2013 Keynote Speaker
Chef Homaro Cantu
A modern-day Willy Wonka…. A chef in the Buck Rogers tradition….The most revolutionary person in food since Ray Kroc.
Homaro Cantu has earned for himself a number of monikers, but “old school” is unlikely to be one of them. Indeed, the chef/owner of Chicago’s Moto and iNG Restaurants and Cantu Designs has built an international reputation as a culinary trailblazer.
Chef Cantu graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon and developed his culinary skills at several establishments along the West Coast before moving to Chicago to join the team at Charlie Trotter’s restaurant where he rose to the position of Sous Chef. After leaving the venerable Charlie Trotter’s, Chef Cantu began to develop a concept for an experiential design based restaurant with a molecular gastronomy approach.
Today Moto and its sister restaurant iNG serve as playgrounds for Chef Cantu to put his concepts and creations into practice – melding food with science, technology and art to create an unmatched dining experience. Through his company Cantu Designs, Chef Cantu has filed numerous patent applications covering dining implements, cookware, printed food and is currently working on developing his inventions for commercial, humanitarian and aerospace applications. Chef Cantu and his “edible paper” have been featured in Gourmet (cover story October 2006), in Food and Wine (November 2006) as well as in the Wall Street Journal (June 2006) and American Scientist (August 2005) and was chosen as one of the best ideas of 2005 by The New York Times Magazine. Fast Company (May 2006) featured Chef Cantu and Cantu Designs in a cover story entitled “Weird Science” which praised his approach to running a small business with philanthropic goals. Cantu Designs’ interactive utensils were part of the exhibit “Feeding Desire, Design and Tools of the Table, 1500-2005” at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, and currently appear in Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry as part of their “Fast Forward, Inventing The Future” Exhibit.
In 2011, Chef Cantu opened iNG Restaurant, the world’s first restaurant that offers “flavor changing gastronomy,” an idea that Diane Sawyer said will “change the direction of food for years to come.” Dr. Sanjay Gupta from CNN described Cantu’s approach will transform “the way we think about food in brave new worlds.” In just over a year being open, iNG (which stands for imagining New Gastronomy) has been the subject of hundreds of articles around the world.
Currently, Chef Cantu is writing a book titled The Miracle Berry Diet Cook Book and building a multi-million dollar design and prototyping laboratory dedicated to disruptive green food technologies and addressing global food challenges such as obesity and famine.
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