Panel of Experts
Our panel of contributing R&D experts provide valuable tips, strategies and insights on each of our trends; look for their “take-aways” throughout this issue.
Grand Rapids, Mich.Gerry Ludwig has served as consulting chef for distributor Gordon Food Service (GFS), headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., since 1994. Through ongoing analysis of foodservice-related statistical, media and empirical data, Ludwig creates trends-based culinary solutions executed at the operator level by the company’s team of menu consultants. He also contributes trend data and articles for GFS’s sales and marketing publications, conducts seminars and workshops at industry events and hosts restaurant trend-tracking tours in American cities. email@example.com
Mount Dora, Fla.
As founder of Ever Changing Times Inc., Rick Perez brought together a team of food development experts now instrumental in creating food products and concepts for major manufacturers, foodservice chain accounts, healthcare settings, theme parks, hotels and free-standing restaurants. Perez has more than 25 years’ experience in the industry, 15 of them with Hilton Hotels nationwide. He has won national culinary competitions and is a member of the ACF and the RCA. Perez continues his education through the CIA and is a strong advocate of promoting education and professionalism in the culinary field. firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Schimoler was a nationally recognized chef by age 23. In 1990, he took his expertise into the product-development arena as vice president of product development for Cabot Creamery. Schimoler founded chefex.com, which he sold to Sysco, and became general manager of culinary business development. He also served as director of innovation and development for Nestlé North America. He is now chef/owner of Cleveland’s award-winning Crop Bistro, which additionally serves as his test kitchen and concept center, supporting Rolling Fire Enterprises, his product- and menu-development business. Schimoler also developed www.localcrop.com, an online farmers’ market, in a partnership with Sysco. email@example.com; www.cropbistro.com
New York City and Tampa Bay, Fla.
James Brisson is founder of The Wall Street Chef, LLC. A graduate of Washington & Jefferson College and the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Brisson is a seasoned hands-on R&D chef whose business creates and formulates food products and concepts, flavor profiles and menu applications for retail, foodservice and industrial customers. A frequent national and local TV guest, Brisson also consults with clients on menu and flavor trends. firstname.lastname@example.org
David Commer is a chain-account beverage specialist with over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry and a proven record for increasing beverage sales. Since 2001, Commer Beverage Consulting has delivered independent and unbiased beverage services and strategies to major hospitality clients. Commer provides sales and marketing strategy services as well as product analysis and recipe development to major beverage manufacturers. email@example.com; www.commerbeverage.com
With nearly 25 years experience in the culinary world as a restaurant chef, CIA educator, and global R&D explorer, Robert Danhi now leads Chef Danhi & Co., an L.A.-based consultancy that works with food manufacturers, restaurants, educational organizations and professional associations to provide full-service expertise in menu and product R&D, sales and marketing support, culinary immersion tours and educational and training programs. Danhi is also author of the award-winning cookbook, Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore. www.chefdanhi.com
New York City
Steven Goldstein is principal of The Culinary Edge, where he focuses on new business development and client management, linking strategy and creativity with culinary and operational development services for operator and manufacturing clients. Goldstein’s expertise in strategic development of new food ideas, products and processes is built on more than 25 years in the foodservice and consumer packaged-goods industries in roles ranging from director of culinary services for The Schwan Food Company to head of The Food Group’s Creative Food Solutions. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.theculinaryedge.com
Priscilla Martel honed her cooking skills as chef of Restaurant du Village, a country French restaurant she opened in 1979. Today, she operates All About Food, which holds several baking patents and collaborates with food manufacturers and restaurants to create innovative products, menus and marketing programs. Martel teaches regularly and speaks to consumer and professional organizations about baking, almonds and healthy cooking. She is co-author of the award-winning texts “On Baking” and “On Cooking.” email@example.com
Robin Schempp has always had a proclivity for exploring and enjoying the many expressions of the table and the bench; since 1992, she has shared her discoveries as President and Principal of Right Stuff Enterprises, specializing in creative culinary concept, product, menu and market development for food and beverage solutions. Schempp regularly writes, speaks and teaches about food and culinary R&D. She is Chair of the Slow Food Ark of Taste, Vice Chair of Chefs Collaborative, President Emeritus of the Vermont Fresh Network and an active member of RCA and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She multi-tasks at every opportunity by eating and drinking well. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.rightstuffent.com
