We will have a diverse group of speakers that touch every segment of the food industry, drive trends and challenge the status quo from culinary arts to food science and everything in between.

Click each name to learn more about the speaker!


Chef Thomas Bowman
Product Developer & Food Scientist
Eclipse Foods

Thomas is a world-renowned product developer, food scientist, and chef. As the former Director of Product Development at JUST, Thomas created and scaled some of the best-selling plant-based products in market, such as JUST Mayo, Cookie Doughs, and Dressings. Thomas has also chef’d or staged at a total of 16 Michelin star restaurants, was named Zagat 30 Under 30, and was twice nominated for the James Beard Rising Star Chef award.

Mike Kostyo
Trendologist and Managing Editor
Market Intelligence team at Datassential

Mike Kostyo is the resident Trendologist and Managing Editor on the Market Intelligence team 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.

Dr. Sarah Mesnick
Ecologist & Science Liaison
NOAA Fisheries Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Dr. Mesnick’s research focuses on social evolution in the ocean and on the role of social behavior in explaining patterns of species diversity. Since receiving her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona (1996) her interests have shifted from marine fishes to mammals. The main goal of her research in recent years is to provide a social framework within which to investigate stock identity, population trends, and fishery interactions in cetaceans. She uses a variety of tools (genetic, acoustic, behavioral, comparative and phylogenetic) and works in collaboration on a number of different management issues. The unifying theme of these projects is to bring a social perspective to our understanding of the dynamics of marine mammal populations to use this knowledge to manage marine mammal populations more effectively. Her research interests include social and sexual ecology, social signals, social and population structure, social bonds and social disruption, and sexual selection.

Sarah is one of the co-founders of CMBC. She serves as liasion between CMBC and NOAA SWFSC and leads our Sustainable Local Fisheries project.

Chef Francisco Migoya
Head Chef
Modernist Cuisine

Chef Francisco Migoya is the Modernist Cuisine head chef and co-author of Modernist Bread (2017).

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

Dr. Pradeep is a leading international business consultant and entrepreneur, having launched a series of successful firms across a number of categories. Most recently, he is the founder and CEO of machineVantage, an advanced high technology enterprise specializing in the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning for innovation in product development and marketing. Dr. Pradeep co-authored the new book, “AI For Marketing And Product Innovation”, which Amazon named the “#1 New Release in Business Management.”

Dr. Pradeep holds over 70 U.S. and international patents and has been published in a range of scientific journals.

His book “The Buying Brain: Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind” is a best seller published in multiple languages that offers an in-depth explanation of how the latest advances in neuroscience are impacting brands, products, packaging, in-store marketing, advertising, and entertainment content on a global basis. Dr. Pradeep earned his Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.

Lori Rothman
Lori Rothman Consulting

Lori Rothman is an experienced professional in the areas of Consumer Science and Sensory Evaluation, specializing in consumer products and packaging.   She is known for leveraging consumer and sensory insights to drive product innovation and business growth.  Her experience includes strategy development, department creation and staffing, sensory facility/infrastructure, cross-functional and cross-country relationship building, budgeting, and delivering business relevant results.

Bob Ryan
Shields Meneley Partners

Bob left his corporate career 5 years ago to follow his passion of advising others on career and life journeys.

Davin Waite
Co-Founder & Executive Chef
Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub

Davin Waite began his career as a sushi chef at Ichiban in Santa Barbara under the instruction of Chef Hiro, a local legend and master of sushi as well as French and Italian Cuisine. Back in North San Diego County Davin continued on to Cafe Japengo, and in 2003 he returned to his hometown of Oceanside to co-found The Fish Joint.

With his next project Davin created a restaurant in his own image; scrappy, irreverent and constantly pushing boundaries. Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub began as a pop-up but quickly became a destination for those who appreciated Waite’s creative and delicious approach to minimizing waste and celebrating local and sustainably sourced products. Three years later The Whet Noodle was born, a sister concept to Wrench that serves up a counter service, hot-food version with the same high standards. Next up for Waite? A chain of plant-based restaurants called The Plot, which will take total utilization to the next level with a zero waste ethos.

