Meet the speakers

At Worldchefs Congress & Expo, you’ll learn from cross-industry leaders about emerging trends set to shape the world of hospitality.

Get acquainted with the trailblazers sharing their ideas at Congress 2022 and sign up to our newsletter for all the latest updates.

Nicolas Decloedt

Michelin Green Star 2021, Owner and Chef of Humus x Hortense, Gault & Millau’s Best Vegetable Chef of 2019, and We’re Smart® 5 Radishes Chef

"Evolution in the Future of Gastronomy: We’re Smart® Green Guide"

Nicolas Decloedt is bringing plant-based cuisine to new heights. Voted Best Vegetable Chef of 2019 by the renowned culinary guide Gault & Millau, his restaurant Humus x hortense was voted the world’s Best Vegan Restaurant, ranks 9 of the Top 100 Best Vegetables Restaurants worldwide by We’re Smart World, and was awarded with 3 toques by Good Food (Brussels), the highest achievement for a sustainable restaurant.

Humus x hortense resonates with the rhythm of the seasons. Nicolas’ kitchen strives for the highest quality, with a love for nature. To achieve that, they work closely with local producers. The menu honors Belgium’s rich, age-old tradition when it comes to cultivating vegetable and plant varieties. And that wealth is their inspiration.

Hear Nicolas Decloedt’s a sustainable approach and zero waste philosophy at Worldchefs Congress & Expo.

Frank Fol

The Vegetable Chef® and Chairman of We’re Smart® World

"The 52 We’re Smart® Think Vegetables! Think Fruits!® Culinary Techniques – How to Make Vegetables More Tasty!"
"Evolution in the Future of Gastronomy: We’re Smart® Green Guide"

After taking his restaurant Sire Pynnock to the stars (Michelin stars, that is) Frank Fol came back to earth in a big way. A Belgian culinary magnate turned produce evangelist, Frank is an international consultant on a healthy, equilibrated and vegetable-first approach to cooking, helping chefs and diners alike to think about their food from the ground up.

Frank has been promoting his philosophy of « Think Vegetables! Think Fruit! » for more than 30 years, spearheading a contemporary movement that puts vegetables back at center stage. He’s taken this approach to new heights both in and out of the kitchen, from his Michelin starred restaurant concept to creating the We’re Smart® platform.

Frank will take to the stage with Chef Nicolas Decloedt and also join the Young Chefs Forum to share his passion for a cooking style defined by vegetables first.

Her Excellency Ambassador Hjayceelyn M. Quintana

Philippine Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates

"The Chefs and Culinary Designers as Ambassadors of Goodwill!"

Ambassador Quintana is a career diplomat. She served in the Philippine diplomatic missions in Beijing, Washington DC, Dublin, Muscat, and now Abu Dhabi. Prior to her appointment as Ambassador to the UAE, she was Assistant Secretary in charge of the Office of the Middle East and Africa Affairs at the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.

Ambassador Quintana has a B.A. Political Science and Master’s in International Relations from the University of the Philippines. She also has a Master’s of International Public Policy degree from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. She took Diplomatic Studies in Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Since August 2018, Ambassador. Quintana has endeavored to expand Philippine-UAE relations to cover many areas of cooperation. Her presentation illustrate how the diplomatic community and culinary community can collaborate and work together in showcasing national cuisines on the global stage.

Dr. Rashed Abdulrahman Alarfaj

Vice President for Health, Security and Standards Control at Saudi Airlines Catering Company (SACC)

"Food Safety for the Catering Industry"

Dr. Rashed Abdulrahman Alarfaj is an experienced Senior Director with a demonstrated history of working in the area of food safety, especially on risk analysis. In his new role at SACC, he is responsible for the effective implementation of policies and procedures for Hygiene and Food Safety, Laboratory Management, Quality Management, Safety Management, Security Management, Enterprise Risk Management.

Dr. Alarfaj is a professional leader with a PhD degree focused in Food Science and Technology from University of Reading in the UK. He obtained his master’s degree in Food Science and Quality Assurance from the same University, and a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from King Saud University.

Dr. Alarfaj served as the chairman of many committees, including the National Committee for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) where he represents the Kingdom at the World Trade Organization (WTO) between 2018 and 2021, and the Gulf Food Safety Committee where he also represents SFDA in Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) between 2017 and 2021. In 2019, he was selected as a Reviewer at the Journal of Food Control, and in 2020 he was nominated as a Board Member at The Global Food Regulatory Science Society (GFoRSS).

TC Chatterjee

Chief Executive Officer of Griffith Foods

"Nourishing The World: How the Global Culinary Community Can Help Create and Scale Impact"

TC Chatterjee is a purpose-driven global leader with deep experience in business growth and transformation. A seasoned executive, TC’s areas of expertise include strategy development and execution, people leadership, financial acumen, brand leadership and business building through geographic and business model expansion. TC’s experience spans multiple facets of the food industry including foodservice, industrial, retail and hospitality, both with publicly held and family-owned private companies.

With more than twenty-five years of general management and busines leadership experience, TC combines strategic and operational excellence with strong financial acumen. TC has built a robust reputation for successfully blending a high focus on people with disciplined leadership and performance orientation.

At Griffith Foods TC has been leading the global organization operating in forty countries in delivering generate purpose-driven profitable growth as CEO. Hear his perspectives on the role the culinary community in building a better future at Worldchefs Congress & Expo.

