Networking Events

Did you know, 73% of 2018 RCA Conference attendees listed networking as their number one motivator for attending the conference? Check out the networking events we have in store for Louisville and you'll see why. 


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Regional Lunch

Wednesday, March 13
12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Ballroom C

Join your RCA regional hub on Wednesday, March 13 for the annual Regional Lunch — full of networking and delicious, Louisville-inspired cuisine, including KY Proud BBQ Mac & Cheese Bar and Bourbon Balls! (You'll have to attend to find out what else is on the menu…)

Sponsored by

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Opening Reception

Wednesday, March 13
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Commonwealth Ballroom, Omni Louisville Hotel

Kick off conference with a taste of Louisville during the Opening Reception. 

The reception will give you an opportunity to enjoy specially prepared dishes from local restaurants and chefs and restaurants in Louisville, including: 

bar Vetti | Bourbon’s Bistro | Butchertown SocialCon Huevos | Garage BarMayan Café | Please & Thank You | Whiskey Dry

View all of the participating and recommended restaurants.

You won't want to miss this exciting event to catch up with friends, network with industry professionals and enjoy a bluegrass band and taste the savory and sweet food of Louisville!

Sponsored by

Whiskey Dry

Spotlight speaker Chef Edward Lee and Stacie Stewart bring you their vision of a whiskey and burger bar. Stylish, fun and approachable, Whiskey Dry is devoted to bringing together the love of all things whiskey from the artwork to the cuisine to the cutting edge cocktails.


bar Vetti

The talents of Executive Chef Andrew McCabe is the man behind this Italian concept restaurant with southern roots. They will serve their delicious Italian fare at the Opening Reception. 


Please & Thank You

Please & Thank You, a popular sweets and coffee shop in Louisville, will be serving chocolate chip cookies at the Opening Reception. 


The Mayan Café 

The Mayan Café will serve their lima beans, which happen to be the most popular item on their menu. Check out the recipe and video below to learn how to make them. 

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Culinology® Education Foundation Professional Headshots

Thursday, March 14
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. South Hall AB, Booth 248

Step behind the lens for your new headshot! A professional photographer will take your portrait during the expo hall on Thursday, March 14 between 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. You will receive your photos retouched in a digital format for distribution and downloading.

You may purchase multiple headshot sessions for you and your peers during your conference registration. Proceeds will directly benefit the Culinology® Education Foundation.

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Culinology® Expo Happy Hour

Thursday, March 14
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
South Hall AB

Close out your Culinology® Expo experience on a particularly happy note! The Expo Happy Hour starts at 4:00 p.m. in South Hall AB.

Grab a complimentary drink ticket from one of our generous sponsors.

Sponsored by


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Student/Member Town Hall

Thursday, March 14
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Room L006

The Student and Member Town Hall, sponsored by Vienna Beef, on Thursday, March 14 will be a great opportunity for students to connect with professional mentors, share ideas and learn how to increase your involvement in RCA.

We are excited to welcome three guest speakers who will share tips for transitioning from a student to a professional and answer questions during a Q&A.

Students: Check out the attendee list and start thinking of who you want to meet!


Alexa McKay
Tyson Foods, Inc.

Alexa McKay is a chef at Tyson Foods World Headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas. She supports Tyson branded retail innovation. As a member of the culinary team, Alexa uses her food science and culinary experience to help create concepts for new products from initial concepting and development all the way through production scale-up.

Alexa earned an associate degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and a Bachelor of Science in Culinology from The University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She earned a Master of Science in Food, Nutrition, and Culinary Science from Clemson University.

Jaime Mestan
Director of Bistro Products
Vienna Beef

Jaime Mestan currently serves as the Director of Bistro Products with Vienna Beef and oversees most aspects of the kettle operation from ideation to ingredient sourcing, product development and marketing. Chef Mestan graduated from Kendall College with a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and hospitality management and is a certified sous chef. Chef Mestan currently serves on the RCA board of directors, acts as the board liaison for the student committee, and serves as a professional advisor to RCA student members.

Thomas Griffiths
Global Cuisine Consulting

Thomas Griffiths is the Chef/Owner of Global Cuisine Consulting, specializing in ‘Transforming Culinary & Science into Commercial Reality.’ He is an expert in culinary ideation, trends research and product development. He is passionate about preparing delicious and wholesome food for everyone.

Chef Griffiths, CMC is a strategic culinary and product development leader with a history of accomplishment spanning CPG, food, restaurant, international food service and catering, with additional experience as a Professor with the Culinary Institute of America and a Certified Master Chefs (CMC) in the ACF.

As Global, VP of Culinary for Campbell Soup he led a team of highly credentialed chefs and culinologists. Chef Griffiths inspired his team of 20 chefs worldwide to create innovative, on-trend products while improving the quality of flavors and introducing bold, new and authentic ingredients to the Campbell portfolio.

Prior joining Campbell, Chef Griffiths was Associate Dean of Advanced Global Cuisines at The CIA, where he had worked in various teaching capacities since 1995. He is considered an expert on nutrition and has served as the lead evaluator in nutrition for the Certified Master Chef exam.

Chef Griffiths has been featured on Fox & Friends national morning program, NBC’s Today Show, Good Morning America, "Cooking Secrets of the CIA" public television program and a variety of regional news programs. He has also written articles for Santè magazine, Hudson Valley Connoisseur and The Valley Table Magazine.

Chef Griffiths graduated with honors in 1980 from the CIA and has held chef positions with several renowned establishments, including The United Nations, Le Delices Côte Basque, Regine's and Le Cirque.

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RCA 'Un-Barreled'

Thursday, March 14
10:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Olmstead Ballroom, Omni Louisville Hotel

You're invited to RCA 'Un-Barreled' – the official late-night networking reception at the RCA Conference! Join us at 10:30 p.m. in the Omni Louisville to enjoy drinks, music and the live Culinology® Cocktail Competition, sponsored by Flavor Dynamics, Inc., where participants will compete to create the best cocktail.

Sponsored by


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Culinology® Education Foundation Lunch – Food Truck Friday

Friday, March 15
12:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Let the good times, and great food, roll! Purchase your Friday lunch ticket to enjoy one lunch item or samples from two food trucks. Food trucks will be provided by the Louisville Food Truck Association, a non-profit association of independently-owned food trucks, committed to bringing the best gourmet food to the streets of da’ville!

Ticket proceeds will directly benefit the Culinology® Education Foundation. You may purchase multiple lunch tickets for you and your peers during your conference registration.

Check back soon for more information regarding menu options.

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