Justine Reichman

Justine Reichman, founder of NextGenChef, is always pleasantly surprised and grateful by how much she learns from each farmer, foodie, founder, and chef she meets. Based in the Mill Valley area in Northern California, she has come to understand that when you commit your personal talents and passion to educate or enrich the lives of others, you always get back so much more than you could ever actually put in.

Whether it’s teaching struggling families about proper nutrition in Mexico or running recipes contests and boot camps for aspiring Foodpreneurs the inspiration that these individuals and founders share with you is always priceless.

Justine loves to cook and advise startups. She is always seeking out new partnerships with the causes that are near and dear to her heart. Promoting good nutrition, helping to advise Foodpreneurs and other social benefit companies is her true passion. She takes great comfort in her craft using from the words of Mahatma Gandhi who said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Despite Justine’s love of travel, she wants to share and learn more from the San Francisco community that she has made her home.

Lauri Levenfeld

During her 12-year stint at Sundance Film Festival, as well as working with clients such as Robert Redford and Zanna Rossi Roberts (senior editor, Marie Claire), not to mention shooting portraiture for luminaries such as Nelson Mandela, Scarlett Johansson, and Mark Zuckerberg, photographer Lauri Levenfeld developed an eye, and a reputation, for stunning imagery.

Lauri now applies her expertise to The Project For Women, leveraging her years of experience shooting for fashion magazines to create memorable, brand-elevating images. Combined with her deep background in creative strategy and narrative, she now tells her subjects’ stories in the most compelling way possible, showcasing them on theprojectforwomen.com

Maycoll Calderón

Maycoll Calderón was born in Venezuela on 1983 and in his short life has lived in nine different countries including United States, Spain and Mexico. Maycoll’s artistic influence comes from his father, Wilson Calderón who is a spectacular painter and sculptor originally from Colombia and his mother who is a great architect.
At the young age of 18 years Maycoll started working in Zarautz, a small city close to San Sebastian with the famous Chef Karlos Arguiñano at his restaurant-hotel named after him. His rustic One Michelin Stars Hotel -Restaurant set within a former castle is in a wonderful location on the seafront in the pretty seaside town of Zarautz since 1978.
Currently Maycoll is chef and owner of Huset “Cocina de Campo” and a Hanky Panky a speakeasy bar. Huset “Cocina de Campo” in such a short time is considered one of the best restaurants in Mexico City. In 2016 Huset “Cocina de Campo” was won best Restaurant Opening in Mexico by Gourmet Awards. Hanky Panky his other project is a speakeasy bar in Mexico City. Hanky Panky is considered by the New York Times and Washington Post one of the best bar in Mexico. Currently Hanky Panky is the list of The Best Bars in the World.

Shana Stein

My name is Shana Stein. My background is in Engineering, Marketing and Sales. From streamlining operations, to managing long/complex sales cycles, heading up new divisions/identifying GTM strategies and now working as a Project Manager in construction, my experience and “what I bring to the table” is vast and broad. I recently relocated to the West Coast from NYC (working for the same company) and I absolutely love it.

But surprisingly this Engineer isn’t all about math and spreadsheets (which I do actually love) but I’m also a huge fan of music and concerts, solo dance parties, farmers markets and being an amateur chef. I also recently became a mentor at the Founder Institute which allows me to help future entrepreneurs pave the way to success!

Meghan Smith

For nearly 20 years, Meghan has been telling other people's stories- as a creative executive and producer for networks including NBC, CBS, ABC, Discovery, National Geographic, TLC, Bravo, Travel & A&E. "There's no question that people want to share their stories, to tell others what the world looks likes through their eyes," says Meghan. "Words are commonly the vehicle folks choose to express themselves, but some aren't comfortable with words, and instead finding their voice behind a camera, or with paint, pencils or music. Any ability I have to help another person express himself artistically- and tell his story- I'm thrilled to be a part of it."


Heather Hardcastle

Heather Hardcastle knows pastry. Diagnosed with gluten intolerance in 2000, Hardcastle set out to re-create her favorite foods without the troublesome protein found in wheat and other grains.

“It led to a career change,” says Hardcastle, who subsequently completed the general pastry program at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena. More recently, Hardcastle took on the roles of owner and founding chef when she opened San Anselmo’s Flour Craft Bakery in the spring of 2013. Perhaps best known for their granolas, sold on Thursdays at the Marin County Civic Center Farmers’ Market, on Saturdays at Larkspur’s Marin Country Mart Farmers’ Market, and at most regional Whole Foods Markets and other specialty stores, Flour Craft Bakery sells a range of gluten-free (and often vegan or paleo) baked goods, including breads, scones and brown-butter brownies.

At the bakery in San Anselmo, a newly expanded lunch menu includes savory quiche, sandwiches and salads.

