reThink Food
The Culinary Institute of America MIT Media Lab

Watch this space for regular updates on presenters for the 2016 reThink Food conference. Currently confirmed presenters are listed below. For the session titles, please see the program schedule here.

Chad Robertson | Owner | Tartine

Michael Ferrari | Head of Data Science | The Weather Company, an IBM Business

Deb Roy | Director of the Laboratory for Social Machines, Associate Professor, and Chief Media Scientist | MIT + Twitter

Lining Yao | Designer | MIT

Caleb Harper | Principal Investigator | MIT Media Lab

Amol Deshpande | Chief Executive Officer | Farmers Business Network

Sonny Ramaswamy | Director | National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Kevin Brown | Chief Executive Officer | Innit

Kevin Slavin | Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences | MIT Media Lab

Will Rosenzweig | Founder, Dean | Food Business School

Lisa Mosconi | Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry | New York University School of Medicine

Kevin Esvelt | Assistant Professor | MIT Media Lab

Daniel Almonacid | Senior Bioinformatician | uBiome

Tim Curran | Chief Executive Officer | Sample6

Mike Lee | Founder | Studio Industries

Doug Rauch | Founder | Daily Table

Charles Spence | Professor of Experimental Psychology | Oxford University

Ali Bouzari | Co-Founder | Pilot R+D

Henry "Hoby" Wedler | Wine Educator | UC Davis + Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Paul Rozin | Psychologist | University of Pennsylvania

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Click here to see biographies of 2015 presenters.

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Ali Bouzari

Ali Bouzari

chief science officer and co-founder

Pilot R+D

 http://www.pilotrd.com/

ALI BOUZARI is the chief science officer and a co-founder of Pilot R+D, a culinary development company based in northern California. Ali began cooking in restaurant kitchens while studying biochemistry as an undergraduate. In 2011, at the age of 23, he started teaching at The Culinary Institute of America while obtaining his Ph.D. in food biochemistry from the University of California, Davis. For his dissertation, Ali stayed true to his roots as a cook and collaborated with the French Laundry to study a uniquely culinary topic: cooking vegetables sous vide. This interaction jumpstarted his career as a consultant to the culinary industry, allowing him to work closely with some of the most innovative restaurants in the country, including Benu, Bar Tartine, SPQR, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Eleven Madison Park, and The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. Ali is writing a groundbreaking book on how food works, to be published by Ecco in 2016. He is also a contributor to the forthcoming edition of Modernist Cuisine. Ali has been asked to speak about the culinary science at national science conferences, top universities, NPR, and multiple TED conferences. He was recently honored as part of Zagat’s and Forbes’s 30 Under 30 lists.

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Kevin Slavin

Kevin Slavin

Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences

MIT Media Lab

KEVIN SLAVIN is assistant professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab. As an entrepreneur, he has successfully integrated digital media, game development, technology, and design. He is a pioneer in rethinking game design and development around new technologies (like GPS) and new platforms (like Facebook). In 2005 he co-founded Area/Code (acquired by Zynga in 2011), where he developed large-scale, real-world games using mobile, pervasive, and location-aware technologies. This included work for major companies, including Nokia, Nike, and Puma, and also for media giants, including MTV, A&E, the Discovery Channel, CBSl, and Disney. He co-founded AFK Labs in 2008, designing next-generation responsive environments, including one for what was then the largest and densest sensor mesh on the planet. Kevin has taught at NYU’s ITP, the Cooper Union, and Fabrica, and has worked as a creative director and strategic planner in advertising agencies, including DDB and TBWA\Chiat\Day. He is currently working on producing a TV show for network broadcast. As an artist, his public, city-scale work has been exhibited in Frankfurt’s Museum für Moderne Kunst and the Design Museum of London. He has been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, WIRED, and Fast Company. He received his BFA from the Cooper Union.

