Category: 2017 (Page 1 of 4)

Ernst van Eeghen

Vice President of Business Development, Church Brothers

Ernst van Eeghen is vice president of business development for Church Brothers and has been active in the produce industry for 13 years. He moved from The Netherlands to the United States in 2000 and started his career as a product marketer at Monterey Gourmet foods.

In 2004 Joe Nucci convinced Ernst to move into the produce industry as marketing manager at Mann Packing Co. During this time Mann Packing introduced several successful new products including Snacks on the Go, Steam Vegetables & Sauce items and Fresh-cut Sweet Potatoes.

In 2007 Ernst was asked to join Church Brothers/True Leaf Farms that had just purchased a large processing facility in San Juan Bautista. During Ernst’s first 7-year spell at the company he was vice president of marketing and product development and successfully introduced a full line of value-added vegetables that included fresh cut lettuce, coleslaw, florets and whole leaves. Additionally Church Brothers Farms introduced industry-changing items such as Teen Green Sandwich Leaves, Euro Romaine Lettuce Cups, Red Heirloom Spinach and Wasabi Arugula.

In 2014 Ernst left Church Brothers and moved his family to Texas to be closer to his in-laws in Oklahoma & Texas. Ernst spent a year at Twang Partners, an innovative flavorings manufacturer operating in retail, convenience and B2B channels. During his stay in Texas, Ernst’s team was responsible for successfully launching a new line of Café Zuca coffee flavorings and an innovative line of produce seasonings under the Zas! brand. When returning to the Central Coast in California, Ernst joined Germains Seed Technology as head of sales and marketing. Germains is an industry leader developing proprietary and innovative seed treatments for the horticulture markets across North America.

In July of this year Ernst was approached to return to Church Brothers Farms at the time when Brian Church was its appointed chief executive. Ernst has a strong passion for innovation and his expertise is heavily focused, but not limited, to fresh produce innovation in foodservice and retail channels. Ernst travels the world to search for and ‘borrow’ ideas from abroad.


Jim Rose

Jim RoseExecutive Chef, Skidmore College

Jim Rose is Executive Chef at Skidmore College, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He advises all culinary/dining service operations and serves as the College’s culinary expert and visionary for food quality, culinary creativity, menu development, staff training, and menu presentation.

Jim is a 1982 alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y. as well as receiving a degree in Food Service Administration from SUNY at Cobleskill. He is recognized as a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) through the American Culinary Federation and is the recipient of numerous culinary awards.

Since graduating in 1982, Jim has dedicated over thirty years in the foodservice industry. He particularly enjoys mentoring younger culinarians.

Prior to joining Skidmore, Jim was the Chef/Proprietor at the Union Hall Inn Restaurant and Catering in Johnstown, N.Y. where he was proud of building a successful 16-year family business by doing what he loved “pleasing customers with good food and service”. He and his wife, Shelly currently own and operate Wine and Roses Restaurant, Broadalbin, N.Y. Jim was also the Executive Chef at the prestigious Mirror Lake Inn Hotel, Lake Placid, NY.

Among his many accomplishments at Skidmore, Chef Roses dining services team has been ranked in the top ten of “Best College Dining Services” by the Princeton Review and Niche Magazine. Jim is an advocate of promoting and introducing good sustainable practices for Skidmore’s Dining Services program. He prides himself on achieving high customer satisfaction, through working directly with student groups, faculty and administration, and the dining services team.

Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak

President and CEO
Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation

Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to work with more than 500 industry and government partners to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption through all produce forms – fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice.

Prior to joining PBH, Wendy was the Global Lead for Food, Nutrition and Health Partnerships at the Monsanto Company. While at Monsanto, her efforts focused on bridging the food, nutrition, culinary and agriculture communities for greater collaboration.

Prior to Monsanto, Wendy served as Senior Director of Health and Wellness at the International Food Information Council (IFIC) and IFIC Foundation in Washington, DC. While at IFIC, she directed communication strategies, including consumer research, opinion leader and media outreach, as well as publications and partnerships, for multiple food safety and nutrition-related issues.

Wendy earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Nutrition and Exercise Science from the University of Missouri, Columbia and James Madison University, respectively. She completed her dietetic internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital – an affiliate of the Yale University School of Medicine.

Wendy resides in St. Louis, MO with her husband Dan and three children, Drew, Evan and Ava.



Jessica Foust

Jessica FoustCulinary Director, Farmer’s Fridge

Chef and Registered Dietitian Jessica Foust is the Culinary Director for Farmer’s Fridge. In this role, Chef Jessica leads culinary and nutrition strategy, new product innovation and commercialization. Farmer’s Fridge is a “12-square-foot restaurant” that offers a premium menu consisting of wholesome and delicious meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacking. Working to redefine convenience and increase 24 hour access to fresh options, food in prepared fresh in the Farmer’s Fridge Kitchen and delivered to the fridges daily. With over 60 locations across the Chicagoland area, including the Merchandise Mart, O’Hare Airport and Northwestern Hospitals, the company is quickly growing to deliver freshness to customers nationwide.

Prior to joining Farmer’s Fridge, Chef Jessica served as the Director of Culinary Innovation for McDonald’s USA where she led culinary development for national and regional menus across all 15,000 US restaurants. Over the past 15 years, she has provided culinary and nutrition direction as a chef and nutritionist in restaurants, hotels, manufacturing, health care and spa settings on both coasts.

Chef Jessica has been involved in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), Research Chefs Association (RCA) and The Culinary Institute of America Healthy Menus R&D Collaborative. A registered dietitian, Chef Jessica holds degrees from The Culinary Institute of America and is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Johnson and Wales University. She completed her dietetic internship at the California Polytechnic State University.

Andrew Freeman

Andrew FreedmanFounder/Partner, af&co.

Named as one of the Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, Andrew brings a combination of experience, passion and creativity to every endeavor.  His agency, af&co., is an innovative restaurant and hospitality consulting firm, headquartered in San Francisco with clients across the country. The agency has developed and launched concepts for over 100 restaurants and hotels, provided ongoing marketing and public relations programs for over 200 others, and has created unique culinary events of all sizes from intimate dinners to food and wine festivals drawing over 10,000 people

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