Jay Rooke

A member of Forbes Coaches Council, Jay Rooke, J.D., is a trained executive and business coach who resides in wine country in Sonoma, California. Jay spent the first half of his life on the East Coast where he worked as a toxic tort litigator for the City of New York, as well as helping Merck pharmaceuticals launch the first-ever anticancer vaccine. He attended culinary school in New York City, and later opened his own restaurant in California. Prior to coaching, he most recently worked for NBC Sports; he also has experience working in the clean tech, sustainability and wine industries. Jay is the Co-Founder of GivingKicks.com, a charitable initiative to provide 1,000 shoes to 1,000 underprivileged kids when they go back to school in the fall.

Michelle Gleaton

Michelle Gleaton has planned food- based events all over the world. From the shores of the Mediterranean to the Pacific coast, she has loved bringing people together over local delicacies.

Michelle has previously worked for the University of California, Georgetown University, the State Department, and the White House. She is ecstatic to bring her experience to NextGenChef.

Adrienne Arieff

Adrienne Arieff is an entrepreneur and author of several books, including the controversial book The Sacred Thread. She wrote The Sacred Thread after traveling to India and hiring a woman there to serve as a surrogate mother for her twin daughters that were conceived via in vitro fertilisation.

Laura Scherling

Hi, I’m Laura!  I am so excited to be your nutrition expert at NextGenChef. Think of me as your nutrition mentor, who’s here to support you in creating your best recipe.  

I studied Nutritional Sciences at UC Berkeley and have been practicing as a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist in the Bay Area for over 10 years. I am also a mom to two young boys. 

My passion for food and cooking is an important part of who I am. I cook food for my family all day so love is inherent in the food I prepare. But even more broadly, worldwide even, I believe food is a universal language of love. No matter where we travel or what language we speak, people around the world show love through food.

I’ve long been a strong supporter of local, sustainable agriculture and farming, and I could not be more excited to support small businesses and local agriculture through NextGenChef. I also believe that what’s good for the earth is good for our bodies, and I wish to help everyone achieve their healthiest self. I couldn’t agree more with the NextGenChef slogan: eating right is a human right.  

Jermaine Jonas

Chef Jermaine Jonas grew up in the West Indies, where he would see where his food was truly from and how it was being made. Here in the United States, we often forget that creating thoughtful, healthy food is crucial for nourishing our bodies. Now a transplant from the Big Apple, Chef Jermaine is leading Juice NV in the Vegas raw food movement. He creates numerous juice and smoothie concoctions filled with superfoods and organic fruits and vegetables, along with raw organic food items — feeding the public with conscious, thoughtful cuisine. Focusing on seasonal organics, you will always get the freshest beverage or food item, with the menu items changing depending on the time of year.

Patta Arkaresvimun

Patta Arkaresvimun is a woman of all trades. In the past, she has worked as a Visual Trend Analyst and Creative Director for both Philips Designs and Gibson Innovations in Hong Kong. After over a decade in the industry, Patta left the corporate world to pursue her love for fresh, authentic food. She saw a crucial need for food entrepreneurs to have the resources and support they require when launching their small businesses. With this knowledge, she was inspired to create BiteUnite Hong Kong in 2015, a company aimed to bridge the gap between home cook and chef, all while offering a safe community space that allows food entrepreneurs to realize their dreams. To much success, BiteUnite has become a community gathering space for chefs and foodies alike, a place to grow careers, and gather over a delicious meal.

Sondra Bernstein

Sondra Bernstein created the Sonoma FIG Foundation Fund in 2016 for many reasons, but most of all to share the passion she has felt as an entrepreneur over the past twenty years. It all started with a dream and a goal.
She set her sights on a desire to feed, entertain, and make people happy by showing them a good time and serving them delicious food, prepared well, in a fun environment. What transpired over the following nineteen years became something much larger; a company with over 200 employees, two restaurants, a catering company, a food truck, two books, a product line and a pop-up space.
These all started as ideas and there were many more; some worked, some didn't - but you must start somewhere. The Sonoma FIG Foundation Fund wants to help make that start possible.

Cregg Green

Cregg Green is a Chef & food stylist originally from the sun-kissed, golden sandy isles of Jamaica.
Chef/ owner Cregg Green with 25 years of culinary experience under his belt, chef cregg has worked in a variety of restaurants and for top boutique catering companies, hotels and start-ups at locations throughout the country. His blend of geographical cooking styles span the global epicurean gamut and extend outside the kitchen he is also a brand advocate , content creator , creative director , food photographer & stylist.


