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Philly Chef Conference

Academic Building
101 N. 33rd Street
6th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103

The Philly Chef Conference is hosted by Drexel University's Food and Hospitality Management Department. The mission of this annual conference is to engage our students with industry leaders while also connecting members of the restaurant community through a day of education.

The conference is an annual event designed to convene the regional food community and to showcase the latest food and beverage ideas and techniques through educational lectures, panel discussions and demonstrations. It brings together the best chefs, food producers and personalities and links established food and hospitality professionals with aspiring students and young industry professionals.

The first day of the conference is open to the general public and features educational lectures on the latest topics of interest in food and beverage.

The second day of the conference is dedicated exclusively to hospitality and restaurant professionals and features educational lectures, industry discussions and demonstrations.

Full Schedule:

Sunday, March 1

Academic Symposium
10 a.m.

Arielle Johnson: moderator

Turning Bad Emissions into Good Soil Carbon
Anthony Myint: sustainability

The Art of Hospitality and its Impact on Memory and Experience
Atom Sarkar: food and memory

“Art + Science Converge to Create a Balanced Beverage: Coffee”
Jack Benchakul: Endorffeine Coffee (Los Angeles)

“A Partial History of New Ideas in Food”
Vaughn Tan: team development

“MSG Toxic or Delicious?”
Sarah Tracy: umami

Flavor and community as agents of change
Michael Mazourek: vegetable breeder

Opening Session and Reception
3:30 p.m.
The Study at University City
Ticket Price: $50
When the Recipe is You: A Candid Talk about the Golden Age of Food Memoirs
Moderator-Jeff Gordinier
Panelists: Phyllis Grant, Kwame Onwuachi and Jean-George Vongerichten

The Recipe for Human Connection
A Conversation between Howie Kahn and Will Guidara

A reception to follow featuring Esquire’s Best New Restaurants Bon Temps (Los Angeles), Virtue (Chicago), Pizzeria Beddia (Philadelphia), Rezdora (New York City) and Bachour (Miami) with cocktails from Esquire’s Beverage Director of the Year Chelsea Gregoire as well as Philadelphia favorites Hearthside, Birchrun Hill Farms, Eclat Chocolate, 1732 Meats/Pilgrim Provisions, Philadelphia Distilling, Artisans Cellars and Dock Street Brewery.


Monday, March 2nd

Registration at 8:00 a.m.
Ticket price: $195

La Colombe, Baba’s Brew, 33rd Street Hospitality, Lost Bread Co., Rival Bros., Essen Bakery, Pilgrim Provisions and Federal Donuts

Opening Remarks at 9:00 a.m. 

Michael Traud, JD, EdD

9:15 -10:00 a.m. Session

Restaurant Round Up: So Hot Right Now!
Moderator: Korsha Wilson
Panelists: Hilary Dixler Canavan, Brett Martin, Khushbu Shah and Kate Krader

Demonstration Kitchen:
Pair Tea with Bread and Pastries
Moderator: Klancy Miller
Panelists: Lincoln Carson, Thomas Raquel, Kelly Fields, Antonio Bachour

The Sweet Ones: Inside the Mindes of the Top Pastry Chefs
A Conversation between Jason Tesauro and Bo Bech


10:15 -11:00 a.m. Session

Four Editors On Telling Important Food Stories on Shoestring Budgets
Moderator: Nikita Richardson
Panelists: Stephen Satterfield, Madison Trapkin, Lukas Volger and Klancy Miller

Demonstration Kitchen:
Dueling Pastas
Presenters: Davi Marcelli and Stefano Secchi

Real Estate for Hospitality Professionals
Moderator: Kevin Sintumuang
Presenters: Trip Schneck, Ed Eimer, Phil Colicchio and Ahktar Nawab


11:15 a.m. -12:00 p.m. Session

Diversity in the Kitchen: the Road Ahead
Moderator: Priya Krishna
Panelists: Claudette Zepeda, Erick Williams, Eric Adjepong and Enrique Limardo

Demonstration Kitchen:
Mastering Pastries
Presenter: Antonio Bachour

Zero Foodprint: Connecting Chefs and Diners So We Can Eat our Way Out of the Climate Crisis:
A Conversation between Jeff Gordinier and Anthony Myint


12:00 -1:00 p.m.

South Philly Barbacoa, Mike’s BBQ, Poi Dog, Jezabel’s Café, Primal Supply Meats, Puyero Venezuela Flavor, Porcos Porchetteria, Palizzi Social Club, Musi, Geno's Steaks, Honeygrow, Dig, and Stock.


