Join us for a night of good cocktails and even better food from a group of talented chefs, the Research Chefs Association, and the innovation kitchens of Datassential. Taste the Trends is a hands-on, interactive event hosted in the brand-new kitchens of Kitchen United!
Join us to walk the kitchens, meet the chefs, and sample new culinary trends - giving you a true insider’s perspective into the new forces that will revolutionize eating and drinking in the coming year.
In addition to the culinary opportunities of the night, join us to learn what emerging trends and food movements we can expect to see in the year ahead — the next generation of food, beverage and flavor trends. The Datassential team will join us to deliver a look at the next wave of trends - which the evening chefs will then bring to life!
This event will be held in the newly launched kitchens of Kitchen United, a shared kitchen in River North! Don’t miss out on this opportunity for a “sneak peak” into this unique new space as you “dine around” the trends!
Introducing our Speakers & Chefs:
New is Now Trends Presentation
Jennifer Aranas, Datassential Senior Account Manager & Chef
Jennifer joined Datassential’s Market Intelligence Team in 2013 bringing with her over 15 years of foodservice industry experience that includes her time as an executive chef, award-winning restaurant owner, cookbook author, and culinary instructor at Kendall College. Jennifer also spent time with Compass Group as a Culinary and Special Projects Director. Prior to joining Datassential, she spent nearly 7 years with Sysco Chicago as their Corporate Executive Chef and in Sales. Jennifer also has strong financial background starting her career as an Accounting Portfolio Manager for G.E. Capital and Brookdale, Inc. She holds a B.S. in Accounting from University of Illinois and a culinary certificate from Kendall College.
Taste the Trends: Innovation Chefs
Chef Eric Clark, Special Events Chef, US Foods
Dish: Global and Sustainable Shrimp Roll made with Harbor Banks® Argentine Red Shrimp and Rykoff Sexton® Harissa Paste
Chef Clark is an ACF Certified Executive Chef with a background in culinary education, competition cooking, and fine dining hotel and banquet production. Prior to working for US Foods, Chef Clark spent several years teaching culinary arts for Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago. While teaching, he spent years building up and training students to compete in culinary competitions, which included the annual ACF Student Hot Foods Teams as well as the ACF Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl. Chef Clark has earned three ACF gold medals, as well as two ACF silver medals and an ACF bronze medal in his own competition experience. Chef Eric’s culinary influence comes from classic cooking techniques and methods married with modern flavor trends and eating habits. He believes that the best food comes from quality ingredients prepared with attention to detail and proper technique. As the US Foods Special Events Chef, Eric provides the culinary direction and support for special and unique events taking place across the country, from trade shows and customer experiences to festivals and celebrations.
Chef Tom Leo, Corporate Executive Chef, Grecian Delight
Dish: Bite Sized Falafel Fritters, with either traditional Hummus whipped with Olive Oil, or our 2018 and 2019 FABI Award winning Spicy Four Pepper Cilantro Sauce (Skhug) & Garlic Sauce.
Chef Tom Leo is Corporate Executive Chef at Grecian Delight Foods Inc. Chef Tom Leo has worked for Grecian Delight Foods since 2012. He graduated from the Kendall College Culinary Art & Hospitality Management Program in 2001. He has over 20 years working in kitchens all over the Mediterranean inspiring new ideas. Chef Tom Leo has been recognized throughout his career for being a visionary Chef leveraging in-depth knowledge of the marketplace and the competitor landscape to significantly increase revenue and operational efficiency. Chef Tom Leo has solid organizational, communication, and team building skills. He is an expert at conveying complex menu concepts in a simple and compelling manner. He’s a leader in offering core knowledge of executing nutritional plans. Chef Tom Leo has expert knowledge in nutritional breakdown analysis and has demonstrated expertise in health and wellness procedures.
Chef Jaime Mestan, Director of Bistro Products, Vienna Beef
Dish: Greenhouse Chili (with 100% plant based & vegan toppings bar)
After winning first place in The Chef's Of Grey Poupon Competition as well as a $20,000.00 scholarship, Chef Mestan graduated from Kendall with a Bachelors Degree in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. She currently serves on the Kendall College Culinary Advisory Board. After graduation, Jaime worked for Oprah's personal chef, Art Smith, at Table Fifty-Two in Chicago's Gold Coast. She then made the transition into Research and Development as Assistant Research Chef at Ed Miniat, Inc. During this time, she joined the Research Chef’s Association, participating yearly in the RCA’s Professional Culinology Competition. Chef Mestan also obtained her Sous Chef Certification through the American Culinary Federation. In 2016, she took on the role of Director of Bistro Products with Vienna Beef Ltd.. Her role has expanded to include leadership, and oversight of most aspects of the kettle operation from ideation to ingredient sourcing, product development and marketing.
Chef John Draz, Executive Research Chef, Ed Miniat LLC
Dish: Lamb Birria Tacos (Jalisco Region, Mexico)
Chef John Draz received his associate's degree from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 1981 and was the recipient of the Edward T. Hanley Scholarship. During his nearly 30 years in the field, Chef Draz has worked at numerous restaurants including The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, The Winnetka Grill, The Ninety-Fifth, and Café Provencale. In 1983, Chef Draz was featured in the PBS television series Great Chefs of Chicago. Chef Draz was a founding faculty member of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts in Evanston, Illinois; serving as chair of the culinary department from 1988 to 1991. He has extensive consulting experience lending his talents to numerous independent restaurants, as well as organizations such as McDonald's Corporation, Groen Corporation, Quaker Oats, and the National Dairy Board. Chef Draz currently serves as Executive Research Chef for Ed Miniat, LLC., a manufacturer of cooked meat products. In this position, he develops products and menu items for the frozen food industry and national restaurant chains.
Networking events with The Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network are an opportunity to access an inclusive network dedicated to bringing together all of the industry players of the greater Chicagoland area, and beyond, to develop meaningful and mutually beneficial business connections. The event provides a great opportunity to enjoy light refreshments and an opportunity to mingle - forging new connections and circling back with contacts from other events, all while experiencing the power of the CFBN network!
is a Food & Beverage Industry Provider Member of CFBN!
We also appreciate the generous use of the space being provided by SAE!
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
1 W Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603
Tel (312) 525-9653