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Drexel’s 2018 Philly Chef Conference Tackles Sexism, Wellness and Business Development

December 20, 2017

Philly Chef Conference 2018

Now in its fifth year, the 2018 Philly Chef Conference will once again convene the regional and national food community to discuss the latest food and beverage industry issues and trends with demonstrations on current professional techniques. Experts from coast-to-coast will talk trends in food styling and beverage programs, as well as sexism in the kitchen and wellness for chefs. The conference hosted by Drexel University’s Center for Food and Hospitality Management will take place Sunday through Monday, March 11–12, 2018.

The annual forum features a combination of chefs, food scientists, scholars, journalists, culinary and hospitality professionals who will give educational lectures, hold panel discussions and give demonstrations. National experts will present general business and culinary development sessions, navigating across all aspects of the restaurant and hospitality industries. The first day of the conference is open to the public, while the second day is reserved for hospitality industry professionals.

On Sunday, March 11, the agenda will include a variety of expert-led talks and a keynote conversation between Jen Agg, influential restaurant impresario who is working to address sexism and combat discrimination and harassment in the restaurant industry, and Brett Anderson, journalist for The Time-Picayune (New Orleans) who published the sexual harassment expose against John Besh. Other talks on the first day will be by Lara Gilmore, founder of Food for Soul, about the role of restaurants and the work she is doing to redefine the role of the traditional soup kitchen, Ali Bouzari, co-founder of Pilot R+D, on “X-ray Vision in the Kitchen,” and food ethnographer June Jo Lee.

“When you bring together elite chefs, food producers, personalities and established hospitality professionals and pair them with aspiring students and young industry professionals who are eager to learn and challenge the existing boundaries in their field, you start a tremendous feed of dialogue that has the power to effect real change,” said Michael Traud, JD, Ed.D (formerly of Vetri and Zeppoli) assistant clinical teaching professor and director of Hospitality Management at Drexel, who organized the conference.

The second day of the conference will be highlighted by professional demonstrations, lectures and demonstrations on areas such as preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, a discussion on gender in the restaurant industry and business development and growth strategies.  One of the panel discussions will feature Michael Solomonov, executive chef of Zahav (co-owner of Federal Donuts, Dizengoff, Abe Fisher, Goldie, Rooster Soup Company) and Micha Tsumura, chef and owner of Maido (Lima, Peru) and will talk about transporting culinary cultures, in a discussion moderated by Adam Sachs, editor in chief of Savuer.  In addition, Bobby Stuckey (Frasca Food and Wine), Tanya Holland (Brown Sugar Kitchen) and Gail Simmons (Bravo’s “Top Chef”) will discuss professional sustainability in the restaurant industry in a conversation moderated by Jeff Gordinier, food and drinks editor at Esquire.

Day one of the conference, Sunday, March 11 from 3–5 p.m., will be held in Drexel's Bossone Auditorium (3140 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19104) and is open to the public. Tickets are $30 per person. Day two of the conference, Monday, March 12 from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., will be held at Drexel's Academic Building (101 N. 33rd St.) and is open to industry professionals only. Tickets are $150 per person. Tickets are available for purchase here. All students in Drexel’s culinary and hospitality management programs will be in attendance.

For the full conference schedule, visit here

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities for the 2018 Philly Chef Conference, please contact Michael Traud at or 215.895.0922