New! Cultivate Your Own Education Menu

This year, find sessions grouped into categories, based on roles in the industry. Content has been curated specifically for chefs, Culinologists and trend-focused professionals. While there are no restrictions to who may attend such sessions, this exciting new structure allows individuals to create a menu of educational opportunities, catered to their own career needs.

Wild Card


Evolution of Food Waste Product Development

11:15 A.M. – 12:15 P.M.

To meet the demands of the evolving food industry, the RCA has created the Evolution of Food Waste Product Development Student Competition in 2016. Established by the RCA Student Committee, the Evolution of Food Waste Competition challenges student teams to formulate commercialized products, increase nutritional content through value-added processing, and troubleshoot cost reduction strategies repurposing byproduct ingredients historically considered food waste. This year’s competition is sponsored by Griffith Foods, with students using ReGrained SuperGrain+ Flour as a required ingredient in their product.

Culinary Conservation: Reducing Waste and Promoting Full Utilization of San Diego Seafood

Dr. Sarah MesnickEcologist & Science Liaison,  NOAA Fisheries Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Davin WaiteCo-Founder & Executive Chef, Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub

11:15 A.M. – 12:15 P.M.

This session will cover all things “culinary conservation”, including how chefs, fishermen, processors, and scientists are working together to save the oceans, one bite at a time. Dr. Mesnick and Davin Waite will emphasize topics like 100 percent utilization, eating under-loved species, and diverse ways to think about and access information on “sustainability” when it comes to seafood. Session will include live opah fish butchering demo.

Here's My New Gold Standard; Do You Like It? How to Conduct Bias-Free Cutting

Lori RothmanConsultant,  Lori Rothman Consulting

11:15 A.M. – 12:15 P.M.

This session will be an interactive exploration of the practical problem of how to conduct bias free evaluation sessions at the bench, stove or roundtable. Participants will see a scenario that will illustrate the many factors that create biases during these informal evaluation sessions, including unequal project and product knowledge, unequal tasting abilities and power dynamics. After the scenario, I will ask participants what issues they saw during the evaluation session and then I will lecture on the practical problems with these types of evaluations and how a bias free evaluation can be planned for and executed. Then participants will watch a demonstration with the same scenario and players as earlier, but where good evaluation practices are implemented. Lastly, I will ask participants how the principles reviewed earlier led to a bias free evaluation.

Operation Innovation: How New Concepts Will Change the Industry

Maeve WebsterPresident, Menu Matters

11:15 A.M. – 12:15 P.M.

As the industry grapples with labor shortages, increased labor costs, diversified competition, and the growth of delivery, operators are not only changing their approach to the menu but also the operation design and leveraging resources back of house. From ghost kitchens and new delivery-only concepts, to phantom brands and tech-based ordering, what a restaurant may be and look like will probably never be the same. Learn how these new concepts will change the industry's relationship with patrons, impact menu innovation and create both challenges and opportunities going forward.

Bigger than Burgers: The Future of Plant-Based

Zak WestonFoodservice Analyst, Good Foods Institute

Chef Thomas Bowman, Product Developer & Food Scientist, Eclipse Foods

1:30 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.

Plant-based burgers are one of the hottest trends in food, but burgers are not the only way that plant-based is disrupting protein. In this session, we will explore the evolution of the plant-based category and consumers. In addition to hearing GFI's predictions for the future of the plant-based category in foodservice, operators will learn how demand for plant-based is expanding into new categories and find inspiration for innovative foods that can appeal to the new generation of eaters.

Managing Your Career and Life Before They Manage You

Bob RyanPrincipal, Shields Meneley Partners

1:30 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.

After coaching dozens of people in various industries with an average age of 52, Bob Ryan has seen distinct patterns emerge. We start working at about 22 years of age, have children, send them to college, and before you know it, your in your 50's or 60's not certain what to do next. We focus on financial considerations but what about overall wellness, career and life in general? Bob Ryan will take you on a journey, sharing ideas, tools and non-traditional options for taking control of the next or next-next stage in your life, maybe even before you get there.

Brain Food: How Advanced Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence Combine To Drive Food Industry Innovation

Dr. A.K. Pradeep, Author, Scientist, Entrepreneur and Global Business Consultant, Insights Association

1:30 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.

Advances in neuroscience in the 21st century mean we know far more about the brain now than ever before, and that knowledge is now combining with the dynamic world of artificial intelligence (AI) to drive global innovation. For the food industry, the potential is enormous.
Did you know consumers warm up to idea of ice cream for breakfast? It was AI-driven research that led a major ice cream maker to develop and launch a line of breakfast cereal inspired ice creams! Come hear industry pioneer and author Dr. A.K. Pradeep as he reveals how companies can leverage AI to discover new food product concepts and formulations, tease out fresh new recipe ingredient ideas, and market food more effectively to industry sectors and consumers.


Cognitive Function: Ties to Stress, Sleep, Memory, Depression, and Energy Concerns and Which Foods and Beverages Can Benefit Them

Suzy Badaracco, President, Culinary Tides

11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

The overarching umbrella of cognitive function encompasses stress, sleep, memory, depression, and energy.  Breaking down the generations, the participant will learn which aspects of cognitive function are of greatest concerns for each generation.  Gen Z, Gen Y, Gen X, and Boomers + each have a different set of challenges resulting in unique sets of needs.  Left uncheck, these cognitive function needs can then lead to other health issues including heart disease, early onset of Alzheimer’s, and other secondary conditions.  Health research has uncovered which foods and nutrients aid in coping with or alleviating these stressors thus leading to fewer cognitive function issues. Attendees will learn why cognitive function trends extend into the food industry, what the leading categories are, and why consumers support it.

