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NEW LevelUP Attraction




To celebrate 65 years of shaping the future of food, the Specialty Food Association is launching LevelUP - a multi-faceted, future-focused attraction debuting at the 2017 Summer Fancy Food Show in the River Pavilion.

To experience this new attraction, upgrade to a Premium Pass

Great Things Happen When you LevelUp… from high-profile keynotes to a roundtable with industry leaders, you’ll get information and insights you can apply to your own business.


  • Explore what’s driving future consumer food trends.
  • See a curated selection of on-trend products from industry experts, global trends from SIAL Paris, and more!


  • Shop The Future Market brought to you by Alpha Food Labs.


  • Taste tomorrow’s innovations, from seaweed pastrami to edible algae.


  • Gain inspiration from future-focused “Excite Talks” including topics such as retail technology, customized nutrition to new models of agriculture, and more!
  • Discover how new categories have emerged and evolved with a visual history of the Special Food industry.


  • Learn how specialty foods will fare over the next 5 years and generate sales projections by category, produced in partnership with Mintel and Hartman.

PLUS Priority access to all Keynotes, Super Sessions and special events including:

  • “The Reality of Small Business Success” Super Session led by Jon Taffer, host of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue”. Presented by the SFA Broker Council.
  • "Buyer Panel - Selling Specialty" Super Session moderated by Supermarket Guru, Phil Lempert. Presented by the Retailer Network Council.
    •’s Monica Schechter, Specialty and International Food Category Manager
    • Peapod’s Tony Stallone, VP of Merchandising
    • Straub’s Markets’ Jack W. “Trip” Straub, III, President & CEO
    • Whole Foods’ Cathy Strange, Global Executive Coordinator, Specialty and Product Innovation and Development
  • Front Burner: A Foodservice Pitch Competition hosted by the Foodservice Council featuring a panel of expert judges:
    • Greenwood Hospitality’s Bill Kohl, Principal,
    • American Culinary Federation’s Tom Macrina, President,
    • Loi Estiatorio’s Maria Loi, Corporate Executive Chef
    • Sid Wainer & Sons’ Henry Wainer, Owner
  • 2017 sofi Awards Product of the Year Announcement
  • Hall of Fame & Lifetime Achievement Awards celebration honoring the pioneers of specialty foods
  • A full day of instruction in "The Basics: The Business of Specialty Food"
    (Saturday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) Please Note: selection required in pre-registration process

Schedule at a Glance

Saturday, June 24



Sunday, June 25


  • 8:45 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. Know Tomorrow: What Moves the Consumer Who is Moving the Market
  • 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Summer Fancy Food Show Exhibit Halls Open
  • 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. New LevelUp Attraction Open *
  • 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Excite Talks *: Influential thinkers talk about how they see - and create - the future of food
  • 12:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. The Food Market of Tomorrow: Trends and Forecasts to Prepare for Today in partnership with Hartman and Mintel *
  • 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Excite Talks *: Influential thinkers talk about how they see - and create - the future of food
  • 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Lifetime Achievement Awards and Hall of Fame Ceremony and Reception


Monday, June 26



Tuesday, June 27, 2017


*Premium Pass Required - Located in the River Pavilion unless otherwise noted.

Full Program

Saturday, June 24, 2017

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. - The Basics: The Business of Specialty Food


Are you new to the specialty food industry or just looking to get a leg up on the competition? The Specialty Food Association’s one-day intensive workshop - from a team of veteran specialty food producers and leaders of the SFA - helps you learn the fundamentals of our market and increase your knowledge base.

The Basics covers how to build your brand, sell to supermarkets and specialty retailers, work with brokers and distributors, price your product, extend credit, and market to the trade using promotions, shows, and other activities. You’ll leave with a clearer understanding of the industry, learn best practices, and get real-world answers to your questions. Lunch is included.

  • Doug Renfro is President of Renfro Foods. He oversees new product development and helps manage a number of strategic and administrative areas of the business, including sales, purchasing, legal, and information systems. Doug has spent a majority of his career working in a number of different capacities at Renfro Foods. As a teenager, he worked in production, while in college he weighed out all the spices for daily production.

    After graduating from the University of North Texas, Doug worked in the finance and accounting departments for a large multi-national information services company in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. During his seven-year tenure outside the family business, he was promoted to Divisional Finance Manager, earned his Master’s degree from Southern Methodist University and qualified for his Certified Management Accountant designation. Doug re-joined Renfro Foods in 1992.