Adam Dean

Adam brings over 15 years of experience in cash management and commercial banking, serving both technology and life science companies and their investors. Throughout his career, he has solved technical accounting challenges for clients by using his expertise in asset management, GAAP financial accounting and SEC reporting. In the process, he has developed deep relationships in the tech, life science, venture capital and private equity markets nationwide.
As President and Founder of Square 1 Asset Management, Adam was responsible for all business strategy, business development and corporate matters and led the firm from its launch within Square 1. In this role, he implemented a novel cash and liquidity management platform based on the technology he developed at Arboretum Asset Management, where he was founder and CEO.
Arboretum’s turnkey platform allowed financial service providers to offer sophisticated investment services to their institutional clients, using a novel method to provide liquidity vehicles in the U.S. government securities repurchase market to institutions that did not have low cost access. Adam was also the Founder and President of SVB Asset Management, Adam grew the firm from inception to $10 billion in assets and implemented investment transparency tools for clients.


Chef Terri Dien

Chef Terri can teach you the foundational culinary skills your product needs to become a reality. She listens to your plan and can empower you to be successful. Look to Terri as your Operations and Technical advisor - she can use her analytical approach to provide solutions to any roadblocks your startup may encounter. Where there is a will, there's a way!
Terri is a chef-instructor and startup entrepreneur based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently serves as Resident Chef of the Sur La Table Cooking School in Los Gatos, California where she manages the operations and teaches cooking classes. She founded Dear Martini with her co-founder Chef Mia Chambers in 2010 in an effort to provide bite-sized technique videos for cooks of all skill levels.
As a career-changer, her strengths stem from marrying her expertise in leadership and operations with her technical culinary skills. Chef Terri has worked in R&D, events and catering, food photography and video production as well as bakery and restaurant management; and now she works daily to inspire people to be more confident in their kitchens by teaching cooking classes from subjects such as knife skills to international cuisines -- all from the perspective of science, history and food culture.
Chef Terri received her Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management degree from City College of San Francisco after spending 10 years as a political consultant focusing on campaign management. A native New Yorker, she now calls San Mateo her home and spends her free time trying to win the affection of her three cats.


Andy Naja-Riese

Andy Naja-Riese is a creative, visionary, and compassionate leader who has a wealth of experience in nutrition assistance and community agriculture programs. He recently became the Chief Executive Officer of the Agricultural Institute of Marin, a California non-profit organization that works to create a sustainable food system in three Bay Area counties. His organization runs 7 year-round certified farmers markets with over 350 farmers and food purveyors and over 1 million customers annually. He also recently launched a mobile farmers market for low-income older adults, and directs a variety of food access and hands-on educational programs for children and families. As CEO, Andy leads day-to-day operations, strategic partnerships and planning, and resource development with 21 staff and operating expenses of $2.1 million.

Prior to joining AIM, Andy was the Chief of the Program Integrity Branch of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Western Region, where he was responsible for the implementation and oversight of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called Food Stamps and known as CalFresh in California). Andy oversaw the administration of $12 billion in benefits redeemed by 8 million low-income households at grocery stores, farmers markets, and other retailers across Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and the U.S. Territory of Guam. Andy is also a nationally-recognized leader in the SNAP Nutrition Education Program, for which he executed the design of the National SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework to support health departments, cooperative extension services, and non-profit organizations in measuring and reporting outcomes from nutrition education, farmers markets, and community-wide coalitions. Andy has provided vision, facilitation skills, and guidance to many state, community, and tribal partners in food access plans and strategies.


Daniela Kratz

A Marin-based mom of two, Daniela, the mastermind behind Farmhouse Lab’s high-quality, real food specialty dressings, which she launched two years ago, shifted from a leadership role with a large global corporation to focus on what inspired her most — directly helping individuals make healthier, more locally-driven and sustainable food choices.

Daniela’s inspiration for creating high-quality, sustainably sourced, delicious dressings originated from her realization that the majority of dressings on the shelves contain poor quality oils, emulsifiers, preservatives, artificial flavors and/or refined sugars. And what was easy for her to whip up in the kitchen wasn’t so simple for many on-the-go parents and professionals. With the start of her own family, combined with her love of entertaining and passion for the sustainability movement, Daniela ventured to create a business designed to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Farmhouse Lab is built on the desire to deliver delicious, clean and pure dressings to the health-conscious foodie. Farmhouse Lab uses only consciously sourced ingredients from vendors that have been carefully selected to ensure a sustainable product from jar to table and everything in between.
A Marin-based mom of two, Daniela, the mastermind behind Farmhouse Lab’s high-quality, real food specialty dressings, which she launched in 2016, shifted from a leadership role with a large global corporation to focus on what inspired her most — directly helping individuals make healthier, more locally-driven and sustainable food choices.


Aliza Grayevsky Somekh

Aliza Grayevsky Somekh of Bishulim SF is an eighth generation Jerusalemite. Raised in the kitchens of Jerusalem, she grew up cooking and eating everything the city's streets and markets had to offer. Growing up in Jerusalem makes her intimately familiar with Jerusalem's culinary collision of flavors and cultures. Working here with the abundance of quality produce in California, it is that "best of all worlds" touch that Aliza tries to bring into her cooking.



