Cultivate Your Own Education Menu

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.

Spotlight Presentation
Wild Card


2020 Vision: The Trends to Know

Mike KostyoTrendologist and Managing Editor, Datassential

Wednesday, May 27 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

This data-driven session 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.

A New Formula for Disruptive Product Innovation: Using Behavioral Insights in Product Design Sprints

Mark CrowellFounder & CEO, CuliNex, LLC

David Lundahl, CEO, Insights Now

Thursday, June 11 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

We live in a time of change. Nowhere is change more pertinent than in the food industry where challenges and opportunities are driven by rapidly evolving consumer behavior as well as advances in food technology and ingredient innovation. In response to this change, new tools and approaches are needed. Long product development cycles must morph into iterative sprints, while development without behavioral insights grows increasingly risky. Join InsightsNow founder Dave Lundahl and Culinex founder Mark Crowell as they discuss a “new formula” for behavior-driven food product design.

Almond Forms in Application: Elevating Concepts with Plant-Based Protein

Chef Christine FarkasChef and Founder, IHeartFood Consulting

Wednesday, June 3 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

Consumers continue to seek plant-based options that offer protein but also deliver on taste, texture, and nutrition. In partnership with the Almond Board of California, Chef Christine Farkas will showcase three uniquely adaptable recipe concepts that span the beverage, snack, and salad/bowl categories. Join this demonstration to discover the versatility of almonds from a flavor and texture perspective, how almonds complement other plant-based proteins, and the ways in which they create a healthy halo for consumers. Following the demonstration, you’ll have the opportunity to join in the conversation with a live Q&A with Chef Christine and the Almond Board of California.

Bigger than Burgers: The Future of Plant-Based

Zak WestonFoodservice Analyst, Good Foods Institute

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

Thursday, June 11 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

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.

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

Tuesday, June 9 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

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.

Cannabis, CBD, and Hemp 101 for Chefs, Product Developers and Marketers

Moderator: Laura MacPhail, President, MacPhail & Associates LLC


Patrick Devlin, Co-Founder, Zoots® Premium Cannabis Infusions; President, Natural Extractions Inc. Seattle 

Mark Hines, Ph.D., Global R&D Director, Mafco Worldwide LLC

Monday, June 8 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

This panel discussion will provide attendees with a great overview of the complicated opportunity presented by Cannabis – both THC and CBD.  Not only will we provide a status report on regulation and legal issues, we’ll also help you to understand the differences between THC and CBD, explore some of the benefits of each, and provide some basic product development tips to help you approach this category of products in a strategic and well-informed way. Our panelists will speak to supply chain, flavor development, and both the pitfalls and potential of cannabis-based products.

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

Suzy Badaracco, President, Culinary Tides

Tuesday, June 2 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

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

Thursday, May 21 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

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.

Evolution of Food Waste Product Development

Monday, June 1 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

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.

From Local Favorites to Corporate Chains Retail Food Industry – How Has COVID-19 Changed Food Safety Best Practices?

Angela ShawAssociate Professor, Iowa State University

Thursday, May 28 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

This session will discuss how big and small entities within the retail food industry sector (i.e. grocers, restaurants, and food delivery companies) have changed their food safety practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From Restaurant to Retail: Foraging Ideas From an Ever-changing Landscape

Dave HistedCulinary Innovation Manager, Private Brands, Retail Business Services (An Ahold Delhaize company)

Monday, June 15 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

Now more than ever we are surrounded by on demand food delivery, meal kits, dinner pop ups, celebrity chefs, food trucks, and new and inspiring forms of food social media. But where does the true inception of a great product idea occur? How does a culinary trend go viral? And how do we utilize this knowledge to create an agile and innovative product portfolio?

Featuring dynamic presenter Chef Dave Histed, this session covers recognizing culinary trends at the very earliest stages of inception and how those influences are changing the way consumers interact with food. From there we will explore how to harness the raw power of an idea and apply commercial synergies to maximize product impact. We will also explore product development through the lens of gold standard vision (adhering to gold standard vision throughout commercialization), thinking inside the box (creative approaches to packaging and sustainability), and “being like water” (adaptive test and measure product roll outs). Technically intriguing and creatively entertaining, this is a session not to be missed!

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

Lori RothmanConsultant,  Lori Rothman Consulting

Thursday, May 21 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

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.

How to Start a Sandwich War: Brought to You From the Front Lines by Popeyes

Amy Alarcon, Vice President of Culinary Innovation, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Nick Pajor, Research and Development Chef, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Friday, June 12 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

A look behind the biggest food story of 2019 from the team that created the sandwich, Popeyes culinary team leaders Amy Alarcon and Nick Pajor.

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

Ann Barrett, Senior Food Engineer, Combat Feeding Directorate of the US Army

Wednesday, May 27 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

The US Military sends troops world-wide, 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.

