Ignite Food Submissions

It’s time to talk about FOOD.

Ignite Food wants you to talk to the community about anything you know about food. Tell us about yourself and what your Ignite Food topic would be if you were given just five minutes, a microphone, and 20 PowerPoint slides (should you chose to use them). Submissions are now closed, but come see the other presenters on March 19th to get inspiration for next time!

About Ignite

Ignite was started by Seattle’s O’Reily Publishing in 2006. True to its name, Ignite Phoenix formed in 2008 as an information exchange aimed at fostering and inspiring Phoenix’s creative community. Presenters get five minutes and 20 slides to talk about something they’re passionate about. Ignite Food, the newest and highly anticipated addition to the Ignite Phoenix family, will be entirely focused on anything and everything related to food.

How to submit a presentation

If you submit an idea, you agree that you:

  • Are able to speak on this topic in five minutes and not a second more
  • Can create a 20-slide presentation to support your talk
  • Allow your submission, presentation, and a video of your talk to be posted online (your email address and phone number will be kept private)
  • Will not pitch or advertise for a product or business, even your own
  • Will adhere to the Rules & Guidelines for Ignite Phoenix

For tips on making a great submission, check out this blog post or get your creativity flowing by checking out the list of submissions for Ignite Phoenix #11. Any topic is fair game as long as it’s food- or drink-related, PG-13, and isn’t a sales pitch.

But wait! Here’s what we’re NOT looking for.

While we love that you want to be involved in Ignite Food, we’re not interested in pitches about a product/service you sell. We’re looking for genuine and tangible topics people know about, things they’ve tried, ideas they’re implementing, or concepts they’ve studied regarding food. Share the things you really love, no matter how strange or obscure you think it might be!

The speaker selection process

Submissions are chosen by past Ignite presenters and the Ignite Food Team. We will let you know if you’ve been chosen by email.

Ignite Food will feature 16 presentations. If your presentation is chosen, you will be invited to a speakers’ workshop. We’ll send you the date of this workshop and other important information in a timely manner.

Need inspiration?

We eat it, we grow it, we buy it every day. We talk about it, we blog about it, we twitpic it. We federally regulate it, we’re allergic to some of it. We’ve created billion dollar industries from it.  We mass produce it, we home grow it, we forage it.  We use it as medicine, we link some of it to chronic disease. We work with it, we play with it, and we manipulate it to create other things (both edible/drinkable and not). We pay to be educated about it, and we practice centuries old rituals with it. And now, it’s time to talk about it!

Here are some examples of past food-related Ignite presentations to spark your imagination:

Eat Better, Be Better How Changing My Diet Changed My Life by Kristi Setzer
The Art of Food Photography with a Mobile Phone by Stephanie Quilao
On Pupusas by Yesenia Ramirez
Your Office Coffee Sucks by Matthew Petro
Better Living through Fast Food by Jay Thompson
For the Love of Donuts by Michael Barber
Let’s Grow Up! Food Security in Urban Phoenix by Nicole DiBiase
The Art of Enjoying Food by Chanelle Richardson
How Open Source Biofuels Will Change Phoenix and the World by Brad Biddle

You’ve got the fire inside—let’s help that fire spread!

Ignite Food Submissions

Read below to see the submissions we’ve received for Ignite Food coming up this March, 2012

Every Day Can Be A Sushi Day!
Presenter Allison Day
Biography Programmer, food blogger, ballet dancer. Based in Los Angeles, I work as a freelance/self-employed web developer, make ridiculous amounts of sushi at home to blog about, and produce a podcast all about Japanese food. I think every day should be a sushi day, and I still want to be a ballerina when I grow up.
Description Sushi! It’s not as difficult as you might think to make it at home. With a few important tips and a bit of practice, you’ll be ready to roll in no time!
Listen to Your Gut or Why I Almost Punched a Vegan at First Friday
Presenter Shauna Stacy
Biography Food used to make me sick. Now, it makes me strong.
Description Growing up, I heard: “Drink your milk” “Finish your bread” “Clear your plate.” I obeyed and it made me fat and, ultimately, quite ill. It wasn’t until I listened to my stomach, and my instincts, that health and happiness returned.

This presentation discusses eating – and thinking – for one’s self.