    Involved in a number of professional and community organizations, Doug is a past president of the Tarrant Area Food Bank, the Texas Food Processors Association and the North Texas Food Sales Association. Doug currently serves on the executive committee of Casa Mañana, a not-for-profit theater organization and is a past executive committee member of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, a non-profit conservation and preservation institute. Doug is also on the McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors, the Chile Pepper Institute’s Advisory Council and TCU’s Neeley School of Business Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. He has also served as a board member of Fort Worth South, a non-profit organization that works to renovate Fort Worth’s southern inner city.


    Jack Acree is the Executive Vice President of the American Halal Company, and leads American Halal’s sales, marketing, and operational strategies. Jack successfully built two of the fastest growing startups in the natural foods business which now deliver well over $50 million in sales – Terra Chips® (Hain Foods) and Alexia Foods® (ConAgra Foods). Jack's team built Alexia’s sales to over $75 million today with over 26 SKU’s. Alexia Food was sold to ConAgra Foods in 2007. While at Alexia in 2002, Jack was able to immediately secure shelf space for this start-up brand into 5,000 stores – in top-tier chains including Whole Foods, Publix, Stop & Shop, Shoprite, Shaw’s, Wegmans, and Wal-Mart. At Terra Chips, Jack grew sales from inception at Terra Chips to over $5 Million. For Terra, Jack built and scaled five broad channels of distribution for this niche start up: independent routes, gourmet shops natural stores, supermarket chains and food service. Today, Terra Chips is owned by Hain foods and generates over $60 million in sales. Jack is a founding member of the Slow Money Alliance and is active in local and national politics.


    John Roberts founded Blackpoint Management Inc., to work exclusively within the specialty food industry. After achieving success at companies such as Romanoff Foods, Buitoni, and Riviana Foods (Colgate), John joined The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade – now Specialty Food Association - in 1989 as Executive Director/General Manager, and was promoted to President in 1996. Under his leadership, the organization increased revenues to over $22 million from $4 million, and absorbed the National Food Distributors Association, the Specialty Food Brokers Association and the Kosher Food Distributors Association. John is frequently invited to present his insights regarding the U.S. specialty food marketplace at educational conferences and conventions and to regional and national groups within the U.S. and worldwide. John holds both an MBA and a Bachelor of Science degree from Seton Hall University.


    Trish Pohanka was most recently the Director of Merchandising and Marketing for European Imports Inc (a specialty division of Sysco). European Imports is an importer and distributor of specialty foods offering upscale products to restaurants, hotels and retail establishments. As the specialty food import division of Sysco, European Imports products are distributed nationwide through the Sysco network as well as directly to specialty retailers. As Director of Merchandising and Marketing, Pohanka was committed to sourcing innovative products from around the world and identifying trends; managing the procurement team, development of European Imports private labels and implementing marketing programs to provide support for retailers and foodservice professionals. The foundation of EIL’s success is the relationships they have formed over the past 35 years.

    Pohanka served on the Board of Directors for the SFA for 12 years and completed her term on the Executive Council as Past Chairwoman in 2010. Pohanka is Chairperson for the Distributor Council and was appointed to the Board by the council in 2014.


    Ron Tanner is Vice President, Philanthropy, Government and Industry Relations at the Specialty Food Association, owner of the Fancy Food Shows® and publisher of Specialty Food Magazine and Specialty Food News. Ron has worked for the Specialty Food Association, and its 3,000+ members, since 1987. Prior to joining the association, Ron worked for 10 years as an editor with Progressive Grocer Magazine. Ron has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, and Food Network, and has been quoted in Newsweek, The New York Times, and Parade Magazine. Ron has an MS in Journalism from Columbia University in New York City, and a BA in English and Communications Studies from Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.


    Tim Metzger is the owner of Tillen Farms, a range of Northwest grown, crisp pickled specialty vegetables and natural cherries, selling through a diversified network of distributors to retailers and on-premise customers nationwide. After nearly a decade in sales and marketing for traditional branded companies, including Procter & Gamble and Dannon Yogurt, Tim's initial effort with specialty foods was with Pasta & Cheese, specialty pasta shops in New York City, where in 1980, he introduced fresh packaged pasta into the supermarket trade. The company went public three years later and within a year, was sold to Carnation, and is now a $250MM brand under the Buitoni label. Tim also gained invaluable importing experience during his nine-plus years as vice president of sales and marketing for specialty food importer, The Gilway Co.

    Tim earned his MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and has been active with the Specialty Food Association, having served on its Board of Directors for 14 years, rising through the ranks to become Chairman of the Board. Tim was among the inaugural class inducted into the Specialty Food Hall of Fame. Tim began exhibiting at the Fancy Food Show in 1980 and this summer marks the 85th time he has exhibited.

