Nominations and Elections

Get to Know the 2022 RCA Board Candidates

There are nine (9) candidates for the 2022 RCA Board. You can vote for no more than seven (7) candidates. From the nine candidates on the slate, the seven candidates who receive the most number of votes will be seated on the 2022 RCA Board of Directors, beginning in March 2022. Voting for the 2022 RCA Board of Directors closed in December 2021.

Please note: Changes cannot be made once you’ve submitted your ballot. Please be sure about your selections before you submit your vote.

Please click on the candidates below to view their submitted bios.



Renowned Chef Charlie Baggs is the founder and creative fire behind Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations. But his passion for cooking goes back to his childhood in Indiana where he first learned how to make homemade biscuits and gravy at his father’s feet. That spark set him off into a career in food.

Armed with a degree from Purdue University in Hotels, Tourism and Restaurant Management, along with an associate degree in nutrition, Charlie continued his higher education in the art and business of cooking at the Culinary Institute of America where he graduated with honors. He then honed his skills working in some of America’s top kitchens including: Ambria, Spiaggia, Marriott Hotels, Walt Disney World, and his grandma’s senior living home.

Then in 1999, with a focus on integrating an innovative and quality approach that ensures every client meets their culinary business goals, Chef Charlie began a labor of love – Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations – which has become the food industry’s premium consulting practice.

Building strategy, managing finance, creating, and implementing marketing plans, sales forecasting and planning, designing technical and culinary programs, are just a few of the skills he has developed while running his company the last 22 years.

When not cooking professionally, Charlie enjoys helping teach Boy Scouts how to plan and cook meals around a campfire. A big believer in the concept of giving back, Chef Charlie served as an Adjunct Professor in the Food Science Department at Purdue University, where he taught a course in “Culinary Arts for the Food Scientist.” Now he teaches two courses at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Lewis College of Science and Letters: Culinology and Cultural Cuisine.

As a nationally recognized culinary expert, he is a popular speaker at industry conferences, including:

  • The Flavor Experience
  • The Institute of Food Technologists
  • The National Restaurant Association
  • The Research Chefs Association

From his culinary center headquarters to his clients’ kitchens to training his next protégée, Chef Charlie can always be found bringing his passion for cooking to life. The CBCI team is Prepared by Charlie Baggs October 25, 2021 located at a new state-of-the-art kitchen in Chicago – a perfect place for industry events and training classes.

It will always “be another beautiful day” in the world of Charlie Baggs.

Vision Statement

I have been a member and involved in the RCA since 1999, a couple weeks after starting my own innovation company. The RCA was a launching pad for my vision to be an expert in Culinology – bringing food science into the classic culinary realm to elevate the product development process. Having worked alongside many industry chefs and food scientists, I’ve learned what is critical in a scientist and chef’s career, and that is to enhance the product development process.

After being a member for a few years, I sponsored the first education chair on the RCA board. I wanted to support education then, as I do now. I have always put my energy into giving back to the industry in many ways, especially with RCA. At CBIC we still teach courses to help food scientists get their culinary training in preparation for taking the CCS test.

In the early 2000s when the RCA was really gaining traction in the industry, I worked with a past board member, John Matchuk. He was a visionary and had the same idea and passion to create a regional chapter in Chicago. So, we hosted the first regional meeting at Griffith Laboratories to great success.

My leadership skills along with my knowledge of the industry, business acumen and desire to do my best to benefit members will help me make a positive impact on the RCA.

I believe for RCA to thrive, remain relevant and secure our future, we need to continue to have a voice at industry events and by our example, encourage more people to get involved with the organization. My goal is to continue to contribute to building brand equity in RCA and to educate the industry about the value of membership. I also believe it is critical to align with the executive team and the other board members to collaborate on delivering value to RCA members.



Gerrie Bouchard is an innovative, creative, business-minded professional with expertise in all aspects of the food industry; from marketing and sales, full-process operations, culinary arts, food science, project management and finance. As a former member of the Board of Directors, she is ready to continue the positive impact she has had on the Research Chefs Association over the past 15 years. She is grateful for her strong network and is passionately determined to grow the organization while ensuring it stays true to its roots.