Starting from Scratch
Presenter Charleen Badman
Biography I grew up on conventional “American” food where fruits and vegetables were opened from cans and each dinner ended with ice cream. I started working with strong, female chefs when I was 17 who taught me what good, real food tastes like. I love using small, local farms and and sharing their seasonal produce, especially vegetables.
Description I think we can change the way kids eat; one school at a time by intervening in the food cycle most of us grew up with. It doesn’t make a difference to teach them about cooking, gardening, etc. when the cafeteria serves them blue Jell-O and potato chips. If one chef went to one school, we could all make a difference.
Presenter Preston Smith
Biography I am an improvisor for Jester’Z Improv and I do internet marketing for various establishments. I also am passionate about gourmet soda. I have a wife and 2 boys that are the most important thing in my life. I also run a video review blog for gourmet soda’s… #idrinkpops!
Description For years I have been cultivating a deep love for gourmet soda. This love has driven me to wonder why more local restaurants don’t offer an alternative to regular everyday soda. Gourmet soda offers a much more tasty and often healthier substitute for everyday soda. The best way to have more access to gourmet soda is to spread the word to everyone!
Veganism: Somewhere between Hippie and Hipster
Presenter Raquel Fagan
Biography I am the VP of media for an environmental company based in Scottsdale. I am also a long-time vegan. Over the last 10 years, I have cooked and ate vegan fare all over the US, including New York, Portland, Austin & Omaha. My cooking is often given the compliment “can’t believe its vegan…” Which leads me to think, what does “vegan” taste like?
Description The vegan scene is changing. Gone are the wraps of vegan past. Modern vegans are passionate about food and the opportunities for flavor that vegan cooking creates. The new vegan must be viewed through the foodie lens. What might they have in common with their food-loving brethren? More than you might think.
Culinary Coffee
Presenter Perry Czopp
Biography I am a 22 year old business student who loves the coffee industry. After being in the business for 3 years I am the manager of a store, started a coffee catering business, and placed second in a latte art competition. I would like to present the perfect espresso.
Description They say everyone needs their coffee, but is there truth to it? Around the world you seem to be surrounded by espresso bars. This is simply because of people’s fascination with the sensory experience provided by the perfectly prepaired espresso shot. I would like to talk about why good espresso is important and how to prepaire great espresso.
Eatathon-sf (24 restaurants in 36 hours)
Presenter Justin Beckett
Biography Chef/owner of Beckett’s Table, father of two boys, husband to a beautiful wife, eater of good food, lover of bacon (and all things pork). Need i say more…
Description Planning a 24 restaurant tour sounds like fun, planning the tour out of town provides a bit of a challenge, dining in all those restaurants in under 36 hours takes a fully committed culinarian. It takes passion, education, and extreme gastrological management. Kobayashi ain’t got nothing on me!
Food Is Fuel
Presenter Jennifer Jordan
Biography I’m a certified health nut who is super passionate about holistic health. I teach others about the power on our plate, and how to use food as fuel for a vibrant life!
Description Every time we sit down to meal, we have this awesome opportunity to change our mood, our bodies, and our energy. There is SO much power on your plate, and with every bite we either help or hinder our health and well-being. Biochemistry & balance can shift within minutes, so let me show your audience how to truly use food as fuel!
Food: a love, divorce and love again story
Presenter Monica Baumbach
Biography I am an Arizona native, a Hispanic woman, an online educator, wife and soon to be mother. I grew up in a restaurant family and have been blessed to have a wonderful culinary journey in my 34 years.
Description I would love the chance to come to Ignite Food to talk about my love affair and divorce from food. And also how I was able to get that love back. In November 2011, I had a life changing weight loss surgery. I’d like to talk about my new appreciation of what can fit into my new, tiny fuel tank. All done without advocating for the surgery or surgeon
Understanding Top 10 Menu Trends, ACF AZ
Presenter Madonna Kash
Biography Over 25 years of food service experience from all aspects of the industry representing the American Culinary Federation Chefs of Arizona, the Institute of Food Technologies and more, supporting culinary education and knowledge sharing in Arizona. Community driven, passion for networking and full on food service geek.
Description The American Culinary Federation with the National Restaurant Association annual survey of the top 20 menu trends around the country. Learn more about how the top 10 trends reflect our local community and how the food service industry is supporting these trends.
Sausage Cravings
Presenter Jan Wichayanuparp
Biography I am a west coaster who moved to Arizona to live out my dream of food entrepreneurship after spending nearly a decade as an “accidental” banker in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bangkok. Throughout my travels, I enjoyed a wide array of unique and exceptional dishes, but like many people, I continue to long for the familiar flavors of home.
Description Like first love, there are certain foods that make an indelible imprint on your palate. For me it was “Sai Oua” a traditional Northern sausage from my childhood summers in Thailand. The complex blend of salty, spicy, and savory flavors inspired my personal quest to find and/or create the best damn Sai Oua this side of the Pacific.
Food: Why It Isn’t Just About What We Eat
Presenter Natalie Morris
Biography An Arizona native, I have worked in the food community for Phoenix-area non-profits during my tenure for Community Food Connections, Edible Phoenix and Slow Food Phoenix. I recently received my Master in Food Culture and Communications and now would like to see Phoenix become a community more focused on sustainable activism and growth through food.
Description Our world revolves around what first world countries so carelessly call and think of as food. But we don’t just digest it- we consume it liberally and in more ways than most know. From plastic bags to Lady Gaga to peak oil, food is tremendously influential and therefore powerful. Why this is relevant and why small changes make a big difference.
Lititle known facts about Chocolate
Presenter Mary Josephs
Biography I am a chocolatier
Description Will present some obscure facts about planting and harvesting and producing chocolate! Some amusing, some some factual and some myths about chocolate.
How I Got a Foodtruck Instead of a Baby
Presenter MaryBeth Scanlon
Biography I am a 38 years old, married two years to Tim Scanlon, who I met 4 years ago at just the perfect moment. We own and operate the Pizza People food truck. After a long talk about what we were doing with this lifetime, we decided on July 31st to write a biz plan and opened Oct 22nd. That should tell you a little about my personality…
Description My talk parallels the awakenings of a late thirties couple and their journey into the food truck culture.
How Vitamin CH changed my life!
Presenter Kathy Jacobs
Biography Kathy Jacobs, author of the VitaminCh Blog, loves chocolate. Without it, she would never get anything done. A social media geek, outdoor cook, and photographer, Kathy loves chocolate more than almost anything.
Description One simple food has changed my life forever. I don’t create it, I just improve it. I let it inspire me to do better things. Come learn how my search for the perfect chocolate has inspired my current career.
How to cook food outdoors in a metal pot.
Presenter Bruce Jacobs
Biography Computer geek and former outdoor cooking trainer. Co-webmaster of Outdoorcook.com one of the most popular outdoor cooking websites. I have taught hundreds of folks to cook outdoors.