    Deborah Holt is the CMO of Marich Chocolates, a California-based fair trade chocolate maker. Holt has over 15 years of brand strategy and sales leadership experience in natural and specialty foods, with a strong understanding of consumer and market dynamics. In addition, a well-documented space for breaking new ground with product and category innovation, Holt spearheaded brand and sales strategy for both CIAO BELLA® Gelato and barkTHINS® Snacking Chocolate and is a former Director of the Board for the Specialty Food Association.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

8:45 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. - Know Tomorrow: What Moves the Consumer Who is Moving the Market


We work in a time of unprecedented generational change. Five generations of consumers, from seniors to those just coming of age, are currently in the marketplace—and strategies to reach and engage one group can be complete turn-offs for others. Is this divide a costly and growing challenge, or a rare opportunity? It depends on how you respond. In this talk, Matt Beaudreau, of The Center for Generational Kinetics, will help you understand and respond to challenges of a multi-generational marketplace. He will reveal new insights based on The Center's latest research that can directly impact the success or failure of products and organizations. Matt will share surprising findings, unexpected trends, and step-by-step actions you can apply immediately to engage the consumer of today and the consumer of the future.

  • Matt Beaudreau is a Certified Keynote Speaker at The Center for Generational Kinetics. His speaking clients range from Wells Fargo and Honeywell to Wasserman Media and Sandia National Laboratories.  
    Matt is a Millennial who has a reputation as a leader in his own generation. He was a featured TEDx speaker and named corporate trainer of the year at Stanford University.

    Matt has received standing ovations for his powerful delivery that combines The Center’s latest research and how-­-to with his unique experience working with clients around the world.

    Matt has spoken to over 20,000 people across the United States and Mexico.

    Matt’s personal experiences employing multiple generations, serving as a school administrator, and being an entrepreneur make him a powerful and action-­-driving speaker on solving generational challenges with employees and customers. 

12:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. - The Food Market of Tomorrow: Trends and Forecasts to Prepare for Today


Shelley Balanko from The Hartman Group and David Lockwood from Mintel will explain the specialty food market’s exploding potential across retail and foodservice channels. Attendees will walk away with a strong understanding of in-market and external factors driving specialty foods’ growth, the product-quality distinctions to look for to win in the growing specialty space, and five-year forecasts of categories poised to take off, or slow down, based on consumer needs, and innovations and trends propelling category sales.

  • Shelley Balanko is the Senior Vice President of The Hartman Group, where her listening, questioning, and observation skills are applied to understanding industry challenges to support the development of new consulting services. Shelley regularly engages a diverse audience spanning the consumer packaged goods, retail, and foodservice segments as she shares leading-edge insights and implications from the field, and an understanding of the evolving consumer culture. With a first love in understanding people, Shelley enjoyed studying consumer behavior first as an ethnographer and then directing The Hartman Group’s Analytic and Retainer Services teams. Shelley earned her Ph.D. in Applied Social Psychology from the University of Windsor.


    David Lockwood is the Director of Mintel Consulting, and has been a research pioneer for more than 30 years. He founded Mintel's Consulting group in 2008, and now directs its global growth. The consultancy team helps hundreds of clients, ranging from local startups to global multinationals, understand consumer trends, develop strategy, and innovate to build successful brands.




Monday, June 26, 2017


8:45 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. - Buyer Panel: Selling Specialty


Join Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert and a high-level panel of buyers from supermarket, specialty, e-commerce, and mass-market channels for a lively discussion on the state of specialty food. We will delve into the changing specialty food landscape, look at what’s driving sales in the different channels, discuss what consumers are looking for, and examine what it will take to sell specialty foods in the future.

  • Phil Lempert is the founder and editor of The Lempert Report, Food, Nutrition & Science, Facts, Figures & the Future, and The Food Journal, and is a contributing editor for Progressive Grocer. Known as The Supermarket Guru, Lempert is a distinguished author and speaker who alerts customers and business leaders to impending corporate and consumer trends, and empowers them to make educated purchasing and marketing decisions.

    For twenty plus years Phil has served as food trends editor and correspondent for NBC News’ Today show, reporting on consumer trends, food safety, money-saving tips, and showcasing new products, as well as regular appearances on ABC’s The View, FOX Business, Dr. Oz, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, CNN, CNBC, FOX, and on local television morning and news programs throughout the country. For almost two decades, he hosted the syndicated show Shopping Smart on the WOR Radio Network, and now co-hosts the weekly Lost in the Supermarket podcast on iTunes.