Mariam Abdelghani

"I wanted to create something that connected with my heritage but was also fun and meaningful."

Mariam worked alongside her family in her parents Lebanese restaurant chain in the Silicon Valley for 10 years. She grew up in an environment where food innovation and business savvy became second-nature. No matter what direction life led her in, she always found her way back to a kitchen exchanging ideas with her dad about their vision for what is now Garlic Goodness, Lebanese Food Co.


Lindsay Kinder

Lindsay Kinder left a stable career selling corporate life insurance to pursue a childhood dream of learning to cook in France.

She is the head chef and macaron expert at Food La La, her food and lifestyle brand. She writes and develops weekly recipes and instructional cooking videos. She also runs the commercial baking operations for Food La La’s signature event: Le Macaron Bar, in which she presents unique macaron-centric experiences for companies, brands, and private parties on the West Coast, including: Williams-Sonoma, Pinterest, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Yelp, Alaska Airlines, Google, Airbnb, Clipper Vacations, and Facebook.

Lindsay excels at building brands and experiences and believes presentation is everything.

Lindsay Kinder

Jeremy Nelson is a Chef, Forager and native to the San Francisco Bay Area. His love of food stems from his family’s emphasis on home cooked meals as a child. Some of his first memories are of grinding wheat with his Mom to make the family's daily bread. These early memories and values would be the basis of a lifelong pursuit of deliciousness.

Jeremy has been working in Bay Area restaurants for over a decade. Starting out as a dishwasher and working his way up to being the Chef. In 2009 he entered the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in San Francisco and graduated with an Associates degree in 2011. While attending cooking school he worked as a cook at vegetable based Oakland restaurant Encuentro, where he would eventually become the Chef de Cuisine. There he honed his technique of vegetable preparations and influenced his farm to table style of cooking. He then went on to join the culinary teams of Bay Wolf, Acqeurello and Lazy Bear, where he further honed his New American cooking style. At both Acquerello and Lazy Bear, he was a key Chef in earning two Michelin stars for each restaurant.

After leaving Lazy Bear in late 2016, he has been working as a Private Chef and restaurant consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area where he specializes in vegetable centric, highly seasonal New American cuisine.

Pastry Chef Jerry Navas

Pastry Chef Jerry Navas grew up near Napa where he was exposed to the culinary intricacies of the wine country. From there, he transitioned to culinary school and began traveling all over France and Spain in pursuit of good food, good wine, and good pastry techniques.

He has works with the likes of Christophe Michalak and Pierre Herme which brought a complete new perspective to not only haute patisserie but a new vision to kitchen leadership. His experience as the Executive Pastry Chef at the famed San Francisco macaron house, Chantal Guillon, and at Taste in Fairfax, led him to open up his own shop, Navas Patisserie.

He regards passion, willingness to learn (no matter at what level or position you’re in), and attention to details as crucial traits to success and works towards inspiring a family-like, ego-less, work environment where creativity and new ideas easily gains momentum. His experience with wholesaling, product development (R&D), and supply chain management brings a unique perspective to French pastries.



Elissa Goodman

Elissa Goodman is a holistic nutritionist and lifestyle cleanse expert who believes that proper nourishment, healing by listening to your “gut, connecting to your inner strength and a daily renewal practice are essential for optimal living. Elissa’s mission is to educate and encourage healthy, mindful living helping others embrace the concept that we are a product of what we eat and how we treat ourselves.  

Through adversity Elissa has tapped into her greater purpose in life and in addition to her health and vitality has found that empowering others has become one of her greatest gifts. Creator of the online RESET program, “Cleanse Your Body, Cleanse Your Life” and “The S.O.U.P. Cleanse” a delivered food program available in the Los Angeles market. Elissa’s approach to cleansing is gentle and accessible for those looking to renew, recharge, rejuvenate and maintain their healthy lifestyle. Elissa collaborates with health and wellness partners throughout Los Angeles and is the creator of signature juice blends at Erewhon Market.  She’s also created cleanse programs for Café Gratitude, M. Café and more.

Elissa is the author of “Cancer Hacks” and executive producer of The Elissa Goodman Show on Focus TV.  She is currently working on her next book, Auto Immune Hacks.



Carolyn Zezima

Carolyn Zezima is the president of NYC Foodscape, a food systems and urban agriculture consulting business and blog (http://blog.nycfoodscape.com). Carolyn has led and worked with food and farming organizations in Chicago and New York to promote urban agriculture and healthy food systems and has planned, launched, and implemented numerous successful urban farming, youth gardening and other healthy eating programs and projects. In 2006, she founded The Talking Farm, an urban farming and educational enterprise in Evanston, Illinois. She served as Director of Food and Nutrition Initiatives for Communities IMPACT Diabetes Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, addressing food and nutrition issues affecting diabetes disparities in low-income communities and overseeing food initiatives, such as the Save Half for Later portion control initiative and Food for Health Business Plan Competition.