1:15 - 2:00 p.m. Session
We're Here to Help: How to Make the Most of your PR & Marketing Partnership
Moderator: Lauren Fonda
Panelists: Liz Dunn, Anna Polonsky, Blake McKay, Claudette Zepeda, Gail Simmons

Grape Expectations: Finding "Faults" in Wine
Presenter: Rosemary Liss

Demonstration Kitchen:
Pastry Techniques from a Three Michelin Star Kitchen
Presenters: Thomas Raquel

Chefs as Agents of Change
Moderator: Kat Kinsman
Presenters: Kwame Onwuachi, Karen Akunowicz and Kelly Fields


2:15 - 3:00 p.m. Session
Redesigning Restaurant Leadership
Moderator: Vaughn Tan
Panelists: Katie Button, Brady Williams, Kevin Boehm and Annika de las Heras

“I Work for You”: A Cocktail Philosophy
Presenter: Chelsea Gregoire

Demonstration Kitchen:
Still We Rise:An Inside Glimpse at Manresa Bread
Presenters: Avery Ruzicka

Not Just a Noodle: The Golden Age of Pasta
Moderator: Adam Rapoport

Presenters: Amy Brandwein, David Nayfeld, David Marcelli, Stefano Secchi


3:00 - 3:45 p.m.

Dessert Break
La Colombe, Weckerly’s, Aurora Grace Chocolates, Eclat Chocolates, El Merkury, Fiore Fine Foods, Flow State Coffee Bar, Rosito, and Bisani Gelato Station with Rival Bros.


3:45 - 4:30 p.m. Session

The Food Reporters: Hot Topic Roundtable of Current Events
Moderator: Julia Moskin
Panelists: Tim Carman, Amanda Kludt, and Francis Lam

Where There's Smoke: Mezcal for Dummies
Presenter: Niki Nakazawa

Demonstration Kitchen:
Go With the Grain: Rice is Culture
Presenters: JJ Johnson

Where Science Meets Creativity
A Conversation between Dana Cowin and Arielle Johnson


4:45 - 5:30 p.m. Session

Defining “Women’s Work” in 2020
Moderator: Charlotte Druckman
Panelists: Diep Tran, Devra First and Osayi Endolyn

Cider: Just as Complex as Wine
Presenter: Sam Fitz

Demonstration Kitchen:
Tipping the Scales: A Guide to a Sustainable Fish Restaurant
Presenter: Greg Vernick

Remember to be Present
A Conversation between Jason Tesauro and Bo Bech


5:30 p.m. Reception


2020 Philly Chef Conference Participants

Eric Adjepong: Chef and Cofounder, Pinch and Plate, Washington, D.C.

Karen Akunowicz: Chef/Owner, Fox & the Knife and JBF Best Chef Northeast, Boston, MA

Antonio Bachour: Chef/Owner, Bachour, Miami, FL

Bo Bech: Chef, Restaurant Geist, Copenhagen, Denmark

Jack Benchakul: Endorffeine Coffee, Los Angeles, CA

Kevin Boehm: Cofounder, Boka Restaurant Group, Chicago, IL

Amy Brandwein: Chef/Owner, Centrolina and Piccolina, Washington, D.C. and JBF nominee Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

Katie Button: Executive Chef and Co-owner, Curate and Button Bagels, Asheville, NC

Tim Carman: Food Reporter, The Washington Post

Lincoln Carson: Chef/Owner, La Bon Temps, Los Angeles, CA

Phil Colicchio: Cushman & Wakefield, Executive Managing Director Specialty F&B, Entertainment & Hospitality Consulting, Americas Retail Services

Dana Cowin: former Editor-in-Chief, Food & Wine, podcast host, Speaking Broadly

Annika de las Heras: General Manager, Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark

Hillary Dixler Canavan: Restaurant Editor, Eater, national

Charlotte Druckman: Author, Women on Food

Elizabeth G. Dunn: Food Journalist

Osayi Endolyn: food writer/editor

Ed Eimer: Eimer Design

Kelly Fields: Chef, Willa Jean, New Orleans, LA and 2019 JBF Outstanding Pastry Chef

Devra First: The Boston Globe’s food writer and restaurant critic

Sam Fitz: Cofounder, Anxo Cidery, Washington, D.C.

