Tickets On Sale Now For The 2017 Philly Chef Conference

We've got all the details right here.


Once again, Drexel and its school of hospitality and sports management is holding their Philly Chef Conference. This time around, it’s happening on Sunday and Monday, March 5 and 6, at Drexel University.

For the past couple years, Foobooz has been covering these events because Drexel has done something special with them–offering a split program that provides value both to the public (generally during the first day’s sessions) and to the industry (during the second). It’s a conference put together by chefs, for chefs, and while it deals with certain issues that concern the general public, it does a lot more to speak to the professionals in the city.

It’s also a very small, intimate kind of conference–usually kept to around a hundred or so attendees each day–so it’s important to know that tickets are on sale right now, and they go VERY quickly. Below, we’re going to discuss some of the guests coming to this years event, and how the sessions will shake out, but if you’ve been to one of these before and are just here for ticketing information, you can score yours right now by visiting the 2017 Chef Conference website. Registration for Day One (the public sessions) is $25. Day Two (industry only) will run you $125.

Okay, for the rest of you, here’s the basics on the conference, from the organizers:

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. The conference is organized “for chefs by chefs”. 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 will feature 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 will feature educational lectures, industry discussions and demonstrations.

That pretty much lays out the intent. And this is what the schedule for days one and two look like right now.

2017 Philly Chef Conference Sessions

Day 1 Talks: 4:30-6:30

Gerri C. LeBow Hall, Room 031
3220 Market Street

Dr. Stephen Jones (Washington State University): “The Wheat Frontier”

Dr. M. Pilar Opazo (Columbia University Business School): “Creativity and Innovation in the Kitchen”

Damian Mogavero (Founder and CEO of Avero): “Adding It All Up: Restaurant Analytics”

Dr. Sydney Finkelstein (Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business): From Alice Waters to Ralph Lauren: Secrets of the Superbosses

Emily Broad Leib (Director of the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic): “Food Law in the new Presidential Administration”

Day 2:

Paul Peck Research Building
Academic Bistro, 6th Floor
101 N. 33rd Street

Demo Kitchen:


9:30-10:30: “The Wheat Frontier”: Wheat Discussion and Demo with Dr. Stephen Jones

10:45-11:45: “The First Cut is the Deepest”: Butchery with Justin Severino (Cure and Morcilla)

1:00-1:45: Samuels and Sons Fish Butchery with Andy Knudson from Marc Forgione (NYC)

2:00-2:45:“Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot [Chocolate]: Chocolate and Spices”: Chris Curtin (Eclat Chocolates) and Lior Lev Servarz (La Boite Spices)


9:00-9:20: Opening Remarks (Dr. Michael Traud)

9:30-10:30: “Lean On Me: The Chef’s Role outside the Restaurant Kitchen” with Alon Shaya (2015 James Beard Best Chef South and founder of Shaya/Barnett Initiative) and Bill Telepan (Executive Chef of Wellness in the Schools)

10:45-11:45: “Back of the House to Head of the Class”: Dr. Scott Haas interviews Daniel Giusti (former head chef of Noma and current head of Brigaid)

1:00-1:45: Five Key Lessons on Leadership and Managing Talent with Dr. Sydney Finkelstein

2:00-2:45: Forging your own career path in the hospitality industry: Alice Cheng (CEO and Founder of Culinary Agents) and Katie Bell (General Manager of Michelin starred Agern in New York City”

3:30-4:30: “Put It in Writing: Menu Development” with Brette Warshaw (Lucky Peach) and Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinksi (State Bird Provisions) Alon Shaya (Shaya and Domenica), Justin Severino (Cure and Morcilla), and Bill Telepan (Oceana)

Casino Lab:


9:30-10:30: “Adding It All Up: Restaurant Analytics” with Damian Mogavero (Avero Founder and CEO)

10:45-11:45: “The New Paradigm: Big Retail Embraces Elevated F&B” with Phil Colicchio, Trip Schneck, and Gabe Witcher of Colicchio Consulting, LLC