Cornel Krummenacher

Global Head of Food at Nestlé Professional

"How Plant-based Products reduce greenhouse gas emissions"

Cornel Krummenacher has had titles from Head of Sales to CEO across Asia and Africa. Along the way, he’s learned that combining theory and practice, knowledge of different sectors, and different belief systems and values in a way that supports inclusiveness and diversity is a powerful tool. He believes that the combination of technology, science, culture and people can solve the most complex problems of our times and improve the quality of life of the people and of our planet.

Cornel leads a team that innovates, develops and sells plant-based meals that provide the goodness of vegetarian food, which he describes as “amazingly delicious, healthy and contributing to a better world.” His plant-based brands include Sweet Earth, Garden Gourmet and Harvest Gourmet. Made are made plant-based ingredients—soy, pea, wheat, beets and coconut oil—they offer a similar bite, texture, and experience to meat, but with a lower carbon footprint.

Learn more about plant-based foods and trends at Worldchefs Congress & Expo, where Cornel will discuss how meat consumption is reducing and plant-based alternatives are booming.

Eric Pateman

Global Culinary Consultant, Entrepreneur and Chef

"Bridging Cultures and Building Communities Through Food: Indigenous Engagement Strategies"

Eric Pateman is one of the world’s leading consultants and strategists on culinary tourism. Dubbed “The tastemaker who’s defining countries’ entire culinary strategies” by Forbes, he unites a background as a chef with an MBA in Finance, and international experience in over 100 countries.

His consulting work has taken him from pole to pole and around the globe, with projects in the UK, the Yukon, Antarctica, Fiji, New Zealand and many more. Eric has founded companies including ESP Culinary Consulting; Edible Canada Bistro, and Sea to Sky Seasonings. He spends the bulk of his time working with both public and private sector clients to define cuisines, build brands and shape the future of food.

His consulting work has taken him from pole to pole and around the globe, with projects in the UK, the Yukon, Antarctica, Fiji, New Zealand and many more. Eric has founded companies including ESP Culinary Consulting; Edible Canada Bistro, and Sea to Sky Seasonings. He spends the bulk of his time working with both public and private sector clients to define cuisines, build brands and shape the future of food.

Shaun Payen

Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM)

"Master the Art of Public Speaking"

Shaun Payen is Indian Ocean’s leading communication coach. A Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), he’s one of the youngest people on the planet to achieve the highest level award in the world of public speaking. Throughout his career, Shaun has won over one hundred awards in the public speaking arena. He’s one of the most decorated public speakers in Mauritius, and just the second Mauritian to achieve the DTM title.

A lawyer by trade, Shaun spent years researching ways to captivate an audience. He works globally with politicians, executives, universities, and individuals to help people overcome their fears of public speaking and tap into new confidence in every aspect of life.

Recognized for his contribution to youth empowerment, Shaun was awarded Most Inspiring and Outstanding Young Leader of Mauritius in 2019 and Mauritius’ Man of the Year in 2019 and 2020 for his achievements in education, research, training, and consultancy. Meet Shaun on and off the stage with a keynote session in the Young Chefs Forum.

Christophe Megel

Master Chef, Chevalier and Executive Director of Q Industries Group

"Hygiene and Sanitation Through Technology" and Panelist of "Is Industry doing enough to invest in young talent? What are the young chefs saying?”

Christophe Megel is a multi-award winner and visionary in the culinary world. Coming from a third-generation family of chefs, the French native’s 30 years culinary career began at top restaurants such as Le Cirque in New York and Monte-Carlo in Monaco, where he shared seven years with luminary and friend, Master Chef Alain Ducasse. One of the foremost authorities of French cuisine, Christophe holds the rank of French Master Chef status by the French Association of Master Chefs, the second youngest Master Chef in the association to date and has been conferred a Chevalier (Knight) in Ordre national du Mérite (National Order of Merit) by the President of the French Republic.

A man of many talents with an entrepreneurial spirit, Christophe has contributed to countless hotel openings and diverse business ventures in his time, beginning with The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, at that time the largest Ritz in the world. A leader in education as well, Christophe took the leap from the kitchen to the classroom to join At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy as its Chief Executive Officer. He guided the academy to a brand new state-of-the-art campus in 2011. He also helped found the Asian Culinary Institute (ACI).

Founder of the New World Food and Wine Festival, published and bestselling author, President of Bocuse d’Or Singapore, Chairperson on Singapore Chefs’ Association Committee, Singapore Tourism Councilmember, the titles he has held are too many to list.

Christophe will share his vast insights on how the industry professionals can revolutionize the food hygiene landscape through technology with a keynote presentation at Worldchefs Congress & Expo 2022.

John Buenaventura

Executive Chef at Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island

"Taste the Philippines"

Chef John is an award-winning tastemaker with prestigious positions at Hilton and other hospitality brands throughout the UAE. While his specialty is Mediterranean cuisine, over the last few years Chef John has been rediscovering his Filipino heritage dishes. He is a driving force in developing Abu Dhabi’s culinary footprint into an evolving culinary destination.

Trained at the Center for Culinary Arts, John began his career in the UAE in 2007. His first appointment with the Hilton Group came in 2018 when he took the role of Executive Sous Chef at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre. He was then appointed Cluster Executive Chef with responsibility for three hotels in Dubai before making the move to Yas Island, where he oversees the culinary operations at Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island’s vibrant bars and restaurants.

