We Saw the Future at RCA and It's Brighter Than Ever!
We believe the children are our future…
Okay, for those of you who have Whitney Houston singing in your head, know that this song was first recorded by George Benson in 1977 and was a significant R&B hit before Whitney covered it in 1985...but we digress. Or perhaps not. This is the perfect example of the wealth of nonsensical knowledge our interns get exposure to in addition to the solid Culinology skills they hone while they’re with us!
Which gets us back to the topic at hand. This year’s Annual Research Chefs Association Conference in Denver, CO was all about connecting with our future and talking with student members about the internship program here at CuliNex. In a joint venture, here is how one of our more senior team members and our newest recruit saw the conference.
Anne-marie Ramo, Culinologist
This year’s RCA Conference in Denver was an amazing adventure reconnecting with my youth while meeting with the best and brightest young Culinologists coming up through great educational programs across the US. Katie and I started things off right on Tuesday night with cocktails and dinner at one of Denver’s hottest restaurants, Work & Class with members of the RCA Student committee Phillip Saneski (current president) and Hannah Dressen (current secretary). We ate some extraordinary food and chatted about the student committee and the changes coming in the next year. The committee has some exciting stuff planned to ensure better student engagement this year. It was a great kick off to what proved to be a great time with students from all over the country, including schools like SMSU, Taylor’s, Clemson, and Johnson & Wales University.
The next morning, Katie and I were privileged to speak to the Higher Education Committee about the success of our intern program and garner further excitement for the program. After a day of education seminars, a fabulous general session with speaker Stephen Kalil, CEC, CRC®, Corporate Executive Research Chef, PEPSICO, we headed off to Ellie Caulkin’s Opera House for the opening reception. We were treated to local food and libations from some of Denver’s finest establishments, the highlight for me being gorgeous food served by a local foraging team. The night continued with fun and frivolity with industry leaders, students and educators at a cocktail party held by JMH.
Thursday was all about getting ready for the Expo, where we manned the White Oak Frozen Foods booth. We showcased a Baja Veggie Slider with Tomatillo Relish and Jalapeno Crema, which was a big hit! Of course, we also spent lots of time meeting and chatting with students. We capped off our day speaking with at the student committee’s town hall get-together, where it was great to hear from students themselves what is happening in their worlds, how to best communicate with them and of course, engaging them in discussion about our internship program.
Having the opportunity to spend time with students and young professionals at the conference was an uplifting and exhilarating experience for me. Hearing how our industry feels to them, the challenges they encounter and what excites them about our work keeps me excited about what we do, about the future of the RCA and our industry on the whole. Working with students is my favorite, (non-cooking) aspect of my job!! Having focused time with them at the RCA Conference was very inspiring!
Katherine Langel, Culinologist (and previous Culinologist Intern)
The Annual Research Chefs Association Conference is more than just another conference; it's a family reunion! As always the week was filled with education on the newest food trends, eating delicious food at Denver's best restaurants, networking and reconnecting with old friends, and exploring the exciting flavors found on the Culinology Expo floor.
Having attended the conference as a student in the past, it was exciting to attend this year as a professional. Throughout the conference, I was asked if it felt different attending as a professional rather than as a student. There were some differences because I had a slightly different end goal compared to when I had attended previously. The biggest thing I realized was how important it is for students to attend, network, and learn at the RCA Conference. Also, how lucky I was to have attended and competed as a student in the past. Having the education, connections, and exposure prepared me for a 'real world' Culinology job.
As a student attending the show, I made connections with many of the vendors during the Expo and asked questions to learn more about their companies and what their products can do. Making those connections was super important because I remembered the vendors that took the time to chat with me and now, as a professional, I am able to use their products in application.
While at the conference, Anne-marie and I gave the Higher Education Board a recap on our internship program and the great progress we have made. It was also great to connect with the students during the Student Town Hall Meeting and explain more about our internship opportunities. And of course, it was fun to celebrate with the Student Culinology Competition Winners from Taylor's University, Malaysia!
We look forward to the RCA Conference every year and always find it a rewarding experience. Thanks to the student membership, the experience was a little bit richer this year than in previous years. We can’t wait to see what these kids do next!
Interested in becoming a CuliNex intern?
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