Description Think cooking outdoors is only easy if you cook marshmellows and hot dogs? You can bake a cake, lagasna, or almost anything you can cook indoors. All you need is to know how to cheat a little and a Dutch oven.
Love in a bowl.
Presenter Stephan Manning
Biography I am a Sous Chef at Pf Chang’s. Cooking or teaching people to cook is the only thing I have ever done for a living and I still love doing it after 15 years. I am currently working on a full sleeve culinary based tattoo. I love making soups and building complexly layered flavor in a single dish.
Description From matzo ball to borscht to gumbo, soups are some of the most universal and varied stars at the dinner table. First course, main meal and dessert; soup can handle it all. It is used to nurse you back to health, warm you through and stretch your dollars. Let me share me passion and knowledge of soups with you.
“Cup my Cake”
Presenter Lana Okamura
Biography My name is Lana Okamura and I am a Phoenix Native who loves to bake cupcakes! I recently developed a side business called The Loaded Cupcake and spend most of my time applying my creative skills to come up with new flavors and concepts for my business.
Description Cakes have been involved in our history for many years, and usually represents celebrations in life. However, the Cake’s little sister has been stealing the show lately. You might know her, we call her Cupcake. Cupcake has been creating many opportunites with her hidden talents in media, and entrepreneurship and deserves a chance to be heard.
Homebrew or die!
Presenter Randy Gregory II
Biography By day, I am a brand focused user experience designer. By night, I am a homebrewing obsessed geek. I know way too much about beer and brewing, and I am more than willing to explain just about anything about the subject. At work, I’m looked at for my branding & ux knowledge, along with “What beer should I have with dinner?”
Description Homebrewing is an amazing hobby, with thousands of recipes and a rich history. For someone who becomes obsessed with the nuances of a hobby (me), it’s perfect for them. How about the person who does a hobby maybe once a month? It’s still perfect. The combination of cooking, science, technology, and miracles makes it always exciting & educational.
What Your Bartender Should Be Doing
Presenter JK Grence
Biography I am a bartender with experience at the tropical paradise that was Trader Vic’s, now employed at Shady’s. I also just started writing a booze column for the Phoenix New Times.
Description The craft cocktail movement is bigger than ever. But while drinks have become more impressive, a large number of bartenders have overlooked the basics. My presentation covers things bartenders should do, but frequently neglect, from ingredient selection to service nuances.
American Cheese: From Sliced Single to Edible Art
Presenter Christine Hyatt
Biography Witness to the American Cheese Revolution. Cheese Champion & Creative, playing at the intersection of slow food & social media. American Cheese Society President. Wife, Mom, Community Builder.
Description In the last 30 years, “American Cheese” has shifted from ‘Kraft’ to ‘Craft’. This talk traces the changes in the edible landscape which have contributed to the artisan and farmstead cheese revolution and why it matters for family farms, communities and eaters everywhere.
Icelanders Eat it Grosser.
Presenter Amanda Stefansson
Biography I’m married to an Icelander, and birthed two half-Icelanders. I have hand-written recipes in Icelandic that I cant read but can cook, and a freezer full of Icelandic licorice chocolate. I do not speak Icelandic. Putrefied skate tastes like a hobo’s pee-soaked underpants. Let me tell you!
Description If you’re traveling to Iceland, pack lots of Clif bars. I’ve eaten putrefied skate, rotten shark, raw puffin, melted sheep fat, unrefrigerated milk, chlorophyl candies, and copious amounts of strong licorice on and in everything. I’ve also pulled fresh mussels from the sea, drank from a waterfall, and chomped on bits of glacier.
Complicated Food Restrictions – DoAble & Affordable!
Presenter Cinder McDonald
Biography I’m a Mom. I’ve got multiple chronic illnesses, overweight, husband is very overweight, and money is tight. Things that I always believed were healthy turned out not to be the case. Last Jan, I learned that my kidneys were damaged – we changed our life, we are getting healthier, losing weight and saving money in the process.
Description How does a Mom keep her sanity when many things are either off the menu or are severely restricted? What do you do when the doctor tells your family they to lose 300 pounds in a year? How can you do it when you’re on a budget as well? This is our story about taking the first steps towards health – together. (gluten free + renal diet)
Astronaut vs Apocalypse food
Presenter Bill Mar
Biography I’m an embedded computer engineer that loves to eat, and have lately been having lots of fun with molecular gastronomy after getting a copy of Modernist Cuisine Cookbook.
Description Freeze dried food is great for camping and survival, but its expensive and selection is limited from retail stores.