    He has served on the Executive Committee of Michelle Obama's Chefs Move to School program. He is the founder and CEO of the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance, and developed and manages Foodservice@Retail, The Great Grocerant educational program for the National Restaurant Association,. He also hosts and manages the Most Innovative Product Awards for the National Confectioners Association, developed the Supermarket Chef Showdown for the Food Marketing Institute, and created and managed the Spud Nation Throwdown Competition for the National Potato Council.


    Trip Straub is the President and CEO of Straub’s Markets, a family grocery business that is celebrating 116 years in business in 2017. Trip began his grocery store career at the age of 12, when he could be seen sweeping floors and taking out the trash. Throughout high school and college, Trip worked in all facets of operations at all four Straub’s stores, looking for ways to differentiate his stores from the larger competition. Trip has led the company through two positive acquisitions, one in 2008 and another in 2015 as well as an epic fail with the opening and closing, 11 months later, of a new store in 2008.



    Tony Stallone is the Vice President of Merchandising at Peapod, where he has helped to grow Peapod into the largest and most successful internet grocer in America. Tony comes from a long line of people passionate about food, and has been in the business for more than 40 years.

    Tony’s fresh food history began at age 5, when, after church, he and his father would travel to the produce market to repack tomatoes for the Monday morning business (back in those days the first customers arrived just after midnight). Each summer thereafter, Tony worked at the market. Tony learned the art of buying produce from his father who would bring him along each morning as he did his daily purchases and working alongside chefs as they honed their trade.

    Tony started his own food consulting firm in 1996 with Scotty’s Home Market (online grocers) as one of his customers. In 1998, Tony went to work for Scotty’s as Vice President of Merchandising. In October 2000, Scotty’s/Streamline was bought by Peapod, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ahold.

    Tony has standing television segments on ABC 7 in Chicago (the first Sunday of every month at 8:50am) and on ABC 2 in Baltimore (the third Wednesday of the month at noon). He is also a regular on NBC 4 in D.C. for Tricks of the Trade. Produce is Tony’s destiny and he truly enjoys sharing his passion with anyone who enjoys fresh fruits and vegetables.


    Cathy Strange is the Global Executive Coordinator of Specialty and Product Development and Innovation at Whole Foods Market. Cathy joined Whole Foods Market in 1990, cultivating decades of experience and leadership in the food industry, spending many years as the company’s global cheese buyer. Her role focuses on discovering and curating the most exciting specialty products across the globe, and supporting small producers with win-win partnerships.

    Cathy has become an authority on international food trends during her travels around the world seeking supplier partners that meet Whole Foods Market’s strict Quality Standards. She is a member of the American Cheese Society, the Cheese of Choice Coalition and the Cheese Importers Association. She is an international ambassador for the distinguished international Guilde des Fromagers de Saint-Uguzon, the most celebrated association of cheese mongers and specialists in France. Cathy is also one of very few Americans inducted into prestigious international cheese organizations, including recognitions from France, Italy, and Switzerland. Above all else, she is a cheese and food lover who gets to share her passion with shoppers and Team Members every day!


    Monica Schechter is the Specialty and International Food Category Manager for and She has been with Jet since pre-launch and has worked to build the grocery business with various responsibilities including category management, marketing, site experience, and operations. Previously she worked on the ecommerce side of a large fashion retailer. Monica currently resides in New York City, and orders her groceries online.




    Scott Zoeller is the Vice President of Deli Prepared Foods, Cheese, Meat, and Seafood for Kings Supermarkets and Balducci’s Food Lovers Market. Over the past 13 years at Kings and Balducci’s, Scott’s love of food has taken him around the globe to discover amazing food producers and artisans, both international and local. Staying true to his vision and not being afraid of risk has enabled Scott to pioneer new concepts at Kings and Balducci’s that has attracted and delighted new customers.




12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - Peeking into the Future of Food Safety


Whole Genome Sequencing, Listeria outbreaks, FSMA deadlines, and allergen recalls- the list of emerging issues and regulatory requirements seem to change every time we open an email. What does all this mean and how does this impact suppliers, brand, and more importantly food safety? Suppliers are the core to your business and having a safe, reliable, product source is what consumers are expecting. But consumers are also expecting new, exciting, and local products to try, which can be particularly challenging when it comes to food safety. This session will identify the trends in food safety and how new technology impacts food safety, brand protection and consumer confidence, as well as provide those core food safety principles and an approach that small, local suppliers can use to build their own food safety system that prepares them to meet regulatory requirements and retailer expectations.