Chef John has won multiple nominations and awards from prestigious publications including What’s On, Time Out, BBC Good Food, Taste of Dubai and Illustrado, which has awarded him as One of the Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf for three years running.

He’s bringing the taste of the Philippines to Abu Dhabi with an interactive cooking demo at Worldchefs Congress & Expo.

Rob Baan

Plant-Hunter and Owner of Koppert Cress

"The Power of Food"

Rob Baan is a passionate grower, enviromentalist and visionary. He has undertaken numerous trips around the globe to research and seek out unusual, ancient and unused seedlings. He has turned this passion into a business and created an amazing range of living ingredients, pursuing his dream of making the Netherlands the healthiest country in the world.

Rob grew up in Haarlem and later moved to Enkhuizen, which is known as one of the most important port cities in the time of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. These Dutch roots give a strong meaning to Rob’s life. Rob learned from his father to love nature from a young age. Throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to work in countries all over the world. All the knowledge he has gained during his travels about vegetables and human health encouraged him to take over a greenhouse from a radish grower in 2002 and to meet the needs of gastronomy. This was Rob’s way to change how we look at food: by inspiring the top gastronomy about vegetables, and teaching whoever wants to listen about living the healthiest life we can.

Dr. Brent Loken

Global Food Lead Scientist at the World Wildlife Fund

Panelist of "How to Feed the Planet Part 1: Setting the Course"

Brent Loken believes in using food as a lever for improving human health and environmental sustainability. He has a broad and varied background that includes rediscovering what was thought to be an extinct monkey species, helping to protect one of the most biologically rich forests on Borneo, educating a generation of environmentalists, and working to amplify and accelerate food system transformation around the world.

Rarely patient, Brent believes to tackle climate change, protect biodiversity, and improve human health in the short time that is available, it will be because of fast moving and innovative organizations and people that disrupt the status quo and actively show the world a better way.

Meet Brent at Worldchefs Congress & Expo and find out how you can take action on a new food systems approach.

Ingrid Mellstig

Head of Electrolux Food Foundation

Host of "Breakout Session: Feed the Planet Meetup"

Ingrid Mellstig has been a force in communications for three decades. Since 2016, she’s helped lead and inspire Feed the Planet, working closely with Worldchefs and the Feed the Planet Committee to do good for people, business, and planet. As a mother of four and as a professional, she is interested in food and culture, and projects with purpose.

Ingrid will host and moderate the Feed the Planet Meetup Breakout Session.

Viktoria Roos

Open Innovation Leader at Electrolux Professional

Panelist of "How to Feed the Planet Part 1: Setting The Course"

Viktoria Roos is the Open Innovation Leader at Electrolux Professional, always on the look for emerging phenomenons in the kitchen and in the way of eating. She loves digging into the trends that impact the hospitality landscape, mapping themes ranging from plant-based fine dining to digital cooking, discovering new technological drivers shaping the culinary industry.

A professional expat based in Italy for the last twelve years, Viktoria Roos has a truly global approach with international experience reaching from South Africa to India and Japan. By exploring how consumer behavior is shifting, with new needs, desires, and expectations influencing the foodservice sector, she wants to help shaping the future in a meaningful way, with true value to the culinary community.

Henry Guadagni

Corporate Chef at Electrolux Professional

Panelist of "How to Feed the Planet Part 1 & 2"

Henry Guadagni is Electrolux Professional’s chef responsible for Middle East and Africa. With more than a decade of experience in France’s finest kitchens, from the Ritz and Royal Monceau in Paris to Bernard Loiseau in Bourgogne, Henry has always been fascinated by cooking.

For Henry, cooking is a possibility to learn. In his work he has always had an opportunity to meet many chefs, share his experience and learn from them, and use that in his next recipe—mixing his Italian and French cooking origins with other types of cuisines—and most of the time, the result is inspired.

Join Henry for a food demonstration during the Feed the Planet session at Worldchefs Congress & Expo.

Geoff Meyer

Head of Business Development at Upfield Professional

Panelist of "How to Feed the Planet Part 2: How Chefs are Changing the Course"

With three decades working in foodservice marketing, sales, distribution, and digital engagement, Geoff Meyer has held leadership roles with Pepsi-Co, Nestlé, Fonterra, Associated British Foods and Upfield. With international experience in markets such as China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, he has keen leadership expertise in out-of-home strategy development.

Geoff’s passion and focus is supporting restaurant chefs and operators with plant-based menu adoption. He works to ensure they capture the benefits of the consumer movement towards planet friendly sustainable eating, delivering on his motto: "Today’s superheroes don’t wear capes; they wear an apron—saving the planet one dish at a time!"

Kristine Hartviksen

President of the Nordic Chef Association

Panelist of "Feed the Planet 2: How Chefs are Changing the Course"

Kristine has a background as a Chef, Head Chef, buyer and now works as Head of Innovation at Norges Gruppen, one of the largest food houses in Norway. She is also the President of the Nordic Chef Association. She brings her expertise and vision to the Feed the Planet panel.

Chris Koetke

Chairman of Worldchefs Feed The Planet Committee, CEO of Complete Culinary LLC, and Corporate Executive Chef

"Harnessing the Art and Science of Umami to Make Superlative Cuisine"
Brought to you by Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc.