She holds an MBA from Northeastern University, a Bachelor’s in journalism and mass communications from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, and an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts from the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, in Philadelphia.

Ms. Bouchard is a life-long foodie and attributes her mother’s dedication to family as the catalyst for developing an early, and deeply passionate, love of food.  This passion has driven Gerrie to pursue opportunities in all aspects of the food system from seed to plate.

With a robust resume including her current role with Tastepoint by IFF and positions in multiple food arenas including early-stage entrepreneurial ventures, Gerrie has developed strong relationships with farmers, ingredient suppliers, a variety of manufacturers, and those within the complex broadline foodservice distribution network.  She is a variable supply chain wiz who has experienced, firsthand, the most extreme challenges and inspiring opportunities in the quest to bring great food to the market.

Her first introduction to the Research Chefs Association was during her more than 12-years with the Eatem Foods division of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). Back in 2005, she had no idea what a research chef was, but was immediately drawn to the organization and she easily recognized the immense value in growing a network there. In early 2008 she completed the Culinology 101 course and successfully earned the Certified Research Chef designation in 2010.

She has served the organization in many committees and capacities including the Greater New York Regional committee, as an on-site judge for the annual Student Competition at conference, and as a professional mentor.   Most recently she has led the establishment of RCA’s DE&I initiative that aims to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization where all people can thrive. Gerrie also proudly serves the Executive Committee as the organization’s treasurer. What Gerrie is looking forward to most is maintaining the financial stability of the organization during this unprecedented time, creating value for all members, and inspiring our members to get involved and stay involved!

Vision Statement

Through the RCA I’ve made the most meaningful professional relationships of my career and it is truly an organization that I love. I want to continue to give back by bringing my high-level of marketing and financial acumen to the table to drive the strategic growth, financial health, and long-term stability of RCA.

While I’ve spent most of my career in the ingredient segment, my resume also includes experience with broadline distributors as well as entrepreneurial CPG brands. This eclectic path has allowed me to understand the value that RCA can offer to these untapped audiences. Membership is critical to the future of RCA and broadening our value proposition to attract new member segments is imperative. I bring a unique ability to do just that while also understanding the critical importance of staying true to our roots.



Jeff Crace, Garlic King’s CEO, found his passion in an unconventional way.  His journey began long before the company’s humble beginning.  Jeff felt the strong desire to serve his country and joined the US Army immediately after graduating from high school.  He served for three years as a Military Police Sergeant in the Army.  After serving, he decided to pursue higher education by attending St. Cloud State University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice.  After graduating from college, Jeff worked for a Fortune 500 Retail company where he held various management positions.  In 2001, he decided to earn his second degree, a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in the industry for eight years.  Feeling unfulfilled in that field, he joined California Garlic Company in 2011 as the Director of Business Development then went on to the be the VP of Sales and Marketing and most recently to the CEO position. In the past 11 Jeff has elevated the company from a small company to industry leader.

As the CEO Jeff leads his team and his network of brokers throughout North America supporting food manufacturers.  Jeff is an active member of RCA where he currently serves as a RCA Board Member and the SoCal Regional Chair.  Additionally, Jeff is on the Membership Advisory Committee for the Association of Dressing and Sauces as well as serving on the Supplier Advisory Committee for Pickle Packers International. 

On the personal side, Jeff has combined his passion for food with his love for travel.  He has traveled extensively throughout the world, including four continents and over 20 countries for both personal and professional growth.  No matter the reason he is always seeking out new experiences and trying new foods.  When he gets an opportunity to take time for himself, he can be found enjoying his hobbies: traveling with his family or off roading in his Jeep.

