Chef Einav

Chef Einav

Her career as a chef began 20 years ago as a pastry chef at Orna & Ella in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Since then she’s traveled the world, growing and sharing her experiences.

Chef Einav also worked as a sous chef at Mul-Yam in Tel Aviv. It was named the top restaurant by the French restaurant guide, Gault-Millau, and the world's 114th best restaurants by Les Grandes Tables du Monde.

A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education (formerly known as Peter Kump's), Gefen interned at New York's Daniel restaurant and was the executive chef at Danal in Manhattan’s East Village. Her work there gained the attention of Time Out Restaurant Guide 2001, where she received a wonderful write-up.
 
In 2001, she founded and became the director of the culinary arts program at the Jewish Community Center, Manhattan. During that time, Gefen appeared in five national televised cooking segments and was the subject of numerous newspaper articles. She also started contributing to the book Art & Cook which was published in November 2003 and got great reviews—both as a recipe book and as an art collection.
 
From 2003-2008 Chef Einav was a professional chef instructor at ICE (Institute of Culinary Education) in Manhattan where she was responsible for training aspiring chefs in all aspects of cooking and presentation. In addition, she taught a variety of recreational kids and adults classes.
 
Chef Einav joined Unilever in 2008 as the corporate head chef for North America. In that role she lead a team of chefs charged with innovation development, product rejuvenation, consumer and customer activations, and deployment of global projects.
 
She became the corporate executive chef for Unilever Food Solution in August 2016. Currently she leads the North American chef teams for customer development and is part of the UFS North America leadership team as the culinary thought leader.
 
Chef Einav is the face of the Knorr brand in North America and has starred in three TV commercials. She also has a TED talk where she explains what we can do to make cooking with time constraints a little less challenging and why convenience is not a dirty word. She has also competed on the acclaimed Food network competition show “Chopped.”


Quick Q&A


Foodservice Trend You’re Most Excited For:
The evolution of the Chef. The new generation Chef and how they will run a kitchen.

Biggest Concern for the Restaurant Industry:
Labor costs and retention

Favorite UFS Product and Why:
Chicken liquid concentrated base. I put this --- in everything.

Chef Dana

Chef Dana

As a finalist on Season 10 of Hell's Kitchen on FOX (and returning for Hell’s Kitchen All Stars!), Dana Cohen gained the hard-earned respect of acclaimed Chef Gordon Ramsay and was dubbed the "Scallop Queen" for her seafood mastery.

A New Jersey native, Chef Dana grew up surrounded by family, friends and plenty of good food. She quickly learned a meal is more than just food; it is at the heart of many fond memories. As a young girl with a sophisticated palate, Dana could often be found in the kitchen at home experimenting with new recipes or down at her grandparents’ farm helping create a feast for the holidays.
 
At 16, Chef Dana was hired as a hostess at the local Italian restaurant in her hometown of River Vale. Determined to follow her passion, she begged her way into the kitchen and quickly proved she could handle the stress, pressure and long hours that are part of the job. There she became an integral member of the kitchen team and fell in love with the culinary world.
 
Chef Dana attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, which led to an externship at The Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach, Florida. During her time there, she was inspired by the fresh produce picked daily from the garden and local seafood caught just offshore. This is where she developed her cooking style, with a flair for transforming local and seasonal ingredients into simple yet memorable dishes.

As a chef instructor at the Viking Cooking School, Chef Dana explored her passion for sharing her love of food and cooking. There she taught a wide range of hands-on classes and cuisines to aspiring home chefs. Her most notable "student" was New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
 
Determined to find the best local dishes wherever she travels, Chef Dana is a firm believer that great food enhances any experience, from casual get-togethers to major life events. As an avid sports fan, it's not uncommon to find her with a football in one hand and tongs in the other as she shows off her tailgate cooking skills with friends.

Chef Dana advocates a healthy, active lifestyle and enjoys running, working out, and playing tennis. Her favorite dishes are often inspired by whatever catches her eye while strolling through the farmers' market and are then shared over a glass of wine and some laughs with good friends.


Quick Q&A

Foodservice Trend You’re Most Excited For:
Less is more. Chefs will focus on the quality of ingredients they are using rather than quantity of dishes on the menu and ingredients used within a dish. I am hoping to see more locally, sustainably raised meats and produce, and a widespread acceptance of the "farm to table" movement.