Chef Christopher Koetke, CEC CCE HAAC, honed his craft the old fashion way, working in kitchens and learning on the job. Currently Corporate Executive Chef at Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc., Chris also served as Executive Chef at Les Nomades in Chicago for five years and worked at the famed Le Francais restaurant in Wheeling, Illinois. Formerly the Executive Director of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts in Chicago and Vice President of Culinary Arts for Laureate International Universities, he was responsible for strategic leadership of culinary arts programs at 48 campuses in 12 countries.

Koetke is a well-known expert on the culinary world, especially given his global travels experimenting with ingredients and flavors worldwide, with expertise in using amino acids as flavor elements. In 2010, he was given the inaugural Chefs Collaborative Pathfinder Award for his work in making sustainability mainstream both within foodservice operations and education, and serves as the Chair of the Feed the Planet Committee of Worldchefs. 

Koetke has a MBA from Dominican University and a BA in French literature from Valparaiso University. He has been honored with the Outstanding Alumni from the Brennan School of Business at Dominican University, Alumni Achievement Award from Valparaiso University, and the Worldchefs Educator Award. He hosted his own national TV cooking show on the LiveWell Network for almost 5 years, written for prominent newspapers and trade publications, and authored a go-to culinary textbook, The Culinary Professional.

Mohammed Mahfoudh

Web 3 Expert and Director & CEO, Deca4 Advisory LLC

Panelist of "Talking Disruption - Food in the Metaverse"

An angel investor, crypto advisor, and start-up mentor to over 50 startups out of Europe, Mohammed Mahfoudh has also taken a few positions in the government and corporate sectors in companies such as SAP and PWC, among others. A crypto domain expert, he saw an opportunity in the asset-backed tokens and the emergence of Security Tokens that led him to start Deca4 to become a global player by providing consultancy, advisory, project management, and research to the industry in helping navigate the complexity of the tokenization ecosystem.

He is passionate about speaking about crypto, blockchain, and tokenization across numerous public platforms and brings his expertise in enabling Web3 for the food industry to Worldchefs Congress 2022.

Vignesh Raja

Blockchain Expert, Director of the HBAR Foundation (the Middle East & South Asia), and
Founding Member of the Dubai Blockchain Council Initiative of the Prime Minister’s Office of Dubai

Panelist of "Talking Disruption - Food in the Metaverse"

A technologist with a keen business acumen and a finger on the pulse of block chain industry, Vignesh Raja is the Director of Middle East & South Asia at The HBAR foundation. He also holds the distinction of leading the development of WIPRO’s blockchain solution besides being the founding member of the Dubai Blockchain Council initiative of the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) of Dubai and the participating Cohort in the Dubai Future Accelerator for creating a solution around Biometrics and Blockchain Technology for the Dubai Immigration Department.

Sebastian Huth

Bitcoin Expert & Crypto Coach, and Co-Founder Precise Blockchain Solutions LTC

Panelist of "Talking Disruption - Food in the Metaverse"

An experienced hospitality professional, Sebastian Huth is a bitcoin expert, entrepreneur and crypto coach who has taught hundreds of people all over the globe, including companies, family offices, ministries, and central banks to understand blockchain and utilize it. Co-Founder of Precise Blockchain Solutions LTC, based in Dubai, UAE, he strongly believes that Cryptocurrencies, NFTs, the Metaverse and other Web 3.0 technologies around blockchain have the potential to improve businesses and take them onto the next level, including in hospitality.

Praneet Kumar

Crypto Lawyer, Founder of Praneet Kumar & Associates and Co-Partner of Gravity X Capital

Panelist of "Talking Disruption - Food in the Metaverse"

Praneet Kumar is a highly experienced crypto-lawyer who excels in relatively newer, integrated and complex areas of business and investment, such as Web 3.0, Metaverse, Data Privacy, Innovation, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), NFT, Emerging Technologies (Blockchain, AI, Drone, etc.), ESG-Sustainability, Competition & Anti-Trust and Start-up. A self-confessed serial entrepreneur, Praneet also holds advisory roles and is passionate about talking about start-ups, tech law, digital assets, and crypto regulation across numerous public platforms.

Girish Ashirwar

Blockchain, Metaverse & NFTs Expert and Co-Founder & Director of Create Protocol

Panelist of "Talking Disruption - Food in the Metaverse"

Girish Ahirwar is a passionate technologist and energetic business leader with extensive experience in building successful businesses across various domains, and helping companies go global. An expert in Metaverse, Blockchain and NFTs, currently, this IITian is singularly focused on building the ultimate multi-chain decentralised ecosystems and digital experiences for creators around the globe.

John Lohr

Director of Strategic Partnerships and Innovation at Hosco

"Working in Hospitality: The Past, Present and Future", Panelist of "The Future of Work: Attracting and Retaining Talent in Our Industry", and Moderator of "The Future of Education: Attracting and Supplying Talent in Our Industry"

John Lohr is a Glion Switzerland graduate who has amassed over twelve years of hospitality, tourism and education business development work experience in over forty countries.

For Hosco, John leads the partnership development with hospitality schools, departments, associations and national organizations. Earlier, John worked with IHG hotels in Thailand and India and served as the Director of Business Development for the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) in Europe. He has also held various board positions for EuroCHRIE, the Council of Hospitality, Tourism and Event Educators and is a member of multiple global hospitality education and training associations.