My talk explains the science behind freeze-dried food and I’ll show my various home-brew freeze-drying contraptions and experiments.

Discovering the world of teas through Tea toys
Presenter Ladee Rickard
Biography I have owned my own consulting business for 4 years. I’ve contracted/consulted in the IT field as a business analyst / project coordinator for 20ish years. I live to travel and discover new and different ways. I discovered my passion to the wide world of tea and coffee while traveling.
Description Discover the world of teas and related drinks through various special products. From the common tea bag to loose teas and diffusers to special cups, containers and pots. Learn how temperature and brewing times make a huge difference and why multiple infusions extends the taste sensations.

I don’t sell the products. I am a consumer and sharer!!

The debate Over School Lunch…
Presenter Breann Westmore
Biography I have worked in school food and health for 7 years and have taught physical education at the elementary school and state government level. I am a Certified Health Education Specialist and believe that food is a force that can both unite and divide a culture.
Description Do you think school lunch is like it was when you were a kid? Think again. The days of mystery meat, canned veggies, and whole milk are a thing of the past. Schools now serve roasted turkey, and locally grown veggies. In Arizona, over 600,000 children benefit from the NSLP program on a daily basis. As parents, and food advocates what are you doing?
Cavemen – and other myths
Presenter Terry Simpson
Biography I am a surgeon, who specializes in weight loss surgery. A dedicated foodie- who teaches people how to cook. I also spend time doing research about food and nutrition
Description As much as people love talking about cavemen, what do we really know about what they ate and how they lived? Yes, the paleolithic era ended 10,000 years ago- but did how they eat give us the model of how we should eat? Here is a hint – what Paleo diet folks think they know about them, is wrong
Salads are the enemy
Presenter Terry Simpson
Biography I’m a surgeon who specializes in weight loss surgery, active in the field of nutrition, and a chef who writes about food, restaurants, and food trends
Description We think that salads are good for us, and fat is bad, and we have so many myths about what is good and bad – but what does science tell us? Salads and raw foods are not as healthy as cooked, for example. Who eats salads anyway – well, mostly my patients before they have weight loss surgery
A Beginner’s Guide to Beer Festivals
Presenter Angela Muniz
Biography I write, tweet and facebook about the things I love: traveling, rock climbing, coffee and beer.
Description You’ve joined the craft beer movement, and you’re no rookie. You can drink 90 Minute IPAs and Ten Fidy’s with the best of ‘em. So you’re off to your first beer festival and you have 4, maybe 5 hours, to sample 40 beers. Think you can try them all? Trust me, dude. That’s not the best plan.
tea ‘ching: Discovering the Connection between Tea and Wine
Presenter Larry P Canepa
Biography For hundred of years, people have been searching for the ultimate and perfect pairing of food and wine.