Biggest Concern for the Restaurant Industry:
I think kitchen labor is a big problem that will continue to grow. Rising labor costs and the challenge to find skilled, reliable staff.

Favorite UFS Product and Why:
When you say to yourself, "There's something missing!", Chicken liquid concentrated base is always the answer.

Chef Isaac

Chef Isaac

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Isaac has many years of experience in a variety of restaurants and country clubs as well as in catering and product development around the country. He’s quite well rounded in operations, culinary trends, baking and pastries.

Not only has he served as Executive Chef at The Astoria Golf and Country Club in Oregon and been part of the team of The Hotel DuPont in Delaware, but he also spent time as a chef instructor at Le Cordon Bleu in Washington.

Chef Isaac has competed in numerous competitions in New York with the American Culinary Federation, taking home two gold medals and a silver medal. He also coached a culinary team that went on to take first, second, and fourth place in Pro Start.

Before joining Unilever as a corporate chef, Chef Isaac worked at Campbell Soup as their senior research and development chef. He just recently moved from Philadelphia where he ran The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College as the dean of culinary arts, baking and pastry. He has also served as the culinary director of the San Antonio Food Bank.

Chef Isaac loves true farm-to-table dining and being part of the agriculture farming life. In Washington State, he owned a honey farm consisting of 150 hives and participated in over twenty farmers markets a week. He is a huge advocate for small farms and small business.


Quick Q&A

Foodservice Trend You’re Most Excited For:
I will stand true to farm to table. We have not even really begun to explore how this can explode on many different levels from foodservice to retail to education to execution.

Biggest Concern for the Restaurant Industry:
A few concerns:
Staffing. I see everywhere that all operations are hiring. We are now at an all time high with foodservice turnover. Staying consistent with what that operation is serving. Continuing to promote unhealthy ways of eating in an already stressed out and obese state. We, as Chefs and operators, can have a big impact in what we do at a local level. Not incorporating different produce into dishes. Get away from the standard zucchini and try serving patty pan squash or 8-ball squash or Kentucky beans. There is a wide variety of produce that offers such a superior taste, flavor, and texture profile versus the standard norm.

Favorite UFS Product and Why:
I will say it is the Ultimate Chicken Base. Flavor is great with the roasted notes and much different than other chicken bases.

Chef Kyle

Chef Kyle

Chef Kyle has been professionally cooking for the past 13 years. Although currently based in Orange County, California, he grew up in Pirmasens, Germany, where his infatuation with food and culture took hold.

Chef Kyle has always felt that some of the strongest ties to culture and tradition flow directly through cuisine— that’s why he loves to cook. Meeting new and different people from around the world through the lens of food is his ideal way to make connections.

He moved away from Germany to Phoenix when he was 10 years old. Although he pictured camels and sand dunes before the trip, he really liked growing up in Arizona and took a real liking to southwestern and Baja cuisine styles.

Chef Kyle went to culinary school in Scottsdale and worked in a few small independent restaurants before finding his way to the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Eventually he began his corporate cooking career with Bosch/Siemens/Home Appliance Corp. in Scottsdale. In 2011 B/S/H moved their training and flagship showroom to Irvine, California, and asked him to become their Executive Chef. As a function of sales, he flourished in demonstrating and driving excitement for the brands through innovative and upscale cuisine.

After three and a half years he began his own mobile catering business with the idea of opening up a small independent restaurant. Nonetheless, the opportunity opened up to work at Unilever and he jumped on it.

His style of cooking reflects his history and experiences. His passion resides with Asian flavors, Mexican/southwestern, and being whimsical.


Quick Q&A

Foodservice Trend You’re Most Excited For:
Ordering from tablets and having only runners for the food. Makes it so much more simple and less employee costs. Less wrong orders as well.

Biggest Concern for the Restaurant Industry:
The people in the industry. Finding people who love the craft and will still work for $12 an hour.

Favorite UFS Product and Why:
Caldo de Pollo. It warms my soul.

Chef Rudy

Chef Rudy

Chef Rudy started his culinary career at a very young age. He graduated with high honors from the Culinary Institute of America in 1986 and later went back to teach at the school for several years. He has taught and worked in Brazil, Japan and Mexico as well as all across the U.S.