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Ali Bouzari

Ali Bouzari

Co-Founder/Culinary Scientist, Pilot R&D; Northern California and New York, NY

Pilot R&D

Ali Bouzari began cooking in restaurant kitchens while studying biochemistry as an undergraduate. In 2011, at the age of 23, he started teaching at The Culinary Institute of America while pursuing his Ph.D. in food biochemistry at the University of California, Davis. At the CIA, Ali worked with a small team of chefs and scientists to develop the curriculum for the college’s bachelor’s degree in culinary science. For his dissertation, rather than the traditional food science emphasis on model systems that no one will ever eat, Ali stayed true to his roots as a cook and collaborated with chefs at the French Laundry to study a uniquely culinary topic: cooking vegetables sous vide. This interaction jumpstarted his career as a consultant to the culinary industry, allowing him to work closely with some of the most innovative restaurants in the country, including Benu, SPQR, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Eleven Madison Park, Betony, Bar Tartine, and the entire Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. He is currently writing a book that seeks to bring the knowledge and insight that he gained working with great chefs from around the world to the general public. Ali has been asked to speak about the science of food at national science conferences, top universities, NPR, and TEDx.

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William Rosenzweig

William Rosenzweig

Dean and Executive Director

The Food Business School

 http://foodbusinessschool.org/

WILLIAM ROSENZWEIG is dean and executive director of The Food Business School. Will has spent his career as an educator, serial entrepreneur, and venture investor. Will was founding CEO of The Republic of Tea, the company that created the premium tea category in the U.S. As an entrepreneur and investor, Will helped grow Odwalla, LeapFrog, Hambrecht Vineyards and Wineries, Winetasting.com and Brand New Brands, a functional food incubator he founded in 2004. In 2007, Will co-­founded Physic Ventures, the first venture capital firm supporting early-­stage companies in health and sustainability, including Revolution Foods, Pharmaca, Recyclebank, and Yummly. Will is co-­author of The Republic of Tea: How an Idea Becomes a Business, named one of the 100 Best Business Books of all time. His work has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, Sound Money, Business Week, USA Today, and the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2010, Will was honored with the Oslo Business for Peace Award for his accomplishments in the area of ethical business. In 2014, he chaired a US national commission on health promotion and the prevention of chronic disease. A long-­‐time faculty member at the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley, Will developed the country’s first MBA courses in social entrepreneurship and social venture development. As dean and executive director of The Food Business School, Will works with industry experts and academic leaders to create experiential educational programs that enable entrepreneurs and innovators to deliver impactful solutions to address the world’s most pressing food challenges—and its greatest business opportunities.

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Greg Drescher

Greg Drescher

Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Industry Leadership, CIA; Sacramento, CA

The Culinary Institute of America

 http://www.ciaprochef.com/

Greg Drescher is vice president of strategic initiatives & industry leadership at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), where he oversees leadership initiatives for the foodservice industry, including conferences, invitational leadership retreats, digital media, and strategic partnerships. He is the creator of the college’s Worlds of Flavor® International Conference & Festival (now in its 18th year); the annual Worlds of Healthy Flavors, and the new Menus of Change initiative, which are presented in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health; and numerous other CIA “think tank” initiatives. Dubbed the Flavor Hunter by Bon Appétit, Greg was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America in 2005, was honored with Food Arts’ Silver Spoon Award in 2006, and received two James Beard awards for the CIA’s Savoring the Best of World Flavors DVD and webcast series. In 2008, he was appointed by the President of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine to its Committee on Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake. Greg previously served on the James Beard Foundation Awards Board, and currently serves on advisory boards for UC Davis’ Agricultural Sustainability Institute and Olive Center. In 2011, he was inducted as a member of the Accademia dei Georgofili, Europe’s oldest agricultural academy.

