Mike Thelin is a food media veteran with a reputation for creating and growing organizations with innovative programming and content, impactful partnerships, and excellent experiences. He’s founder of Bolted Consulting, a boutique consultancy that works with leading organizations in food and media, and co-founded both Feast Portland and the Hot Luck festival in Austin, Texas–both highly regarded national-scale food festivals. A longtime food writer and occasional television personality, Mike has been an on-air contributor on Food Network, Cooking Channel, Netflix Street Food and more, and has served as a judge for the James Beard Foundation Chef and Restaurant Awards.
Regine is the Head of Food & Events at Airbnb overseeing the food, beverage, and event services at the company's headquarters in San Francisco, California. Prior to joining Airbnb, Regine worked as a Hospitality Consultant at Accenture serving the New York and D.C. offices. During her time at Accenture, Regine worked as the Onboarding Lead to onboard 150 hotels onto a new payroll platform. Regine also served as the Program Manager for a digital hospitality proof of concept project launched for Accenture's largest hospitality client. Regine has over 15 years of managerial experience in the hospitality industry, and has executed flawless delivery of front-to-end catering operations for Goldman Sachs, Restaurant Associates at Time Inc, Aramark at NY Mets Stadium, and the largest hotel in New York City, The New York Hilton Midtown. Regine has a Bachelors of Business Administration with a concentration in International Business, and Master of Management in Hospitality from Cornell University’s prestigious School of Hotel Administration. During her time at Cornell, Regine completed her graduate externship at the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts in San Francisco, California.
Erick Garman is a Trade Development Manager for the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA). His role at the ODA includes marketing Oregon food and agriculture products locally, domestically and internationally. Erick works closely with small to mid-sized producers to advance sales, enhance market access and development, provide regulatory assistance and export consultation. Prior to working at the ODA, Erick spent over 16 years in marketing and advertising. His experience includes raising marketing funds for non-profit and government organizations, building strong relationships with buyers and sellers and encouraging new and innovative ways to bring products to market and promote them effectively.
Ron Tanner is president of Tanner Food Group, a specialty food consultancy focused on industry preparedness and regulatory activities. Ron is a former executive team member of the Specialty Food Association, the leading trade association for the $158 billion specialty food industry. His last role after a 33-year career with the trade group was Vice President, Education, Content and Advocacy. Ron worked for the SFA and its 3,900+ members from 1987 – 2020, helping them understand and succeed in the specialty food business. He managed education, content, awards, government relations, industry relations, philanthropy and public relations at the SFA. Ron also served as the liaison with trade associations, university food programs, food incubators and government agencies. He has a M.S. degree in Journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in English and Communication Studies from Oberlin College.
Jorge Gaviria trained at Danny Meyer’s Maialino restaurant and Blue Hill at Stone Barns before launching Masienda in 2014. Masienda is a one-stop shop for all things masa, from single-origin heirloom corn and masa harina to hardware and masa equipment. In addition to serving top chefs such as Enrique Olvera, Rick Bayless, and José Andrés, Jorge has taught thousands of home cooks and hundreds of professional chefs how to make masa the traditional way. His work has earned him recognition on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, among other honors. He lives in Los Angeles.
Linda Tay Esposito is a food business consultant with a focus on building equitable food systems. Linda’s work centers around helping food businesses flourish through the intersectional lens of food, sustainability and equity. Most recently she led the development of La Cocina Municipal Marketplace – using food as a creative approach to economic development by offering affordable, healthy food options and safe spaces while providing accessible business opportunities for low income, immigrant, women food entrepreneurs. Her past experience includes growing Hodo Foods from an artisanal producer to nationwide distribution, as well as a long career in product development and marketing in consumer technology, banking and CPG. To keep herself rooted in the kitchen, Linda teaches Asian culinary classes at 18 Reasons and Milk Street Kitchen. Linda has an MBA from Harvard Business School, and did undergraduate studies in economic development at Smith College. In her free time, she plants hard-to-find Asian herbs at the community garden at Fort Mason.
Chris Bailey is a chef, food entrepreneur and small business developer with Hacienda CDC’s Portland Mercado, the Pacific Northwest’s only Latino market hall and business incubator. Since joining in 2017 he has worked with 50+ businesses to help take their products to market. For his work with the Portland Mercado he was awarded a Willamette Week Skidmore Prize for public service. He founded Bloom Caramel, a dairy-free caramel line, which won a Good Food Award in 2019. Chris is also a 2019 fellow for NPR’s How I Built This summit.
Alice Waters, chef, author and the proprietor of Chez Panisse, is an American pioneer of a culinary philosophy that maintains that cooking should be based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainable and locally. She is a passionate advocate for a food economy that is “good, clean, and fair.” Over the course of nearly forty years, Chez Panisse has helped create a community of scores of local farmers and ranchers whose dedications to sustainable agriculture assures the restaurant a steady supply of fresh and pure ingredients. After helping to change the American Food landscape, Alice introduced her ideas into the public schools with the Edible Schoolyard, a program that involves students in all aspects of growing, cooking, and sharing food at the table.
