These expert instructors led attendees through hands-on, culinary demonstrations or presentations on trends, practices and applications as you rotate across the six Copia Hestan Kitchens and innovation lecture rooms.

Samir Amin Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Food Science and Nutrition Department, California Polytechnic State University

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Lynda Cabrales, Ph.D.

Manager R&D Americans, McCain Foods USA

Meet Lynda Cabrales

Lynda Cabrales has 20 years of experience in R&D, engineering and as an operations leader, and provides solutions from concept thru production in various food applications. She manages, the Process R&D team for McCain foods which support New Product Launches across the Americas. She also leads the Global Center of Expertise for potato specialty responsible for developing technology, IP strategy and global commercialization for McCain Foods. Previously, she worked for the Oscar Mayer business unit of Kraft foods where she led the emerging platform of protein snacking technical team at Oscar Mayer. Her team laid the groundwork for the successful launch of Oscar Mayer P3 in 2014 & 2015. P3 won the Nielson Innovation Award with over $75 million in retail sales in year 1 and a 65% growth rate. She holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering with a specialization in Food & Bio-Processing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She recently completed her M.B.A. from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

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Alan Cannon

Director of Distributor Relations and Education, Rombauer Vineyards

Meet Alan Cannon

Alan joined Rombauer in 1999 in retail sales and worked his way up to National Sales Manager, a position he held for 15 years. Now, as Director of Distributor Relations & Education, he continues to foster positive relationships with our sales partners. His long and varied career includes owning a wine distributorship and retailer, selling winemaking equipment, and lecturing about wine in Fresno State University’s enology program. A Certified Wine Educator, Alan’s avocation is selling Rombauer wines and telling the winery’s story throughout the U.S..

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Chef Thomas Griffiths, CMC 

Chef & Owner of Global Cuisine Consulting

Meet Chef  Thomas Griffiths

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.  

Chef Griffiths traveled throughout Western Europe and South East Asia to study and research the foods and cooking of the world.

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, Sara Moulton Live 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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Chef RJ Harvey RDN, CEC

Culinary Director, Potatoes USA

Meet Chef RJ Harvey

Chef Harvey is a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) as well as a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN) who loves to create delicious, beautifully presented food that is healthful for the mind, body and soul. Over the past several years Chef RJ has lent his expertise to the revitalization of hospital cuisine at Morrison Healthcare, where he developed award winning concepts featured in Food Management magazine. In 2016 he launched a mobile teaching kitchen for Chartwells K-12 School Dining Services, a program tailored to teach students the importance of cooking at home for optimal flavor and nutrition. He currently oversees the culinary department for Potatoes USA, both foreign and domestic. He works closely with all marketing programs to promote the usage and increase the demand for U.S. grown potatoes.

He is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Culinary Federation as well as the Research Chefs Association.

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Chef Michael Kalanty

Baker, Author, Teacher

Meet Chef Michael Kalanty

Michael Kalanty is an award-winning bread baker, author, and sensory scientist. He specializes in the sensory aspects of breads, particularly those made with sourdough starters and heritage grains. He holds the copyright on the Aroma & Flavor Wheel for Breads®, a sensory tool that helps manufacturers understand consumer preferences in breads.

Michael has designed bread sensory projects for Anson Mills and the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation. In collaboration with Maine Grains and the Maine Craft Brewers Association, he developed a system for beer and bread pairings based on flavor and texture complements.

His interest in the link between flavor and nutrition in breads has given him opportunity to present at Stanford University's Department of Nutrition, Maine Grains Kneading Conference, and the Inaugural Johnson & Wales University International Symposium of Bread.

As a bakery product developer, many of his formulations can be found on grocery store shelves. From his innovation lab in San Francisco he works with clean label initiatives to create nutritious breads based on natural yeast cultures.

He was the Director of Education at the California Culinary Academy and has written both cooking and baking program curriculums for several culinary schools in the United States and Brazil. Michael’s professional certifications include executive pastry chef, culinary educator, and master taster.

His first book, How To Bake Bread: The Five Families of Bread® won the Gourmand International Award for Best Bread Book in the World. His most recent book, How To Bake MORE Bread: Modern Breads/Wild Yeast, explores flavor profiles delivered by various sourdough methods. It was short-listed in the bread category for best cookbooks of 2017.

He teaches a variety of hands-on baking classes in his native San Francisco and the Bay Area. Learn more about him at

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Chef Junnie Lai, MBA

Principal, Global Cuisine Consulting

Meet Chef Junnie Lai

Chef Junnie Lai is a creative culinary consultant who specializes in Southeast Asian cuisines—Chinese, Indian, Malay, and Thai—as well as baking and pastry. With an MBA and 15 years of experience in Research & Development, Junnie is an accomplished research chef who excels in product development. Her insight into culinary trends has allowed her to revolutionize the product-launching process and increase sales while keeping costs low.  Known for her creativity, organization skills, and eye for detail, Junnie has also been a great asset on many successful product launches. Her ability to excel in dynamic, demanding environments while remaining pragmatic and focused makes her an asset to any team.

