PRESENTERS & FEATURED CHEF


 
Daniel Burrus 
Futurist, Advisor, Best-Selling Author (@DanielBurrus)
The Anticipatory Organization
Turn Disruption and Change into Opportunity and Advantage


OPENING KEYNOTE – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
 
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker. He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, the Pentagon and heads of State delivering powerful insights and helping them develop game-changing strategies. Daniel's recommendations are based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. He is the author of seven books, including his latest, "The Anticipatory Organization: Turn Disruption and Change Into Opportunity and Advantage" (2017).
 
Daniel is an innovative entrepreneur who has founded six businesses, four of which were national leaders in the United States in the first year. He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends. Daniel helps clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. With over three decades of being right about where things are going, He has established a worldwide reputation for his exceptional record of accurately predicting the future of technological change and its direct impact on the business world. Daniel is a thought leader and contributing writer on the topics of innovation, change and the future, which have appeared in Harvard Business Review, LinkedIn, Huffington Post and Wired Magazine to name a few.

 
Bill Anderson (MODERATOR)
VP/ Publisher, Foodservice Director Magazine
Foodservice Disruptors
GENERAL SESSION – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
 
As VP & Publisher, Bill leads the FoodService Director media brand; magazine, website, enewsletters and meetings. Bill is also the Conference Director for the MenuDirections Conference at Winsight Media now in its 17th year. Prior to his foodservice media career, he worked in foodservice distribution and foodservice manufacturing. Bill is a member of AHF, NACUFS and SHFM and has served on AHF’s Industry Advisory Board. He is also a current member of Trinity Health System’s FANS Advisory Council.
 
Bill is a graduate of Carthage College in Kenosha, WI with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. His goal was to play college football but being the smallest player on the team and not being fleet-footed, his college football career was a short one.
 

 
Matt Cohen 
Founder and CEO, Cubert and Off the Grid (@otgsf)
Foodservice Disruptors
GENERAL SESSION – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
 
Matt started his career as a public-school educator. His professional career took him to Japan, where he developed a healthy obsession with Tonkotsu Ramen and Japanese summer fireworks festivals. These experiences led him to create Off the Grid in 2010, effectively bringing much of the feeling of a Japanese night market to the San Francisco Bay Area. Capitalizing on the initial popularity and growth of Off the Grid Markets, Matt has overseen the company’s growth into a scalable experience platform focused on unlocking the value of space through food. Beyond public events, Off the Grid specializes in large-scale catering and corporate dining innovation including its own modular manufactured product, Cubert, and proprietary software platform. Most importantly, Off the Grid is proud to routinely engage more than 300 food businesses that together serve more than 4,000,000 meals a year through its platform.

 
Jessica Foust, RDN
Chef and Culinary Director, Farmer’s Fridge
(@ChefJessRD@FarmersFridge)
Foodservice Disruptors
GENERAL SESSION – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
 
Chef and Registered Dietitian, Jessica Foust is the Culinary Director for Farmer’s Fridge. In this role, she leads menu and nutrition strategy, new product innovation and commercialization. Farmer’s Fridge is redefining dining and convenience by increasing 24-hour access to fresh food. Chef curated recipes are prepared in the Farmer’s Fridge Kitchen and delivered to over 120 fridges throughout the Midwest daily. Prior to joining Farmer’s Fridge, Chef Jessica served as the Director of Culinary Innovation for McDonald’s USA where she led culinary development for menus across all 15,000 US restaurants.  Over the past 15 years, she has provided culinary and nutrition direction in restaurants, hotels, manufacturing, health care and spa settings on both coasts. A registered dietitian, Chef Jessica holds degrees from The Culinary Institute of America and Johnson and Wales University.