Kathy Casey is a chef, mixologist and pioneer in the bar-chef movement. Casey is a frequent TV and radio guest; her new web show “Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen” is on Small Screen Network. An author of nine cookbooks, the newest being “Sips & Apps,” Casey owns Kathy Casey Food Studios - Liquid Kitchen, an international food, beverage and development agency, as well as Dish D’Lish Cafés and specialty products. email@example.com www.kathycasey.com
Chef John Csukor has 26-plus years’ experience in product development, culinary, marketing and purchasing. Senior positions with commercial chains, non-commercial management companies and marketing firms were vital to creating KOR Food Innovation, a full-service, foodservice agency. An honors grad of Johnson and Wales University, Csukor continues education working internationally and through the CIA St Helena and Hyde Park campuses. He is a member of the Research Chefs Association and the American Culinary Federation. KOR Food Innovation provides strategic support in beverage, food and concept development as well as creative and design services to chain restaurants, food manufacturers, food equipment manufacturers and commodity boards. firstname.lastname@example.org
TOMAS J. “TJ” DELLE DONNE
Chef Delle Donne cultivated his zeal for culinary arts growing up in the Little Italy section of Wilmington, Del. He graduated from Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts in Providence, R.I., and interned with award-winning chef Douglas Rodriguez at Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia. He worked as executive sous chef at Hay Harbor Country Club, Fishers Island, N.Y, and returned to Johnson & Wales in 2005 as assistant director of culinary events and personal chef to the university president. He earned a Master’s degree in Foodservice Education there, and in 2010, was promoted to director of culinary events. email@example.com
Dean of Culinary Arts for Kendall College since 2005, Christopher Koetke also became VP of Laureate International Universities’ Center for Culinary Excellence in 2010. Named 2009 Cooking Teacher of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Koetke has cooked professionally since 1982 in some of the best restaurants and pastry shops in France, Switzerland and the U.S. Before joining Kendall College in 1998, he was executive chef of Chicago’s critically acclaimed Les Nomades. In 2005, he launched Kendall’s sustainability program. He is a member of the National Restaurant Assn.’s Conserve Action Council, and his contributions to sustainability were recognized in 2010 by Chefs Collaborative’s Pathfinder Award. He hosts his own Emmy-nominated, healthy-cooking TV show, “Let’s Dish!,” and co-authored the recently released “The Culinary Professional.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Ross Kamens joined Noodles & Company in 1995 as founding chef, responsible for formulating all of the original recipes. His entrepreneurial spirit played an integral role in pioneering the fast-casual segment for the restaurant industry. Prior to joining Noodles & Company, he was executive chef and food and beverage administrator at high-end restaurants and resorts throughout Colorado. His formal training was at the Culinary Institute of America. In 1998, Kamens took a hiatus to launch and run a catering business in Aspen, Colo., but was asked to return to Noodles & Company in 2000, becoming the driving force behind the company’s culinary evolution. His newest project is revolütion llc. As founder and principle consultant, he develops valuable and flavorful solutions for other brands and businesses. revolütion llc offers a variety of services including concept development, menu strategy, R&D and marketing support. ross@revolut
Mission Viejo, Calif.
Brad Horner is a corporate mixologist for MarkeTeam Inc., an award-winning sales-promotion agency serving the on- and off-premises leisure food and beverage industries. In the six years prior to joining MarkeTeam, he honed his bartending craft in resorts, nightclubs, bars and restaurants throughout San Diego and Boston. At MarkeTeam, Horner has created recipes for Beam Global, Diageo, Heaven Hill, Pernod-Ricard, William Grant, Ruby Tuesday, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruise Line, Hyatt Hotels, Omni Hotels, Station Casinos, Walt Disney Theme Parks, California Pizza Kitchen, The Melting Pot and more. One of his cocktails, the Blue Glow-Tini, created for Walt Disney Theme Parks, won the 2008 Cheers award for “Best Chain Signature Drink.” email@example.com www.marketeaminc.com
Tony Garcia is the owner and creator of Mix It Up USA, where he specializes in working with liquor suppliers and restaurateurs with beverage strategy and signature cocktail innovations. Garcia has been in the beverage business for more than 20 years, specializing in casual dining. He has won numerous awards for his bartending, innovative cocktail creation, menu development and unique sales promotions. He is an active member of the American Bartender’s Association, the Flair Bartender’s Association and Millennium Group. firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlie Baggs is president and founder of Charlie Baggs Inc., a foodservice consulting company specializing in marketing and support, development, gold-standard recipes, national account presentations, culinary training, sensory science and marketing research. Following his education at Purdue University, Baggs graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America and has held various culinary titles in the food industry for over 20 years. email@example.com
Commerce City, Colo.