1:00-1:45: “Cooking Up Content: Food Writing from a Chef’s Perspective” with Dr. Scott Haas (author of “Back of the House”) and Karen Stabiner (author of “Generation Chef” and journalist for Saveur and the New York Times, professor at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism)

2:00-2:45: “The Chemistry of Cookery: Restaurant Science” with Dr. Arielle Johnson (MIT)

3:30-4:30: Health, Wellness, and Meditation for professionals in the Hospitality Industry with Alexandra Tomlinson of In-Power Performance



1:00-1:45: A Guide to IPA’s with Josh Bernstein, author of “Complete IPA: The guide to Your Favorite Craft Beer”

2:00-2:45: A Guided Wine Tasting by Victoria James (Piora, New York City) Wine & Spirits Magazine 2016 Best New Sommelier

3:30-4:30: A Guided Wine Tasting by Andre Mack (former sommelier for the Thomas Keller Group, winemaker for Mouton Noir Wines, and author)

Mod Kitchen:


9:30-10:30 Session 1; 10:45-11:45 Session 2: Learn to Taste Coffee from the Local Experts and Roasters of Rival Brothers, La Colombe, Elxir, and ReAnimator):

Wellness Area:

1:00-3:00: Complimentary Massage Chairs (first come, first serve)

The list of speakers at this year’s event is long and the experience gathered together in Philly for these two days is rather remarkable. There are scientists, journalists, musicians, professors, James Beard Award winners, lawyers and business people, all of whom have their own areas of expertise within the food industry.

Here’s the list–and keep in mind, this is excluding all the local chefs who’ll be participating this year.

Dr. Sydney Finkelstein: author of “Superbosses” and a professor of strategy and leadership at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. He is a consultant to senior executives around the globe, as well as an executive coach, focusing on talent development, corporate governance, learning from mistakes, and strategies for growth. He is listed in the “Thinkers 50,” the world’s most prestigious ranking of leadership gurus.

Emily Broad Leib: Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, and Deputy Director of the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation.

Dr. M. Pilar Opazo: Pilar Opazo is a Post-Doctoral Research Scholar at the Columbia Business School. She did her PhD in Sociology at Columbia University. Her research interests include Organizational and Economic Sociology, Innovation Studies, Qualitative Methods, Science and Technology Studies. Her book “Appetite for Innovation: Change and Creativity at elBulli,” recently published with Columbia University Press, uses ethnographic techniques to examine the nature of radical and systematic innovation. Her investigation considers the case of elBulli, the avant-garde restaurant directed by Chef Ferran Adria that has pioneered the “molecular” or “experimental” cuisine movement in the gastronomy industry.

Dr. Stephen Jones: Stephen Jones is a wheat breeder and the Director of The Bread Lab. Stephen has a PhD in Genetics from the University of California at Davis and teaches graduate courses in advanced classical genetics and in the history and ethics of genetics. His first wheat crop was on five acres at Chico State University’s student farm in 1977. Together with his graduate students he breeds wheat and other grains for local uses to be grown on small farms in the coastal West, the upper Northeast and other regions of the country. The Bread Lab is a combination think tank and baking laboratory where scientists, bakers, chefs, farmers, maltsters, brewers, distillers and millers experiment with improved flavor, nutrition and functionality of regional and obscure wheats, barley, other small grains and beans.

Dr. Arielle Johnson: a flavor scientist at the MIT Media Lab and former head at Noma’s food think tank, MAD.

Daniel Giusti: former head chef at Noma who left to run the school lunch program Brigaid. Brigaid is a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to transform the way students eat in schools, as well as the way school systems view the function of the cafeteria itself. It will achieve its goals by harnessing the expertise of some of the cleverest and most driven people in food: chefs. In Fall 2015, Brigaid entered 6 schools in New London, CT—a diverse community with a progressive history—implementing new methods and ideas and gathering information that will allow the organization to thrive all over the United States.