Frank Bordoni

Head of Food Standards Quality & Assurance at Alshaya Group

Panelist of "The Future of Work: Attracting and Retaining Talent in Our Industry"

Frank Bordoni inherited his passion for good food from his Italian family, although he grew up in the many hotels and restaurants that his father managed up and down the UK. The Bordoni family comes from an area southeast of Rome and it is there that Frank learned so much about food and ingredients. At only 19 years of age, he was awarded his first AA Rosette, leading him to develop his career in the best respected and finest Rosette and Michelin starred establishments in the country.

Frank has also been a star of the small screen both in the UK and internationally as a TV chef, presenter, judge and mentor. Today, Frank works across the Middle East for Alshaya Group, managing culinary development, food quality standards and safety as well as creating innovative new concepts and F&B solutions.

An expert in internal training and digital badging as motivational strategy, Frank will bring his expertise to the panel on The Future of Work: Attracting and Retaining Talent in Our Industry.

Martin Bader

Director of Commercial for At-Sunrice

Panelist of "Educators Forum: The Future of Education: Attracting and supplying talent in our industry"

A native Austrian residing in Singapore since 2010, Martin is a passionate lover of good food and wine. An accomplished Chef, Sommelier, and restaurant operator with more than 20 years experience in over six countries in Europe, South Africa and in Asia, in 2005 Martin decided to move to Asia where he led a beverage distribution company in Thailand. Five years later he took over the position as Operations Manager for Esmirada Group of Restaurants, where he managed 5 Restaurant - Esmirada, Bodega Y Tapas, Brasserie Wolf, Amuse and Haxenhaus.

In 2013 he started as Consultant for Brotzeit International and managed SEA and Australia in procurement and purchasing of food and beverages. Martin still consultants for several companies in the food industry and operates restaurants, including Eatcetera at Redhill and Crispy Bing Raffles Place. One of the consulting projects is Open Sesame by At Sunrice, a Food-Centric Ecosystem which also supports the Singapore Government’s Promotion as a Hub, Gateway and Thought Leader within the Asian Food Industry. Since 2022 he is working full time as Director of Commercial for At-Sunrice and specializes in online transformation.

Elham Bolooki

Experiential Learning Manager & Instructor at Dubai College of Tourism

Panelist of "The Future of Work: Attracting and Retaining Talent in Our Industry"

Elham Bolooki brings her experience in hospitality to the classroom. With an MBA in International Hospitality from The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, Elham has had an extensive career at Jumeirah Group. Part of the Future Leader Program, she gained skills in different departments such as Rooms Division, Food & Beverage, Events Operations and Human Resources, and worked in properties such as the Burj Al Arab, Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Jumeirah Port Soller in Mallorca, Spain.

Elham was awarded The Rising Star at the 2017 Middle East Hospitality Awards. She moved on to work in Retail at Dubai Mall looking after all Food & Beverage, health and beauty outlets as a Senior Retail Relations Manager.

At DCT, she teaches hospitality courses such as Front Office and Introduction to Hospitality. With her unique perspectives and know-how, Elham will address the skills shortage and employment challenges in the UAE on the panel The Future of Work: Attracting and Retaining Talent in Our Industry.

Cosimo Scarano

Sustainability Project Lead at Electrolux Food Foundation

Panelist of "The Future of Education: Attracting and Supplying Talent in Our Industry?"

Cosimo Scarano is a sustainability enthusiast. He has worked for years promoting positive social impact around the world. The author of two books and food passionate, Cosimo believes in the power of human connection to change the world one person at a time.

With expertise in education as project lead on Feed the Planet’s Like a Chef culinary education program, Cosimo will bring concrete examples of how education can change people lives and what the power of the white jacket can mean for underprivileged people around the world.

Alan Orreal

Chairman of the Worldchefs Young Chefs Development Committee and the Vice President of Culinary at Atlantis Paradise Island in The Bahamas

Moderator of "The Future of Work: Attracting and Retaining Talent in Our Industry"

Chef Alan Orreal is the Chairman of the Worldchefs Young Chefs Development Committee and the Vice President of Culinary at Atlantis Paradise Island in The Bahamas, with a career spanning thirty-five years—twenty of those as executive experience in the culinary and hospitality industries. Chef Orreal and his Committee are responsible for hosting the Billy Gallagher Young Chefs forum that will celebrate its 20th year at this Congress.

Originally from Australia, Chef Orreal spent most of his career in Asia at a variety of hotels, resorts and five-star restaurants across Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Sri Lanka and China. Chef Orreal who is a Certified Master Chef, joined Atlantis in September 2021 after spending eight years as Director of Culinary at Shanghai Disney Resort. Prior to his time in Shanghai, Orreal spent five years as the Director of food and Beverage Development at Resorts World Sentosa, an integrated resort on an island off the coast of Singapore. His experience also includes three years as the Executive Sous Chef at Singapore Airport Terminal Services. His global experience has led him to develop a unique style of modern international cuisine. His dishes have been described as borderless and dynamic, fusing authentic international recipes with the most contemporary gourmet trends.

Chef Orreal is also well known for his role as host and judge on the award-winning TV series, The Big Break, a reality show which inspires underprivileged teens by teaching them the art of cooking. Chef Orreal frequently serves as a guest lecturer at food schools across Asia and was named an Honorary Distinguished Professor by the All Japan Chefs Association. Chef Orreal also holds the Worldchefs Presidents Medal which he received in 2018.