Waite aims to stay in a state of consistent innovation and creation in order to teach and inspire. Davin has taught sustainable cooking techniques to elementary students, culinary students and city officials. He has spoken on panels on topics including using underutilized species and sourcing from local farmers. In 2017 Davin was a keynote speaker at the California Resource and Recovery Conference, where he broke down a whole fish on stage to demonstrate how each part can be used to make delicious menu items, down to the ribs, skin and marrow. Waite’s menus reflect his values as he continues to evolve as a chef and as an advocate.

Maeve Webster
Menu Matters

Maeve Webster, President of Menu Matters, is a leading consultant and thought leader for the foodservice industry. She has spearheaded hundreds of major industry studies during her 18 years as a foodservice specialist, and today runs a private consultancy focused on working with foodservice professionals to analyze, understand, and leverage food and consumer behavior trends. It’s less important to understand what’s growing or declining than the why and the what does this mean for us.

In addition to her consulting work, Maeve owns a café in Bennington, VT, running the kitchen and designing the menu. This has not only been a labor of love but has brought to life the issues she has consulted on for nearly two decades. She is a sought after speaker, appearing at top industry events such as Flavor Experience, World of Flavors, MISE, RCA, National Restaurant Association Show, and New Products Conference; and has contributed to major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNBC, MSNBC and CBS. She is a regular contributor to several industry publications.

Zak Weston
Foodservice Analyst
Good Foods Institute

Zak works at the Good Food Institute (GFI), an international nonprofit focused on creating a healthy, just, and sustainable foodsystem through plant-based protein innovation and cellular agriculture. He consults with leading foodservice operators and food companies to help increase the quality and quantity of their plant-based offerings and meet the growing consumer demand for plant-based foods.

An active member of the Effective Altruism community, Zak holds a B.A. in Business Management from Cedarville University, and joined GFI after several years of experience in sales and working with startups.


Suzy Badaracco
Culinary Tides

Suzy Badaracco is the President of Culinary Tides, Inc. and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminalistics, Associate degree in Culinary Arts, and Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition. Suzy has been trained in military intelligence, Chaos theory, and predictive analysis techniques and has been practicing trends intelligence and predictive forecasting for more than 15 years. Using these techniques, she has been able to successfully predict and profile government, technology, adversary and ally, food, flavor, consumer, industry, and health trends.

Culinary Tides, Inc. helps food industry partners navigate trends by revealing relevant patterns so they can create products that connect with customers. They specialize in foretelling a trend’s birth and forecasting its trajectory, personality and longevity. The forecast results are used to create entrance, navigation, and exit strategies.

TJ Chatterjee
Griffith Foods

TC Chatterjee is the chief executive officer of Griffith Foods. Before assuming responsibilities as CEO in October 2016, he served as Griffith Foods’ chief operating officer and as group president for Central and South America, Asia Pacific, and India - Middle East. TC joined the organization in 2002 as vice president of Marketing for Custom Culinary, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Griffith Foods. After serving as general manager of the company, he assumed responsibility as the president of Custom Culinary, Inc., in 2007.

TC’s previous experiences include progressive management roles at Oberoi Hotels, at Best Foods and at Unilever Food Solutions. TC graduated Summa Cum Laude from the MBA program at Babson College, MA, received an MS in E Commerce from National University and holds a Masters in Hotel Management from the Oberoi School of Management in India. TC’s undergraduate studies were in Business and in Hospitality Management.

Working closely with Griffith Foods’ executive chairman, Brian Griffith, TC led the process of articulating Griffith’s Purpose and subsequently the brand transition to Griffith Foods. Most recently, TC led the development of Griffith Foods’ Purpose-driven strategy.