  • LeAnn Chuboff is the Vice President of Technical Affairs for the Safe Quality Food Institute, responsible for the technical elements of the SQF program including the development, maintenance, and technical support of the SQF Code and supporting materials. Prior to working at the SQF Institute, LeAnn worked for the National Restaurant Association Solutions as the Director of Science and Regulatory Relations. In this role, she was responsible for the technical accuracy of the ServSafe food safety program and developed programs and services on food safety and food defense to fit with all segments of the restaurant industry. LeAnn has also worked for Long John Silver’s and Boston Market in corporate quality assurance where she developed the food safety and vendor approval program. LeAnn graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Food Science and is active with many organizations including GFSI, the Conference for Food Protection, and the International Association for Food Protection. She sits on several committees in an effort to enhance policy and develop programs for the industry to help protect public health.


    Robert Garfield is the Chief Food Safety Assessment Officer and SVP for Food Marketing Institute, responsible for managing the Safe Quality Food Institute, an international food safety and quality management program recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative.

    Robert spent ten years in the food industry as a plant and production manager. He worked for United Vintners, a divisionof Heublein, Inc., a major bottler of California wines, and then for Dairylea, Inc., and Richfood, Inc., both processors of fluid milk and juice products. For 23 years Robert represented the food industry to regulatory agencies and Capitol Hill detailing the scientific and technical interests of frozen food and dairy manufacturers. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Cincinnati, where he specialized in marketing and finance, and a Master of Science, Agriculture, from California State University in Fresno.


5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. - Front Burner Foodservice Pitch Competition


Watch the excitement as three Specialty Food Association member companies face off to pitch their products to a panel of judges from the food, beverage, and hospitality industry. Judges include: Bill Kohl, principal of Greenwood Hospitality Group; Maria Loi, chef at Loi Estiatorio; Tom Macrina, president of the American Culinary Foundation; and Henry Wainer, owner of Sid Wainer & Sons.

  • Bill Kohl serves as a Principal of Greenwood Hospitality Group. In this capacity, Mr. Kohl oversees the strategic and operational direction of Greenwood’s portfolio of hotels including food and beverage initiatives, in addition to directing Greenwood’s activities in restaurant development, concept design, and re-positioning.

    During his thirty-year hospitality career, Bill has received several honors including The Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association’s General Manager of the Year in 2001, and The American Hotel and Lodging Association’s State Leadership Award. Kohl’s portfolio experience includes oversight of several high-profile assets together with the concept design of over twenty restaurants.

    Mr. Kohl currently serves on the National Restaurant Association’s Board of Directors, the American Hotel and Lodging Association Board of Directors, is a Past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association and immediate Past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association. In 2004, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Central Pennsylvania College.


    Thomas “Tom” Macrina is executive chef/product specialist manager for US Foods, Philadelphia Division, Philadelphia, a position he assumed in 2011. In June 2013, he was selected as a Food Fanatics™ Chef for the company.

    Macrina is a Certified Executive Chef®, Certified Culinary Administrator®, and a member of the American Academy of Chefs®, the honor society of the American Culinary Federation, Inc. He was elected to the position of ACF national president for the 2013-2015 term and re-elected for the 2015-2017 term. Previously, he served on ACF’s Board of Directors as national secretary, 2011-2013, and chair of the AAC, 2007-2011.

    His culinary career began in 1977 as executive chef at the Downingtown Inn Resort, Downingtown, Pa. In 1980, he accepted the position of executive chef at the Clayton Plaza Hotel, St. Louis, until 1981, when he was named corporate executive chef of Tabas Enterprises, Philadelphia. He served in this role from 1981 to 1997 and oversaw operations for eight properties. In 1997, he joined The Desmond Hotel and Conference Center, Malvern, Pa., as executive chef, a position he held until late 2011 when he joined US Foods.


    Maria Loi is the chef and owner of Loi Estiatorio in New York City. She is a popular television chef in Greece and the author of more than 36 cookbooks, and over 150 magazine editions. She owns a gourmet restaurant in Nafpaktos, Greece, and has a line of Maria Loi dinnerware and kitchen appliances. The Chef’s Club of Greece, a worldwide culinary organization has recognized her as an official Ambassador of Greek Gastronomy; in June of 2016, she was unanimously re-elected for a second term as the official Ambassador. She is also the founding partner in a fashion company.

    Her latest book, The Greek Diet, written with veteran health journalist and athlete Sarah Toland, is grounded in the Greek Mediterranean lifestyle and includes 100 healthy, authentic Greek recipes. The Greek Diet has been translated in Portuguese for publication in Brazil, and has been translated in Greek for publication in Greece as well, with more editions on the way.

    Her pasta line, Loi Pasta launched at Whole Foods Market in March of 2016, with other Greek products hitting shelves in mid-2016. Her new line of dips, Loi Dips, officially launched exclusively at the opening of the new Whole Foods Market location at Bryant Park.