Caleb began working in kitchens in his hometown of Washington, DC(Ruppert’s Restaurant, his all-time favorite) and has been working with the food industry ever since. While attending the University of Michigan, Caleb worked weekends as a butcher and nights as a waiter, ultimately moving into front of the house management. With a degree in globalization, Caleb interned at ProMujer, in El Alto, Bolivia, working with microentropeneurs in the country’s fastest growing city. As Executive Director at La Cocina, and with the organization since it opened in 2005, Caleb is responsible for managing all programming. Caleb is fluent in Spanish, a trained diversity leader, California Food Safety Manager and HACCP certified. He brings a passion for food and a belief that every cook should have an opportunity to earn a living doing what they love to do.
Olga founded Postcard Communications with the goal of creating a public relations agency where clients, colleagues, and journalists could engage in an intelligent, productive, and hopefully sometimes humorous dialogue about the hospitality industry. Postcard’s clients may be leaders in their fields or emerging talents that show an abundance of promise, and what they all share is tremendous skill, creativity, and heart. Olga began her PR career at New York’s KB Network News and then moved on to Bullfrog & Baum, serving as an account director there for half a decade. During her time in New York, she worked with noted chefs like David Burke, Todd English, Bobby Flay, Patricia Yeo, Roger Vergé, and Geoffrey Zakarian. Prior to entering public relations, Olga did bilingual refugee resettlement work, assisting recent émigrés from the Former Soviet Union, and working with the same agency that resettled her own family when they immigrated from St. Petersburg, Russia. In addition to working with refugees, she has served as a Russian translator for various clients ranging from nuclear engineers to Olympic athletes. Olga studied at Georgetown University, majoring in Art History and competing on the varsity sailing team. In addition to serving on the Good Food Foundation’s Advisory Board, she also sits on the board of Berkeley’s Badè Museum. In 2018, she was inducted into the esteemed Les Dames d’Escoffier.
Carl is an adjunct professor at Presidio Graduate School. He has more than a decade of experience as a communications and political strategist in the non-profit sector. Prior to joining the Presidio faculty, Carl worked for a number of environmental organizations where he collaborated with business partners to reduce pollution and protect wildlife. He received his MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School and holds a BS in Environmental Biology and Management from the University fo California, Davis. A former outdoor instructor and National Park Service ranger, Carl is a coach and consultant specializing in presentations and public speaking. He lives with his wife Kate and son Leo in San Francisco.
Peggy Smith cooked at Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’ renowned restaurant in Berkeley, for 17 years (working as Chef at the Café for ten years). While there, Smith experienced the cheeses of Randolph Hodgson from Neal's Yard Dairy in London and of Jean d’Alos in Bordeaux. Peg then co-founded Cowgirl Creamery with Sue Conley 21 years ago in order to provide an important link between farmers and urban consumers. Considered pioneers in the American artisan cheese movement, their certified organic cheeses have won numerous accolades and awards. She is based at Cowgirl Creamery’s distribution warehouse in Petaluma where she oversees handling, sales and distribution and quality control. Peg served as President of the American Cheese Society in 2014 and sits on numerous non-profit boards. Peg and Sue released Cowgirl Creamery Cooks published by Chronicle Books in 2013. And in July 2017, they were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Cheese Society.
Dava is the CEO & Creative Director of Noise 13 Design Inc. Dava has been doing branding and design since 1996. With her design and consulting experience, Dava and the Noise 13 team work with their clients to create full scale brands across media. Noise 13 with Dava acting as Creative Director, have been featured in Communication Arts, HOW, San Francisco, 7X7, Paper City, Metropolis, Interior Design, and Architecture Magazines as well as many design books. Dava enjoys several leadership roles in the Bay Area community. She is also the founder and managing director of Pow.wow Network, and a former instructor at the Academy of Art University in the undergraduate and master programs for Graphic Design.
Hans is a principal at BCV Architects in San Francisco, the firm responsible for the Ferry Building Marketplace and Oxbow Public Market as well as projects ranging from large masterplans to residences. Hans serves on the Board of CUESA, Friends of the Bancroft Library, and the Maybeck Foundation. Inspired by the tenets of the Slow Food Movement, Hans has been involved in the design of Slow Food Nation, Eat Real Festival, and the Good Food Awards.
Carol is a self taught baker who has always loved cooking and was a passionate home bread baker for many years. She was a founding member of the Napa Valley Bread Bakers Guild, where she also gave baking demonstrations. When she and her husband, Josh Harris, decided to start Rustic Bakery, she spent the summer of 2005 reading every book she could find at the Marin County Libraries about bread, pastry and baking. She opened the first bakery in October of 2005 with Cowgirl Creamery as their initial customer. The business has grown to a group of 5 cafes in Marin and a 25,000 square foot production bakery in Petaluma.
