UCLA Extension Restaurant Industry Conference to Honor Chef Thomas Keller with 2014 Innovation Award

Hundreds of holding companies, owners, lenders, investors, suppliers and others to descend on UCLA May 13 for latest trends, economic forecast, and latest tools for success

UCLA Extension's annual Restaurant Industry Conference is May 13, 2014 (Photo: Business Wire)

UCLA Extension Restaurant Industry Conference 2014

LOS ANGELES--()--Internationally acclaimed chef and restaurant owner Thomas Keller, who has established such iconic culinary institutions as French Laundry and Bouchon, will receive the 2014 Innovation Award during next month’s annual UCLA Extension Restaurant Industry Conference.

Along with Keller’s honor, the 18th Annual Restaurant Industry Conference on May 13 is once again expected to reveal concepts and ideas that will soon find their way to well known and emerging restaurants across the country. Held on the UCLA Campus at Covel Commons, the conference is the biggest single-day gathering of top restaurant company executives, investors, lenders, suppliers and advisors.

“As Ruth Reichl wrote in The New York Times, Thomas Keller ‘is a wizard, a purist, a man obsessed with getting it right.’ He is the epitome of a ‘superstar chef’ with numerous books, TV appearances, movies and awards. His advice is aimed at bringing simply the best to America’s dining tables,” said Anna Graves, conference chair and co-leader of the restaurant, food and beverage industry group for Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. “We are recognizing this California native for many things, including being a founding father of such national mega-trends as ‘California Cuisine’ and farm-to-table ingredient purity and freshness.”

Dr. Tim Ryan, president of The Culinary Institute of America, presents the Innovation Award and will interview Chef Keller during the conference.

This year’s conference is packed with concise, informative sessions highlighted by a keynote speech from Joey Reiman, CEO and Founder of BrightHouse and author of “The Story of Purpose: The Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, a Greater Company, and a Lasting Legacy.” Other featured speakers include Christopher Thornberg, Founding Partner of Beacon Economics, offering the latest economic trends; Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc.; and Morgan Remmers, manager of local business outreach for Yelp, offering tips on how to generate positive online buzz about your company.

Panels discussions feature the latest trends – and challenges – facing the restaurant industry. One session involves how to decipher and utilize “big data.” It will feature David Gordon, President of the Cheesecake Factory Inc.; Pete Honer, Senior Vice President of Finance for Del Taco; and Fred LeFranc, founder and CEO of Results Thru Strategy. The moderator is Wally Doolin, founder and Chairman of TDn2K.

One of the more popular sessions at the annual conference involves “emerging concepts.” This panel features David Birzon, CEO of Snooze, an A.M. Eatery; Mario Del Pero, founder of Mendocino Farms; Rodney Eckerman, President & CEO of PizzaRev; and J. Dean Loring, President and CEO of Burger Lounge. The moderator is Russ Bendel, CEO/President of The Habit Restaurants, LLC.

Conference details and online registration are available at www.uclaextension.edu/restaurant. For information about UCLA Extension’s restaurant management classes, call (310) 206-5075 or type “restaurant” on the main website search box.

About Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller is the first and only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the prestigious Michelin Guide, as well as the first American male chef to be designated a Chevalier of The French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France. He has received countless accolades, including The Culinary Institute of America’s “Chef of the Year” Award and the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Chef” and “Outstanding Restaurateur” Awards. Keller also is the author of five cookbooks, of which more than one million copies are in print. His award-winning "The French Laundry” cookbook debuted in 1999, followed by “Bouchon” and “Under Pressure,” a cookbook dedicated to sous vide preparations. More about Thomas Keller can be found at: http://tkrg.org/.

About UCLA Extension

UCLA Extension is the continuing education division of the University of California at Los Angeles. UCLA Extension offers evening, weekend, and online courses and certificates for professionals in business, management, engineering, information systems, entertainment studies, public policy, public health, the humanities and many other fields. Find out more at uclaextension.edu.

Photo of Thomas Keller available upon request.


Fraser Communications
Denis Wolcott, 213-200-1563

Release Summary

Internationally acclaimed chef Thomas Keller will be honored at the 18th annual UCLA Extension Restaurant Industry Conference on May 13. Conference provides latest trends in the restaurant industry.


Fraser Communications
Denis Wolcott, 213-200-1563