Carolyn is a trained chef, attended the California Culinary Academy and has worked in several San Francisco and New York City restaurants, catering, food publishing, hunger organizations and recipe development. She previously practiced law after graduating from Duke University Law School, and is a member of the New York, California and Illinois bars.


Jim Torretti

Jim Torretti is an avid gardener and world traveler with a long history of community involvement. He has experienced first-hand the joys, and occasional frustrations, of giving time and energy in the service of others.

Serving for 20 years as president of his community homeowners’ association, Jim learned the value of bringing people together to listen to and learn from each other. He realized that bonds forged when people feel heard and respected help build strong, sustainable communities, even in times of conflict or crisis

While serving on the board of his community garden, Jim worked to re-shape the relationship between the City--owner of the garden plots--and the gardeners, leading to a new governing agreement, new rules and regulations, and a new system of inspection/evaluation to monitor compliance and recognize outstanding gardeners. He instituted an educational lecture series for gardeners, invited a chef to demonstrate creative uses for abundant seasonal produce, and assisted with the creation of a community garden for low-income residents.

More recently, Jim has dedicated time to organizing events -- community education and fundraising --for non-profits. He has worked with vendors and staff to design an ideal experience for guests in alignment with the ethos of the organization and within the organization’s budget. He focuses on delivering a memorable experience for the guests while providing excellent return on investment for the organization.

A former lawyer, Jim has donated his time to pro-bono and community projects throughout his career. Jim also studied financial planning.

Jim currently lives in Menlo Park, California, with his partner.


Maen Mahfoud

After coming to the U.S. from Syria to pursue medicine at UC Berkeley, Maen Mahfoud was shocked to see the level of poverty and hunger across the Bay Area. He learned that the U.S. wastes 40 percent of the food produced and saw so many people around him struggling to get a meal. His inspiration for Replate came when he saw a man in San Francisco reaching into the trash can for a sandwich and immediately decided to do something to change that. Maen knew that food waste is a solvable problem and what people consider “waste” is often times still edible and nutritious food. He decided to start reaching out to companies himself and pick up their surplus food to donate to nearby nonprofits


Jeanne Rosner

Jeanne Rosner is a board certified anesthesiologist who practiced at Stanford Medical Center for approximately 15 years. In 2011 she began teaching nutrition classes in her son’s 5th grade science class which was an “aha” moment for her. She realized that learning and teaching about nutrition, health and wellness in her community was her destiny.

Since retiring from anesthesia, she has been a nutrition educator at local middle and high schools throughout the Bay area. She teaches these students the importance of eating food closest to the source, making good food choices and eating in a balanced and moderate way.

In addition, Dr. Rosner started a venture called SOUL (seasonal, organic, unprocessed, local) Food Salon in 2014. She holds small gatherings (salons) with the mission of educating and empowering people to be healthier. The salons feature an expert in the health and wellness community who speaks about an interesting health topic. There are also salons with a chef/physician doing cooking demonstrations while using local and seasonal ingredients.


Hunter Cressman

Hunter Cressman is a Vedic meditation teacher based in Marin. He enjoys sharing meditation as well as Ayurvedic medicine to help people release stress, improve their health, and feel their happiest, most natural selves everyday. He believes everyone’s purpose in life is to expand fulfillment from within and share it with the world through their unique talents. Stress can get in the way of fully realizing that. By approaching wellbeing through the mind with meditation and through the body with Ayurveda, stress releases and fulfillment grows more quickly. Our state of consciousness impacts the way we choose food, cook food, and digest food. The more we can grow our consciousness, the better food choices we’ll then make, and the better quality of food we’ll cook and eat to nourish our minds and bodies. Hunter believes this knowledge is for everyone and that when we put our minds together we can create new systems to make wellbeing accessible to all.


Jordan Russell

Jordan Russell is an accomplished private chef and expert in functional nutrition. He has served in the home kitchens of several globally-recognized entrepreneurs, A-list entertainers, and legendary professional athletes. His latest project, Zealot, is looking to redefine the role of a private chef by enabling access to a new kind of in-home dining experience.


Tamara Jo Hicks

Co-Owner and Land Steward of Toluma Farms & Tomales Farmstead Creamery Managing Partner, Daily Driver— A CA native, Tamara Jo Hicks grew up in the rural communities of San Diego Co. and in Oklahoma. In 1992, after graduating from UCSD with a major in Sociology, she moved to the Bay Area to pursue her doctorate in Clinical Psychology. In the last 25 years, Tamara has been a successful, serial entrepreneur. She co-founded RES Success in the East Bay (a non-profit providing services to individuals with autism); Potrero Hill Psychotherapy; Toluma Farms, Tomales Farmstead Creamery and most recently Daily Driver in SF. Her interests are in restoration and finding joy- mentally, physically as well as in our communities and planet. She currently serves on the Marin Agriculture Land Trust (MALT) Board and Chairs the Agriculture Institute of Marin (AIM) Board.