Phil Collichio: As a founding partner at Taylor Colicchio, LLP, Phil has represented more than forty five James Beard Foundation Award winning Chefs, Restaurateurs, Beverage Professionals, Service Professionals, Restaurant Designers and Authors. He was a pioneer in the Las Vegas mega-restaurant boom, representing both the renowned chef and hotel casino communities in structuring and negotiating long term management and licensing contracts. In 2013, Phil and his partner Trip Schneck established Colicchio Consulting, LLC, through which they bring their experience and deep relationships in the restaurant and hotel industries to the mixed use and retail development sectors, advising owners and developers on the keys to effective selection, negotiation and engagement of elevated chef driven restaurant concepts and forward thinking food and beverage operators.

Gabe Witcher: Music Director for Colicchio Consulting. Gabe is a 7 time Grammy nominated Artist/Producer/composer/arranger best known for his work with the genre-bending acoustic quintet, Punch Brothers. With over 32 years in the music business, Gabe has become a first call musician/arranger of choice for luminary artists, producers and composers alike, including Paul Simon, Elton John, T Bone Burnett, and Randy Newman. He also frequently appears on fil and television scores including The Hunger Games, Cars, True Detective, Sons of Anarchy and Oscar winners Brokeback Mountain and Babel. In 2014 he became an Affiliate Scholar at Oberlin Conservatory.

Damian Mogavero: CEO and Founder of Avero, author of “The Underground Culinary Tour: How the New Metrics of Today’s Top Restaurants are Transforming How America Eats”

Chef Bill Telepan: Executive Chef of Wellness in the Schools

Chef Stuart Brioza and Chef Nicole Krasinski: James Beard award winner Best Chefs West 2015 and Best New Restaurant 2013

Chef Alon Shaya: Executive Chef and Partner of Domenica, Pizza Domenica and Shaya; 2015 James Beard Award winner Best Chef south

Chef Justin Severino: chef owner of Cure/Morcilla in Pittsburgh; a three-time James Beard Foundation award nominee for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic and a 2015 and 2014 winner of FOOD & WINE The People’s Best New Chef Mid-Atlantic

Lior Lev Sercarz: spice specialist, La Boite Spices

Chris Curtin: master chocolatier, Eclat Chocolate

Karen Stabiner: author, “Generation Chef”- restaurant opening of Huertas in NYC; food journalist for both the NYT and the WSJ and professor at the Columbia graduate school of journalism — including a course on food journalism. Her work has appeared in Saveur, Gourmet, Travel & Leisure and the LA Times, and is the co-author of two cookbooks — Family Table, a collection of recipes and backstage stories from the USHG restaurants, and The Valentino Cookbook, from the legendary Santa Monica Italian restaurant.

Dr. Scott Haas: Ph.D. in clinical psychology from University of Detroit and completed his doctoral internship at Massachusetts Mental Health Center/Harvard Medical School; author of “Back of the House” focusing on the kitchen life at Craigie on Main with Chef Tony Maws

Josh Bernstein: Brooklyn-based beer, spirits, food and travel journalist, who has written for Bon Appétit, Men’s Journal, Details, New York, The New York Times, Time Out New York, Saveur, Draft,, Wine Enthusiast, Bicycling,, Tasting Table, New York Post, Edible Manhattan, New York Daily News, Wired, ReadyMade and the New York Press, for whom I wrote a weekly food-and-drink column called “Gut Instinct.” Additionally, I’m a contributing editor to Imbibe, where I oversee beer coverage. Josh is also the author of The Complete Beer Course and Complete IPA: The Guide to Your Favorite Craft Beer.

Victoria James: Piora NYC, 2016 Wine & Spirits Magazine Best New Sommelier

Andre Mack: sommelier, winemaker, author. Best Young Sommelier (2003), formerly of Per Se

So yeah, it’s a good crew. And as I said above, tickets are on sale right now so, you know, you should probably get on it, huh? We’ll see you there.

2017 Philly Chef Conference [Official]