He has coached and mentored National Culinary Teams in Japan and China to appear at IKA and is a World Chefs A Grade Judge. Today as ever Chef Orreal continues to drive and share his passion for the Young Chefs around the world.

Marcus Hallgren

Culinary Educator and Head Waiter of the Swedish Culinary Team

Panelist of "Is Industry doing enough to invest in young talent? What are the young chefs saying?"

Former chef and “farmer boy,” Marcus Hallgren has been working in the culinary profession since 1984. A culinary teacher for fourteen years, he is now working as Principalata Hospitality School in Sweden. A boardmember of both the Nordic Chefs Association and the Swedish Chefs Association, Hallgren is a Worldchefs Certified Judge and Head Waiter of the Swedish Culinary Team.

Dale Lyman

Professional Cookery Instructor at William Angliss Institute and Consultant Chef

Panelist of "Is Industry doing enough to invest in young talent? What are the young chefs saying?"

Over Dale’s 20 years in the hospitality industry, before moving into to culinary education in 2002, he honed his skills in many iconic and reputable establishments in Melbourne, Brisbane and abroad including two years travelling and working in restaurants throughout Europe, the Middle East, the United States and Asia. He is an active industry advocate and charity supporter.

As an Instructor at William Angliss Institute, Dale provides many young cooks with the skills and opportunities that enable them to pursue their culinary dreams. Dale is a Life Member and Chairman of Judges and Chef de Cuisine for the Australian Culinary Federation Victorian Chapter (ACFV). He holds the record for being the longest serving CommitteeMmember in Victoria, continuously sitting on the Committee in various roles since 2004.

Through his strong involvement in ACF and Worldchefs, Dale has participated and represented Australia in many culinary events both local and international for education or charity. As one of the founding chefs for #CookingForCharity, Dale has worked with 3 Michelin star chef Alvin Leung and many of Melbourne’s leading chefs.

Elvin Chew

Executive Committee Member of the Singapore Chefs` Association, Honorary President of the Singapore Junior Chefs Club, and Ambassador Mentor – Global Development of Young Chefs

Panelist of "Is Industry doing enough to invest in young talent? What are the young chefs saying?"

Chef Elvin Chew is an Executive Committee Member of the Singapore Chefs` Association and Honorary President of the Singapore Junior Chefs Club. Chef Elvin was awarded distinction by Dr. Rick Stephen, Worldchefs Continental Director Asia, on his efforts in pushing forward the Young Chefs movement in Singapore.

Chef Elvin is no stranger to winning accolades, having participated in numerous competitions. Among them includes winning the title of Overall Champion at the Alen Thong Golden Coffee Pot Young Chefs Challenge in 2016 and 2018, where both times he held the position of the Team Manager, leading the Singapore National Young Chefs Team to victory. As a Worldchefs Certified Judge, Elvin also actively judges at regional and local competitions.

Rebecca van Bommel

Worldchefs Young Chef Ambassador

Panelist of "Is Industry doing enough to invest in young talent? What are the young chefs saying?"

Rebecca van Bommel is a Red-Seal Certified Young Chef based in Toronto, Canada. A Young Chef Ambassador on the Worldchefs Global Development of Young Chefs Committee and a Young Chef Liaison for the Canadian Culinary Federation, she’s a leader in the Young Chef community.

A member of Olympic Culinary Team Canada 2024, Rebecca has competed at the IKA Culinary Olympics in 2020 and 2016. She has also competed and placed in several other regional and national competitions, and judged at the Food and Hospitality Competition China in Shanghai in 2019.

Rebecca honed her skills as an apprentice in a Michelin Star restaurant and a castle hotel in Ireland. She recently transitioned into a role in food sales, working as a chef and sales specialist at C.W. Shasky & Associate Food Broker. She keeps her culinary skills sharp by cooking and baking for residents in a retirement home on the weekends, as well as cooking for family and friends.

Frédéric Bau

Pastry Chef and Creative Director at Valrhona Chocolate

"Reasoned Gourmandise" and Panelist of "How to Feed the Planet Part 2: How Chefs are Changing the Course"

This talented and iconoclastic head pastry chef, creator at École Valrhona and now Creative Director at Valrhona, has already written five reference works on chocolate. Not only is this maestro of patisserie curious and passionate, a virtuoso of creativity, but he’s also an author of delicious recipes, constantly inspired by breathing new life into the world of indulgence.

A lover of flavor, Frédéric Bau has held onto the enthusiasm of his childhood and kept an incredible capacity to find wonder and above all, ask the right question – why? Why should we do as we’ve always done, why not invest other ways of doing things, why not try, invent, innovate? He feels that he must break the rules, to make his profession advance and anticipate society’s developments.

Frédéric will bring this spirit and pursuit to the panel How to Feed the Planet Part 2: How Chefs are Changing the Course.

Sunjeh Raja

Director and CEO of International Center for Culinary Arts (ICCA Dubai)

Panelist of "The Future of Education: Attracting and Supplying Talent in Our Industry"

Sunjeh Raja is the Founder, Director and CEO of the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA Dubai), the award-winning culinary training centre established in 2005. Since then he has been spearheading the engagement of the company’s Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) programs and takes on a holistic approach to establish ICCA Dubai as a Center of Excellence offering world-class culinary education. Sunjeh adopts a very practical and innovative approach to continually develop industry-application-focused training and outcome-driven learning.