 
Deepak Sekar
Founder and CEO, Chowbotics (@chowbotics)
Foodservice Disruptors
GENERAL SESSION – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
 
Dr. Deepak Sekar is the Founder and CEO of Chowbotics, a company that makes food preparation fun by automating tedious, repetitive tasks with robotics. Having started Chowbotics in 2014, he has grown it to 30 employees in 3 countries and raised $8.5M of funding. Prior to Chowbotics, Deepak served as a Director at Rambus and as a Chief Scientist at MonolithIC 3D Inc. He is an inventor of more than 125 patents, of which a dozen are used in every iPhone. Deepak holds a Doctorate and Master’s Degree from Georgia Tech and a Bachelor of Technology from IIT Madras.

 
Eve Turow Paul 
Author, Speaker, Food Culture Expert (@EveTurowPaul)
Generation Yum – Shaping the Future of Food
GENERAL SESSION – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
 
Eve Turow Paul is a journalist and advisor who studies the wants and needs of young people around the world.  She investigates the latest research in psychology, sociology, anthropology, speaks to thought-leaders and interviews people of the Millennial and Gen Z generations to gain a better understanding of their anxieties, hopes and passions. She looks at how individuals fulfill many of their needs through food culture, where young people overwhelmingly spend their discretionary incomes. Eve is the author of "A Taste of Generation Yum: How the Millennial Generation's Love for Organic Fare, Celebrity Chefs and Microbrews Will Make or Break the Future of Food."  Today, Eve utilizes her empirical research to advise Fortune 500 companies, start-ups and independent entrepreneurs on how to connect with and better serve Millennials. Recently, she was prominently featured in the documentary film "WASTED! The Story of Food Waste", which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival.  Eve is working on her second book, Hungry, due out in the spring of 2020, and is the founder of Rooted, a company that hosts events and retreats centered around farming, cooking and mindfulness.

Emily Wunder (MODERATOR)
Regional Wellness Director, Compass Group - Eurest 
More Than Just a Buzzword: Sustainability Can Shift Your Culture
GENERAL SESSION – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
 
Emily is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for health promotion and wellness. She started her career in clinical dietetics at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington D.C. and then moved into Foodservice Management in Northern New Jersey.  Wanting to experience the preventative side of nutrition, Emily accepted a role providing outreach for a medical fitness program while conducting nutrition counseling for a private practice. She moved to Eurest to serve as a Wellness Coordinator and is now a Regional Wellness Director. Emily also has a monthly nutrition column in the Reading Eagle called Healthy Bites, is active in the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association and leads the Eurest Marketplace Millennial Team. She enjoys keeping up with food trends by experimenting in the kitchen and trying new restaurants.
 
Emily’s education includes a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics and a Master’s of Science in Community Nutrition from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She completed her Dietetic Internship through the University of Delaware and holds a Certificate of Training for Adult Weight Management.

LinkedIn: Emily Wunder

 
Katie DeSimone
Director of Catering and Customer Experience, Compass Group - Eurest
More Than Just a Buzzword: Sustainability Can Shift Your Culture
GENERAL SESSION – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
 
Katie’s career with Eurest started in 2010 with a focus on the catering program at Raytheon Missile Systems. With a track record for catering standards, execution and improvement, she joined Eurest Corporate in 2014, as the Senior Manager of Customer Experience focusing on both CX and catering. By 2016, she became the official Director of Catering & Customer Experience. Katie writes seasonal and contract catering menus, custom price and portion guides and sales analytics. In addition, she facilitates on-site catering improvement, manages The Fresh Fork catering brand, creates custom smallwares solutions, facilitates guest focus groups and teaches catering and CX classes for associates across the country. Katie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Food Service Management at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island.   