    Henry Wainer is the owner and operator of Sid Wainer & Son, a distributor of specialty produce and specialty food.

    Henry’s leadership, innovation, and passion for the finest foods and ingredients has taken Sid Wainer & Son to the forefront of the specialty food segment. Henry follows in the footsteps of his grandfather Henry and father Sid, from who he learned the business, continuing an over 100 year legacy of history, tradition, and values. When Henry graduated Nichols College in 1973 he became the president of Sid Wainer & Son. At that time, there were just eight delivery trucks. Today, Sid Wainer & Son operates a fleet of hundreds of trucks delivering to over 35,000 customers.

    Henry is an inductee of the Specialty Foods Hall of Fame, recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Johnson & Wales University, recipient of numerous sofi™ awards, and is recognized and awarded by his community as an economic impact leader.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017


12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - The Reality of Small Business Success


Jon Taffer’s renowned method of management has become the industry gold standard, as proven weekly on his Spike TV series, “Bar Rescue.” Join us as Jon shares his small business secrets in conversation with Specialty Food Association President Phil Kafarakis on the Main Stage.

  • Jon Taffer is an award-winning hospitality expert, best-selling author, management guru, and television personality. His method of management has become the industry gold standard, savings thousands of bars and restaurants on his Spike TV series “Bar Rescue.” Taffer’s hospitality experience started as a bartender when he was in college, and progressed to a management job at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. He went on to own Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood before he began consulting, eventually owning his first bar in 1989.

    As the Chairman of Taffer Dynamics, Taffer has consulted for over 800 businesses, ranging from independents to Fortune 500 companies. He has received multiple honors as “Property of the Year” and “Bar Operator of the Year,” and is one of only six inductees into the Nightclub Hall of Fame.

    In January of 2010, Taffer became president of the Nightclub & Bar Media Group, which includes the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show and related digital media products. he is a founding member of the Nightclub & Bar Advisory Board, and has been intimately involved with the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show since its inception, which has been integral to its growth over the years. Taffer is also a strategic consultant for the National Restaurant Association.


2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - All Money Isn’t Green: A Panel on Funding Your Business


You're invited to join a panel of venture capitalists, moderated by SFA Board member Daniel Dowe and featuring the team from Gerber Finance to discuss the many creative ways of funding your business objectives beyond traditional methods.


Sunday, June 25, 2017


11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Talk: The Path to Innovation: Elevation from the Street


Sarah Masoni is a Senior Faculty Research Assistant and Food and Process Development Team Manager at the Oregon State University Food Innovation Center Experiment Station, where she has resided for the last 17 years. There, she works as a liaison between the university and the food manufacturing industry by managing staff, projects, and budgets at an innovative, leading-edge technology center. Sarah specializes in food entrepreneurship, and she has worked on projects ranging from local and natural ice cream sandwiches, dairy products, beverages, seafood products, sauces, pancake mix, and organic fruit and nut bars. 

Previously, Sarah worked as a Senior Food Technologist at Gardenburger, a position she held from 1992 to 2000. She is also a recognized Flavorist with strong relationships with ingredient vendors and flavor companies, and regularly serves as an official judge for local and national product evaluations. A former artisan cheese maker, Ms. Masoni is a current member of the Institute of Food Technologists, is an official judge for the annual cheese competition, and is a member of the American Cheese Society and the American Dairy Goat Association. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Art and Food Science from Oregon State University.


11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Talk: Microalgae: An Untapped Resource That Will Feed the Future


Alvyn Severien is the CEO and Co-Founder of Algama. Food lover and passionate entrepreneur, Alvyn founded Algama with two childhood friends. After several years of experience in consulting and finance, he decided to launch a company aiming to have a positive impact on the food industry. Algama develops tasty, sustainable and healthy products bringing Microalgae to their full potential. Since its inception, Algama has received multiple international awards for its products, its pioneering work on microalgae, and is now running operations in France and in the USA.


2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Talk: Re-capturing $1B Worth of Food Wasted Each Week


Tomás Pasqualini is the Business Development Director at Wasteless. He is an entrepreneur passionate about applying new technologies to solve global, humankind challenges, reducing food waste at the retail level through RFID, machine learning, and dynamic pricing technologies. Tomás has specialized in Internet of Things in South Korea, and was involved in mobile solutions for Precision Agriculture, Smart Cities, and asset tracking systems for the beverage industry. He holds a double Masters in Industrial Engineering and Business Administration, and prior to entering the start-up ecosystem, he served in the automotive industry as a Lean Engineer for Toyota Motors and as a re-engineering consultant for manufacturing and mining organizations. He promotes a simple and sustainable lifestyle volunteering with different NGO's, loves mountain biking, and is an avid drum player.