He’s a member of the American Culinary Federation and was selected as the Chef of the Year by the Mid-Hudson Culinary Association in 1996. Chef Rudy received the ACF president’s medallion in 2009 and was the committee chair for the ACF Youth Committee from 2010 to 2013.

Always eager to compete, Chef Rudy has won gold and silver medals in both national and international competitions, including the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, in 2000 as a part of the Culinary Institute of America team. He has been a member of the Skills USA Technical Committee for the Culinary Arts competition for more than 10 years and held the position of committee chair for several years. Chef Rudy has coached several students in competitions. He represented the United States as coach for the WorldSkills international culinary competition held in Germany in 2013.

During his career spanning more than 40 years, Chef Rudy has held executive chef positions in several independent, fine dining restaurants as well as club and resort properties in places like Aspen, Colorado; Palm Beach, Florida; and New York City. He Joined the Unilever Culinary Team in 2006 and loves working with operators. Chef Rudy has a passion for food and cooking that he loves to share.


Quick Q&A

Foodservice Trend You’re Most Excited For:
Small plates

Biggest Concern for the Restaurant Industry:
Waste and sustainability

Favorite UFS Product and Why:
Demi glace – for its flavor profile and versatility. A close second would be liquid cream base for the same reasons.

Chef Rob

Chef Rob

Chef Robert trained at the French Culinary Institute (currently known as International Culinary Center). He’s a nutrition nerd, aspiring homesteader and resident non-commercial authority.

He began his culinary career at age 16 weighing dough at a local pizzeria. From there he went on to work in some of America’s finest kitchen’s including the legendary Gotham Bar and Grill in New York City.

Most recently, Chef Robert spent three years as the executive chef for EcoSpaces Education where he introduced school children to the joys of charcuterie, aeroponically grown microgreens, and fermentation.

When he’s not eating, writing about, growing, or preparing food, he is most likely chasing after one of his three daughters or enjoying a glass of German Riesling.


Quick Q&A

Foodservice Trend You’re Most Excited For:
So much of what happens in foodservice should be considered fads, not trends. One recent shift that I see enduring is a focus on eliminating food waste. Both operators and consumers are beginning to realize that too much of the food we produce ends up in the trash. There are so many reasons to support the reduction of food waste; not only is it a better business practice, it is better for the planet.

Biggest Concern for the Restaurant Industry:
I have spent the better part of the past 24 years connected to the restaurant and hospitality industry. I chose that path primarily because of the people I met along the way. The restaurant industry is full of creative and passionate people who provide a vital service to the community. Well intended regulations are beginning to conflict with a business model that is often based on antiquated assumptions and can jeopardize an individual’s ability to make a living in the restaurant business. Finding the balance between reforms that will allow restaurant workers a better quality of life, restaurant owners an incentive to stay in business and customers the value they demand, is becoming increasingly difficult.

Favorite UFS Product and Why:
Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. The taste of Hellmann’s is something I grew up with and is so familiar and versatile that I come back to it time and time again as the base of sauces, dressings, spreads and marinades. More recently I have been adapting recipes to include it in baked dishes, biscuits and cakes, and it continues to impress me with how well it performs in so many applications.

Chef Kyla

Chef Kyla

Before Kyla Tuori became a certified chef, she earned a degree from the University of Guelph with an emphasis on marketing management, which makes her current role at Unilever an ideal fit.

Passionate, creative, and driven, Kyla Tuori’s culinary career began at George Brown Chef School, in Toronto where she studied culinary management. She then continued on to work in a fine dining restaurant in Toronto’s downtown core as a cook and managing the baking/pastry department.

Chef Kyla has been able to enjoy a decade-long career with Unilever, working with a variety of influential chefs and gaining operational experience across the U.S. and Canada. She is very passionate about having a sustainable and nutritional approach to her cooking, which is evident through her engagements within the foodservice industry and continued educational achievements. Chef Kyla is a member, and active participant, with national culinary associations as well as charitable foundations, and local community organizations.

She was named one of the Ontario Hospitality Institute’s Top 30 Under 30. This high profile recognition program celebrates future generations of hospitality leaders who make a meaningful, impactful difference.
      

Quick Q&A

Foodservice Trend You’re Most Excited For:
Using “ugly” produce! Utilizing blemished fruits and vegetables, that are thought of as undesirable and disposed of. It is the smaller steps we take that can make for a more nutritious, affordable, and environmentally sustainable industry.

