Flavor Summit

Napa Valley, CA

2018 Flavor Summit Program Summary

The Culinary Institute of America’s Flavor Summit brings together each spring a select group of top food and beverage executives, corporate and executive chefs from leading hotel, resort, casino, and cruise line companies to explore, discuss, and taste their way through a stimulating, critical set of flavor and related kitchen, dining, and hospitality management issues. After 11 years at the CIA at Greystone, in 2018 this unmatched gathering of hospitality leaders took place for the first time at the college’s newest campus, CIA at Copia in Napa.

To provide the audience with state-of-the art business strategies and inspiration, presentations included a keynote by Philip Tessier ’99 on how to remain focused, creative, and inspired under pressure, based on his experience at the Bocuse d’Or; how hospitality institutions stay relevant in an age of trendiness with Dee Patel of The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee’s only Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond hotel; fostering culinary excellence in one’s operations by collaborating with purveyors with University of Southern California executive chef and Menus of Change University Research Collaborative member Eric Ernest, joined by Niels Thorlaksson of Lettuce Grow; and a look at technology trends in the restaurant sector with Kristen Hawley of Skift Table.

Culinary demonstrations included scaling up bread programs with Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York, the first James Beard Award winner for best baker; a deep dive into vinegars with Michael Harlan Turkell, author of Acid Trip; farm to table cuisine and cocktails with a Louisiana twist, with Samantha and Cody Carroll of Sac-a-Lait in New Orleans, who were joined by their beverage director Norton Christopher; creative vegetable-forward techniques for catering with Ethan Mantle ’98 of Componere Fine Catering in Emeryville, CA; and family-style, ingredient-driven menus for local restaurants with Katianna Hong ’05 of The Charter Oak in St. Helena, CA. Beverage presentations by Megan Krigbaum, contributing editor of Punch, focused on wines by the glass programs and aromatics in cocktails.

Presentations by the conference’s partners included next-generation immigrant cuisine with Antoinette Bruno of StarChefs, thanks to Steelite International America; global breakfast trends with Ina Pinkney, the Breakfast Queen, thanks to Smithfield Foods; a deep-dive into aquaculture and sustainability with award-winning chef and author Barton Seaver, thanks to Verlasso, Harmoniously Raised Fish; and the evolution of healthy and plant-forward menus with Marie Molde of Datassential and Arlin Wasserman, chair of the Menus of Change Sustainable Business Leadership Council, thanks to B&W Quality Growers.

Attendees, sponsors, and presenters also broke into teams for an ideation exercise asking them to design a plant-forward dish following various parameters, such as the fact that it had to be a main course consisting of at least three main components with animal protein as a condiment, for occasions including a July Colorado wedding or a March Boston gala.

Among the more than 30 operators in attendance were representatives of companies including Intercontinental Hotels Group, Marriot International, Entertainment Cruises, the Taj Group of Hotels, the Venetian, Walt Disney Company, Rosewood Hotel Group, Westin/W, and Nordstrom.

Join us March 6-8, 2019 for the next Flavor Summit!

Password-protected presentations from the conference are available for download below for conference attendees only. (For attendees of the 2018 Flavor Summit who need help locating the password, please contact us).



Past Conferences

Flavor Summit 2017

Flavor Summit 2016

Flavor Summit 2015


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For information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact:

For information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact:

David Hattenbach
Director – Corporate Relations, Strategic Initiatives

(707) 967-2400