Vision Statement

A couple months before I was officially hired by Garlic King I attended my first RCA conference in 2010 in Phoenix Arizona. I told Garlic King that I wanted to see the conference firsthand so I could prepare for the next conference which would be held in Atlanta. I was blown away by the conference and the attendees. Many of the people that I met at that conference are still friends and/or colleagues. Since then, I have been an active member in the SoCal Region since 2014 and in 2016 I took over Regional Chair position for Southern California. We hold a yearly event and currently working on building a regional committee for events. In 2019 I was asked to be member on the Marketing and Content committee. I was also asked recently if I would be willing to be on the Food and Beverage Committee. In 2019 I was elected to serve on the RCA Board of Directors from 2020-2022. As a Board member I co-Chaired the RCA Regions. During COVID this was a challenging time and the Regions really adapted and provided member with great continuing education.

Having been a member of RCA for the past 11 years I seen it grow and change. With that said I think that are still opportunities for growth and change. I think that with my business experience I could help with this. Since being a Regional Chair I see the need for more synergy between committees. For example, Regions are tasked with increasing membership as well as retention. In addition, they are tasked with providing educational opportunities to regional members. The issue is there are committees that are already tasked with this but there is no communication, goal setting, planning between these committees and the regions.

The skills that I bring to the table is business development, project management, team building, brand development and marketing. I think these skills could be used to enhance the current Board.

My goal as a Board member would to continue to grow RCA, improve retention and continue to make RCA a leader in the Culinology. Also, it was recently described to me that as a 2nd Generation in a business I typically will challenge status quo, and this is true. It’s great that this is the way it worked in the past but how can we make it better? I also look into the future which would be true for RCA as well. How can we make RCA better in 2-5-10 years?



My path to culinary school was inspired by a passion for food and a love of travel.  Whenever my family would vacation, my mom’s quest for unique yet affordable souvenirs always started in the grocery store.  A week-long culinary camp experience while still in high school cemented my decision to attend culinary school, much to the consternation of my parents.  When they found out I was awarded a full academic scholarship to Kendall College, they (mostly) changed their tune.  Upon graduation from Kendall, I attended New York University to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Food Studies.  At the time, I was interested in food writing, as well as food styling and photography. 

After finishing my first year at NYU, I learned one of my chef instructors from Kendall had left teaching to go work for an R&D consulting company.  Chef Larry Smith became the corporate chef for Turover-Strauss.  His knowledge of food science was minimal.  The way he described a powdered, instant sauce mix was ‘dust in a cup.’   However, he needed an intern, so I applied for the job.  The product variety had me hooked and I loved the challenge of trying to deconstruct textures and flavor profiles with a whole new arsenal of ingredients that I knew next to nothing about.  I spent the summer learning about industrial food manufacturing and scouring local grocery stores for random retail gold standard products. 

Upon graduating NYU with my bachelor’s degree, I applied for food scientist jobs and writing/publishing jobs.  The rejection letters kept coming- needs a journalism degree; needs a food science degree; needs examples of published writing.   At the time, going back to school was not high on my priority list.  I called my former chef at Le Titi de Paris and asked if he needed any cooks.  They fortunately did, so I had gainful employment.  After another year at the restaurant I found a part time R&D job working at T. Hasegawa’s culinary center in Northbrook.  For ten months I spent Monday-Friday mornings at T. Hasegawa, developing applications to showcase their flavors, and spent nights and weekends cooking and baking at Le Titi.  Hasegawa eventually found room in their budget to offer me a full-time position and the rest, as they say, is history.  I spent five years there after which I joined Edlong, where I have worked since 2008. 

  • Sourcing diverse and dynamic year-round educational opportunities
  • Engaging our regions in networking and collaboration
  • Strengthening the links between our professional members, student members and educator champions of the global network of Culinology programs in academia

I challenge our members to share with me how I can help them reignite their own enthusiasm for Culinology and the RCA.  Let’s make it delicious!  

Vision Statement

As I reflect on my first term as an RCA board member, I am amazed at the many twists and turns that have been collectively thrown at us in the past 2 years.  Our small but mighty group has successfully executed not just one but two virtual conferences, launched a successful fundraising campaign to ensure the current & future success of the organization and continued its quest to enhance and encourage practitioners of Culinology in North America and around the world.  I am inspired by the talents and tenacity of my fellow board members.  The dedication shown by our membership is a daily reminder of the potential progress that is achievable when we have a shared passion.