Chris Casson started his culinary career at The Flagstaff House in Boulder and then moved on to Restaurant Kevin Taylor. After opening a $4.5 million restaurant in Dillon, Colo., he served as chef at the historic Brown Palace Hotel. Casson now operates Market Fresh Catering and is corporate chef for Shamrock Foods Co., consulting on menu and recipe development, food costs, and creative marketing ideas. Casson champions local food sourcing at Shamrock and is dedicated to increasing the sustainability of the food supply. firstname.lastname@example.org www.shamrockfoods.com
Jack Robertiello is a well-known expert in the world of spirits and mixology, judging at the Spirits of Mexico and International Rum Festival, as well as the Ultimate Spirits Challenge and the Ultimate Cocktail Challenge. A frequent speaker at conferences, he also gives private classes and seminars on tasting spirits and advises spirit companies, importers, marketers and publicists. Former editor of Cheers magazine, Robertiello has written about food, wine and spirits for numerous magazines, newspapers and websites. He also is the author of “Mangia: The Best Italian Food In NYC.” email@example.com
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Todd Downs is founder and principal of Food Sense, a culinary consulting group serving major restaurant chains, manufacturers, distributors and commodity boards since 2003. A graduate of Purdue University, Downs furthered his training at La Varenne Cooking School in Paris. Today, he is an award-winning executive chef with over 25 years in the industry. Previously, Downs was chef at the Park Avenue Café and the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group. He was a featured chef twice at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City. He also has appeared on the Food Network and in various other media. firstname.lastname@example.org
Springfield, Miss.Mindy Armstrong is the insights & account manager at Food IQ, a Martin Network agency and culinary consulting firm. Her background in branding, food management and menu innovation gives her clients an advantage in the development of insight-driven menu concepts.
KATIE THOMSENKatie Thomsen is director of nutrition with KOR Food innovation, where she takes a holistic approach to developing nutrition strategies for each of KOR's clients. Completing the Registered Dietitian program and earning a Master's in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Washington, Thomsen served as Starbucks' first nutritionist, playing a pivotal role in making foundational strategic moves as health and wellness became a top priority.
JET TILAJet Tila's culinary background and education has led him from Hollywood and Normandie to the Las Vegas Strip, from backyard cooking classes to battling legends on Iron Chef America. Along the way, Tila opened the cafe at Google headquarters and launched a successful Asian food line through Schwan's Home Service. IN 2009, he opened the Pan-Asian Wazuzu in Steve Wynn's Encore casino and resort in Las Vegas. More recently, tila has appeared on Iron Chef America and launched BistroNomics, an acclaimed series of pop-uprestaurant experiences in Los Angeles.
Cari Price is Corporate Development Chef at Food IQ, a Marlin Network agency and culinary consulting firm. Her backgrounds in nutrition and experience in food marketing and the restaurant industry give her clients a unique advantage in the development of strategically relevant menu ideas. email@example.com; www.foodiq.net
Tom Smith is Executive Chef at Food IQ, a Marlin Network agency and culinary consulting firm, where he works with a client base of chain restaurants and food manufacturers. Prior to joining Food IQ, Smith served as chef at fine-dining restaurants in Louisville, Ky., Killington, Vt., and Indianapolis. Smith lives the philosophy of “Before it’s a great dish, it’s a great idea,” partnering and guiding his clients to strategic culinary concepts, executions and ideations. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.foodiq.net
ANDREW HUNTERAndrew Hunter is president of Culinary Craft, a culinary development firm that works with restaurants and manufacturers including Kikkoman, Niman Ranch, Weber Grill, Wolfgang Puck and Martha Stewart. As former CP of culinary development for Wolfgang Puck and Martha Stewart, he was responsible for translating Puck's fine-dining vision into fast-casual concepts for 90-plus Express and bistro outlets. Hunter has worked in all aspects of the food business for over 20 years.