The Home for Food Product Development

The Research Chefs Association is the leading professional community for food research and development. Our members are the pioneers of the discipline of Culinology® — the blending of culinary arts and the science of food.
RCA is a forward-thinking, vibrant, energized organization whose members benefit by being part of a dynamic community of equitable food professionals who work toward a common goal: the blending of culinary arts and food science.

Founded in 1996 by a group of research chefs dedicated to overcoming challenges facing the food product development professional, the Research Chefs Association (RCA) has grown to more than 2,000 members. Today, RCA is the premier source of global and inclusive culinary and technical information for the food industry, with a professionally diverse membership including chefs, food scientists and other industry professionals who are shaping the future of food research and development.

RCA members are the pioneers of the discipline of Culinology® — the blending of culinary arts and the science of food.

Culinology®, a registered trademark of RCA, is a fast-growing discipline that has evolved from the valuable partnership between the culinary professionals and food scientists.
Our Vision

As a pioneer in the discipline of Culinology®, the Research Chefs Association integrates food science and culinary arts expertise to elevate product development.

Our Mission

The Research Chefs Association cultivates collaborations between the chefs and food science professionals who develop food to increase innovation, quality and speed-to-market.

RCA History

  • 2024
    RCA Announces 2025 Conference

    The Research Chef Association will gather in St. Louis, Missouri, from March 18-20, 2025, at the stunning St. Louis Union Station Hotel for the 2025 RCA Conference. RCA is excited to build upon the success of the 2024 conference by expanding with a larger conference venue and exposition area. As the premier source for Culinology® innovation for the food industry, RCA's annual conference is certain to draw chefs, food scientists and food industry professionals who are shaping the future of food research and development.

  • 2024
    RCA Revitalization Continues at 2024 RCA Conference

    RCA's revitalization was declared at the 2024 RCA Conference. Held March 5-7, 2024, in Quincy, Mass., the event drew more than 560 participants to discover how innovation fuels the core of Culinology® transformation.

    Attendees gained a fresh perspective on the convergence of food science and culinary arts and engaged with industry experts for valuable education, practical demonstrations, and groundbreaking Culinology® innovations.

  • 2019
    2019 RCA Conference Recognized as a High-Growth U.S. Trade Show

    The 2019 RCA Conference, held March 13-15, 2019, in Louisville, Kentucky, was recognized in Trade Show Executive Magazine's Next 50, which recognizes growing trade shows held in the United States. The RCA Conference was honored in two categories:

    The Next 50 – By Net Square Feet of Exhibit Space
    The Next 50 – By Exhibiting Companies

  • 2020
    Hosted RCA Powered Up in light of COVID-19

    RCA Powered Up was a digital transformation of the 2020 RCA Conference, leveraging the innovation of online learning delivery to meet the needs and interests of the RCA community from the comfort of their homes, offices, labs and kitchens.

  • 2019
    The RCA Event in Napa

    The RCA Event in Napa brought together an exclusive group of product developers and innovation specialists to take part in a two-day, hands-on experience at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia during harvest season.

  • 2019
    2019 RCA Conference Attendees Raise $19,500 for the CEF

    The professional headshot booth, Food Truck Friday and live auction at the Thoroughbred Awards Reception and Gala all helped to raise more than $19,500! Your generosity directly supports qualified students and professionals pursuing higher learning and continuing education in Culinology®.

  • 2018
    RCA Hosts the First Culinology® Cocktail Competition

    The first-ever Culinology® Cocktail Competition, sponsored by Flavor Dynamics, Inc., took place at the RCA After Dark where participants competed to create the best cocktail.

  • 2017

    On March 15, 2017, RCA reveals its new corporate positioning and identity. The launch of a new identity allows the association to transform with the industry today and in the future.

  • 2016

    The first-ever Culinology textbook: Culinology® — The Intersection of Culinary Art and Food Science (Wiley, 2016) is published

    On October 18, 2016, RCA celebrates its 20th anniversary!

  • 2014
    $180,000 awarded to date in scholarship monies by RCF
  • 2013
    RCA launches its new, online member community, RCA Connect
  • 2012
    RCA hosts its inaugural Professional Culinology® Competition
  • 2011

    RCA celebrates its 15-year anniversary

    The first international Bachelor's Degree in Culinology launched at Taylor's University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  • 2010

    CA certifies more than 200 CRC®s and CCS®s

    More than 40 students graduate from RCA-approved Culinology® degree programs

    Total scholarship grants awarded by RCF since inception: $80,000

  • 2008

    Bill "Pops" Hahne Memorial Scholarship instituted

    First RCA-approved high school level Culinology® program established at Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro, NJ