Sadie Scheffer

Sadie Scheffer is an artist, an MIT dropout, and an accidental bread baker. She founded Bread SRSLY in 2011 when a quest to impress her gluten-intolerant crush turned into a seriously addictive baking hobby. The proud parent of a thriving gluten-free sourdough starter, Sadie launched her business on an impulse, and learned how to run it between the baking and the bike-delivery runs. She now leads a team of 18 employees from Bread SRSLY's Berkeley facility. You can find Bread SRSLY loaves in grocery store fridges throughout California, and in the home kitchens of gluten-free eaters nationwide. You can find Sadie working on Bread SRSLY's Finances and Operations, or following her passions of pottery, brainstorming, and mentoring fellow foodmakers.


Chad Newton

Founder/Culinary Director

Seasoned Bay Area Chef Chad Newton started Asian Box with Partners Frank Klein and Gracie Nguyen in 2012 to bring Palo Alto authentic, healthy Asian street food in a fine-casual environment. Since opening, Newton has helped grow the brand from a single unit to 10 over the last 7 years. Responsible for oversight of the supply chain, menu development, quality and Culinary consistency with wife and Executive Chef Gracie Nguyen. Newton has also played a large role in building and expanding the catering arm of the Asian Box business.


In addition, he takes pride in partnering with like-minded purveyors that provide the highest quality ingredients and help to continue the brand’s values of sustainability. From inception, Newton partnered with Blue House Farm in Pescadero and has had a long-standing eight year relationship with that team to provide each Asian Box location with top quality local and organic produce. He continues to foster new partnerships like his most recent with Rue & Forsman to ensure Asian Box maintains its signature quality as the brand grows to new markets.

Prior to his time at Asian Box, Newton held executive chef and consulting chef positions at several acclaimed Bay Area restaurants. A Bay Area native, Newton began his career in the hospitality industry at Postrio restaurant in San Francisco were he rose to a role as lead sous chef. After four years at Postrio, he moved to Yountville, California to assist acclaimed Chef Richard Reddington in the opening of Redd. He then joined the Kimpton Group on a project in Boston as an interim chef and consultant for the transition of Spire Restaurant into KO Prime, a modern steakhouse inside the Nine Zero Hotel.

Newton moved back to San Francisco in 2007 and joined the former Baraka restaurant as executive chef, before he was brought on as chef consultant at Urban Tavern restaurant located inside the Hilton Hotel. After creating new American gastropub menus for Urban Tavern and the hotel, he moved on to work with San Francisco restaurateurs Frank Klein and John Duggan as executive chef of Fish & Farm. While at Fish & Farm, Newton received 7x7 Magazine’s “Best Burger in San Francisco” award, among several other accolades, and began to work with Klein on various projects under Klein’s FK Restaurants and Hospitality consultancy, ultimately becoming culinary director for the company.

Newton attended San Diego State University and later San Francisco State University, graduating with a degree in Restaurant Management. He now lives in Menlo Park with his family. When he is not in the kitchen, Newton reads new and classic cookbooks, plays soccer, works out, travels, and spends time with family and friends.


Dr. Hemalee Patel

California Pacific Medical Center

Dr. Hemalee Patel believes that we each have the power to control our own health using simple lifestyle modifications that can lead to optimal wellness. Her goal is to help patients realize their ability to make positive, healthy changes, and help guide them through this transformation to achieve successful results.

Dr. Patel is board certified in Internal Medicine currently practicing at California Pacific Medical Center. She is also on staff at Stanford University Hospital & Clinics, where she was previously a Clinical Instructor, and is a part-time wellness physician at Crossover Health-Facebook Headquarters. Known as a leader in the lifestyle medicine movement, Dr. Patel is a frequent speaker on topics related to empowering and educating individuals using the latest advances in health and wellness so they can prevent and control the development of chronic diseases and achieve balanced lifestyles. She also speaks about how lifestyle approaches can optimize energy levels and productivity.

Dr. Patel is a member of the AMA, has served on the board of the National Consortium of Integrative Medicine and her areas of expertise and research include the effects burnout and stress have in leading to chronic diseases. She is currently based in San Francisco, California and has a BA in Economics and English from UC Berkeley with an emphasis in Preventative Medicine and Nutrition.


Ainsley Moir

Ainsley Moir is the author of Branding Beyond Logos and the founder of both Engineer Your Brand and the Healthy Food & Beverage Group. After spending over a decade building some of the top food & beverage brands in North America including Coca-Cola, Campbell's Soup, V8 Juice and many others, Ainsley decided she wanted to take these big brand strategies to up and coming 'better for you' food and beverage retail brands.

