveys and supported collaborative projects regarding plant-based foods to understand consumers’ motivation to adopt a diet that includes plant-based products, with a focus on sensory attributes and personality factors that are associated with liking and intake.
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:
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.
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.
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 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 148 restaurants & Managing Partner Dragon Tiger Noodle Co in Las Vegas. He has partnerships with Compass Group, Schwan’s & NBC Universal/DreamWorks. His food reaches millions of people a year.
He appears as co-host of Iron Chef America and recurring judge on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay and Guy’s Grocery Games. As well as an array of shows ranging from the Today, MasterChef, Rachel Ray and holds six culinary Guinness World Records.
Ana Torrealba is the Chef de Cuisine at El Naranjo restaurant in Austin, Texas. She was born in Mexico City, but grew 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 entire menu.
Iliana de la Vega
Chef Iliana de la Vega 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. 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). At the CIA, she conducted research, developed curricula, and taught undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education courses on Mexican and other Latin cuisines. She also created and launched the Latin Cuisines Certificate Program.
Before joining The CIA, Chef de la Vega won worldwide acclaim for her interpretation of Oaxacan cuisine at her restaurant and cooking school, El Naranjo, in Oaxaca, Mexico—a restaurant she ran with her husband, Ernesto Torrealba for over 10 years. El Naranjo in Oaxaca was a trend-setter and was featured in prestigious newspapers and magazines, such as The New York Times and Bon Appetit, among others.
In May 2012, Chef de la Vega opened El Naranjo Restaurant. El Naranjo has been recognized as the best Mexican restaurant in Austin and it is one of the top 10 best restaurants in the City.
In 2014 The Mexican Government awarded Chef de la Vega the prestigious Ohtli award in recognition of her work in Mexican Gastronomy and with the Hispanic population. The Ohtli is the greatest award given by the Mexican Government to citizens living abroad.
In 2015, she opened Mexican Culinary Traditions, a culinary travel company dedicated to explore various regions of Mexico.
Chef de la Vega is currently a consultant for Stanford University and has the honor to be the Texas delegate for the Conservatorio de la Cultura Gastronómica Mexicana . Iliana has been 3 times nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award as Best Chef Southwest and Texas, winning the first James Beard Award for Best Chef Texas in 2022!
President, Menu Matters
Maeve Webster, President of Menu Matters, is a leading consultant and thought leader for the food industry. Over the past 20+ years, she has spearheaded hundreds of major industry studies and today runs a private consultancy focused on working with food professionals to analyze, understand, and leverage trends in food and consumer behavior. Maeve’s expertise is in the areas of trend analysis, market assessment, consumer and operator behavior, product testing, menu effectiveness and brand optimization. What Maeve excels at is helping her clients find the critical relevant meaning within data and insights, and to use those findings both tactically and strategically.
Prior to launching Menu Matters, Maeve was Senior Director at Datassential. During that time, she helped develop several of Datassential’s new products and programs including the company’s publications group and TrendSpotting package, headed the company’s health & wellness group, and participated in several industry initiatives including the Culinary Institute of America’s Healthy Menu R&D Collaborative.
In addition to her consulting work, Maeve owned a café in Bennington, VT, for four years running the kitchen and designing the menu. This was a labor of love and brought to life the issues from both a consumer and operator point of view that she has consulted on for two decades.
She is a regular speaker at top industry events such as Flavor Experience, Research Chef’s Association, World of Flavors, World of Healthy Flavors, National Restaurant Association Show, and New Products Conference, and is a regular contributor to several industry publications including Flavor & the Menu, Prepared Foods and Food Management. Maeve earned her MBA at the University of Illinois, and holds a culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. She is a member of Les Dames International, Boston Chapter.
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 2013, Joanne won the Tour Operator of the Year Award also from the International Association of Culinary Professionals for her highly acclaimed Culinary Tours. When Joanne isn’t in San Francisco, you will find her spending several months of the year touring the globe conducting seminars and tours and sharing her extensive cooking background, knowledge, and experience.
Ms. Weir has a twenty-two-year history as a host for her award-winning cooking shows, which air nationally on Public Television and Create TV. She is currently in pre-production for a new 13-episode series filmed on location in California wine country called “Joanne Weir’s Wine Country Cooking.” Her most recent television series, “Joanne Weir’s Plates and Places” won Best New Series from Taste Awards in 2019 and 2020. Several of her 17 cookbooks have received James Beard nominations and awards including 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.