Now is the time to find the perfect pairing of TEA and wine. I’m on a personal and professional mission to ‘de-coffeeinate’ Americans and introduce wine lovers to a modern approach to understanding the connection of tea to wine.

Description Tea is the world’s second most consumed beverage, yet many people are still mystified by the styles and enjoyment of this ancient beverage.I bring a refreshingly modern approach to this ancient beverage by helping wine lovers understand the similarities of enjoying tea in a manner very much like enjoying their favorite glass of wine.
My journey to the home of hops!
Presenter Derek Slife
Biography I’ve been brewing my own beer since I convinced my parents at the age of 15 that it would be a good learning experience and help me in my chemistry and biology classes. Over the last decade I’ve home-brewed countless batches of beer, operated a small winery, and conducted numerous experiments with a goal of achieving refreshment enlightenment.
Description Hops are a key ingredient of BEER. Even though we consume hops on a regular basis, majority of us have no idea what they are, where they come from, how they’re grown, and the amazing variety which they come in. I’ll share my exciting journey to WA and OR, where I visited hop farmers, processing houses, and made beer with hops right from the vine.
Molecular Gastronomy – De-Bunked
Presenter Jeff Kraus
Biography Guy in Charge of mobile culinary concepts, one of which the Huffington Post listed as the 8th most influential in the nation, is devoted to the art of all things culinary.
Description Molecular Gastronomy: what it is and what it is not. An overview of the subject and its misconceptions.
I Ain’t ‘Fraid Of No Ghost!
Presenter Dave Bernstein
Biography Professional voiceover and commercial artist, amateur TV chef, sports and music lover, and all-around goofball. Die-hard foodie with a sense of adventure; absolutely in love with the sights, smells and taste of everything on a plate.
Description The Naga Jolokia – aka Ghost Pepper – is the hottest commercially available pepper, and 2nd only to the Trinidad Scorpion in pure mouth-flaming power. It’s not just for pranks anymore! Get hooked on the heat, and discover why it’s not only flavorful, but also beneficial to your health as well.
Do you remember eating that?
Presenter MoniQue Shaldjian
Biography I am a culinary nutrition specialist with a passion for food. After graduating culinary school in 2010, I have been on a mission to make a difference in this world through food.
Description Mindful eating: we’re all guilty of not doing it at some point or another during the day. Most people are not aware of the effects of not eating mindfully, but Homer Simpson should come to mind. Mindful eating: It can change your life.
Makin’ bacon (at home)
Presenter Zach Garcia
Biography I work in Telecom by day. My 140 character twitter description sums it up best. “Eater. Smoker of meats. Maker of bacon. Wannabe Chef. Dad to Lyza Bea and Scooter the Dog. Husband of @lynngarcia. The official Twitter page for Zach Garcia.”
Description Everyone loves bacon… Even vegetarians love bacon… More than 2 billion lbs. of bacon is produced in the U.S. each year. And store bought bacon? What comes to mind? For me it’s two words, water, and shrinkage. I started curing and smoking bacon a year ago and it’s become an obsession for me.
USDA Foods and 180 Healthy Reasons to Use Them
Presenter Danielle Daugherty
Biography I am a senior at Arizona State University and will graduate in May with my Bachelors in Nutrition, Food and Nutrition Management. I have been in the school lunch industry for over 6 years with experience in menu analysis, menu planning, cafeteria operations, food safety, National School Lunch Programs, and USDA Foods.
Description USDA Foods (formerly commodities) has worked to provide healthy foods to align with new proposed child nutrition regulations and to provide hearty, healthy meals for school lunch programs. Some districts have misconceptions as to the benefits USDA Foods can bring to their program and speaking on the topic will help maximize the programs value.
Tweet, Eat, Love
Presenter April Simpson
Biography As an executive producer of TV shows interviewing great chefs, and putting their talent on the air – food, and social media changed my life forever.
Description How food and social media brought together the most unlikely group of people and formed the most unique bonds – food, the ultimate love story.
What we Don’t Know about Food
Presenter Terry Simpson
Biography Food is my life- and I take it seriously– as a foodie whose bucket list includes great restaurants, to a surgeon who has seen what food does to a person from their clogged arteries to their pancreas. My job is teaching people how to eat, and what to avoid – and one thing is certain – we don’t know as much about food as some say we do.
Description Food can kill you, but it probably cannot cure you. A simple history of what we really know about what food can and cannot do to a person – and their body. What we know from science as to what food does to you, and what it doesn’t do to you. From the simple diet plans of Atkins and Ornish to The China Project- from your plate to your artery
Moving forward by stepping backward
Presenter Meghan Olesen
Biography I’m a third generation Phoenician who uses written words, photography and food as my voice. I would like to use my mouth to share what I’ve learned.
Description For almost two years I have been on a quest to learn, from the ground up, how food makes it to the table and to share what I learn (through my blog 729sqft.com) with the world. My goal is to demonstrate through my daily life the connection we should all have with food, with a little fun along the way. Welcome to 729sqft.
