Flavor Summit 2019

Napa Valley, CA

2019 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.

To provide the audience with state-of-the art business strategies and inspiration, presentations included a keynote on the history of hospitality by Luke Barr, author of Ritz & Escoffier, and former features editor for Travel + Leisure; Geetika Agrawal, program director at La Cocina, a food business incubator in the San Francisco Bay Area, presenting on successes in investing in diverse sources of talent and culinary inspiration; how to update and adapt food waste prevention SOPs for millennial and Generation Z team members by Ned Barker of Grill Ventures International; learnings from neuroscientific research on food and travel experiences by Mario Ubiali of Thimus; how the proliferation of food sources impacts the competitive landscape for foodservice by Michael Schaefer of Euromonitor; and the latest design trends in restaurants presented by James Biber of Biber Architects. Mark Erickson ’77, provost of the CIA, also used the gathering as an opportunity to get direct feedback on models of hospitality training currently being developed by the CIA.

William Dissen ’03, chef-owner of three restaurants in North Carolina, presented operational strategies for using sustainable seafood. The beverage world was also well represented, with Lee Campbell leading a guided tasting of natural wines, tying this movement into consumer demand for natural, organic, and sustainable dining; and Julie Reiner, co-owner of Flatiron Lounge, The Clover Club, Leyenda, and Pegu Club, and Shannon Ponche, head bartender at Leyenda, demonstrating how to build a an effective and engaging zero ABV cocktail menu.

Michael Ponzio, executive chef of Medinah Country Club, discussed “sous vide cue” techniques to incorporate global barbecue into any culinary operation thanks to Smithfield Foods; and Chef Shola Olunloyo demonstrated two staples of Nigerian cuisine in a session sponsored by B&W Quality Growers.

Operators contributed their own insights throughout the retreat, particularly in a panel discussion featuring Brad Nelson ’84 of Marriott Hotels, Fernando Salazar of Interstate Hotels, and Matt Meidinger of Kimpton Hotels discussing ideas for using F&B in non-traditional ways to increase revenue. Michael Costa of Hotel F&B magazine moderated the panel, and Christine Yi of CY Eats contributed her perspective as a social media influencer on how to best capture the full experience of F&B for an online audience.

All this took place against the background of the CIA’s beautiful new Copia facility in downtown Napa, with more than 40 operators in attendance representing such companies as Intercontinental Hotels Group, Marriot International, Entertainment Cruises, the Taj Group of Hotels, Walt Disney Company, and Nordstrom.

Join us March 11-13, 2020 for the next Flavor Summit!



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For information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact:

David Hattenbach
Director – Corporate Relations, Strategic Initiatives

(707) 967-2400