Patrick Holden is the founding director of the Sustainable Food Trust, working internationally to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable food systems. He studied biodynamic farming and started a community dairy farm in 1973, that is now the longest established organic dairy farm in Wales.
Sam Mogannam is the founder of the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses, which includes Bi-Rite Market, Bi-Rite Creamery, Bi-Rite Farms and 18 Reasons, a community education center and gallery space dedicated to deepening relationships to food and to those that produce it.In the fall of 2011, Sam will publish his first book, EAT GOOD FOOD, a Grocer’s Guide to Shopping, Cooking and Creating Community through Food. Sam volunteers on the board for the National Association of the Specialty Food Trade and is on the advisory council for CAFF (community alliance with family farmers).
In 2005, Ulrich Schmid-Maybach founded the Maybach Foundation in an effort to stimulate an innovative new approach to social responsibility and philanthropy through the creation of a platform to connect proming young leaders with successful mentos. Inspired by his great grandfather Wilhelm Maybach who was mentoed by Gottlied Daimler and then went on to design the first Mercedes car, Schmid-Maybach created the Foundation to provide gifted young leaders in adversity the opportunity to mentor with iconic leaders in their field to make a difference in their lives and the world. Schmid-Maybach was inducted into the Council of Mentors of the Global Youth Leadership Network in New York in October 2006. In addition to his work with the Foundation, Mr. Schmid-Maybach manages a diversified investment group and remains closely involved with the family's pioneering engineering traditions. He serves as ambassador and spokesperson for the values and heritage of the Maybach.
Lilia Smelkova is Campaign Manager for the Food Day campaign at Center for Science in the Public Interest. Prior to joining CSPI, Smelkova worked for Slow Food International in Italy for 10 years and initiated the Slow Food network in Eastern and Central Europe and Canada. She also worked on the core team that planned the first Terra Madre, a meeting of food communities from 150 countries. Smelkova holds a BA from Minsk Linguistics University in Belarus (she is fluent in Italian, Russian, English, French, and Spanish), a Master's in languages from Turin University in Italy, and a certificate in environmental management from UC Berkeley, where she co-authored a nutrition education study.
Wendy Weiden is a food systems expert with a focus on using multi-sector strategies and collaboration to fuel innovation. She has worked with a diverse set of clients to develop, launch, and support sustainable, financially viable programs and products; her passion lies with exploring the intersection of economic, social, and health benefits that come from more robust regional food networks. In addition to her consulting work, Wendy has taught courses on the food industry, entrepreneurship, and business strategy in both Masters and food-focused trade programs. She has a BA from Harvard College and a MA in Sustainable Public Policy from Presidio Graduate School, where she focused on the social and economic benefits of regional food systems. Wendy lives in the Mission District of San Francisco, where, when not eating all sorts of delicious food, she can be found running it off training for (an occasional) half marathon or preparing for her next travel adventure.
Sally Rogers worked in finance and consulting for a decade before deciding to leave her corporate career and chase her passion: connecting with people around making better food choices. Sally went on to start two companies (Nibble, a healthy snacking company, and The Pickle, an editorial), and is currently working on Parsnip, a matchmaking company for consumer brands (including tasty and good food and beverage!). She chairs the Slow Food San Francisco Board and advises The Cooking Project.
Chantelle Bourdeaux is a specialty food representative for Salt Lake City based A Priori Distribution (founded by Caputo’s Markets CEO Matt Caputo). After being introduced to Slow Food Utah in 2009, she quickly became a board member as she was driven to make a difference in her community by connecting people to culture, preserving ancestral traditions and sustainable practices through food. Her involvement in the organization led her and her partner at the time (Vanessa Chang, of now CowGirl Creamery) to start one of the first seasonal cocktail events in Salt Lake that brought hundreds of people together, mainly young adults newly introduced to local food makers and producers. She continued with other efforts such as starting some of the first sustainable food programs on local university campuses. Her experiences and cherished bonds in the food industry quickly grew where she was able to pursue her passion in food full-time as Sales and Marketing Representative for Edible Wasatch Magazine of Edible Communities. It wasn’t too long after where she was asked to be one of the first representatives of the up and coming, specialty food distribution company in Salt lake City, Utah. Reaching now to all 50 states, A Priori is one of the nation’s top distributors of craft chocolate and artisan foods, that truly value quality and true craftsmanship above anything. Through her professional and personal passions, she continues to expand her food education and spread the gospel of preserving food traditions. This work deepens her belief that there is real power in connecting people to quality products.
In the mid-aughts, McKenzie spent a year under the roof of what Le Monde recognized as "Europe's Most Sustainable Household". And while she internalized a number of the values ingrained by her French hosts, she was particularly struck by the provocation that what and how we eat has an outsized impact on the world around us. Ever since, McKenzie has dedicated her studies and career to understanding and improving food systems. Today, McKenzie works at Foodmuse, an F&B consultancy that she co-founded in 2018. A Marketer by title alone, she aims to inspire those around her to consider alternate food paradigms that honor tradition and stewardship while embracing ethical innovation.