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Caleb Harper

Caleb Harper

Principal Investigator and Director of the Open Agriculture (OpenAG) Initiative

MIT Media Lab

 http://openag.media.mit.edu/

CALEB HARPER is the principal investigator and director of the Open Agriculture (OpenAG) Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. He leads a diverse group of engineers, architects and scientists in the exploration and development of future food systems. Caleb’s research focuses in the areas of control environment design, actuated sensing, control automation and data-driven resource, energy, and biologic optimization. His group is developing an open-source agricultural hardware, software, and data common with the goal of creating a more agile, transparent, and collaborative food system.
Caleb is a National Geographic explorer and a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) New Vision for Agriculture Transformation Leaders Network. His work has been featured by TIME, WIRED, The Economist, IEEE, World Urban Forum (WUF), USAID, and TED. Prior to joining the Media Lab in 2011, Caleb worked professionally as an architect designing and developing data centers, health care, and semi-conductor fabrication facilities. Additionally, he has consulted with multiple international development agencies, including USAID, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and the Delhi Development Authority on high-density urban development projects.

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Kevin Slavin

Kevin Slavin

Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, MIT Media Lab; Cambridge, MA

MIT Media Lab

 http://media.mit.edu

Kevin Slavin is assistant professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab. As an entrepreneur, he has successfully integrated digital media, game development, technology, and design. He is a pioneer in rethinking game design and development around new technologies (like GPS) and new platforms (like Facebook). In 2005 he co-founded Area/Code (acquired by Zynga in 2011), where he developed large-scale, real-world games using mobile, pervasive, and location-aware technologies. This included work for major companies, including Nokia, Nike, and Puma, and also for media giants, including MTV, A&E, the Discovery Channel, CBSl, and Disney. He co-founded AFK Labs in 2008, designing next-generation responsive environments, including one for what was then the largest and densest sensor mesh on the planet. Kevin has taught at NYU’s ITP, the Cooper Union, and Fabrica, and has worked as a creative director and strategic planner in advertising agencies, including DDB and TBWA\Chiat\Day. He is currently working on producing a TV show for network broadcast. As an artist, his public, city-scale work has been exhibited in Frankfurt’s Museum fuer Moderne Kunst and the Design Museum of London. He has been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Wired, and Fast Company. He received his BFA from the Cooper Union.

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Lisa Mosconi

Lisa Mosconi

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine; New York, NY

New York University School of Medicine

 http://psych.med.nyu.edu/research/research-faculty/lisa-mosconi-phd

Lisa Mosconi holds a PhD in neuroscience and nuclear medicine from the University of Florence, Italy. She is an assistant professor of psychiatry at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine, the director of the Nutrition & Brain Fitness Lab at NYU, and a health coach and integrative nutritionist. The main focus of her work is the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease using biological markers such as positron emission tomography (PET) of glucose metabolism, amyloid deposition and neuroinflammation, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This research is aimed at identifying genetic and lifestyle factors that modulate risk of cognitive decline and dementia. She is a member of the Society for Nuclear Medicine, Alzheimer’s Association, New York Academy of Sciences, and the Alzheimer’s Neuroimaging Workgroup of the Alzheimer’s Association. Lisa has received several federal and non-federal research grants. She has over 100 peer-reviewed publications; has co-authored several book chapters; served as guest editor for peer-reviewed, international medical journals; and serves as a reviewer for numerous high-ranked medical journals, including PNAS, Lancet Neurology, Neurology, Brain, the New England Medical Journal, and others).

