By: Jordan Clark
Culinologists Anne-marie Ramo and Katherine Langel CuliNex recapped their 2016 RCA Conference experience in Denver–and it sounded fun! The first night, Tuesday, they were able to go out for dinner and cocktails with some RCA Student Committee Board members to discuss building a relationship with RCA student members interested in a three month internship or an intern-to-hire full-time R&D position. The next morning they announced their internship program to the Higher Education Committee. That day full of learning, including a general session presentation by RCA Past-President Stephen Kalil, CEC, CRC®, Corporate Executive Research Chef, about social media strategies in attracting consumer audiences. The following day during the Culinology® Expo, the CuliNex team showcased their Baja Veggie Sliders with Tomatillo Relish and Jalapeno Crema at White Oak Frozen Foods booth. Anne-marie further confirmed her excitement of being able to interact with young professionals and students, who are the future of the industry.
Katherine started off saying the RCA Conference is more like a family reunion then a conference. As a student she was able to attend the conference and even compete in the student Culinology® competition. She contrasted her experience as a student to the goals of being a professional. As a student, conference week was more about networking to make connections for internships, jobs or competing in the RCA competitions. As a professional, the focus is more on connecting with suppliers for upcoming projects, operating a booth at the Culinology® Expo, and recruiting student members they believe will successfully utilize Culinology® principles to create the future of food!
Here are some other RCA Conference highlights quoted from other RCA Professional 2016 conference attendees:
“Why is the RCA convention my favorite week of the year? It’s because there is simply no better place to connect with the key decision makers in food industry R&D in the country. There is a trusted environment where both friends and foes (competitors) meet to discuss issues, innovations, and the future of food and beverage. While we feel that there is room to grow this great event the intimate size allows for deeper conversations and more inspiration! Every year, I leave invigorated with so many new and exciting ideas on how to benefit my company and the greater good system.
Additionally, I have the great honor to serve as a judge for the annual student competition. It’s absolutely one of my favorite events. The students are so professional, talented, bright and ambitious and I am always blown away by every team. The competition is intense and has two distinct parts, the proposal submission and the onsite execution piece. A great amount of work goes into the event but the result is a real-life experience and glimpse into a scalable commercialization process. I would encourage all students to consider this event. The students who participate have a door-opening opportunity to connect with some of the very best in the industry during the process. The competition absolutely will give them exposure and a competitive edge in the marketplace!”
-Gerrie Bouchard CRC®
Director of Marketing at ADM/Eatem Foods
RCA Board of Director
“I felt that the content this year of the sessions was above-average, candidly. If I come away from the conference with a couple of interesting new insights I consider it time well-spent, and that was the case this year. We have been following and exploiting the explosion of pulses in the world of consumer products for the past several years, and not only was it interesting to see our trend forecast validated, but also to learn about a couple of very intriguing techniques that were demonstrated using pulse brines and powders.
The several trend seminars also confirmed out take on current trends, though we had identified many of them previously.”
COO & Culinary Director at CCD Innovation
“I look forward to the RCA conference every year. I always enjoy talking to all the professionals that are truly shaping the future of food. This year’s conference was particularly good. I learned a great deal about current trends and made some fantastic new contacts and met several impressive students. I got back to work feeling inspired and motivated.”
-Karl Marsh CRC®
Executive Chef/Culinary Services Manager at Omaha Steaks
“Overall we had a great conference this year starting with the networking event at the Opera House , getting to know a lot of professionals in our industry, to the variety of learning sessions available during the conference. They had a great variety of topics for the learning sessions, including topics for the food service industry, topics for manufacturers, as well as controversial topics that are affecting our industry. Great learning experience for professionals and students. This is the conference that I look forward to every year, and this year’s didn’t disappoint.”
-Brando D. Tijerina CRC®
R&D Chef at Red Robin