Ms. Weir’s adopted hometown, San Francisco, is the culinary setting for “Weir Cooking in the City,” her 26-part PBS series and companion book (Simon & Schuster, 2004) for which she received a James Beard Award. She is also the author of Wine Country Cooking (Ten Speed Press, 2008), Tequila: A Guide to Types, Flights, Cocktails and Bites (Ten Speed Press, 2009), and Cooking Confidence (Taunton, 2012).
Joanne’s book, Tequila, A Guide to Flights, Types, Cocktails and Bites is the inspiration for her first highly successful and award-winning restaurant, Copita Tequileria y Comida in Sausalito, California in 2012. In summer 2023, Joanne and her restaurant partners will open a much anticipated and larger restaurant and rooftop bar 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 has written and been featured in many national magazines and websites and has appeared frequently on national and local television.
Jasmine is a registered dietitian, diabetes educator, and 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. They provide community outreach and various culturally relevant nutrition programs geared toward preventing chronic diseases. They go out in the community and teach all ages, adjusting their presentations to relate to their culture and making practical changes that are relevant to their needs. They work with communities that are considered food deserts by helping their local gardens gain support which will increase access to healthier foods in those areas. EatWell Exchange partners with nonprofits, businesses, organizations, and schools to reach various low-socioeconomic populations.
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.
A legendary television icon Chef Yan recently received the prestigious James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, following the footsteps of his idols, Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. He has hosted more than 3,500 cooking shows around the world, He is an accomplished chef, a respected culinary educator, commentator and food and hospitality consultant. He has authored a library of 30 plus titles, among which include the award-winning Martin Yan’s Feast and Martin Yan’s Chinatown (with intro by Julia Child.
In 1978, he launched the now classic Yan Can Cook series, infusing cooking lessons with his brand of humor and skill. For close to a quarter of a century, the Yan Can Cook Show has been a fixture on the television screen (PBS) in North America and around the world. Generations of audiences have grown up watching and learning the joy and wonders of Chinese and Asian cuisines.
Chef Yan is also a successful restaurateur. His latest ventures are M.Y. Asia in Las Vegas, a joint effort with Caesars Resorts, USA and M.Y. China in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown. As a culinary professional, Chef Yan is a true ambassador for the food and hospitality industry.
Chef Li Yan (a.k.a. “Chef Lee”) is a pioneer practitioner in China’s sustainable food systems. He won the national championship in the 2020 Good Food Festival and is a signatory of the Chefs’ Manifesto. Chef Lee co-founded and manages Xiaolou, China’s first sustainable restaurant accredited by the Good Food Fund and one of the first to be certified by Meatless Monday China. He is an accredited culinary expert of the Good Food Fund and has won a National Best Practices award for China’s food systems transformation in 2021. In 2020, Chef Lee led the test kitchen of the Mama’s Kitchen, a global Top Visionary of the 2050 Food Systems Vision Prize, and was featured on Food 2050, a documentary made by the Rockefeller Foundation. Chef Lee volunteered at Save Sea Turtle, Yunnan Yangbi earthquake relief, and Ugly Vegetable culinary challenge in Suzhou. His culinary career started in Ireland 21 years ago and is sustained by his passion and love for cooking and good food as well as taking on new challenges.
Isabella Zampetaki is a journalist, author and storyteller.
Her first book, “Handcrafted Crete” is a bilingual travel volume for all things made my hand in the island and was published in June 2022. In its pages, we discover a multifaceted variety of age-old crafts from across the plains and mountains of Crete: from textiles, ceramics and knife making, to olive oil, carob and cheesemaking. We travel to wineries that produce wine in clay amphorae and to shepherds’ farmsteads, where they still make cheese as their grandparents did in century-old copper cauldrons.
Isabella speaks at conferences and other events about culinary culture, Mediterranean cuisine, travel and wellbeing in a digital world.
She was born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1977 and started writing stories about culture, food and travel in 2000. Magazines her work has been published in include Time Out Athens, Travel & Leisure Mexico, Kathimerini, Athens Voice, Oryx – Qatar Airways, Aire – Aeromexico, Athinorama and Athens Insider. She has two sons and 20 square meters of urban land she cultivates twice a year.
Isabella is the creator of Tourism Awards, the most well-respected awards for the Greek travel sector and Head of Organizing Committee for Greek Hotel of the Year Awards, Greece’s Restaurant 100 and Estia Awards.
She has a Bachelor of Arts from Grinnell College, Iowa and a Masters in Design of Information and Communication Technologies from Carlos III University in Spain.