2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Talk: Eat Everything


Josh Treuhaft, founder and creative director of Salvage Supperclub and design strategist for Arup, is a crossbreed – a designer, a strategist and a sustainability advocate – interested in tackling complex urban environmental challenges. He’s a creative problem solver, a storyteller, and a collaborator, and believes very strongly that all of those skills are critical to creating change. Most recently, Treuhaft has been working at the intersection of design and sustainability. He has helped to re-brand a revolutionary sustainable materials company (Ecovative), directed design for a start-up composting company (NYCOMPOST), designed low-cost, ergonomic farm tools for smallholder farmers in India (with Design Impact), and founded the Salvage Supperclub, a communal dining experience aimed at reducing food waste by exciting guests about the untapped potential in often-overlooked foods. He studied industrial design at UID in Sweden and received his Masters in Design for Social Innovation at SVA in New York.


2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Talk: Kelp, Mushrooms, Scraps: The Past is the Future


Will Horowitz is the Executive Chef and owner of Ducks Eatery and Harry & Ida’s Meat and Supply Co., both located in New York City. He is also the author of the soon to be released book “Salt.Smoke.Time” with Harper-Collins and co-founder of seaweed-based company Beyond the Shoreline and food waste start-up CommonScraps. He specializes in studying heritage techniques, ingredients, and integrating them into modern sustainability practices. His culinary roots run deep, in grandparents on both sides: one a French-trained chef cooking seasonally in the colonial fishing village Orient Point on the tip of Long Island, the other running a traditional Jewish delicatessen in Harlem. Will attended Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado for Tibetan Buddhism & Permaculture. A big believer in using the natural world as our greatest inspiration, he is an avid forager, fisherman, and naturalist.


Monday, June 26, 2017


11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Talk: Tasting the Future of Customized Nutrition


Jae Berman is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Head Coach at Habit. As Habit’s head coach, Jae translates personalized data into meaningful insights and actionable steps. She also provides one-on-one support throughout the Habit journey to people wanting to change behavior. Before joining Habit, Jae was a Health Educator at Stanford University School of Medicine, a Sports Dietitian for University of San Francisco, and ran her own Registered Dietitian and personal training practice for over 10 years. She received her Masters in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Teachers College of Columbia University and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Previous clients of Jae include Attune Bars, Jamba Juice, popchips, Vitamin Water, and Veritable Vegetable.


11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Talk: The Resurrection of Food Waste: Brewery to Table Cuisine


Bertha Jimenez, Ph.D. is the co-founder and CEO of RISE. RISE is a food-tech startup that turns organic waste into value by converting industrial waste into raw materials. Currently, RISE is working with microbreweries to convert their spent grain into flour for food manufactures. Dr. Jimenez recently received her Ph.D. from NYU. Her doctoral thesis was entitled the Entrepreneurial Sandbox: The role of co-curricular programs on nurturing student entrepreneur. Dr. Jimenez holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral (Guayaquil, Ecuador), and an M.S. in Engineering and Technology Management from Portland State University.


11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Talk: Going from the Gene to the Fork


Dr. Dave Stone is the Director of the Food Innovation Center, an Oregon State University Agricultural Station, located in downtown Portland. Dr. Stone is an Associate Professor within the Department of Food Science and Technology. His background is in toxicology, food safety, biotechnology and risk communication. His Food Innovation Center is engaged with diverse clients across the world in new product development, sensory evaluation, and food safety research.


2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Talk: The Future of Food: Is the Fancy in Fancy Food Passe?


Florence Fabricant is a food and wine writer for the New York Times. She contributes the weekly Front Burner and Off the Menu columns, is a member of the wine panel, and writes the pairings column for the wine tastings. She frequently writes features that appear in the Dining section and also covers food and travel for the Sunday Travel section, and articles about news in the restaurant industry for the Metro section.

She has written 12 cookbooks, including The New York Times Dessert Cookbook (St. Martins Press), The New York Restaurant Cookbook (Rizzoli), The New York Times Seafood Cookbook (St. Martins Press), Venetian Taste (Abbeville Press), Park Avenue Potluck, and Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations, both fund-raisers for Memorial Sloan-Kettering, published by Rizzoli. Her most recent books are “Wine with Food” (Rizzoli), based on the New York Times pairings columns and written with Eric Asimov and “The City Harvest Cookbook” also published by Rizzoli.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Smith College, she has an M.A. in French from New York University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She holds L’Ordre National du Mérite from the French government, is on the Board of Trustees of Guild Hall in East Hampton, N.Y., and is a member of Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.