While I am not a new RCA member by any means, I am newly motivated to continue serving my community on their Board of Directors.  I aspire to bring value to our membership by working with the board and our committees on the following:



Jessica comes from a family that has been in the food business for generations. Her grandfather owned and operated Gold-De, a meat processing factory with a reputation for making the best corned beef, pastrami and tongue in New York City. Her father got his start in the family business, later working for other food manufactures and ingredient companies before having the opportunity to purchase NuSpice in 1994.

Jessica developed an interest in cooking at an early age by helping her mom in the kitchen and working on a produce farm during high school. She furthered her knowledge of food and its preparation in high school, completing two years of Foods and Nutrition as her electives and in college working as a waitress & bartender.

After completing her BS in Marketing and Creative Writing at Roger Williams University, Jessica decided to join her father’s business. Her tenacious marketing efforts have transformed a relatively unknown ingredient company to one that is well known and respected throughout the food processing industry. Determined to further her knowledge, she enrolled in the Masters Program at Montclair State University, majoring in Food Science and Nutrition.

With the opportunity to truly discover the culinary world, Jessica joined several professional organizations including the Research Chefs Association and discovered her passion for creating flavor experiences and learning how she could pull inspiration from culinary arts. In 2013, Jessica began working with Bergen Technical High School’s Culinology program to assist with their student’s educational development.

Jessica currently serves as the Secretary of the Research Chefs Association while also serving as the Regional Key Contact for the Greater New York- Philadelphia region over the past 10 years. She also served as the Vice President on the Executive Committee for two terms during 2019-2020, working alongside President Justin Kanthak to ensure the organization made it through the Covid-19 pandemic.  In October 2018, she organized a Gatsby-themed Culinology dinner at the James Beard House in New York City, hosting 10 Culinologist cooking an 8-course dinner. This sold-out event was pivotal for the association as it raised over $17,000 for the Culinology Education Foundation and the Association itself.

Jessica’s role at Nu Products Seasoning Company (NuSpice) is Vice President. In 2016, her brother, a graduate of Niagara Community College Culinary School, entered the family business and together, they will continue to have a presence in the food world.

Vision Statement

The last couple of years have been extremely challenging on all of us. Between the on-going pandemic, labor and logistics issues coupled with environmental and political factors have forced us to pivot to new normals.

As I run for my 3rd consecutive term on the Board of Directors for the Research Chefs Association, I am reminded of how far we’ve come since our inability to host in-person conferences during the past two years. Having served two terms as Vice President and finishing my first term as Secretary, I’ve been intimately involved in the decisions and actions the organization took to ensure the longevity of the organization – and group of professionals deeply interested in seeing the industrial food industry change for the better. 

I can’t promise what tomorrow looks like, but what I can promise is continue working with the incredible volunteers on the Board, the staff at Smith Bucklin and all the other volunteers to support the organization using my skillset in the most optimal way.

The motto for Manhattan County, New York City is “Excelsior” – meaning “ever upwards”. This is the only direction to aim for during these trying times and I’m committed more than ever to reaching our pinnacle.



Nick Landry started his career in his early teenage years after growing up around great cooking from his grandparents and parents. It was a career path he knew he needed to take, and his love and passion for food was second to none.

After graduating high school, Nick Landry wanted to attend the Chef John Folse Culinary School on the campus of Nicholls State University, located just one and a half hours from the Acadiana Area and about one hour from New Orleans, Louisiana. Throughout college Nick worked at The Riverfront Restaurant in Abbeville, Louisiana when he would come home from the weekends (and when not fulfilling his duties as an equipment manager for the Colonel Football team). Nick also worked at the World Famous Copelands Restaurant throughout college in Houma, Louisiana.

Throughout Nick’s college education in Culinary Arts, he knew he wanted to set his goals high for his externships. For Nick’s first externship he moved to St. Thomas, USVI to work at the Ritz Carlton under Chef Roger Stettler, who gained his Certified Master Chef’s Certificate in Switzerland. Nick worked as a line cook for his summer at the Ritz Carlton.