Salt is salt is salt is sooooo wrong!
Presenter Aaron Eckburg
Biography I am a purveyor of hand crafted, artisanal sea salts from around the world. A selmelier if you weill. More information about basic salts than most people want to hear, you can find me pairing salts for those that find us at the farmers markets. We have a greater culinary understanding of salts than most executive chef’s in the area!
Description Salt is salt is salt is so far from the truth…learn why salts are different, and how they can make a difference in the flavor profiles of the foods you eat!
Agrarian Ethics: Coming back to the Land
Presenter Paul Schwennesen
Biography I am a cattle rancher east of Phoenix who raises, processes, and markets all-natural grassfed beef at farmers’ markets in Phoenix and Tucson.
I live sustainably on land that produces an incredible wealth of tangible and intangible products, not least of which is a passion for small-scale, lightly regulated food systems.
Description I believe that independent, self-sufficient agrarians who raise food directly from the soil are a largely missing demographic in modern political society. I want to change that, encourage young people to return to agriculture and cultivate the roots of local food/local markets that creates a resilient republic.
Resetting our Food Environment Defaults
Presenter Christopher Wharton
Biography I am a professor of nutrition at Arizona State University. I study local food systems and food security. More broadly, I’m interested in how the food environment dictates food choices (whether we like it or not), and we can modify the environment to make healthy eating easier for everyone.
Description The food environment in which we operate is set up to encourage us to overconsume the worst foods. Alternative food movements have the capacity to change that. We can break down our processed food culture and build a better food environment in which healthy food choices are not only more easily available, they are the defaults. I’ll discuss how.
Arizona is the Birth place of American
Presenter Marshall Shore
Biography Marshall Shore (Vegan) the Hip Historian uncovers interesting bits and curiosities from our past: the semi-forgotten people, places, and events that have made us who we are today. As the official “Unofficial Phoenix Historian,” he uses storytelling magic, found film footage, old photographs, ephemera and artifacts, to bring our past to lght.
Description Arizon’s holds many first in the Mid century Landscape of the US eating habits. Providing fertile ground for some of America’s beloved brands and expand in our hearts, minds, and memories.
Supposedly, I can’t eat anything…but I’m cool with that!
Presenter Ken Scheer
Biography I was originally born in NY. I graduated ASU with a B.S. Degree in Kinesiology. Since graduating I’ve owned three businesses and I’m an entrepreneur by trade. I’m currently using the power of social media to connect with individuals that have food allergens, helping them to embrace the allergies and opening their world up to numerous possibilities.
Description I’m currently living without gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, goat’s milk, corn and many more. I thought I would never be able to enjoy good food again. The thought alone almost killed me before my hefty list of food allergies did. But I embrace my situation and found a way to eat TASTY and live HEALTHY.
The Full Monte of Rum
Presenter Dwayne Allen
Biography I am a principal and Spirit Program Director at Rum Bar at The Breadfruit. With the largest collection of in Arizona, we have been recognized as the authority on the topic of rum. Like a great man once said, “there’s more to rum than a yo ho ho”. Forget about those days of Malibu & pineapple. Learn how to enjoy the “noble spirit” like royalty.
Description Rum is perhaps the most dynamic spirit we’ve ever known. Like no other, It represents a most varying array of cultures and peoples. Rum enjoys freedom of geographical boundaries in that it is without a single overarching governing body. The result is a spirit that takes on the all the distinctive taste and textures of the locale it was produced in.
Wieners! Brats! Kielbasa!
Presenter Amy Donohue
Biography I’m a stand-up comedian, Social Media Strategist, former radio DJ, Phoenix freak, hiker, biker, and I always have *really* good hair.
Description There are many different places in the Valley to get your encased meat fix. From traditional American to Mexican-style hot dogs, to Polish sausage and German brats, Phoenix can take care of that meat-in-a-skin craving.
Love, Lust & What I Ate
Presenter Suzanne Wright
Biography I’m a freelance writer, who moved to AZ last summer (yes, summer!) from Atlanta. I spent nearly a decade reviewing restaurants and publishing articles on food and travel.
Description I’ve had a series of romantic run-ins involving men and food. Some guys have successfully seduced me with a meal-;Tom & the fiddelhead ferns comes to mind. Eddie used to apologize with sweet potato pies. The Brit turned me off with his rants over foie gras. I want to share how they did or didn’t get into my heart–or panties–with food.
That’s just offal….or BRAINS!
Presenter Cisco Saavedra
Biography I’m a Father/Husband/Actor/Sommelier/Nerd….yep, that pretty much sums it up.
Description Variety meats, organ meats, offal, the extra bits get some pretty unappetizing names and are usually relegated to the world of “ethnic foods” and animal feed, but the world of innards has a lot to offer the gastronomically adventurous.

