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where profession meets obsession
Somewhere between north and south, east and west is a place bordering on incredible. Not just an e-commerce store, Cooking District is a vast site where culinary professional members go 25/8 for news, help and signature recipes. Where cooks can quickly find that oil Boulud uses, that perfectly balanced paring knife, or that size 3X jacket. A destination, whether you cook for a living or a loving, as dedicated to cooking as you. Welcome to the cooking district. Where profession meets obsession.
Brad Barnes, CMC, CCA, AAC
Founder & President
Has traveled the US and Europe extensively molding his Culinary career for some 30 years. He spent the first 25 years of his career in professional restaurant, hotel, catering & country club kitchens. Chef Barnes is well versed in a variety of cuisines and is one of America’s 63 Certified Master Chefs. Serving as the National Certification Chairperson for the American Culinary Federation, Mr. Barnes has been a pivotal leader in revising culinary certification standards and the rewriting of the prestigious Certified Master Chef Exam, administered annually at the Culinary Institute of America, his alma mater. Brad frequently lectures on many culinary subjects to his peers as well as the public and is a well-known Certified International Culinary Judge, appointed as per the auspices of the World Association of Cooks Societies. He also has remained as an advisor for the US Culinary Team from 1999 until 2008.
Lisa Brefere, CEC, AAC
Founder & CEO
Has traveled extensively while studying and cooking abroad and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. During Lisa’s 30-year tenure she has held many positions in hotels, private clubs and restaurants including Pastry Chef, Restaurant Chef and Executive Chef. Currently she is a member of the Alumni Board and Education Committee at the CIA. Lisa is an avid competitor, competing in over 25 competitions in the US and internationally. She was the Northeast recipient of the L.J. Minors Professionalism Award and the A.C.F. Presidential Medallion for outstanding dedication to the culinary profession. Lisa has acted as a public commentator and speaker for many culinary events at trade shows and such retail venues as Barnes & Noble, Williams Sonoma and Macy’s. Ms Brefere is also an accomplished author of the textbook “Nutrition for the Foodservice Professional”, now in its seventh revision, published by John Wiley. Lisa is also pivotally involved in the Culinary Institute of America’s Alumni Committee which consists of industry leaders from around the country.
Frank J. Brefere III
Vice President, Technology
A senior consultant for 10 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers, International Assignment Solutions - Technology group, specializing in web-based application development. Frank is credited with building over 40 active web sites for Fortune 100 clients with many different navigation, security and design features. Frank is an IBM Certified Associate Developer.
Content & Product Manager
Zach Minot’s deep appreciation for authentic food, coupled with his extensive background in the food and new media industries offer a unique perspective on the future of online culinary media. Zach graduated from The New England Culinary Institute with an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and The University of Vermont with a Bachelors Degree in New Media. Zach has cooked in numerous high-end restaurants including New York City’s Gramercy Tavern. He has worked on the set of acclaimed Food Network’s Good Eats and has been working hands on with internet media since 2007. Zach combines his passion and his experience to consult from many angles.
With over 30 years of experience in a variety of positions, including Executive Chef, Sales manager- Corporate Chef- Center of the Plate specialist and Culinary Project Manager, He has in-depth knowledge of how to commercialize products 'from recipe to consumer market'.
Always in pursuit of a good story, Lisa McLaughlin has harvested agave in Mexico, butchered beef in Ohio, picked grapes for ice wine during a snow storm in Niagara Falls and made cheese in Australia, among other adventures. She headed up the lifestyle coverage at TIME magazine, where she created and ran the Your Time section, served as cookbook critic and was part of the launch team for TIME Style + Design. Her writing has also appeared in dozens of publications, including InStyle, Sunset, and the James Beard Award winning Edible publications including Edibles Manhattan, Brooklyn, and East End. She created and launched FoodRepublic.com as founding Editor-in-Chief.
Managing Partner, Demand Generation, LLC
Jason's background spans deep experiences in business strategy, marketing, product management, process re-engineering, science, and technology. Jason’s unique, interdisciplinary perspective adds sophistication and measurability to marketing strategies. Prior to co-founding Demand Generation, Jason was Director of Marketing & Product Management for a fast-growing, Services eProcurement leader. His product design and development accomplishments include proprietary scientific and medical devices, streaming media Internet entertainment portals, and enterprise-class eProcurement systems transacting billions of dollars per year. He was recently awarded a patent in February 2008 for developing hardware and software that interprets the behavior of clams and/or mussels for the detection of waterborne toxicants. Jason is a Six Sigma Black Belt and delivers product strategy consulting to large and small companies – emphasizing solid business fundamentals as universal priority for organizations of all sizes.
Senior Creative Director/Copywriter
In advertising over 35 years, Mark created the character Kool-Aid Man at Grey. After winning awards on GE and Gillette at BBDO, he joined DMB&B on Kraft and P&G, launching the pain reliever Aleve. Returning to BBDO he developed campaigns for Best Foods and Schering-Plough, including the Nasonex Bee, before moving to Y&R on MetLife and Accenture. View his work at
President and Founder, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants
Cameron Mitchell is president and founder of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. A lifelong entrepreneur, Mitchell is an accomplished businessman, culinary expert and nationally recognized restaurateur. His prominence in the industry increased exponentially in early 2008, when he guided the sale of two of his most popular concepts – Mitchell’s Fish Market and Mitchell’s/Cameron’s Steakhouse – to Ruth’s Chris for $92 million. Mitchell is committed both to his profession and to the community he calls home. He serves as vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees of the CIA, and actively recruits and mentors current and prospective students. Today, he is the school’s largest alumni donor, establishing a $250,000 scholarship fund. Among his service to numerous local boards and committees in Columbus, Ohio, where he lives with his family, is his exceptional dedication to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation, where he serves on the board. Mitchell and his wife Molly founded Sera Bella, the Foundation’s premier fundraising event, nearly a decade ago. To date, proceeds from the event have surpassed $2.5 million.
Financial Operations Consultant
F&B Rescue founder and CEO Leslie Peterson has been working as an executive financial manager for food service companies for over 25 years specializing in Multi –Unit operations with revenues ranging from 20- 65 million annual sales. Ms. Peterson has opened F&B Rescue specifically to address the accounting and financial needs of all areas of the hospitality industry.
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