For his senior externship Nick decided to work at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York.  After Nick’s externship at Westchester he returned to Nicholls to finish his Bachelor of Science Degree in Culinary Arts. He received his diploma in December of 2005.

After graduating Nick decided to move back to Rye, New York and spend 3.5 years working under Chef Leonard, CMC and Chef Jonathon Moosemiller, CMC. At the country club Nick rose from grill cook, to Sous Chef, and then was name Restaurant Chef at the fine dining restaurants the Sports House Grill and the Gun Club Grill.

Upon returning to South Louisiana, Nick had his first opportunity to enter the Research & Development world of Culinary. He worked at Bruce Foods for 5.5 years as Corporate Research and Development Chef. After leaving Bruce Foods, Nick became Quality of Life Manager at Cajun Maritime, LLC for 1.5 years before being laid off.

Nick is currently employed by Southeastern Mills as Culinary Development Chef, where he has been for the past 4 years. Nick has served on the Research Chefs Association Boards for his first term of two years and is applying to run his second term. As member of the Research Chefs Association, Nick has been on the sub-committee Food and Beverage Board for two years, led the Food and Beverage committee for 2 years, and was recently asked to lead the conference planning committee for the annual RCA Conference, and hand of the baton to another member to run the food and beverage committee.

Personal Vision Statement 2020- 2022

Vision Statement

As a member of the Research Chefs Association and having served my first term (2 years) on the Board of Directors and now running for my second term, I see change happening within our organization, and the change is for the better. It all happens with great leadership from our partners, the voices from our members and leaders in the industry like everyone holding a position on the Board. There are many challenges in our daily lives and our daily jobs with the industry we all work in and chances have to be taken, the outcomes are always hopeful for positive; however, for every negative, it makes us that much stronger. That is what the Research Chefs Association is about, taken chances to grow our organization, that is what I love most.

We challenge ourselves and we challenge each other that is what makes our industry successful and our organization the best organization in the industry. As leaders we strive to build relationships amongst our peers and we strive to be leaders to the younger generation because at the end of the day they are our future.

The Research Chefs Association will continue to be strong organization and we will continue to be leaders and mentors in the Research and Development industry.  As members we show our true passion and love for not only our food; but who we meet and how well respected we are in the industry.

I am personally in this organization 110% and will continue to be a leader and sharing out of organization and would love the opportunity to serve a second term on the board of directors. 



When people say they are passionate about food, I know I am with the right people!  I don’t mean eating food, I mean understanding how it brings people together, how it is everchanging and a challenge to create something from nothing at times.

I worked in restaurants in different positions to work through high school and college.  I started as Hostess and then worked as Waitress, Headwait and Expo.  I kept busy in school with classes, Speech team, Marching Band, Concert Band, Choir, Musicals, and Poms and always had a job. I never was bored, so I was grateful for that. 

I started in Junior College and then continued onto Bradley University to get my Bachelor of Science and I loved it there as it was the perfect size for me to make an impact.  I was in the Foster College of Business and focused on Industrial Organizational Psychology. I then took leadership roles in any organizations that I could fit in my schedule and was fortunate to be part of Society for Human Resources (SHRM), Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), Women in Business (WIB), American Marketing Association (AMA) and Alpha Chi Omega.

I began my career in Recruiting then transitioned to Purchasing.  At a growing company, we had a lot of lunch celebrations together. What started as a potluck moved onto my desire to create menus and have more theme-based gatherings.  I took the lead and prepared a meal for the company each month.  I became good at it and people decided they wanted these celebrations more in their personal lives for their personal, special events.  I earned my ServSafe certification to make this a reality.  We moved to build our new home and found a Purchasing position at a food company.   I worked as Purchasing Specialist for 7 years and moved into Product Development and Innovation.  In this position, I get to create products and bring them through the commercialization process on cross-functional teams including Sales, Quality, Operations, Customer Service and Accounting.  I am involved from the initial concept presentation through the entire product cycle, including anything needed through the product optimization process.  We don’t pass the baton in this organization, we work together as a team and hold each other accountable. 