Insight-to-Market: How to Drive Successful Product Innovation with Consumers and Eco-System Partners

Agnes LapinskaSenior Manager Customer Co-Creation North America, Ingredion Incorporated

Carolyn Phillips, Marketing Insights Manager North America, Ingredion Incorporated

Wednesday, June 3 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

Consumers’ needs change rapidly. Targeted solutions for unique, tailor made and ever-evolving demands are not “off the shelf.” Facing these demands, we recognize that every challenge presents opportunities.

Learn how market and consumer insights, impact product innovation and how you can leverage your relationship with consumers and eco-system partners to speed time to market and increase your success rate for new product launches.

Looking Forward to Our New Normal: Projected Long-term Impacts of the Coronavirus on the Foodservice Industry

Tim HandPartner, Kinetic 12, LLC

Wednesday, May 20 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

Join us for this webinar as we look forward at the potential long-term impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. Foodservice industry. We have structured our look forward through three lenses: consumers, operators and manufacturers. These are unprecedented times and if crisis is the true catalyst of change then we can expect some sea-change impacts on consumer behaviors and expectations. Operators and suppliers will respond and modify their business models for the new post-crisis world. How we plan, how we go-to-market, how we communicate and collaborate and how we interact with consumers is all going to be impacted.

We believe it is helpful to spend some time looking forward because predicting the long-term impacts can help us better prepare our companies, processes, portfolios and employees for success. We are all looking forward to “coming out the other side”, join us as we look forward to what might change.

Managing Your Career and Life Before They Manage You

Bob RyanPrincipal, Shields Meneley Partners

Friday, June 5 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

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.

Mood and Food: Up Your Own Game and Attract Loyal Customers

Ania Grimone MS, L.Ac., CH, CPCCCo-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Synergy Performance, LLC

Joseph O’Connor, CRC, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Synergy Performance, LLC

Friday, May 29 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

As the lifestyle and stress related illnesses are on the rise and the pharmaceutical interventions provide little to undo the trend, consumers are looking towards food, natural remedies and behavior changes to regain control over their lives. In this interactive workshop we will share with you a process for using your culinary creativity to combine all of these elements for functional effect to improve your own mood, health and well being as well as that of your team and your customers.

New Clean-Label Pulse Innovations in Food Service

Dr. Mehmet TulbekDirector, Research & Development, AGT Foods

Monday, June 15 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

Pulses (peas, lentil, chickpeas & other dry, edible beans) are the key players at the forefront of the plant-based craze currently felt throughout the food industry. This webinar will take a deep-dive into the utilization, functionality & suitability of using pulse based foods and ingredients in foodservice applications. AGT Foods is the global leader in all things pulses, and this presentation will showcase how we take pulses from the field, through our top-down value chain, to your kitchens, and finally to the consumer’s plate. Pulses are nutritional powerhouses, gluten-free and non-gmo (to name a few benefits), and AGT Foods will show you how you can take single-ingredient pulse-based foods (think pasta, coating systems & more!) and easily incorporate them into recipes in ways you may have never considered for pulses. Come see what we have cooking!

Nourishing the World – Living Purpose through Strategy

TC Chatterjee, CEO, Griffith Foods

Wednesday, June 10 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

At Griffith Foods, our Purpose defines why we exist as an organization. That Purpose is our compass and guides our actions. As a product development company, we aim to create value for all our stakeholders – Creating Better Together with our employees, the farmers who grow our spices and herbs, our customers and supplier partners. In this session, TC Chatterjee, CEO of Griffith Foods, discusses the elements of a Purpose-driven strategy, and how Purpose can guide an organization through a transformational journey.

Operation Innovation: Post COVID-19

Maeve WebsterPresident, Menu Matters

Tuesday, June 2 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

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.

Plant-Powered Performance: Innovation with Functional Potato Ingredients

Nate BronsonProject Lead, Miles Willard Technologies

Nicholas BurdAssociate Professor, Department of Kinesiology & Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

RJ Harvey RDN, CECCulinary Director, Potatoes USA

Wednesday, June 10 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

This session will explore the exciting product development opportunities for potato products across many food systems and emerging research. As consumer interest in health and wellness trends continues to rise, formulators have been tasked with the increasingly difficult job of creating clean label foods that offer specific nutritional benefits for active lifestyles, and by considering various potato ingredients in novel applications, product developers can leverage the wide-ranging multi-functional properties to develop innovative new products to fuel physical activity.

Redefining Convention – The at Home Mocktailologist

Bayyana DavisSenior Marketing Manager, International Flavors & Fragrances

Thursday, June 4 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

There’s no denying that the mocktail movement has taken hold, not only as a ‘substitute’ for the real thing, but a legitimate beverage form in its own right. Increasingly, consumers are looking for the feel and taste of a sophisticated adult drink without the sugar, calories or even effects of alcohol. Bars and restaurants are embracing the non-alcohol culture by boasting menus displaying craftsmanship, blurred boundaries, new rituals, and inventions ranging from giddy to disruptive. With bars and restaurants closed for dining, consumers are becoming their own bartenders at home during this period of social distancing. Please join IFF marketer Bayyana Davis as she discusses trends in mocktails and the rise of the at home mocktailologist during this unprecedented moment.

