5 Questions With Our Assembly Required: Innovators in Food Speakers

Assembly Required: Innovators in Food

Innovators in Food was a great success, and we couldn’t have done it without our speakers. Here are just a few of the innovators in food who took the time to be part of Assembly Required. Get to know them before heading over to watch their presentation (coming soon). And keep a look out for our event recap blog.

Meet Our Speakers

  1. Who are you and what are some things you are passionate about?

I live my life meal to meal. Food at its best is an experience that brings people together, and that in a nutshell is my life’s passion. I grew up in Southern California, home to the country’s best fish tacos, and have lived in the Northeast (currently, Brooklyn NY) since 2004. I launched Sir Kensington’s in the summer of 2010 with my college friend Scott Norton, and in May 2017 we sold the business to Unilever. I love playing tennis, traveling for food, and most of all spending time with my wife Rachel and our 2-year-old son Quinn.

  1. Without giving too much, what are you planning on talking about?

The importance of intentionally creating a strong company culture. Whether you choose to spend time on culture or not, culture happens, and it can be your greatest asset as an entrepreneur or your Achilles’ heel.

  1. What does the topic Innovators in Food mean to you, and why is it an important subject?

Food innovation has never been more important – we have both an opportunity and an imperative to improve the world through food as never before. Innovation, then, must mean development of products, supply chains, and industry that actually improve the livelihoods of farmers, consumers, animals, and the land as much as possible. This is as opposed to me-too products that may capitalize on trends, but lack a broader opportunity for impact.

  1. What’s a quote that inspires you?

“Take care of the people, the products, and the profits—in that order”
― Ben HorowitzThe Hard Thing About Hard Things

  1. What’s a topic besides Innovators in food would be interested in chatting with other attendees about?

I could talk about travel and tennis all day, but what I could really get deep into is how AI will potentially reshape not just our economy, but also our understanding of ethics and human/android civil rights.

  1. Who are you and what are some things you are passionate about?

Food has always been my passion, since the age of three I’ve been in the kitchen. It wasn’t until I went to Berkeley and fell in with the Slow Food/Chez Panisse crowd that I began cooking professionally. First I started in pop-ups, making pies and working with Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food. After graduating from Berkeley in 2010, I founded Marigold Sweets, a cannabis confiserie. It’s evolved a lot over the years as I taught myself how to make chocolates.

  1. Without giving too much, what are you planning on talking about?

Since the event is about Innovators in Food, I’ll discuss my experience in the cannabis industry and how I founded Marigold Sweets at the tender age of 22!

  1. What does the topic Innovators in Food mean to you, and why is it an important subject?

Innovators in Food mean people who are passionate about the culinary world and see opportunities to express unique concepts through food. Whether that’s making salads popular, like Salads for President, or creating a high-end cannabis edible. Food is a medium for discussion, innovation, activism and expression.

  1. What’s a quote that inspires you?

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” -Virginia Woolf

  1. What’s a topic besides Innovators in food would be interested in chatting with other attendees about?

How to change the country’s perception of cannabis from a harmful drug to a medicine with unexplored potential.

  1. Who are you and what are some things you are passionate about?

I was born and raised in New York City but my chosen home is the South Louisiana/ New Orleans area. I am passionate about sharing our concept. At Dat Dog, we celebrate the diversity and inclusion that is New Orleans and South Louisiana and I want to take it as far as possible. We want to let the world understand what we value here in South Louisiana and why the way we think is just a little bit different. We learn and operate through a supportive environment, inspired by the curious and carefree nature of the people of South Louisiana.

I am enthusiastic about creating opportunities for others, specifically young people. I want to nurture their spirit in the security of free expression. I am passionate about leading change and fighting for those in need. I won’t stand idly by and watch someone suffer, it is not what I stand for and it is definitely not what Dat Dog stands for. I want to take my successes, both given and earned, and use them as a channel to spread the love. The mission at hand is inspired by the people we work with, the people who inspire New Orleans, and the people who fight for us to keep going. The individuals who emulate this thinking are the ones who push us to set an example for the rest of the city. We want the dreamers to receive a chance to prosper. We want to emulate the idea that good honest people can and will win.

  1. Without giving too much, what are you planning on talking about?

I plan on having a conversation about the strength of the New Orleans brand and where culture truly comes from. I want to present reasons why young people should stay and work in this city. Companies like Dat Dog can foster the drive found in younger people and give them a chance to build their own future.

  1. What does the topic Innovators in Food mean to you, and why is it an important subject?

The innovators in food are not just skilled chefs creating great dishes or agriculturalists inventing new production methods. To me, innovators in food understand the power of sharing a meal together. Through innovation, people can collaborate and create more dynamic experiences, enhancing the bonds that tie us together.

  1. What’s a quote that inspires you?

I think about this quote every single day, “Success is a function of the brilliant execution of the basic fundamentals” -Catherine Monson

I love this quote because many times people never come out and say how to succeed. We read all these buzz words instead of hearing the truth. Success is taking very basic tasks and executing them to the best of your ability. A company’s success can begin simply by answering the phone the best every single day. For Dat Dog, our success started by making the best hot dog and training the best employees. Manage the basics and everything else falls in the line.

  1. What’s a topic besides Innovators in food would be interested in chatting with other attendees about?

I am interested in discussing the development of a successful team dynamic. Dat Dog is not a one man show, it takes an army every single day to foster the brand we built. We never compromise our values and we treat this business like a family. Our team members are accepted for who they are and who they want to be.

  1. Who are you and what are some things you are passionate about?

I’m a Chicagoan living in Brooklyn. I produce food videos.  When I was 10-year-old I asked my mom for a table crumber and a cordless vacuum. I love table side preparations at restaurants (Caesar salad, Steak Diane), a classic steakhouse, going to a comedy show, anything to do with Barbra Streisand, Gilmore Girls, Billy Crystal and the list goes on. I guess you could say I’m an 85-year-old Jewish woman from Boca trapped in a 27-year old’s body.

  1. Without giving too much, what are you planning on talking about?

I’m still working on my speech but I would say that the main theme is that the best way to learn is by doing. It doesn’t matter what your experience level is but if you’re driven, have a positive attitude, and are truly passionate about what you’re doing, you are setting yourself up for success. Take risks, get out of your comfort zone, don’t focus on perfection.

I think the most important thing anyone can do is be kind. It’s not a revolutionary idea by any means, but I think it’s easy to forget. Be an open person, be a kind person, have a strong vision of the type of work you would like to be doing (don’t focus on the exact job, but rather, and I really think the rest will fall into place.

  1. What does the topic Innovators in Food mean to you, and why is it an important subject?

Food is the one thing that connects us all. No matter where you are from, what your belief system is, what your background is–we all eat. To me, it’s the most powerful tool we have to connect to one another, and that’s especially important right now. We’re at a really critical moment where it’s essential for us to have meaningful conversations about the future of food, whether that be through a political, social, or economic lens. To be able to talk about food with all different kinds of people–innovators, artists, entrepreneur, chefs–shows just how diverse of a topic it is. I am excited for the conference!

  1. What’s a quote that inspires you?

“The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are.” ― Amy Poehler, Yes Please 

  1. What’s a topic besides Innovators in food would be interested in chatting with other attendees about?

I am definitely interested in talking about storytelling and more about the video production process if that’s something people would like to learn more about! 

 

Check back for our recap of Innovators in Food, videos from the event, and news about our next Assembly, Masters of the Story, planned for November 2017.

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ThreeSixtyEight is a digital experience agency headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.