Nutritious? certainly
Icky? well yeah, it’s guts n’ stuff
Delicious? oh hell yeah!

Herbanizing Phoenix
Presenter Chris Petroff
Biography I’m an Arizona native, cyclist, community volunteer, and the guy who recently went 87% vegan, bought a juicer, and signed up to run 200 miles from Wickenberg to Tempe with 11 other people. When not working in economic development, I am doing what I love – coming up with random ideas that make people’s lives better, more interesting, or sustainable.
Description Arizona is one of the best places in the country to grow your own food. Lots of people say they want to start an herb, veggie, or fruit garden but they don’t where to start, how to do it, or think they don’t have enough space. I want to talk about how anyone can start a garden, even build one on an apartment patio, and start feeding their neighbors
Food, Microbes, and Human Health
Presenter Bradley Lusk
Biography I am a 3rd year grad student in the Biological Design Program on ASU’s Main campus, studying in the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology. I am here to add a little scientific spice to the Ignite Phoenix knowledge cake! My research includes investigation into the roles microbes play in satiating increasing energy and healthcare demands.
Description The Human Microbiome Project aims to sequence all the microbial genomes associated with the human body. It is estimated that microbial cells in our body outnumber human cells by 10:1! Research is finding links between the food we eat and the microbes in our gut. Microbes in our gut may influence health conditions including obesity and Autism.
The Unexplainable Awesomeness of the Burrito
Presenter Brian Sun
Biography If you google mapped me, there’s a good chance I’ll be in a restaurant that ends with “erto’s.” Ever since I got a stomach ache from that Filiberto’s burrito in high school, I’ve been enamored with…THE BURRITO.
Description Unwrap the underground world of burrito by learning about The Erto’s Phenomenon, The Big Three, and the eternal struggle of hole in the wall versus Chipotle. Along with poquito historia and a burrito dreaming exercise that’ll leave you reeling for days. Oversized burrito pictures are to be expected.
Farms, Not Pharmacies
Presenter Monika Woolsey
Biography I am a registered dietitian and research institute CEO. I like to show people that eating well is accessible regardless of kitchen experience. I recently scored 61 on the 100 foods to eat before you die test, which, considering the fact that haggis and crickets were on that list, is pretty darn high.
Description We tend to think immediately of medication, supplements, or exotic super fruits when looking for answers to health problems. Then we walk right past some of our most useful options every time we shop for groceries. I’d like to share some of these, with an emphasis on local foods like agave, beets, melon, hibiscus, pecans, and nopales.
Fried Rice
Presenter Charles Blonkenfeld
Biography I am a Phoenician that liked hiding out and working in local kitchens but I’ve recently found my public side that loves engaging with the masses, I will do stand-up from time to time or cook breakfast at home for a couple dozen facebook friend. I was at the last Ignite event and loved it.
Description 1979 was the year that Imam made fried rice for breakfast in the kitchen of my Grandmothers house. I was 8 and Imam was an exchange student from Indonesia, he put cabbage in the rice and the house smelled, life was never better.
It’s Pronounced Glenfiddi-CK not, Glenfiddi-CH
Presenter Jason Miller
Biography I am a restaurant marketing professional that works for a locally-based chain. When not stuck in my corporate world, I love trying and talking about whiskey (Bourbon, Canadian, Irish & especially Scotch). I even started a poorly kept up blog as an outlet. I spent my 30th b-day backpacking Scotland to learn more about Scotch Whisky & to sample.
Description Like wine, there is an unknown element that can shy people away from whisky, especially Scotch whisky. Heck, there are two different spellings (Whiskey & Whisky). Whisky is an amazing spirit, and sometimes a little education can go a long way to introducing someone to the nuances and complexity that might entice them to see it in a new light.
Life’s Short, Eat a Cupcake
Presenter Melissa Conrey
Biography I am a domestic engineer, and I love cooking, baking, experimenting with foods, and quilting. I have 1 husband and 2 girls who love trying out my creations. I find joy in everything I come across in my life, including people, experiences, and silence, which really is golden with 2 girls and husband who is a salesman! Silence + cupcakes = Winning!
Description You don’t need to be a world renowned baker to make some yummy, creative, pretty and just plain exciting cupcakes. Actually, the easiest recipes are the best. With a few inexpensive tools you can make incredible art in the form of CUPCAKES! Life’s short, make something fun for you, a neighbor, co-worker, lover, or enemy easily!