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Andras Forgacs

Andras Forgacs

Co-founder and Chief Executive, Modern Meadow; Brooklyn, NY

Modern Meadow

 http://modernmeadow.com

Andras Forgacs, an entrepreneur and venture investor in technology and life science, is the co-founder and chief executive of Modern Meadow, which launched in 2011. Previously, he had also co-founded Organovo, a leader in tissue engineering which pioneered the use of 3D bio-printing to create human tissue for a range of medical applications. Organovo’s bio-printer was named one of the top inventions of 2010 by TIME and the company was recognized by MIT Technology Review on its TR50 list of most innovative companies for 2012. Andras also served as managing director with Richmond Global, an international technology-focused venture fund. Previously, Andras was a consultant in the New York office of McKinsey & Company, focused on biopharma and private equity. Earlier, he was a founding member of Citigroup’s corporate and investment banking e-commerce group where he led a team that developed award winning financial technology products and advised large cap corporate clients on a range of corporate finance challenges. He is also co-founder and chairman emeritus of the international non-profit Resolution Project. Andras is a Kauffman Fellow with the Center for Venture Education and a term member with the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Harvard University.

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Michael Ferrari

Michael Ferrari

Principal and Founder, Atlas Research Innovations; Eaton, PA

Atlas Research Innovations

 http://www.atlas-research.com

Michael Ferrari is the principal and founder of Atlas Research Innovations, LLC, which provides applied research and bespoke services to clients in the private and public sectors, government, and academia. Previously, he was the director of climate informatics and a senior scientist at NASA for Computer Sciences Corporation, vice president of Applied Technology WTI, and a research scientist at Mars, in addition to several engineering roles.  He builds tools and models with sensors and data and directs commercial research activities to examine environmental/commodity topics from a systems perspective. He is also the co-director for impacts session for the annual AMS conference, and a judge for the MIT Climate CoLab (agriculture) project. Michael earned his PhD from Rutgers (Dept. of Environmental Sciences: program in geophysical fluid dynamics and environmental biophysical modeling) where his research focused on better understanding the earth’s climate, hydrology and biosphere from both a systems and an evolutionary perspective. His doctoral work in numerical modeling was supported by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

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Lynda Deakin

Lynda Deakin

Food & Beverage Practice Leader, IDEO; San Francisco, CA

IDEO

 http://www.ideo.com

Lynda Deakin, a partner at IDEO, brings 17 years of experience working with a broad range of food and beverage clients to her work. She is the leader of IDEO’s Food Studio, helping companies and organizations solve their toughest problems and identify opportunities for growth. The Food Studio’s empathic approach enables clients to address people’s unmet desires and aspirations and empowers them to tackle a wide variety of design and innovation challenges—from designing the next $100M product to creating strategic development platforms. Lynda has worked with clients such as ConAgra, Campbell’s, Whitewave Foods, Hershey’s, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and Procter & Gamble. Using brand as the anchor that supports user experience, Lynda brings a creative spark to the projects she directs, helping companies to express their vision and realize their goals.

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Michiel Bakker

Michiel Bakker

Director of Global Food Services, Google; Mountain View, CA

Google

 http://www.google.com/green/efficiency/oncampus/#eating

Michiel Bakker is the director of global food services for Google, leading its world-renowned Food program, supporting all food service related activities and initiatives for Google’s global community. Michiel’s focus areas include developing new insights and evidence in how food experiences can enable individuals and teams to be their best short and long term, and developing internal and external global partnerships to explore and tackle the challenges and opportunities in the broader food systems. Prior to joining Google, Michiel spent 17 great years with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. in various roles.  Most recently, he led Starwood’s Food and Beverage in Europe, Africa and the Middle East where he drove operations and guided growth and development. Prior to that, he co-lead Starwood’s F&B efforts in its North American Division. Michiel serves on several advisory Boards. He is an Advisory Board member for the Stockholm Food forum EAT, the Sustainable Business Leadership Council for the CIA – Harvard School of Public Health ‘Menus of Change’ Initiative; the International Hospitality Advisory Board of the Hotel Management School Maastricht, the Netherlands and a Board member of the Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management. Michiel holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Hotel Management School Maastricht (The Netherlands), a MBA from the University of Bradford (United Kingdom), a Master’s of Hospitality Administration degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (USA) and a Master’s degree in Real Estate and Construction Management from the University of Denver, Colorado (Mountain View, CA).