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Saturday Seminars

Are you a food enthusiast? Do you have a passion for all things food related? Are you curious to learn more?
Since 2015, the Food Studies program has been offering Saturday Seminars featuring food experts, food entrepreneurs, and food scholars - all looking to enrich your knowledge about the food world. Each presentation features a fascinating food topic followed by an opportunity to mingle, discuss, and enjoy light refreshments. Saturday Seminars are free and open to the public. They are held at the University of the Pacific Center: 155 5th St, Minna St Entrance, San Francisco.   

Check this page for future updates.

Past Program Highlights:

THE SECRET LIFE OF FOOD TRENDS, with Kara Nielsen, Vice President Trends & Marketing at CCD Innovation
Trendologist, Kara Nielsen, discussed how food and beverage trends emerge and turn into everyday ingredients and dishes, and how consumer values and interest drive these trends into the marketplace. Fad diets, the latest superfood, and that hot ingredient on every menu in town are also part of the story. Kara shared her forecast for 2018 trends and participants tasted samples of on-trend snacks and sips. That top-ten-trend list will never look the same! 

BEYOND ORGANIC FARMING with Thaddeus Barsotti, Farmer & CEO of Farm Fresh to You
Thaddeus Barsotti discussed how communities and sustainable farms can be connected through a transparent food system.  From his first-hand experience growing up on an organic farm in Capay Valley, Barsotti discussed the challenges and opportunities faced by organic farmers and the promise of sustainable agriculture. 

FOOD REGIMES AND FOOD MOVEMENTS:  TIDES OF TRANSFORMATION with Eric Holt-Giménez, Executive Director of Food First
Over one billion people go hungry in a world that produces 1½ times more than enough food to feed everyone. In the United States - the richest and most productive country in the world - one in seven people are food insecure. Most of the food insecure work in the food industry itself. Contrary to popular belief (and the insistence of most of our politicians and multilateral agencies) hunger is not caused by scarcity but by injustice. How does the food regime create hunger and food insecurity in the midst of abundance? Can we end the injustices that cause hunger? Who is working to keep the system in place, who is working to reform it and who hopes to transform it all together? This engaging seminar looks at the political economy of food and the influential potential of social movements.

FROM TAMALE LADY TO TAMALE FACTORY:  HOW INCUBATORS CAN SPUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, 
with Jessica Mataka, Communications and Development Coordinator of La Cocina, and Alicia Villanueva, Chef/Owner of Alicia's Tamales Los Mayas
Alicia Villanueva immigrated to the U.S. in 2001. In 2008, she began selling tamales door-to-door. When her husband lost his job during the recession in 2016, she opened a 6,000 sq. ft. tamale factory in Hayward, California. How did she do it?  Participants took a deep dive into the world of business incubators with La Cocina, a nonprofit located in San Francisco's Mission District. La Cocina works alongside low-income food entrepreneurs, primarily women from immigrant communities and communities of color, to help make a living doing what they love to do. Their graduates have opened 24 brick and mortar food businesses around the Bay Area.  In 2018, La Cocina will open a 7,000 sq. ft. food hall in the Tenderloin. Participants learned about the challenges low-income entrepreneurs face (language barriers, access to capital, access to markets), and how La Cocina addresses each of those barriers and stimulates business growth for the communities that need it most.  Participants also learned from Alicia and La Cocina's Jessica Mataka about why owning a small business is important for reducing poverty levels and why supporting diverse business ownership is the key to keeping the Bay Area inclusive - and delicious.  Alicia, Chef/Owner of Alicia's Tamales Los Mayas, not only shared her entrepreneurial journey, but her tamales too! 

CONTEMPORARY CULINARY CAREERS:  WHERE WE'VE BEEN AND WHERE WE'RE GOING with Antonia Allegra, Professional Culinary Career/Writing Coach
A native San Franciscan of a 6-generation family, Toni lives in a treehouse in Napa Valley.  Professional culinary career/writing coach Antonia (Toni) Allegra shared insights to successful paths within culinary professional careers, with emphasis on food writing and negotiation. Toni shared the kaleidoscopic of options in our broad world of food.  Toni shared options for those considering teaching cooking or directing their own cooking school, entrepreneurial food styling for a corporation or publishing house, writing cookbooks or editing magazines/blogs, self-publishing, and much more!  She also shared her six steps to successful negotiation Are you curious about the differences between the editorial and advertorial worlds of food? What about the media options online, on TV, on podcasts? Which associations can move you from beginner to totally networked? We will discuss each of these, and much more during this lively seminar. In addition, we'll explore the critical art of negotiation. Toni will share her six steps to successful negotiation. Be prepared to ask questions and stretch your career thoughts during this conversational presentation.