Ainsley's mission through Engineer Your Brand, the Healthy Food & Beverage Group & NextGenChef is to create a healthier food future. The best way to do this is to have more successful better for you food options. Through, branding, marketing and sales strategies, Ainsley helps businesses she connects with make sure their business is set up for success at every stage of growth.  If you have an idea but are not sure how to share it with the world, or if your brand isn't making the impact you know it can, Ainsley will help you build your plan for success and keep you accountable to following the plan.


Alison Mountford

Founder and CEO of Ends+Stems

Alison Mountford is the Founder and CEO of Ends+Stems, a meal planning service designed to reduce household food waste and stop the effects of climate change. An overwhelming percentage
83% of busy families say “deciding what to cook” is their top weeknight concern. Alison saw a need that she could fill, so she turned to her 15 years of professional chef and entrepreneurial experience to design a solution
to both weeknight dinner stress and food waste in one clever step.

Alison is a passionate problem solver and approachable leader with a dual vision; to get households cooking again and to save the planet. Before building Ends+Stems, Alison founded Square Meals in 2005, one of San Francisco’s first prepared meal delivery companies. Square Meals was first to market and helped define the trend of chef prepared meals delivered to your door. For 10 years, Alison grew Square Meals into a successful cafe and catering company and had the opportunity to cook for celebrities, politicians, and many influential companies. It was sold in 2015.

A short stint as Procurement Director for a food tech company solidified Alison’s passion for reducing food waste and her entrepreneurial senses prevailed. In 2017, Ends+Stems began its beta tests and the web-app will launch in May 2019.

Alison has been named a Rubicon Waste Fit Champion, was a finalist for the Roddenberry Foundation fellowship, and has appeared on many podcasts and radio shows, and works as a food waste consultant

Cameron McCarthy

CEO & Co-Founder of WeStock

Cameron McCarthy is the CEO & Co-Founder of WeStock, a product discovery app that helps brands get on the shelf by making the product request process easier for consumers. He has also spent several years as a Sales & Marketing Director for various food brands and has generated millions in retails sales while working with thousands of retailers across the country.

Cliff Kuehn

Cliff focuses on IP law to help technology companies protect and monetize their brands in an ever-globalizing world. Intellectual property law was first introduced to him in a summer abroad course in Prague, developed in a boutique IP firm in San Francisco, and broadened through trademark litigation experience in the European Union agency for trademarks, the EUIPO. The international backdrop to his experience allows Cliff to bring global clients an added degree of expertise in being able to foresee and plan for how different national laws combine and react to ever-developing marketing techniques. 

Cliff graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, earned his J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law, and earned a Masters in Law (LLM) in European Intellectual Property Law from Stockholm University. His LLM thesis focused on the intersection between widespread 3D printing technology and the efficacy of European design law.

Giovanni Montanelli,

President and Founder of VentiQuattro Food Consulting

Giovanni Montanelli, Food and beverage expert with extensive turnaround experience and a track record of helping clients break into new markets, establish US operations and connect directly to consumers. President and Founder of VentiQuattro Food Consulting, Giovanni leads all facets of the company, including development and strategy implementation. He ensures that the values of VentiQuattro are applied consistently, creating a solid  foundation for clients’ success. He also maintains a keen awareness of the import and food industry and is on top of key market trends.

Giovanni has a strong background in international business and over 16 years of experience promoting true best-in-class brands. He brings startup energy and career sales in excess of $36M along with a passion for identifying, training and helping new owners navigate the franchisee journey. 

Giovanni holds a bachelors degree in Economics & Business. He is fluent in Italian, French, and English. His work is his passion, and he likes to golf, run and travel in his spare time.

Elliot Begoun

Founder, Brand Champion

I am a food nerd, it’s an undeniable fact. I’ve been in this business for over 25 years. I started in a management training program for a boutique chain of restaurants right out of undergraduate school. I’ve been a territory sales representative, a general sales manager, led a supply chain organization, and served as a senior executive. I even owned a food brokerage firm. I’ve called on just about every type of customer in just about every channel. Along the way, I’ve had great mentors, made plenty of mistakes, and had my fair share of successes.

I don’t claim to be an expert. I do, however, consider myself a lifelong student. I feel as if I’ve been the beneficiary of a holistic view of the industry. Today, I use that acquired knowledge to help emerging food and beverage brands grow.

This is my passion as I am sure it is yours.

Gina Bria

Gina Bria is on a mission to teach the world how you can become optimally hydrated and what this means for how you look, feel, and live. As an anthropologist she studied the water challenges faced by desert dwellers and that led to the establishment of the The Hydration Foundation.   The Hydration Foundation is a nonprofit group that promotes spreading the new practices of true hydration, informed by the paradigm-shifting science of structured water.  Along with Dr. Dana Cohen, an Integrative Medicine Specialist in New York, she just co-authored the book Quench: Beat Fatigue, Drop Weight, and Heal Your Body through the New Science of Optimal Hydration. Her work was also recently featured in The New York Times as well as in a question and answer article in Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Magazine.  Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine!