Lou Cooperhouse
President & CEO

Lou Cooperhouse is recognized as a leading global authority in food business innovation and technology commercialization, with extensive leadership experiences throughout his 35-year career in the food industry. He is a results-driven professional, and has led cross-functional teams in a wide array of industry settings that include: multinational corporations, foodservice and retail operations, new business startups, mid-sized and family-run companies, university entrepreneurship and innovation centers, and industry trade associations. With his deep and diverse understanding of the food industry, Lou has spoken at hundreds of conferences throughout his career, specializing in food trends, disruptive technologies, and global best practices in business innovation and incubation.

Robert Danhi
Curator of Cultures
Flavor360 Solutions

Chef Danhi current mission is to curate, document, codify, archive and share the worlds culinary cultures hence has been working for the past four years to create a software system, to blend qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and capture the 360° Flavor Experience.

The Flavor360 team partners with organizations to efficiently capture the tribal knowledge of their organization during F&B field research, food tours, tastings, cuttings, recipe & formula R&D and collaborative flavor evaluations.

Dave Histed
Culinary Innovation Manager
Retail Business Services (An Ahold Delhaize USA Company)

Dave Histed is the culinary innovation manager for Retail Business Services (a company of Ahold Delhaize USA) where he leads the development, implementation and execution of culinary innovation and renovation across the private brands portfolio of products. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY), his background includes Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton properties as well as culinary design services for clients such as the US Highbush Blueberry Council, the Almond Board of California and the Asterisk Uno professional sailing team. Known for his dynamic presentations and innovative cuisine, he has cooked throughout Europe and South America and has won numerous innovation awards including winning The Grocerant Chef's Solution Challenge, The Safeway Search for our Next Top Chef Challenge and a coveted position on the Share our Strength Conference of Leaders panel. Chef Dave is a longtime supporter of the non-profit Share our Strength, whose mission is to end childhood hunger.

Ken Rubin
Chief Culinary Officer

Ken Rubin is an internationally recognized culinary executive with expertise in training & development, culinary wellness, content production, online & mobile learning, culture and behavior change, lifestyle health, ethnography, special diets, food preferences, nonprofit advocacy, media and content strategy, food-centered design, product ideation, plant-based product development, and sensory analysis.

Chef Gerard Viverito
Corporate Chef and Culinary Advisor

Chef Gerard Viverito is Corporate Chef and Culinary Advisor to BlueNalu, and provides his expertise in the creation of delicious recipes and flavor combinations for our cell-based seafood products, with preparations for both foodservice and retail formats.

Chef Gerard also serves on the prestigious faculty — as an Associate Professor in Culinary Arts — at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, where he teaches the Seafood Identification & Fabrication class. In addition, he is the Co-founder and Director of Culinary Education for PassionFish.org, a non-profit organization in San Diego dedicated to teaching and promoting environmentally sound alternatives to endangered seafood species. He travels around the world educating, consulting and demonstrating cooking, using sustainable seafood products to ensure fish for our future.

Chef Gerard has dedicated a large part of his career to what he terms “functional cooking.” This is where he adds nutritional ingredients to dishes to gain healthful results. He is well known for his ability to lower the glycemic index value of food, and add omega fatty acids and whole proteins to dishes without compromising the texture or taste. He appears regularly on radio and television programs demonstrating his expertise and consulting clients on their dietary needs.


Amy Alarcón
Head of Global Culinary Innovation
Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen

Amy Alarcón, Head of Global Culinary Innovation for Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen, is a 34-year restaurant veteran with more than 27 years devoted to chain-based product development. Since joining Popeyes, her team has focused on a enhancing a robust product pipeline of innovations including 2010 Menu Masters Best Limited Time Offer Wicked Chicken®, 2015 Menu Masters Best Limited Time Offer Buttermilk Biscuit Butterfly Shrimp™, Rip’n Chick’NTM, Chicken Waffle Tenders™, and Red Stick Chicken™; Zatarain’s Butterfly Shrimp, Hushpuppy Shrimp; and global innovations around the world like Red Boat Chicken and Rock Sugar Honey Lime Wings. Most recently the Popeyes culinary team was responsible for creating the item that became the most buzzed about product introduction in 2019- the chicken sandwich that launched a competitive “chicken sandwich war” within the QSR space and is also the most successful product launch ever in Popeyes’ history.

