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Nominations and Elections
2020 RCA Board Election
Voting for the 2020 RCA Board Election has closed and the candidates have been chosen. The newly and re-elected individuals beginning their term after the RCA Conference in April include:
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 mass 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 annul Student Competition at conference, as a professional mentor, and as a proud former member of the Board of Directors. What Gerrie is looking forward to most, is driving the financial future of the organization and inspiring our membership to get involved and stay involved!
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 stints at 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 Vice President of Sales and Marketing 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 US 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 Computer Programming industry for eight years. Feeling unfulfilled in that field, he joined California Garlic Company in 2011 as the Director of Business Development and has since grown the company from a small company to industry leader.
As the VP of Sales and Marketing Jeff leads his team and his network of brokers throughout North America supporting food manufacturers. Jeff is an active member of RCA where he is the current SoCal Regional Chair and a member of RCA’s Marketing Committee. 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. In 2011 and 2014, he won the Culinology Expo Award at the Research Chef Association Annual Conferences for his black garlic sauce and black garlic Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes. Jeff is always seeking to help his customers solve production issues as well as staying on top of up and coming food trends, whether it is assisting with new formulations or finding new ingredients for his customers.
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.
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. The next year with what I had learned I set my goals on winning the Culinology award which I did with a Black Garlic Sauce. 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.
Having been a member of RCA for the past 9 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.
My introduction to the RCA was due to a very involved and passionate founding member, John Matchuk. While I was fortunate to join the organization at the beginning of my career in product development, I am not exaggerating when I say that I would not be where I am today without the knowledge, friendships and networking I gained here. It’s so exciting to see how the food industry has evolved from where we were 20+ years ago. At that time, culinary arts and food science were, for the most part, separate disciplines that were just starting to overlap. Now, Culinology is recognized as a catalyst for positive changes to food. I am inspired to push that envelope further by strengthening our membership and growing our influence within the industry. As the race to feed more people with less resources speeds up, we have the opportunity and duty to really change the future of food. Let’s figure it out together!
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 the Vice President of the Research Chefs Association while also serving as the Regional Key Contact for the Greater New York- Philadelphia region. 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.
In her spare time, Jessica can be found wandering the streets of Manhattan discovering new restaurants and street art. Music has always been a major influence in her life and she takes the opportunity to see a concert whenever possible.
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.
People often use the words “growth” and “learning” conjunctively when describing professional development. While they could have similar meanings, the relationship of the two words is much deeper than the surface assumption of bettering oneself-or climbing to achieve more intellect. These simple, everyday words are often used to describe the relationship between an educator and a pupil, where one talks and the other absorbs. But what if the roles were reversed? What if the pupil was the one offering the platform for perspective and enlightenment to the educator?
Today, we are privileged to live in an age of advanced technology and enlightenment, where those who are both eager to teach and learn can have endless opportunities. While I could make lists of reasons why my position on the board would be beneficial, it will not speak to my character and my drive for collaboration in the ultimate goal of gaining intellect and making the environment around me better. My entire life has been a platform for personal and professional growth and my ultimate goal is to see what roads my potential will take me. With that, I take immense pride in being able to help and positively influence others.
After being elected to serve during the 2018-2020 term, in March 2019, I was asked to run then elected to the Vice President position on the Executive Committee. While filled with uncertainty, once in motion, it was easy to see how the synergy of the individuals sitting along side on the current EC, which has been nothing short of inspiring. Our President and I strategize bi-weekly and have been building a platform for future growth opportunities within organization. This year, in November we’ll have our first ever month of “giving back” association wide, stronger concentrations on supporting regional events & their initiatives, hosting more elevated events, strategically partnering with complimentary associations and our first ever push for global regional events!
A Vision Statement is a glimpse into the future of what could be—not what was. Over the past couple years, we have made tremendous strides in establishing the Research Chefs Association as a leading organization for industry professionals and are still heading north on that J-curve. My vision for the future of the Research Chefs Association is bring the down the educator and raise up the pupil so they have an opportunity to grow and learn together.
I’m excited to continue the work already in motion and support this incredible organization at the board level. If elected for a second term, I plan to focus on the needs of our community and be a representative of what our members desire from this growing organization.
Biography of Nick Landry 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.
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.
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.
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 integral 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.
Dr. Rosemary Trout is Program Director and Assistant Clinical Professor of Culinary Arts & Food Science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During her twelve years at Drexel, Rose taught and wrote laboratory exercises for introductory level food science, food microbiology, food composition, and sensory analysis courses. She has done research in antioxidant properties of fruit juices, chocolate sensory appeal, food sustainability and reduction in food waste-centered curriculum development with colleagues through the James Beard Foundation, and currently is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to study product development in the dairy space. Prior to Drexel, Rose taught culinary and hospitality courses at Northampton Area Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She spent time as a Restaurant Manager at Disney’s Grand Floridian Beach Resort, and The Sequoia Lodge and DisneyLand Hotel at EuroDisney in Marn La Valee, France.
Rose is also one of the featured food scientists on the “Four Levels” series for epicurious.com, and “Making Perfect” with Brad and Andy for Bon Appetite.
Rose lives with her husband Joe Trout Ph.D., who is a physicist at Stockton University, in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia, where they share a community garden with neighbors. Living in a large city, she is always happy to see how much food you can grow in a city block! In regard to food, I think it’s important to consume the food you purchase to minimize waste, enjoy what you eat, cherish family food traditions, appreciate every link in the food-supply chain, and remember conventionally grown ingredients are not the enemy.
As a member of the RCA Board of Directors, I would like to move RCA forward as the association of innovative product development experts by integrating all aspects of the food industries, respecting and learning from all members of the food supply chain, and incorporating untapped expertise from the restaurant and technical sectors.
I have been a member of the Food Science & Technology category of RCA since 2013. My perspective is based on my career as an Assistant Clinical Professor and Program Director of Culinary Arts & Food Science at Drexel University. I see my position on the Board as one of liaison. I look to RCA members for information on how to incorporate innovation from industry into our curriculum so that the next generation of product development professionals are prepared for the food industry. In turn, I share new research, student expectations, and updates on the state of higher education in regard to food.
As a member of the Board of Directors since 2015, membership value and networking is a priority for me. As education committee chair, and with generous input and donations from key members, we have established a higher education task force for culinology program faculty and advisors to meet for the purpose of updating and share curriculum information. We have established well-attended webinars and expanded our learning library. Good professional relationships are a hallmark of this organization. I am grateful for all that I’ve learned through RCA and for the friends that I’ve made. Thank you for considering my application to continue to serve on the Board of Directors.
Nominations and Board Development Committee
To maintain strong leadership in the Research Chefs Association (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.
Catherine Proper, CEC
Charles Hayes, CEC®, CRC®
The 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
You can find more information about the nominations and election process and procedures on the Nominations and Election FAQs page. For more information, contact a Nominations Committee Member or RCA Headquarters.