Biggest Concern for the Restaurant Industry:
Prioritizing value over nutrition and taste and that these ideals are not made affordable to all   consumers.

Favorite UFS Product and Why:
I was brought up on Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and was a fan from a very young age. It’s versatile and, when you want to splurge, it tastes delicious with french fries.

Chef JC

Chef JC

Food has always been Chef JC Lopategui’s life and the passion that he lives and shares daily. Chef JC, like many chefs, started cooking with his mom at age 4, “helping” her in the kitchen to make authentic dishes.

Though if you ask his mom, she would say he made the messes and disappeared at cleanup time only to reappear to eat the food. She would also say it was some of the best times in her life to be able to bond over cooking.
 
Chef JC has always had a laser focus which really bloomed at the age of 16 when he started business school in Puerto Rico. He believed the foundation for success started with the understanding of how business works. In 2000 after graduation, he took his learnings with him to attend The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He studied under some of the most accomplished chefs from around the world. He decided to fulfil his externship at a 3 Michelin Star restaurant north of Barcelona called El Raco de can Fabes where he was exposed to the techniques and ingredients that made the restaurant so successful.
 
In 2002, Chef JC moved to Napa Valley to work under Todd Humphries, co-owner of the Martini House. Not only did this position provide more exposure for him, he continued to excel in his understanding of wine.
 
A few years later, Chef JC accepted a position as an executive sous chef at a $15 million restaurant in South Beach where he learned the true essence of high volume cooking while bridging excellent service and back-of-house techniques.
 
It was time for Chef JC to expand his horizons, and in 2008 he was hired as a consultant at a boutique hotel in Slovakia. He was able to bring the US steakhouse concept to them and was noted as one of the first chefs to introduce such a westernized concept to that type of establishment in the country.
 
While following through with consulting in Slovakia, he took on another consulting position at a six-unit chain in Ft. Lauderdale. He was able to bring in new products, concepts and execution standards to all of the locations.
 
Chef JC always likes to be busy with his hands and he decided to open up a business called The Ceviche Parlor that focused on bringing Puerto Rican style ceviche to farmers markets and catering events across Florida.
 
In early 2017, he accepted a position with Unilever Food Solutions. He continues to work with chefs and operators daily, providing solutions to help their businesses grow.


Quick Q&A

Foodservice Trend You’re Most Excited For:
Back to Grandma's cooking—classic comfort food with a modern spin. Both Nuevo-Latino and Americana! Respecting the original recipe, while being creative with modern techniques and execution.

Biggest Concern for the Restaurant Industry:
Kitchen labor. Chefs are facing huge labor issues in our kitchens. We need to find ways of designing ready-to-use products that would ease our operators from intense or complicated preparations, while at the same time securing great quality on these products.

Favorite UFS Product and Why:
Select Chicken Base. It makes the best brines for chicken! I love grilling and frying chicken and this keeps it moist, juicy and flavorful.

Chef Nydia

Chef Nydia

Whether cooking for 2,500 or for U.S. presidents, Chef Nydia Ekstrom has the experience and skills to handle any culinary challenge.

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Chef Nydia Ekstrom has over 45 years in the foodservice industry, earning a host of awards, certifications and accreditations.

Along with being a global military executive chef, Chef Nydia is very active with the Adopt a Ship Program for the US Navy. She’s also a member of the Heartwise Task Force, Hennessy Travelers and the ACF Westchester Chapter. She currently has eight seminars certified by the ACF with continuing education hours for American and International Cuisines in both English and Spanish.

Along with an extensive list of commendations, she won the Achievement Award for motivation, drive, persistence, growth and progress in the face of adversity from the Culinary Arts Institute of Jersey City. Plus she was named the ACF Chef of the Year of the Northern NJ chapter in 1990 and was the ACF Chef Associate of the Year in 1994.

One of the proudest moments of her career was being asked to cook for U.S. presidents Obama and Bush along with Vice President Cheney for a Valentine's party. She even had a byline on the menu for the Thanksgiving dinner she lead at the presidential retreat, Camp David.


Quick Q&A

Foodservice Trend You’re Most Excited For:
International spicy foods, or sauces or topping, e.g.,. chimichurri, peri peri, etc.

Biggest Concern for the Restaurant Industry:
Labor at all levels

Favorite UFS Product and Why:
Bases because they are very adaptable to any international cuisine and cream soup base because it can be used for all meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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