A recipient of international awards and recognitions, Sunjeh is raising the standards of culinary training and food service across the MENA region. He specializes in concept, product, and business development with a strong foundation in the corporate and finance sectors, showing a flair for entrepreneurship since his early foray into the business world. Recognizing and taking opportunities as they arise, ICCA Dubai has been able to leverage many strategic partnerships with world majors as a direct result of Raja’s vision and leadership.

Antoine Viollette

Co-Owner of BPI Editions

Panelist of "The Future of Education: Attracting and Supplying Talent in Our Industry"

Antoine Viollette is a restaurant development and culinary arts professional training expert, former Global Head of Valrhona Schools, and now Managing Director of BPI Editions, the reference for French chefs training books since 1980.

The French publishing house specializes in culinary art and hospitality professional training, with a catalog of over 100 titles including the industry reference book, The French Chef Handbook.

The acclaimed “La Cuisine de Reference,” translated to English, is a bestseller with over one million copies sold. BPI Editions just released digital edition of The Pastry Chef Handbook, and the print edition will arrive Fall 2022.

Antoine brings expert insight into the history of culinary training, from Carême and Escoffier to modern French culinary technique, and the secrets behind French chefs training.

Samantha Wood

Founder of FooDiva.net and Curator of Dining Experiences

Panelist of "Homegrown in the UAE"

Samantha Wood is a British-Greek-Cypriot resident of Dubai who wears a number of hats as a food writer, event organizer and consultant with over twenty five years of experience. Having left the hospitality PR world, she set up her own business over a decade ago—the award-winning restaurant review website FooDiva.net. Samantha also curates exclusive chef-led dining experiences. She has featured in local and international media, including guest segments on CNN and a regular spot on Dubai Eye radio.

Samantha is a Board Advisor for the Dubai Restaurants Group, a member of the global Guild of Food Writers, holds a WSET Level 2 wine qualification, and is a speaker and industry awards judge on her favourite subjects—food, restaurants, and communications. At the start of the pandemic, she launched a pro bono social media campaign, #UAERestaurantsUnite, to support the F&B industry, which has since morphed into a long-term strategy championing the country’s homegrown dining scene.

Naim Maadad

Chief Executive and Founder of Gates Hospitality

Panelist of "Homegrown in the UAE"

With over 40 years in the hospitality world across Australia, Asia, and the Middle East, Naim has been behind some of the world’s best hotels, resorts, spas and lifestyle F&B concepts. Covering a wide spectrum of positions within senior leadership, including the role of Managing Director for both Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas and The Anantara Group, Naim has been instrumental in nurturing sound relationships with owners, securing the best possible locations, negotiating and formalizing contractual agreements, and appointing teams to infuse and reflect the ethos of the brands.

Being based in the Middle East for over the past 20 years, Naim has witnessed tremendous industry growth, gained a deep cultural understanding & has been endorsed by principals & organizations alike. In 2010, Naim established Gates Hospitality, a homegrown hospitality company representing handpicked concepts. You’ll recognize his roster of established brands, such as the internationally acclaimed Ultra Brasserie, Reform Social & Grill Dubai, Folly, Bistro Des Arts, Six Senses Zighy Bay, Red Farm London at Covent Garden London, Publique—Dubai's premier "Apres Ski chalet" —and the latest addition, WORKSHOP by Folly at the Time Out Market Dubai in Souk Al Bahar.

Nicholas Alvis

Chef and Creator of folly Dubai, Worlds 50 Best Discovery

Panelist of "Homegrown in the UAE"

Nick began his career cooking in several UK country house hotels before moving into the world of London’s Michelin starred restaurants. In 2008 he relocated to Paris for an 18-month tenure, and then on to the Middle East where he has lived since 2010.

In 2011, he went into partnership with Scott Price to launch their own Dubai-based F&B consultancy and has since opened multiple homegrown restaurants across the city. Their debut concept, table 9 by Nick & Scott opened the same year, with folly being the most recent addition to their portfolio.

Over the last decade he has won a string of awards and accolades, including The Worlds 50 Best Discovery – a list internationally recognized as crediting the globes most reputable restaurants.

Nick now solely manages his consultancy and continues to push boundaries within the local culinary sphere. He remains committed to developing local talent and developing new, creative concepts to elevate Dubai’s position as one of the world’s best cities for gastronomy.

Carlos Frunze De Garza

Executive Chef of Teible

Panelist of "Homegrown in the UAE"

A bit of Russia, a bit of Mexico, Frunze—better known as his kitchen alias, “Carlos”—is the true embodiment of a third culture legacy and second-generation chef. He is currently serving as the Executive Chef of Teible, UAE’s first local, seasonal dining experience making major waves in food sustainability and championing produce within the MENA region. He is no stranger to adventure in life both inside and outside the kitchen. Once known to be a military man, now a passionate chef telling his and people’s colorful stories through food.

He grew up between Dubai, Acapulco, Salvador, New Orleans and Kuala Lumpur. With an enriched palate, he’s created what he calls his own “renegade cuisine”—offbeat, multicultural, progressive—a true reflection of Dubai, the city he calls home.

Jasper Jek

Owner and Chef of Super Simple

Moderator of "Homegrown in the UAE"

Jasper Jek is the Owner and Chef of Super Simple; a chain of restaurants in Singapore that promotes healthier eating. He has worked in various landmark restaurants across the globe, including RENAA (Stavanger), Joël Robuchon (Singapore), and Martín Berasategui (San Sebastian).