Vision Statement

I joined the RCA in 2019 and knew immediately it was a good fit for me while attending the Louisville, KY conference.  I have been an IFT member since 2015 and was contemplating becoming a Certified Food Scientist.  This certification is technical and very important, but it seemed that I wanted to pursue a different path with a different blend of culinary skills and food science, so I learned about becoming a Certified Research Chef.  I have had the opportunity to network with a lot of people and learn a lot in different sessions, Chicago section meetings and the world of Zoom meetings and multiple webinars to learn from RCA.  (Please see Credentials attachment)

My hopes on joining the RCA Board is to bring what I have learned in food manufacturing for grocery, convenience stores, food service and collaborate with others. 

As board members, we need to educate, communicate and bring people together.  We must understand the why and be able to make the connection between food science and culinary skills.  There are people that have a very broad understanding and those that are very technical and specialized.  I feel that we can bring experiences together through our memberships of IFT, RCA, RFA and other organizations to share this wealth of knowledge.  I feel I will have a positive impact as I can bring experience, an open mind and organizational skills to the table.  I would love this to be a learning and teaching experience at the same time with an amazing group of people from different walks of life.

I am qualified because I have learned from many different points of view and want to continue to learn, grow and teach.  I would love to be part of a group that shared information and hands-on experience that I can then bring back to my company and personal education.  One of my personal goals is for consumers trust the food industry and I know that is a giant ask, but someone must get the right group of people together to do this, and that group is the RCA.

Vision: Gain consumer trust in the food industry by sharing facts and education among research chefs



I spent several years working for a mechanical contracting company in my previous life. During that time, I was installing food processing equipment, related piping, controls, etc. I was responsible for building the pilot plant at Bush Brothers & Company which led to a position in the engineering group as pilot plant maintenance.

Shortly after, I returned to school and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Food Science & Technology with focus on business and technology at The University of Tennessee.

After graduating, I moved from Engineering to Product Development. Since then, our company has been exploring flavorful new avenues that promote mainstream consumption of vegetable protein…eat more beans! Within my tenure at Bush Brothers, I have gained extensive knowledge in thermal processing, process improvement, and product development. I currently manage the development of several new products via co-manufacturers and suppliers. I am deeply involved with every step from ideation to commercialization including market research, product development (product and packaging), quality, food safety, and regulatory.

I have served as the Volunteer Section of IFT president twice, member at large each remaining year receiving the “Outstanding Section Volunteer” award 11 times and a Certificate of Appreciation for leadership and dedication from IFT National. I Currently I manage the section website with updates and news. I was also an instrumental voice in the decision-making process leading to 2014 change in membership tier options.

My personal interests include spending time with the family, waiting to see what my daughter (the artist) creates next, coaching my son for the high school bowling team, riding the Street Glide, playing with the culinary arts, and more rounds of golf when possible.

Vision Statement

I joined the RCA in 2015 not fully understanding what RCA was about. During the first conference I attended, I fell in love with the concept of Culinology, the variety of members, trend awareness, and the overall environment.

While IFT has an important role and is certainly a place for the science of food, the environment is not always warm and is often specific to regulatory, quality issues, ingredients, and equipment. The science behind making quality food safely is there, but the aspect of making great tasting products while staying on trend is missing for me. As an early stage to commercialization product developer, I wanted more.

What I love most about the RCA is the blend of culinary and science (Culinology). I feel a warmness and camaraderie within the RCA and its members. It seems everyone here has a unique story just like me. RCA just “fits” my personality, professional goals as a developer, and curiosity for what comes next.

It would be a great opportunity to bring more science through members and content to this already great group of Chefs and Scientists. My goal is to be able to help everyone make quality, great tasting food that is always safe. I believe my extensive knowledge in processing and food science would support that goal. I would love to work as competitions chair again. The last two I competitions I supported were virtual so this would be the first time I could get to work “in-person” on competitions.



For more information, contact a member of the Nominations Committee or RCA Headquarters.

