Focusing on the discipline of Culinology®—the blending of culinary arts and food science—the Research Chefs Association’s 2012 Annual Conference & Culinology Expo will present the latest research and trends from leading industry professionals and showcase cutting-edge product development technologies on March 21–24, 2012, in San Antonio, Texas.The half-day Culinology Expo will feature nearly 150 booths showcasing ingredients, new products, and culinary treats.

The conference will feature three general sessions, five in-depth workshops, and more than 20 breakout sessions targeted to research chefs, food scientists, and other food professionals. The first general session, “2012: Menu Makers and Traffic Builders,” features Liz Sloan, President, Sloan Trends, Inc., who will discuss which menu trends are growing and which ones are losing popularity as well as examine the latest flavor profiles, preparation methods, and generational preferences. A panel of experts with experience in Hispanic foods will inform attendees on how the Hispanic market is evolving, which trends will have the most impact, and what companies need to know to develop products targeted to the Hispanic consumer during the second general session, “Developing Products for the Hispanic Market.” In the final general session, “Culinology Today,” Culinology magazine will present a panel discussion.

The workshops cover a range of topics to help culinary professionals advance their careers or learn more about food trends affecting the industry. Workshop topics include Certified Research Chef exam study session; open innovation as a solution to technical food and beverage challenges; sodium concerns and reduction in processed foods, restaurant cuisine and baked goods; an introduction to the regional cuisine of Tex-Mex; and demonstrations and tasting of sous vide cooking.

As with the workshops, the breakout sessions address varied issues, and they are organized into three levels based on a participant’s knowledge about the subject. Here is a list of the various sessions to be held throughout the conference: “CRC and CCS Information Session: Taking the Next Step in Your Career,” “Halal Recipe Development: A Competitive Edge in Global and Specialty
Markets,” “Chef-Scientist Collaboration: Culinology Made to Order,” “Open Innovation: A Tool for Shortening Stage Gate Development Timelines,” “Beef Made Easy,” “Greening Your R&D kitchen,” “The New Standard in Foodservice Innovation,” “Prevention, Intervention, and Detection: A Complete Approach to Food Safety,” “Regional Cuisine with Food Arts Magazine,” “Designing Naturally Healthy proteins,” “‘Senior Moments’: Successful Culinology Professionals Share Career and Life Lessons,” “Student-Professional Speed Meet and Greet,” “Translating Thai Flavors with Culinary Integrity,” “Building Flavors in the Kitchen,” “Impact of Natural Extracts on Oxidative Stability,” “Legumes: Ancient Foods in Modern Diets,” “A Systematic Approach to Ideation,” “RCA Milestone: Launching a Culinology Degree Program,” “All About Gluten-Free Foods,” “Meeting Culinary Challenges with High Oleic Soybean Oil,” “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Flavor,” and “While All Salame is Salumi, Not All Salumi is Salame.”

Eric Ripert, Executive Chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin, host of PBS’ “Avec Eric,” and author of four books, will give the keynote address, “On Leadership, Team-building, and Staying Ahead of the Curve,” on Friday morning, March 23. His presentation will precede the Culinology Expo, where nearly 150 booths will feature the latest ingredients and products of interest to culinary professionals. Many of the exhibitors will feature samples and prototypes for attendees. Also on the expo floor will be the Culinology Poster presentations on research, innovative concepts, and product development activities submitted by RCA members. Presenting authors will be available for a formal question-and-answer session with judges.

New at this year’s event is the 2012 RCA Professional Culinology Competition. Teams of one RCA member and one American Culinary Federation member will compete for a $5,000 first place award by developing a written proposal, including gold standard kitchen recipes and their corresponding commercialized production formulations, for three tapas. On the competition day
(March 23), up to six finalists will create fresh product versions of their concept.

In addition to the educational and professional development activities, there will be numerous opportunities to network with other professionals and industry leaders at such events like the CRC and CCS reception, new member and first-time attendee reception, opening reception at River Walk Grotto, RCA
regional groups breakfast, student member town hall meeting and reception, and farewell fiesta.

For more details and registration information, visit


Expo Floor Hours
12:30 p.m.–5 p.m., Friday, March 23