Detailed Program Schedule

Sunday, June 9

12:00 PM Registration & Refreshments

Campus Center Auditorium

2:00 PM Welcome and Opening Remarks

Campus Center Auditorium


  • Ken Toong (Executive Director, Auxiliary Enterprises, UMass Amherst)
  • Garett DiStefano (Director, Residential Dining and Retail Services, UMass Amherst)

2:15 PM Opening General Session I

Campus Center Auditorium

The Healing Power of Nutrition: How Diet can Reshape Gut Microbiome and Influence the Balance between Health and Disease
Improved hygiene leading to a reduced exposure to microorganisms have been implicated as one possible cause for the recent ‘epidemic’ of chronic inflammatory diseases (CID) in industrialized countries. That is the essence of the hygiene hypothesis that argues that rising incidence of CID may be, at least in part, the result of lifestyle and environmental changes that have made us too “clean” for our own good. Apart from genetic makeup and exposure to environmental triggers, three more elements have been recently identified being key players in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity. A third element is the inappropriate Increase in intestinal permeability, which may be influenced by the composition of the gut microbiota, has been proposed. The immune system responsible of the tolerance-immune response represents the forth element involved in the pathogenesis of CID. Finally, the composition of gut microbiome and its epigenetic influence on the host genomic expression has been identified as a fifth element in causing CID. The gut microbiome consists of more than 100 trillion microorganisms, most of which are bacteria. It has been just recently recognized that there is a close bidirectional interaction between gut microbiome and our immune system and this cross talk is highly influential in shaping the host gut immune system function and, ultimately, shifting genetic predisposition to clinical outcome. This observation led to a revisitation of the possible causes of CID epidemics, suggesting a key pathogenic role of microbiome composition. While factors such as modality of deliver, neonatal feeding regimens, use of antibiotics, infections can influence microbiota composition, diet is by far the most important variable affecting gut ecosystem. Therefore, re-shaping gut microbiota through dietary manipulation is becoming an extremely active area of research for the prevention or treatment of a multitude of CID.

Speaker: Dr. Alessio Fasano, MD (Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children – Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA – U.S.A. and European Biomedical Research Institute Salerno (EBRIS) Salerno – Italy)

3:00 PM General Session II

Campus Center Auditorium

Food Forward: What You Need to Know
Do you know what’s in store for the future of food? We do. And we’re willing to share. Join Arlin Wasserman of Changing Tastes and Marie Molde from Datassential as we unpack the latest food forward trends, including sustainability, the latest science about what people should eat and what we should serve, and sea changes ahead (and yes we mean fish) for college dining.


  • Arlin Wasserman (Founder and Principal of Changing Tastes, Lenox, MA)
  • Marie Molde, RD (Client Solutions, Datassential, Chicago, IL)

3:30 PM Refreshment and Networking Break

Campus Center Auditorium

3:45 PM General Session III

Campus Center Auditorium

My Motto for 2019 is #Foreveryoung
We live in a changing world where trends advise of brain foods for longer living expectations, all generations are hooked on sustainability advocacy, digitalization, they are all foodies and enjoy mindfulness, traveling. The ambition is to live healthier, longer and discover new experiences, whether premium or simple for sure indulging, engaging, authentic and unique. We are in the mindset of dynamic constant learning like a start-up, doing it myself, cook from scratch, reclaiming time to Enjoy life, leave a legacy, impact the earth with social innovation and taste the pleasures of life like never before. Like there is no tomorrow. Together let´s re-imagine food. We need this fantastic mindset of forever young to feel brave, proud and ready to reassure Seafood as healthy, nourishing, convenient, fun, and easy to enjoy in new moments of consumption.

Speaker: Gonzalo Campos (Fish Marketing Manager Europe, Sealed Air Food Care, Barcelona, Spain)

4:05 PM Industry Presentations

Campus Center Auditorium

Perdue Farms
Peet’s Coffee

4:20 PM Refreshment and Networking Break

Campus Center Auditorium

4:30 PM Culinary Demonstrations I

Campus Center Auditorium

Fusion Plant Based Cuisine
Chef: Chris Huang (Chef, China)

Hospitality at Black Cat Farm Table Bistro
Our journey towards sustainability through delicious food.
Speaker: Eric Skokan (Chef/Farmer/ Owner Black Cat Farm Table Bistro, Bramble and Hare and Black Cat Organic Farm, Longmont, CO)

The Health Benefits of Thai Cuisine
With the blend of aromas, colors, textures and flavors, Thai cuisine is recognized as one of the world’s best food (CNN Travel 2017). Moreover, Thai food offers health benefits for diners. I am proud to demonstrate my family recipe, an award-winning dish during this demo.

Speaker: Chai Siriyarn (Chef/Owner of Marnee Thai Restaurant, San Francisco, CA)

5:25 PM Industry Presentations

Campus Center Auditorium

V&V Supremo Foods
Gordon Food Service

5:30 PM General Session IV

Campus Center Auditorium

Street-Level Culinary Trend Tracking – a 360 Degree View
In honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Chef’s Culinary Conference and this year’s theme, Chef Gerry has created a special presentation that will tell his story of tracking culinary trends specific to college and university dining.

He will start with a retrospective of the best and brightest trends and menu opportunities from his presentations at this conference over the past decade. He will then highlight the hottest new ideas from his 2019 street-level research, and conclude with some predictions on future campus dining trends. This will be a fast, fun and informative session!

Speaker: Gerry Ludwig, CEC (Corporate Consulting Chef, Culinary R&D, Gordon Food Service, Grand Rapids, MI)

6:00 PM Refreshment and Networking Break

6:15 PM Cutthroat Kitchen Culinary Competition Round I (with Chef Jet Tila and 8 contestants)

Opening Reception

Campus Center 11th Floor

The high adrenaline chef-off is back by popular demand. In this competition, each team will have 30-40 minutes (30 min round 1 and 2, 40 min round 3) to create their dish. They will plate 2 dishes one for the judges and one as a display plate.

Each round will feature 4 teams of 2 chef competitors. There will be 3 total rounds with the 3rd being the championship. The winners of rounds 1 and 2 will go on to round 3. The final 2 teams for round 3 will come from the original pool of competitors who signed up and from the non-winning competitors of rounds 1 and 2. The winning teams of round 1 and 2 will receive $100. The winning championship team will receive $500. Judges will consider presentation, taste and likeness to the theme.

Each round will feature a variety of sabotages. Sabotages can either be used by the winning team or given to another competitor. A sabotage is won by bidding on it. Each team will have $1000 UMass Chef Dollars to use to “buy” a sabotage. There will be multiple sabotages per round so each team must use caution on how much they spend.

Each round will feature a theme such as the best clam chowder. Each team must create their version of the best clam chowder using only the equipment and ingredients provided to them.

Competitors will be allowed 90 seconds to shop in the Cutthroat Pantry at the beginning of each round.

7:30 PM UMass Pub

Campus Center 2nd Floor

Enjoy, relax, and network until 10:00 PM. Light reception. Beverages provided.