Sugar Replacement Solutions

Christine Hood, Culinary Technician – Food & Beverage Solutions, Tate & Lyle

Justin Kanthak, CCS®, CRC®, Segment Director: Snacks, Griffith Foods Inc.

Monday, June 8 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

Understanding the function of sugar in your formula is critical to determining the right strategy for making healthier foods. Reducing sugar can be a balancing act between healthfulness and taste. According to the IFIC Food and Health survey, 61 percent of consumers say healthfulness has an impact on their purchasing habits, while 81 percent of consumers say taste is the biggest influencer. In this webinar, you will learn the art of replacing sugar and reducing calories with the latest ingredient technology while still maintaining a craveable eating experience for consumers.

Strength in Uncertain Times

Chef Andre Rush, Celebrity Chef and U.S. Military Veteran

Wednesday, June 17 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

Join Chef Andre Rush, renown chef and retired United States military Master Sergeant as he shares an inspirational message of staying strong in uncertain times.

Techniques from Modernist Bread

Chef Francisco Migoya, Head Chef, Modernist Cuisine

Wednesday, May 20 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

Join Modernist Cuisine head chef Francisco Migoya for a presentation on some of the innovative and unique techniques the Modernist Cuisine team learned while researching and writing the award-winning five-volume book Modernist Bread. From the surprising role steam plays in baking to how to make your own “compleat wheat” bread, chef Migoya will share several key findings that will help you be a better baker and inspire you to think more scientifically about bread.


The Evolution of Culinary Education and Corporate Training

Jacquy Pfeiffer, President and Founder, The French Pastry School, The Butter Book

Friday, May 29 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

The current global health crisis has changed how millions around the world are being educated and trained. New online learning digital systems are needed for a new shift in education and corporate enterprise training. Corporations around the globe will need to rethink the way R&D is conducted and favor instead out of the box thinkers who can provide digitized and innovative solutions adapted to the new normal.

What Comes Next? A Tale of Culinary Renaissance

Chef Ashley Doolin, Associate Culinary Scientist, ADM

Chef Nate SchomersExecutive Research Chef, Berlin, ADM

Chef John StephanianVP Global Culinary & Innovation, ADM

Thursday, June 4 | 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. CT

Join members of ADM’s Global Culinary Team as they take an optimistic look at consumer trends in the post-pandemic culinary landscape. The chefs will present consumer data ADM compiled & analyzed during the crisis, discussing consumers’ shift to comfort foods and the resurgence of old favorites. Listen to stories of change with insight and anecdotes from ADM’s Global Team, highlighting top chefs and restauranteurs around the world. Finally, join in the discussion on the “new normal” and the challenges of maintaining relevance and customer intimacy in this new world.

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

Robert Danhi, Curator of Cultures, Flavor360 Solutions

Ken RubinChief Culinary Officer, Rouxbe

Thursday, May 28 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

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.

Why is Sake So Significant?

Gordon Heady, Sake Brewer

Tuesday, June 9 | 10:00 – 11:00 A.M. CT

Japanese sake has a broad flavor profile and can be delicious, more than most consumers imagine. Yet surprisingly few make it a top beverage of choice. Not only is sake relevant to Japanese cuisine, it can be enjoyed in places and occasions beyond your local sushi bar. Most are shocked at how interesting sake can be!

In this session, Gordon Heady will explain how sake is brewed and offer suggestions on how to appreciate it, as well as offer a bit of history. Sake exports have doubled in the last ten years and this is a rare chance to explore the world of Japanese sake from one who has actually brewed it.

Abstract Presentations

Abstract presentations are 12-minute researched based presentations by RCA students and academic professionals. All abstracts will be presented on Tuesday, May 26 at 10:00 a.m. CT

Affordability in FoodService

Ron Pagaoa, Senior Marketing Manager, Ingredion Incorporated

Foodservice operators are challenged with increased operating expenses that are directly impacted by growing food and labor costs. This session will present ingredient solutions for reducing or replacing heavy cream or butter, tomato paste, eggs and oil to help control costs of expensive ingredients in soups, sauces and dressings.

Food Product Development in the Context of Undergraduate Research

Rosemary TroutProgram Director, Drexel University

TLC to Determine CBD and Contaminants in Dietary Supplements

Darryl Holliday, Program Director, University of Holy Cross

Fresh Approach to Beverage Concentration and Alcohol Control

Olgica Bakajin, Ph.D.Founder and CEO, Proifera Inc.

Delicate flavor and aroma profiles that make a beverage product unique are quickly lost during typical high-heat processing. Porifera’s gentle, cold concentration process retains all the original product’s flavor, aroma, and nutrients without applying heat, pressure, or shear. This robust technology can concentrate thick pastes and purées that clog other systems and is versatile enough to increase, reduce, or adjust alcohol content, all in one standalone system. As processors shift business strategies to respond to sudden market changes, Porifera’s unique technology provides a new approach to preserve stored products longer and ship lighter loads to reduce refrigeration and logistics costs of fully-flavored products.