If you can read you can cook
Presenter Donna Donahue
Biography Wife of an amazing man, mother of 6 wonderful children, and a mad cooking fool. I love food, I love to cook food and if I had my way, I’d bring peace to the world through the love of food.
Description Have you ever heard someone say, “I can’t cook!” Was that person YOU? I believe that if YOU can read – YOU can cook. With a little guidance and perseverance, it can be done. Don’t let your humble beginnings prevent you from creating the next ‘dish-to-die-for’! Don’t let your inner fear of the culinary world tell you anything different! Cheers!
Don’t Beat Your Meat (All the bacon, none of the guilt)
Presenter Amanda Blum
Biography The boho homesteader of the geekerattzi- active pickler, canner, knitter, quilter, fermenter, grower, preserver, cook and hunter, but one who swears a lot. I’ve lived in the city, in the country, in the desert and on the beach, and wherever I go, I want to be involved in as much procurement of my food as possible.
Description Have a steak, just stop buying it at the supermarket. Raise it and kill it ethically, or get it from someone who does in Phoenix. Here’s why organic is crap, vegetarians aren’t “green” and how giving an animal a good life makes food taste better. How this foodie went from vegan to killer in 10 years. No sad or gory slides, promise.
Thanks for not trying to kill me today
Presenter Lori Ferguson
Biography I’m a Writing teacher, Technology educator, and Information Ninja. I love cooking and eating–especially when its something that won’t kill me! When I’m not teaching my teenage twins to drive, grading papers, or bathing the dogs, I’m usually in my studio sewing purses or making clothes.
Description I’ve been allergic to tree nuts since I was two years old. You’d think that tree nuts would be easy to avoid, but they aren’t. I’ve been unwittingly fed them by my mother, my step-mother, family friends, waiters and more. Eating is an adventure when you don’t know if you might end up in the emergency room!
Who messed with my ice cream?!
Presenter Jesse Robinson
Biography I’m a pusher. I deal addictive substances. I try to find new creative ways to get my addicts their fix. I’m of course talking about ice cream. I own and operate The Sweetness, the only homemade ice cream within downtown Phoenix.
Description Innovation is good. Some things are better left alone. Ice cream is one of them.
How to survive culinary school and still love to cook
Presenter Gabi mink
Biography Left the aec industry to pursue my passion and love of cooking. Back in the aec industry and lying off my student loans, I’m still pursuing food through writing, blogging, and using my friends as guinea pigs.
Description Walking into culinary school on the first day, with my confidence brimming, I had every intention of becoming a chef upon my completion of the program. Halfway through, I was questioning my motives and contemplating quitting. I would love to share my experiences of how I survived, reinvented my dreams, and ultimately graduated with a 4.0
Confessions of a Picky Eater
Presenter Katie Charland
Biography I’m a startup groupie and project addict. I do DIY on weekends and STFU and work during the week =)
Description I’m a recovering picky eater. My whole life I’ve had people tease, pity or become enraged at my fear of food – and believe me – it’s a fear.

Picky eating often starts as young as two and can be attributed to multiple factors. In this talk, I’ll discuss the roots of picky eating, tips on how to overcome and why discovering garlic changed my life.

Building community the Cajun way
Presenter Mike Logan
Biography I’m a strategic planning consultant, a vintage rock musician, and foodie. I’m from Louisiana and came to Phoenix to study Thunderbird School of Global Management. I’ve hosted an annual crawfish boil for over a decade.

Description My presentation will explore the connection between community and food through the lens of a true Louisiana springtime tradition – the Crawfish boil.
I want YOU for the Food Nerd Army
Presenter Dominic Armato
Biography Stay at home dad by day, packaging manufacturer by night, occasional supplier of voices for computer generated pirates with cult followings and, whenever possible, obsessive pursuer and chronicler of all things tasty. Ergo, not so much of a sleeper. Author of a food blog, moderator of a food chat site, and rabid booster of the food nerd community.
Description With unity and dedication, a community of food nerds can make a positive impact on Phoenix’ food scene. We need foot soldiers who take an active and collaborative role. Organize, then strive to learn from each other. Dig for the hidden gems, identify those who do it right and get the word out. Force awesomeness into the mainstream. Fight for it!