Claire Brumby

The Food Guide is a coach, mentor, speaker & best-selling author working with food businesses nationally and internationally.

She founded a multi-award-winning snacking brand, took this from conception through to launch into a fiercely competitive sector and went on to secure multiple and high-profile listings, nationally and internationally.

Her best-seller: The Winning Mix: Launch and Grow your Food Business without Selling your Soul is for Foodpreneurs: it delivers a proven how to guide for launching a successful food business and includes her own journey of launching a food brand, along with valuable hints and tips for launching or growing a food business.

Rene Jacquat

Rene Jacquat is an advisor and the founder of LogiChain Solutions. He enables food and beverage companies to scale operations and optimize their supply chain while considering sustainable practices throughout all elements of the value chain. He supports companies that are at a pivotal moment with a need or opportunity for growth. Working hands-on from strategy to implementation, Rene focuses on the company's operations and business goals while driving change that has both immediate and lasting impact.

Rene has directed and managed global operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, India and Asia Pacific. He was responsible for overall management of end-to-end supply chains including the entire plan, source, make, deliver and return processes.

Rene is based in San Francisco and enjoys the bounty of what nature and the culinary ecosystem has to offer in the bay area. 

Maura Megan Knowles

Maura, Mo, the Morselist, is the C.E.O. and founder of Mac-n-Mo’s, a Morselicious healthy baking company created in honor of her dad, Mac, and an International Integrative Board Certified Health Coach (A.A.D.P.). She is actively involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and has served on the host committee for Dr. Oz’s non- profit organization, HealthCorps.

Maura Megan Knowles is in production for her first original musical-comedy series, Insult to Injury, Irish Rail Productions. A bi-coastal actor/singer/ writer, Maura’s talents have led to a wide range of projects, from her roles in Francis Ford Coppola’s Gidget, to the award winning rock musical Bare. She has also starred in a number of feature films, sharing the silver screen with Jeffrey Donovan, Laura Prepon, Scott Wolff, Anne Meara, and Warren Beatty, and has been a featured vocalist on numerous CD’s.


Jonathan Packman

Jonathan Packman has dedicated much of his professional life to serving values-led food businesses in senior executive and other leadership roles. In his consulting practice Jonathan offers his 15+ years of experience and extensive knowledge of the complex and evolving food industry to help innovators grow healthy and sustainable businesses.

Jonathan earned the Master of Management in Hospitality degree from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, and a BA focused on Environmental Policy & Law at the University of Vermont. He studies Brazilian jiu jitsu as a blue belt under Professor Eduardo Fraga of Ralph Gracie BJJ in Berkeley.

Jonathan and his wife Liz live with their two sons and dog Jet in Berkeley, California. I'm drawn to NextGenChefs because I want to serve others within a network of difference-makers in the food industry.


Elice Ogle

Ellice Ogle is the founder and CEO of Tandem Food LLC. Ellice founded Tandem with the goal of developing food production systems to preserve your product and brand integrity. By providing a customizable range of services and solutions, Ellice and Tandem will support your company in increasing efficiency and profitability.

Currently, Ellice is an auditor for the Non-GMO Project through SCS Global Services. Altogether, Ellice has 10+ years of experience in working closely with clients, customizing programs to their needs. Ellice obtained her B.S. Chemistry from The University of Texas, Austin and her M.S. Agriculture, specialization Dairy Products Technology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Ellice applied her chemistry education to food chemistry, structure, and function, food safety, and food processing and technology. Ellice has other industry experience with Sun Basket, Nestle Ice Cream Research & Development, Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates, and Dierberg & Star Lane Vineyards.

Overall, Ellice founded Tandem Food to make food production systems engaging, relevant, and simple. Ellice looks forward to clarifying your food production system concerns today!


Sara Schor

Sara Schor, Principal of Schor Insights & Strategy, is passionate about identifying and dimensionalizing consumer insights, and using them to build and communicate compelling brand and product stories.  Clients of Schor Insights & Strategy include small and large brands, agencies and start-ups, and nonprofits (pro-bono work); these include: Meredith (People Magazine), ESPN (Women’s Initiatives), THINX, UCAN, MedMen and the YMCA of San Francisco.

Prior to creating her strategic insights consultancy, Sara spent 16 years at Sterling Brands where she held the position of EVP, Strategy & Insights. At Sterling, she worked on positioning and messaging initiatives with a wide range of well-known companies and brands, including Visa, Google, M&M Mars, NBC Universal (Bravo), and Unilever (Dove).

Outside of work, Sara is an avid traveler, scuba diver, super aunt, pet lover, reader and improviser.


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