Amy has held various leadership positions throughout her career including Churchs Chicken, Taco Cabana, Arby’s, and has been at Popeyes for over 12 years. She attended Appalachian State and earned her culinary degree from the School of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, GA, where she graduated with honors. Amy is committed to the foodservice industry and believes in preserving the deep-rooted culinary heritage of the South.

Mark Crowell
Founder & CEO
CuliNex, LLC

Since Mark founded the company in 2005, CuliNex has become a nationally recognized consultancy focusing on clean label product development. From CuliNex 20,000 square foot Innovation Center in Seattle, WA. Mark oversees an experienced team of Culinologists that assists food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers with achieving their growth goals through new product development.

Prior to CuliNex, Mark spent 7 years as Director of Food Product Development for Starbucks Coffee Company, where he led a team of food scientists and culinarians developing new food products for their Asian, European and North American markets. Previously, Mark served as Director, Menu and Product Development for The Olive Garden, managed restaurant operations and food service concepts for Marriott Corporation, and owned and operated a Mediterranean restaurant in the Washington D.C. area.

Mark has a Masters in Business Administration from Columbia University, a Bachelor of Science in Hotel-Restaurant Management from Florida International University, and an A.O.S. in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America. During a career spanning more than 40 years, Mark has led operations and product development teams, taught product development at the university level, spoken at numerous industry conferences, written for various food industry publications, and developed a reputation for producing outstanding results for some of the best-known brands in the food industry.

Chef Stephen Kalil, CEC®, CRC®
Chef and Culinary Expert
Flavor Design Studio, LLC

Led by acclaimed chef and culinary expert Stephen A. Kalil, Flavor Design Studio provides independent consulting and strategizing services for major food brands and companies across the globe. Chef Stephen excels at drawing from his vast network to assemble the bespoke team best suited to each client's unique project requirements. From collecting consumer insights, to improving operations, to structuring the research and development process for new products and menus, Flavor Design Studio is adept at bringing together the best minds in every category to produce measurable, mouthwatering results.

Chef Stephen is both a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) with the American Culinary Federation and a Certified Research Chef (CRC) with the Research Chefs Association. His career in food service began as a teenager in the late 1970s at Steve’s Backroom, his family’s business in Detroit, Michigan, which specialized in freshly prepared Middle-Eastern food. As manager and later as executive chef of Steve’s Backroom, Stephen managed the restaurant, wholesale, and catering kitchens and was integral in developing new food products and increasing sales by 200% over three years. This experience led him to California in 1997, where he expanded his knowledge of food, flavors, and menu development for casual dining as chef de cuisine for Culinary Research and Development at The Cheesecake Factory.

David Lundahl
Insights Now

Dr. David Lundahl founded InsightsNow, Inc. in 2003, with a vision and passion for integrating sensory and behavioral science to deepen consumer insights. In 2017, he was recognized as Change Agent of the Year by NextGen Marketing Research and Women in Research for his work on Clean Label, and was a 2018 instructor at the IFT Clean Label Workshop. David is an author on speed to market through behavioral insights (2012, “Breakthrough Food Product Innovation through Emotions Research”). He serves on the Oregon State University Food Science and Technology Department Advisory Board and School of Business Marketing Advisory Council. He was a 1996 founding faculty member for the Food Innovation Center (Portland, OR) and an Associate Professor within the Oregon State University Department of Food Science & Technology; has been a professional member of IFT since 1985; is an active speaker for regional IFT Sections; and Chaired the Sensory and Consumer Sciences Division of IFT in 2000.