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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?

You are invited to attend the Food Studies Saturday Seminars inspired by our Master of Arts in Food Studies program. The seminars feature 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 begin at 3pm; they 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.   Please RSVP to each program individually using the link included in the description.

Fall 2017

December 9, 2017, 3-4:30 pm  THE SECRET LIFE OF FOOD TRENDS, with Kara Nielsen, Vice President Trends & Marketing at CCD Innovation

In this seminar, trendologist Kara Nielsen will discuss 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. Of course, Kara will share her forecast for 2018 trends and we'll taste samples of on-trend snacks and sips. That top-ten-trend list will never look the same!

Kara Nielsen is an expert in the study of food and beverage trends. For over ten years, she has translated trends for strategic brand growth and new product development for food manufacturers, foodservice operators, and agencies. Kara serves as the Vice President, Trends & Marketing for CCD Innovation, an innovation consultancy based in Emeryville with a focus on culinary- and trend-inspired product development. She is a frequent public speaker and her insights can be found in food industry press and mainstream media. Kara earned her Master's in Gastronomy from Boston University and has a professional background in culinary education, food and wine studies, pastry arts, and restaurant hospitality. Kara shares her own trendspotting at
December 9 RSVP

November 11, 2017, 3-4:30 pm  WHY WE EAT WHAT AND HOW WE EAT: A JOURNEY INTO THE AMERICAN FOOD PSYCHE, with Sophie Egan, New York Times health writer, Culinary Institute of America program director, and food culture author.

In this seminar, join New York Times health writer and food culture author Sophie Egan for a fun and surprising ride deep into the psychology and history underlying Americans' daily relationships to food. Sharing insights from her book, Devoured: How What We Eat Defines Who We Are, Sophie will explain how national values of work, freedom, and progress affect our eating habits, for better and for worse. From "stunt foods" like Doritos Locos Tacos at Taco Bell and Unicorn Frappuccino at Starbucks to the national epidemic known as "Sad Desk Lunch," her presentation will hold a mirror up to our daily food choices. Through the stunning statistics she gives and the universally relatable examples she uses, this presentation might even change the way you eat.

Sophie Egan is the author of the book Devoured: How What We Eat Defines Who We Are. She also is the director of programs and culinary nutrition for the Strategic Initiatives Group at The Culinary Institute of America. Based in San Francisco, Sophie writes for The New York Times' Well blog, and she has written about food and health for publications including TimeThe Wall Street JournalBon AppétitWIREDForbes, and Sunset magazineShe holds a master of public health from the University of California, Berkeley, with a focus on health and social behavior, and a bachelor of arts with honors in history from Stanford University. In 2016, she was named one of the UC Global Food Initiative's 30 Under 30. 
November 11 RSVP

with Renske Lynde, Co-Founder of Food System 6 (FS6).

The ways in which we grow, produce, distribute, and consume food are changing rapidly towards a food system that emphasizes health & sustainability. Come learn from the co-founder of an impact-focused accelerator and think tank about the latest trends changing food and agriculture as we know it. Renske Lynde will share developments in the industry being led by innovative entrepreneurs, as well as opportunities to get involved in shaping the evolution of our food system. Renske will be joined by one or two of the startup founders she supports at Food System 6 for an interactive and lively discussion about the future of food.

Renske Lynde, Co-Founder and Managing Director of FS6, is a seasoned non-profit professional who has worked to transform the food system for over 20 years. She began her career advocating for improvements in international trade agreements on behalf of sustainable agriculture practices in the mid-90s working for the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy (IATP) in Minneapolis, MN. She then built direct market channels for Pennsylvania growers and ranchers into the Philadelphia marketplace through farmers markets and other retail outlets. She also helped develop the Mid-Atlantic "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" campaign to develop a healthy regional food system as part of a national collaborative. After earning her Master's in Public Policy at UC Berkeley's Goldman School, she worked to improve both the quality of and participation in the federal school meals and food stamp programs while at the San Francisco Food Bank. Renske received her BA from Boston University.  

September 16, 2017, 3-4:30 pm 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? Take 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. Learn 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. You'll also learn 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. As part of the presentation Alicia, Chef/Owner of Alicia's Tamales Los Mayas, will share her entrepreneurial journey and tamales! 

Alicia Villanueva will be joined by Jessica Mataka, La Cocina's Communications and Development Coordinator. Jessica is a graduate of San Francisco State University. On behalf of Mission-based, non-profit Global Exchange, she has designed and implemented throughout high schools in the Bay Area a curriculum focusing on anti-human trafficking efforts. Jessica lived in Huaycán, Peru, where she taught an original program focusing on the intersection of art and activism. She loves her job at La Cocina, mostly because she gets to hang around a kitchen with the most inspiring women she's ever encountered (who coincidentally love to feed her) and spend all day talking about how amazing they are.Previous

Seminars include

  • Spinning Food: Telling Truth from Fiction in a Post-Fact World with Anna Blythe Lappé
  • The Index of Public Tastes: Reading Supermarket Shelves with Tom Hertweck
  • Cooking up a Second Act: Narratives and Images of Women's Transformation through Food Work with Kimberly Nettles-Barcelón
  • Crafting the Perfect Cup with Food Craft Institute with Ally DeArman & Food Craft Institute
  • Eating Our Way to Urban Improvement: A Food Policy Primer with Eli Zigas, Agriculture Policy Director of SPUR
  • Old World Wines vs. New World Wines: Can You Smell and Taste the Difference? with Roxanne Langer
  • Food Entrepreneurship: What Can We Do For You?: The Model Eater and A Sustaining Food Economy with Yaron Milgrom  
  • Beyond Organic Farming with Thaddeus Barsotti  
  • Farmers Market Tour with Alison Alkon  
  • Labor in the Food System with Jenny Huston  
  • Food Fads and Dieting Culture with Adrienne Rose Johnson  
  • Food Journalism and Beyond: A Look at Modern-Day Food Writing with Alissa Merksamer  
  • It's Hot in the Kitchen: Craft Entrepreneurship with Hannah Hoffman
  • Of Land and Legacies with Gail Myers
  • So you want to write a cookbook? with Dianne Jacob
  • "On Her Own" Film Viewing and Discussion with Morgan Schmidt-Feng
  • Food Regimes and Food Movements with Eric Holt-Gimenez
  • Food + Media with Beth Hoffman