Jasper leads the Global Development of Young Chefs Committee in Worldchefs as Vice-Chairman. He works together with a team of Young Chefs Ambassadors and Ambassador Mentors to implement programs and strategies, and advice on matters pertaining to Young Chefs Clubs.

Jasper sits on the Executive Committee of the Singapore Chefs’ Association and is also a member of the successful Bidding Committee for the hosting of Worldchefs Congress 2024. Jasper is a Worldchefs Certified Judge. He is a founding committee member of Singapore Junior Chefs Club (the first young chefs club to be recognized by Worldchefs) and was its President between 2006-2011.

Emmanuel Lorieux

Global Executive Chef and Global Culinary Partnership Manager, Nestlé Professional

Speaker of "International Chefs Day"

Emmanuel Lorieux, Executive Chef for Nestlé Professional, grew up next to a restaurant in Normandy, France. He was surrounded by the sights and smells of nutritious, homemade meals. With his aspiration to travel, this also steered his career and he completed his apprenticeship at a 1-star Michelin restaurant before working as a chef in the French Army, and with Le Méridien Hotels in Paris, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, Bora Bora, and San Diego. He is a leader in industry initiatives, including International Chefs Day, and also stresses the value in teaching children to eat well, choose good products and instill healthy eating habits.

Edgar Buhrs

The Veal Chef

"Veal Meet Again"
Brought to you by VanDrie Group

Edgar Buhrs knew at young age that he wanted to be a cook. After classical training in Amsterdam, he worked at leading restaurants in the Netherlands and in France under Bernard L’Oiseau. He developed his own style of cooking on the luxury passenger ships in Europe. After cruising for five years, Edgar went ashore to start his own culinary company in 2007. As a culinary consultant, he provides culinary workshops, recipe development, live cooking demos, and more.

A butcher’s son, Edgar has always had a passion for meat—especially veal. Together with Patricia van Krieken of VanDrie Group and Jan Snijders, butcher, teacher and first Dutch Senior Welfare Officer, Edgar will explore the culinary applications of veal to elevate dishes from nose to tail.

Jan Snijders

Master Butcher

"Veal Meet Again"
Brought to you by VanDrie Group

Jan Snijders is a walking encyclopaedia when it comes to meat, and a master of meat processing. After butcher's school, he started his career in meat processing companies, rising from production to Plant Manager at various companies. Because of his broad knowledge of the trade, for years he worked for the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture as an Inspector. Gradually, he expanded his knowledge by following courses for auditors, training in the areas of quality and hygiene, health, and safety. Jan completed the Senior Welfare Officer course at the University of Bristol in the UK, making him the first Dutch Senior Welfare Officer. With small excursion to explore vinology, Jan loves good food and drink and remains curious.

During the Veal Meet Again program, Jan will be deboning as a lesson and, above all, for culinary inspiration, alongside Edgar Buhrs and Patricia van Krieken.

Patricia van Krieken

Marketing Manager at VanDrie Group

"Veal Meet Again"

Patricia van Krieken works as a Marketing Manager at VanDrie Group, but it was cooking that brought her there. She worked for years as a Chef du Bureau before studying advertising and marketing. For more than twenty years, she has been working with great pleasure in the veal business. Patricia travels the world to provide information, organize trade fairs and workshops, and support customers. Besides having professional knowledge, she is a great lover of good food and uses her travels for to explore food culture around the world.

Patricia will join Jan Snijders and Edgar Buhrs on stage for the Veal Meet Again program.

Dilhan C. Fernando

Chief Executive Officer of Dilmah Tea

"Immunity Inspired by Tea"

Dilhan C. Fernando is the CEO of Dilmah Tea, and together with his brother Malik form the 'Dilmah' brand, the first producer-owned tea brand. Mirroring his father's devotion to tea, Dilhan's mission is the fulfilment of the pledges his father made in the 1950s, bringing quality and authenticity back to tea, and share the success of that business with the underprivileged.

Dilhan is also the Director of the Dilmah School of Tea, the first international school of tea, with sessions in Colombo and France in partnership with the Institute Paul Bocuse. He is described by Herve Fleury, Director of the Institute Paul Bocuse as "a man who is passionate, totally supple in his expertise, simple and delicate in his approach and his words. In the very image of tea."

Dilhan will be joined by Chef Peter Kuruvita on stage for the Immunity Inspired by Tea program.

Peter Kuruvita

Managing Director at Alba Noosa and Dilmah Tea Brand Ambassador

"Immunity Inspired by Tea"

Award-winning chef and restaurateur, Peter Kuruvita has taken on roles as a TV presenter, author, culinary tour guide and food & beverage consultant. Well-known for his restaurants Flying Fish Restaurant & Barwhich in Sydney and Fiji, and Noosa Beach in his hometown of Noosa, Peter is sought after for his signature style. Peter’s latest venue, Alba By Kuruvita, opened in December 2021. Described as a “food-lovers hub,” it combines restaurant, bar, and state-of-the-art cooking school.

From cookbooks to menus, Peter’s style is inspired childhood memories of cooking with his grandmother in his ancestral home in Sri Lanka. His flavors are a culinary journey through the island communities of Asia and the South Pacific.

Peter will join Dilhan Fernando on stage for the Immunity Inspired by Tea program.


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