With a passion for healthy foods and extensive knowledge of functional ingredients, Junnie has spent her career creating organic recipes that emphasize nutrition. Her recipes accommodate today’s popular diets such as vegetarianism, veganism, and gluten-free diets. Junnie’s desire to discover foods and recipes that heal have inspired her to pursue a Ph.D. in Natural Medicine. Her hope is that her educational experiences, combined with the extensive accomplishments throughout her career, will allow her to prepare delicious, fresh, and healthy cuisine that promotes proper nutrition.

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Chef John Livera

President, Red Barn Culinary

Meet Chef  John Livera

Inspired by all aspects of the food, John has over 25 years of experience in the culinary arena. Starting in the kitchen at a young age, John thrives when engaging with food – whether hands on application, speaking to industry leaders, mentoring in the kitchen or supporting the development of educational communications. His constant thirst for innovation of flavor, texture and taste keep him on a continual search for what’s next. Together, his knowledge of culinary and eye for operational excellence add value to the development of new concepts or menu items, that seamlessly streamline into any operation.

John’s career started with an immersion in water cuisine from Dennis Foy, a leader of the farm to table movement.  His career continued to thrive in the New York metro area before traveling to San Francisco to join the famed team at Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio. Under Wolfgang's leadership, John traveled to France to train under Michelin starred Chef, Alain Solivere where he worked at Soliveres’, Les Elysees du Vernet, a hotel close to the Arc de Triumph. Returning to the US, John sought a place where local cuisine was at the forefront, in balance with superior customer service. He spent 3 years continuing to build his career BOH with Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group before making a strategic move to The Food Group where John served as the VP, Director of Innovation supporting the development of culinary concepts for major manufacturers.  Continuing his passion for local, fresh foods and sustainable foods, John is now works as a consultant in the food and beverage industry.

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Elisa Maloberti

Director of Egg Product Marketing, American Egg Board

Meet Elisa Maloberti

Elisa Maloberti is the Director of Egg Product Marketing for the American Egg Board (AEB). She has worked with AEB for more than 25 years where she has held numerous positions, including Foodservice Assistant, Consumer Information Coordinator, and Egg Product Marketing Assistant. She has a B.S. degree in Food Science and Nutrition from Dominican University in River Forest, IL. Elisa is responsible for AEB's egg product marketing program, which includes advertising and promotions targeting food manufacturers, educational programs, and research.

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Chef Emily Munday

Director of Operations, CuliNex, LLC

Meet Chef Emily Munday

Emily Munday is the Director of Operations at CuliNex, the industry’s premier firm providing product development & strategic business consultancy services focused exclusively on clean label food products. CuliNex works with a diverse range of companies from international brands to family-owned businesses, assisting them in planning and executing their product development strategies across all food categories. Emily holds an Associate degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University.

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Chef Ron Oypd, CEC

Senior Corporate Chef, McCain Foods USA

Meet Chef Ron Oypd

McCain Foods USA Senior Corporate Chef Ron Opyd, Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation with over 41 years in the Food Service Industry. Ron has always had an interest in food and began cooking at home around age 9. When he was 16 he began his first cooking job and he has been working in food service ever since.

Ron is a former Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director for nearly 24 years with Hyatt Hotels with a career focus on Fine Dining, Catering and Three Meal Restaurants trained in scratch cooking and high volume feeding.

Ron began with McCain Foods over 12 years ago with a focus in Region Chain and National Accounts, K-12, Military, College & University as well as Healthcare. His work takes him throughout the US, Latin America and Canada supporting the Sales and Marketing Departments with Culinary presentations.

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Chef Mark L Slutzky

Senior Corporate Chef, McCain Foods USA

Meet Chef Mark L Slutzky

McCain Foods USA Senior Corporate Chef Mark Slutzky has over 25 years of experience in the Restaurant and Hospitality industry. A graduate with high honors of the Culinary Institute of America, he has worked in and run some of the most prestigious restaurants in New York and Paris. Mark has always been a proponent of New American Bistro and Green Market style cuisine emphasizing local and seasonal flavors. He was the Executive Chef of Neuman Corporate and Special Events Caterers in New York City before opening two successful casual barbecue restaurants in Kingston, New York.

Mark’s passion has always been to bring the best possible food to the table. This foundation brought him to McCain Foods over 12 years ago. His goal, while working with National restaurant chains, is to help McCain Foods USA bring to market relevant products that deliver on great taste, ethnic flavors, health and convenience to drive meaningful consumer experiences.

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