LinkedIn: Katie DeSimone

 
Dave Holthus
Executive Chef, Compass Group - Microsoft
More Than Just a Buzzword: Sustainability Can Shift Your Culture
GENERAL SESSION – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
 
Executive Chef, Dave Holthus, is native to the state of Colorado and is a chef of all cuisines. He is inspired by all flavors and is a “jack of all trades.” While operating restaurants in south Florida he gained heavy Floridian influences. He also spent time in Mumbai India where he expanded his Asian palate. Eventually finding a home in Seattle, he has grown to love the booming culinary world this great city has to offer. He thrives on local, fresh and organic ingredients and is excited to bring so much energy, influence and education to this team and the Microsoft community. He is never not smiling and he truly enjoys meeting and getting to know everyone he possibly can... “being able to share my food journey with my guests, is why I cook.”

 
Christiana Williams
Director of Nutrition and Wellness, Compass Group - Eurest
More Than Just a Buzzword: Sustainability Can Shift Your Culture
GENERAL SESSION – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
 
Christiana is a Registered Dietitian as a Director of Nutrition and Wellness for Eurest North America. Christiana’s responsibilities include leading and managing health and wellness initiatives, driving sustainable practices and implementing foodservice innovations in over 60 corporate offices throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico. Since Christiana joined Compass Group four years ago, she’s assisted Eurest in winning three contractor sustainability awards, was featured as Foodservice Director’s Top 30 under 30-something in 2017 and has been chosen as one of SHFM’s Rising Stars for two consecutive years.

LinkedIn: Christiana Williams

 
Rob Yayac
General Manager, Aramark’s LifeWorks Restaurant Group
More Than Just a Buzzword: Sustainability Can Shift Your Culture
GENERAL SESSION – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
 
Rob is the Food and Beverage General Manager for the Employee Dining Services at Nike World Headquarters, working for the LifeWorks Restaurant Group division of Aramark. Professionally, above all else, he is passionate about creating memorable experiences for guests and peers. By driving operational excellence and innovation supporting health and wellness, while keeping sustainable business practices at the forefront of decision-making, he believes we can enrich and nourish the lives of our customers and clients and improve the culture of our workplaces. Outside of work, Rob competes in half-marathon races, explores the bustling food & beverage scene of his home, Portland, Oregon and is hoping to soon buy a house with a yard so that he can get a dog! Rob was a Rising Star for SHFM in 2017 and an Aramark Ring of Stars winner in 2016.
 
LinkedIn: Rob Yayac

Featured INE Chef


 
Chef Dean Fearing
Chef/Owner, Fearing's Restaurant and Author (@deanfearing)
Featured Chef - INE
Uptown Texas! - Industry Networking Event – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
 
Creator of Fearing’s Restaurant and author of "The Texas Food Bible", Chef Dean Fearing is known as a “Father of Southwestern Cuisine” and has spent his life cooking for people who love good food. As a son of a Kentucky innkeeper, Dean grew up with grandmothers who knew all about food and who appreciated the finer details of Southern cooking and barbecue.
 
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America and following 20-plus years at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dean opened his own Fearing’s Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas in 2007. He was recently recognized as a “Pioneer of American Cuisine” by The Culinary Institute of America and was also presented with the Silver Spoon Award for sterling performance by Food Arts. In his spare time, Dean searches the countryside for Texas culinary inspiration. The state’s rich variety of peppers, dried chilies, jicama, cilantro, tomatillos, fruits and vegetables, cheeses, Gulf seafood and Hill Country wild game play a major role in Dean’s ever-changing cuisine.

Student Day Keynoter


 
Dennis Reynolds
Dean, University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management 
Student Day Keynoter 2018
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
 
Dennis Reynolds is a scholar, seasoned hospitality executive, prolific researcher and author, gifted teacher and dean of the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. He began his tenure as the college’s seventh dean in July 2015. Prior to that, Dennis served as the Ivar Haglund Endowed professor of hospitality management and director of the wine business management program at the Washington State University School of Hospitality Business Management. A former J. Thomas Clark professor of entrepreneurship and personal enterprise at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, he is also a two-time graduate, earning both his doctorate and Master of Professional Studies there. He received a B.S. in hotel, restaurant and institutional management from Golden Gate University.