Lauren Fonda: Chief Brand Officer, Becca

Phyllis Grant: Author, Everything is Under Control: A Memoir with Recipes

Jeff Gordinier: Food and Drink Editor, Esquire 

Chelsea Gregoire: Owner, Drinkable Genius

Will Guidara: Restaurateur, New York, NY

Richard Hart: Cofounder and Owner, Hart Bageri, Copenhagen, Denmark

Arielle Johnson: Food Scientist and Author, formerly of Noma

JJ Johnson: Chef/Founder, Fieldtrip, Harlem, NY and coauthor, Between Harlem and Heaven

Howie Kahn: Contributing Editor, The Wall Street Journal, Prince Street Podcast

Kat Kinsman: Host, Communal Table podcast

Amanda Kludt: Editor-in-Chief, Eater

Kate Krader: Food Editor, Bloomberg

Priya Krishna: Food Writer, New York Times and Bon Appetit

Enrique Limardo: Executive Chef/Co-owner, Seven Reasons, Washington, D.C.

Rosemary Liss: Co-founder and Owner, Le Comptoir du Vin, Baltimore, MD, formerly of Nordic Food Lab

Henrietta Lovell: Founder, Rare Tea Company and Author, Adventures in Tea

David Marcelli: Pasta Chef, Buca, Toronto, Canada

Blake MacKay: Founder, BLAKE

Brett Martin: Food and Drink Correspondent, GQ

Michael Mazourek: Cornell University and Row 7 Seeds

Klancy Miller: Author, Cooking Solo: The Fun of Cooking for Yourself

Julia Moskin: Food Reporter, New York Times

Anthony Myint: Chef and Restaurateur and 2019 Basque Culinary World Prize

Niki Nakazawa: Neta Spirits, Oaxaca, Mexico

Ahktar Nawab: Chef, Hospitality HQ

David Nayfeld: Chef, Che Fico, San Francisco, CA

Kwame Onwuachi: 2019 JBF Rising Star Chef

Anna Polonsky: Founder and Creative Director, Polonsky & Friends

Adam Rapoport: Editor-in-Chief, Bon Appetit

Thomas Raquel: Executive Pastry Chef, Le Bernardin, New York, NY

Nikita Richardson: Staff Writer, GrubStreet

Avery Ruzicka: Partner and Head Baker, Manresa Bread

Atom Sarkar, MD, PhD: Professor, Drexel University College of Medicine and Director, Global Neurosciences Institute

Stephen Satterfield: Founder, Whetstone Magazine

Trip Schneck: Executive Managing Director Specialty F&B, Entertainment & Hospitality Consulting, Americas Retail Services, Cushman & Wakefield 

Stefano Secchi: Chef, Rezdora, New York, NY

Gail Simmons: Top Chef

Khushbu Shah: Restaurant Editor, Food and Wine

Kevin Sintumuang: Culture and Lifestyle Director, Esquire

Madison Trapkin: Founder, GRLSQUASH

Vaughn Tan, PhD: Assistant Professor, University College London School of Management

Jason Tesauro: Food Journalist

Sarah Tracy, PhD: Author, Delicious: A History of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and Umami

Greg Vernick: Chef and Owne of Vernick Food & Drink and Vernick Fish.

Diep Tran: Founder, Banh Chung Collective and former Owner and Chef, Good Girl Dinette, Los Angeles, CA

Jean-George Vongerichten: Chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten Restaurants, Philadelphia, PA, many global locations

Lukas Volger: Cofounder and Editorial Director, Jarry magazine

Brady Williams: Chef, Canlis, Seattle, WA and JBF winner Best Chef: Northwest

Erick Williams: Chef, Virtue Restaurant, Chicago, IL

Korsha Wilson: Food Journalist

Claudette Zepeda: James Beard Foundation Semifinalist Best Chef: West

2020 Sponsors

Chef de Cuisine

Visit Philadelphia

American Express/Resy

The Study at University City

Sous Chef


Chefs Warehouse


Rosita Bisani

Cushman & Wakefield

Eimer Design


Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association


Maxwell McKenny


Diversified Ceramics

Dry Ager


Forbes Industries








Robot Coupe

Service Ideas





In Kind


Birchrun Hill Farms

Eclat Chocolate

Philadelphia Distilling

Dock Street

Artisan’s Cellars

La Colombe

Baba’s Brew

33rd Street Hospitality

Lost Bread Co.

Rival Bros.

Essen Bakery

Pilgrim Provisions

Federal Donuts

South Philly Barbacoa

Mike’s BBQ

Poi Dog

Primal Supply Meats

Jezabel’s Café

Puyero Venezuela Flavor

Porcos Porchetteria

Palizzi Social Club


Geno’s Steaks





Aurora Grace Chocolates

Eclat Chocolates

El Merkury

Fiore Fine Foods

Flow State Coffee Bar