  • 2007

    Michelle Block Memorial Scholarship instituted

  • 2007

    RCA hosts its inaugural Student Culinology® Competition

  • 2005

    RCA membership reaches 2,000

    RCA Lifetime Achievement Award initiated

  • 2004
    Second Culinology® 101 workshop for chefs at Johnson & Wales University
  • 2003

    Donald Moss earns first bachelor’s degree in Culinology® from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Launch of CULINOLOGY® magazine

    Certification Commission (RCACC) formed to oversee certification programs

  • 2002

    Research Chefs Foundation (RCF) formed to provide educational scholarships

    RCA membership reaches 1,200

    Certified Culinary Scientist (CCS®) logo created and criteria established

    First Culinary Arts for Food Scientists class held at the CIA in Hyde Park, NY

  • 2001

    Culinology® becomes a registered trademark of RCA

    First Culinology® 101 class for chefs held at Rutgers University

  • 2000
    The term Culinology® is born

    First stand-alone RCA Annual Conference held in New Orleans, LA

    First four CRC®s announced at the annual conference: Dan Sortwell, Skip Julius, Greg Grisanti and Joe O'Connor

  • 1999
    RCA membership reaches 500

    Certified Research Chef (CRC®) logo created and criteria established

    RCA hosts their first stand-alone conference in Chantilly, VA

  • 1998
    Second RCA Annual Conference held in Kansas City, MO
  • 1997
    RCA hosts its first Annual Conference in Cleveland, OH
  • 1996
    The Research Chefs Association (RCA) is founded
  • 1995

    Approximately 50 R&D members of the American Culinary Federation gather during Annual Convention to formulate the concept of an association to meet the specific needs of the research chef

    RCA's Association Bylaws were written and the first Board of Directors was elected


Charles Hayes, CEC, CRC

Vice President of Culinary Innovation | Deli Star

Jeff Crace

Chief Executive Officer | California Garlic Company

Anne Druschitz, CRC

Corporate Research Chef | The Edlong Corporation

Nicole Linke, CRC

Product Development and Innovation Manager | The Suter Company Inc.

Jaime Mestan, CRC, CCS

Regional Director Culinary of North America | Griffith Foods Inc.


Gregg Brickman

Corporate Executive Chef | Henny Penny

Anna Cheely

Chef and Lead Scientist | Kalsec, Inc.

Thomas Gervasi, CRC

Director of Culinary Product Development | Blount Fine Foods

Adam Howell

Sales Manager | SupHerb Farms

Cian Leahy, CRC, CCS

Sr. Director of Culinary Innovation | Tribe 9 Foods

Mickey Miller

Food Scientist - Product Developer | Bush Brothers & Co.

Chris Posner, CEC

Vice President of Culinary Innovation | The Seasoned Carte

Nelson Serrano-Bahri

Director of Innovation | American Egg Board

Mark Slutzky

Director of Culinary | McCain Foods North America

Kyle Stuart, CRC

Food Scientist

Board Member At Large

Gregory Willis

Founder & President | Senspire

What Our Partners Say About
Their RCA Experience

  • JMH Premium has been a sponsor of the RCA for the past two years. Measuring sponsorship success isn't always by spreadsheet. We value being where our customers are and we find them at the RCA Annual and regional events.

    Charles W. Hayes, CRC, CEC Vice President Culinary Innovations, R&D, JMH Premium

  • Partnering with RCA provides our company with great opportunities to improve our branding and increase our exposure. We are proud to contribute to the dynamic, innovative RCA team.

    Rick Daneke, Food Technologist, Dr. G's Creations LLC

  • The Annual RCA Conference, in my opinion, is the single most important annual event for those who intend to lead the food industry forward. To those who understand this I say lead the way, be a sponsor.

    Bob Hoopingarner Vice President, Sales & Marketing, International Dehydrated Foods, Inc.

  • RCA is at the top of our marketing plan. The exposure, opportunities and inspiration we receive from our ongoing involvement with this dynamic and diverse food R&D organization are unparalleled.

    Ron Schifsky, National Sales Manager, Butter Buds Food Ingredients


Every year, the Research Chefs Association pays tribute to the most accomplished, deserving professionals in the food product development industry.

These individuals are recognized during an Awards Ceremony that takes place during the RCA Conference.


See More Details


Volunteers drive the services and support RCA provides to our members.

RCA members lead or serve on committees, host regional events and activities, and much more.

We are grateful that these busy people are wiling to volunteer their time and talents to RCA. If you are interested in volunteering for a committee, hosting a regional event, starting a chapter, or any other service to support your association, please let us know at

Click below for a list of committees and committee leaders or to learn how you can get involved.

Committees and Chairs

Volunteer Opportunities