My education in culinary arts began in my junior year of high school when I enrolled in a two-year vocational program in culinary arts and foodservice management. While being trained in fundamentals, I learned of the Culinary Nutrition and Food Science program at Johnson & Wales University and decided to pursue a degree. With credits from vocational school and a dose of determination I was able to earn my associates degree in Culinary Arts in just over a year. I was accepted into the Culinary Nutrition program shortly after to pursue my bachelors degree. Over the course of the next two years our instructors challenged us to apply the culinary fundamentals to the world of product development. During this time I served as the president of the nutrition society, a club that granted me the chance to lead, create, and learn with other members of the student body, faculty, and community.

Upon graduation, I took a six-month internship with the Kraft-Heinz Company. Here, I worked on a cross-functional culinary science team developing, testing and commercializing frozen meals and sauces. I even had the opportunity to work with Chef David Chang in matching and commercializing his restaurant’s ssam sauce. This initial exposure to one of the largest food manufacturers in the world gave me an invaluable crash course in the business.

Following my internship I chose to leave Kraft-Heinz and explore the supplier side of the business. I accepted a Culinary Scientist position with Parker Products, a specialty candy manufacturer. As a liaison between marketing and R&D I was able to streamline innovation and better communicate project goals by finding and building upon the synergies between groups. Within six months, I was promoted to R&D Supervisor where I took on the responsibilities of managing all incoming projects as well as supervising the R&D team. As heavy supporters of the dairy industry I was introduced to Darifair Foods, a value added dairy manufacturer and founding sponsor of the RCA. After learning about an open position with Darifair, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to dive further into the technical industry of dairy. Soon after our introduction, I joined the team as a Product Development Chef. I provide both culinary and technical expertise in customer presentations, product development and commercialization. My most recent accomplishments include earning my CRC through the RCA as well as my CFS through the IFT.

Vision Statement

I joined the RCA as a competitor in the student Culinology competition my senior year of college. Having helped the previous year’s team prepare for their competition, I was determined to compete and explore the opportunities the RCA offered. From the moment I arrived at my first conference, I felt as though I had been welcomed into a family, and that family has only grown stronger over the years.

I have been involved in several events led by the New England chair, Susanna Tolini, as well as RCA meetup events held during the Summer Fancy Food Show. One of my goals would be to evaluate how we can grow membership through other organizations. In many cases, regions lack the numbers to hold regular meetings. I would like to explore the possibility of the RCA partnering with the IFT and ACF to grow regional activity, focusing on how can the RCA continue to collaborate with other professionals and give some of our remote members a more active platform.

If elected, I believe I can provide a unique insight into the new generation of culinologists and create a more interactive environment for our members to strengthen and grow personally and professionally. The RCA has been an intrical part of my educational and professional career. As an individual who continues to search tirelessly for the perfect intersection of culinary arts and food science for business success, I hope to help lead us into the future of culinology by redefining the way we look at the product development industry.

Another focus of mine would be membership value. The more we provide and give back to our members, growth will follow organically. This can be accomplished through an increase in tools such as the online learning modules, or guest speaker events where relevant figures and members can share their story and inspire those around them. There is extreme value in simply getting people together to share their passion for food. Our members are the future of the R&D industry and we need to continue to grow and set the stage for future generations of RCA members.

As an RCA board member I would uphold the RCA’s principles and focus on growing the experience for our members and providing a constructive environment to strengthen their passion and competencies. I wish to help shape the future, and raise the standard of our industry.

2020-2021 Nominations and Board Development Committee

To maintain strong leadership in RCA, the Nominations and Board Development Committee (NBDC) is charged with identifying and elevating top talent who are willing and able to serve on RCA’s Board of Directors.

Chair Committee Members

Catherine Proper, CEC
Nando's PERi-PERi USA

Erich Chieca 
Sadler's Smokehouse, Inc. / RCA Board Liaison to the NBDC

Dolf DeRovira
Flavor Dynamics

Nicklas Frolander
General Mills

Chip Potter
Staff Liaison

The NBDC Committee's Mission

  • Solicit and recruit candidates based on stated eligibility requirements
  • Evaluate potential candidates against current and future needs of the board
  • Present slate of nominees
  • Assure leadership development
  • Advise president and board of directors of potential appointments in the event of vacancies