2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Talk: The  Future Market: Envisioning the Future of Food


Mike Lee is the founder of Studio Industries, a food product design and innovation studio, and the Future Market, a futurist food lab that explores what our food system could look like in the year 2065 through pop-up experiences and conceptual product prototypes. Mike is also co-founder of Alpha Food Labs, an Innovation Lab for next-gen food startups and corporations building products that are better for and by People, Planet, and Profit.

Mike’s experience in food design and innovation has covered a wide range over the past 10 years. Prior to Studio Industries and The Future Market, Mike led product development initiatives on the Innovation and New Ventures team at Chobani. Mike also founded the Studiofeast underground supperclub, a sister organization to Studio Industries.

Mike is a frequent and influential speaker on food innovation and has been featured in publications and conferences such as SXSW, Seeds & Chips, EXPO 2015 Milano, the Specialty Food Association’s Fancy Food Show, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, FastCo Exist, CNBC, Edible Brooklyn, Food Navigator, and more. He has spoken at and worked with companies such as Thermomix, Cargill Protein Group, Barilla, Baldor, PepsiCo, Virginia Dare, Coca-Cola, the Chobani Food Incubator, the James Beard Foundation, Google, Applegate, Chipotle, Batali+Bastianich Hospitality Group, Food+Tech Connect, AccelFoods, the National Turkey Federation, the USA Rice Federation, Puratos, and the Food+Tech Summit & Expo Mexico City and Buenos Aires. 


2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Talk: Doing More with Less to Meet 21st Century Challenges, by SIAL & XTC


Nicolas Trentesaux is the Network Director for SIAL, a global food innovation event that showcases the food of today and invents the food of tomorrow. After being an export manager for Danone Group, Nicolas spent most of his marketing career at United Biscuits Group for Delacre. His itinerary was mostly linked to international development and R&D strategies. Nicolas joined the SIAL network in 2013 as Director to support the brand development.



Tuesday, June 27, 2017


11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Talk: Towards a New Triple Bottom Line in Specialty Food Product Development


Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., is Professor of Culinary Arts and Food Science at Drexel University. Before moving to Drexel, Deutsch built the culinary arts program at Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York and the Ph.D. concentration in food studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. At Drexel, he oversees the Drexel Food Lab, a student-driven product development and food innovation lab focused on solving real world problems for industry and good food projects. He is the author and editor of six books including Barbecue: A Global History (with Megan Elias), Culinary Improvisation, and Gastropolis: Food and Culture in New York City (with Annie Hauck-Lawson) and numerous articles in journals of food studies, public health, and hospitality education. 

Deutsch earned his Ph.D. in Food Studies and Food Management from New York University, his culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America, and earned his BS in Hospitality Management from Drexel University. A classically trained chef, Deutsch has worked in a variety of settings including product development, small luxury inns and restaurants. When not in the kitchen, he can be found behind his tuba.


11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Talk: Insights from Modernist Bread


Francisco Migoya is the head chef of Modernist Cuisine and co-author of Modernist Bread: The Art and Science, where he leads and directs the culinary team on the development of new techniques and recipes for Modernist Bread. Francisco grew up in Mexico City surrounded by the cultures of his parents: American, Italian, and Spanish. The flavors of his family’s cooking and of his neighborhood were integral to his life and encouraged an early love of cuisine.

Chef Migoya’s first calling, however, was not culinary school but art school, where he studied drawing, primarily in pencil, charcoal, and ink. Encouraged by a friend, he acquired a staging position in a Mexico City hotel at age 16. After working at the hotel for two years, Migoya attended college to pursue a culinary degree. While attending Centro de Estudios Superiores de San Angel (CESSA) in Mexico City, Migoya received a full scholarship to study French gastronomy at the Lycée d'Hotellerie et de Tourisme in Strasbourg, France.

After moving to New York and working in savory kitchens, Migoya eventually answered a newspaper ad for a pastry chef position at The River Café in Brooklyn, where he immediately connected with the world of sweets. He then went on to work as the pastry chef at Veritas in NYC, executive pastry chef at both The French Laundry and Bouchon Bakery, and most recently as a professor at The Culinary Institute of America. His work earned him recognition as one of the top pastry chefs in the country by Dessert Professional (2011), The Huffington Post (2013), and Tasting Table (2013).

As head chef, he leads the Modernist Cuisine culinary team and directs culinary research, including the development of new techniques and recipes for Modernist Bread, on-sale this Fall.