Culinology of Cell-Based Seafood – The BlueNalu Story

Lou Cooperhouse, President and CEO, BlueNalu

Gerard Viverito, Corporate Chef and Culinary Advisor, BlueNalu

11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

Did you know that some analysts have projected that cell-based meats will command a 35% global market share of all meat consumption by 2040, and grow at an annualized rate of 41% between 2025 and 2040? There is a significant opportunity for this category of alternate proteins to disrupt the global supply chain and impact the world.

This session will profile BlueNalu, an industry leader in cell-based seafood, and the marketing, technology, operations, regulatory, and culinary challenges associated with their success.

Innovative Products and Processes for Military Field Feeding:  Ration Components Tailored for Individual and Situational Needs

Ann Barrett, Ph.D.US Army CCDC,  Soldier Center

11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

The US Military sends troops worldwide, into varying environments and multifaceted scenarios. Soldiers can variously face battlefield conditions, isolation, or extended time before resupply. Military ration components need to fulfill a host of requirements, including being light-weight and low volume so that they are easily carried and, in particular, they need to be stable and acceptable throughout a storage period that can extend for three years. Moreover, as with commercial consumers, Soldiers have varying nutritional needs and food preferences. This presentation will cover the current military ration systems that vary from providing standard field feeding (i.e., using the Meal, Ready-to-Eat ration) through those designed for increasingly extreme environments. The different military rations range widely across a spectrum of nutritional and physical densities, and culminate in the newest system under development, The Close Combat Assault Ration (CCAR). The CCAR is intended to be the ultimate in assault rations, providing a week’s worth of sustenance to Warfighters, within a weight constraint of seven pounds. A separate objective of military feeding is to allow, when possible (i.e., in less intense situations), customization that accommodates Soldier specific nutritional needs in food selection.

Current research activities at Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC)—Soldier Center focused on customization and caloric densification include 3D food printing, ultrasonic agglomeration, and vacuum microwave drying— technologies that can assure sustenance for Soldiers in isolated or extreme environments: 3D printing offers personalized nutrition at the point of need; ultrasonic agglomeration compacts foods using microsecond bursts of sonic energy, thereby yielding calorically dense, minimum volume, and easily carried ration components; and vacuum microwave drying is a novel, rapid dehydration method that preserves nutrients and quality. Novel processing technologies form a core strategy of the Combat Feeding Directorate at the CCDC—Soldier Center for developing high quality and highly functional foods for the military.

What is Your Flavor? A Culinary Ethnographic Approach to New Product and Menu Items Development

Robert DanhiCurator of Cultures, Flavor360 Solutions 
Ken Rubin, Chief Culinary Officer, Rouxbe

11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

Consumer product goods or foodservice organizations are tasked with creating food & beverages for consumers regionally, nationally and for global markets. Hence understanding your consumers taste preferences goes far beyond “just the right amount of sodium” and more of a holistic approach of the total flavor experience. Join RCA member Chef Robert Danhi and Ken Rubin, a Culinary Anthropologist and Ethnographer with more than a decade of experience on understanding what drives the decision making process in retail and in various market channels of foodservice. The team will explain illustrate old school techniques and technology tools that your organization can employ during the innovation process to develop new menu items and products that satisfy emotional, physiological and nutritional needs of your customers.


“C – Suite Chefs” Discovering the Secret Recipe

Stephen KalilChef and Culinary Expert, Flavor Design Studio, LLC

11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

The position of “Chief Culinary Officer” in a foodservice is a relatively new construct. If you enter the title in a LinkedIn search, you will get over 1500 results. But the role seems to be relegated to chain restaurants. What can a product developer learn from the CCOs and how can that be formed into a similar strategic leadership role in food manufacturing? This session will be a moderated panel discussion, with audience participation, of select mix leaders, addressing a wide range of topics. 

2020 Vision: The Trends to Know

Mike KostyoTrendologist and Managing Editor, Market Intelligence,  Datassential

11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

Join Datassential’s resident Trendologist, Mike Kostyo, in a data-driven session that will dive into the trends and concepts to know in 2020 and beyond. We’ll look at the latest data on health trends, including the future of plant-based cuisine, meat alternatives, lab-grown meats, and special diets. Travel around the world and discover the global concepts that will impact U.S. menus, including the latest street food concepts and the continued growth of African cuisine, plus we’ll look at the data on authenticity and what it means to modern consumers. And, in our annual flavor and ingredient report, we’ll use our Haiku machine learning engine to predict which flavors and concepts will grow on menus and in products in the next four years.

CRAEVS: Clean Label Research Through Agile Evolutions Into Stores

Mark CrowellFounder & CEO, CuliNex, LLC

David Lundahl, CEO, Insights Now

11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

80% - 90% of all new food products fail within the first year. How do you change the game? You’ll find the answers in CRAEVS, a revolutionary new process being pioneered by CuliNex and InsightsNow, two industry leaders in clean label product development. This session will show you a system that has been created to incorporate the voice of the consumer in product design, rapidly iterate prototypes, have small batch production runs made and ship to live market tests that validate your products before the big investments are made in national rollouts.