Marcus A. VonAlbrecht
RCC's Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards
Marcus VonAlbrecht is a diversified specialist in the culinary and hospitality industry with over twenty-seven years of professional experience working with clients and students from across Canada and internationally. As a Chef, he has the depth of knowledge in front and back of the house operations and has an active role in the education and development of standards in the culinary profession. He lectures in both management and professional culinary training at colleges in British Columbia. His leadership skills are a vital part on the boards he is involved with: British Columbia Chefs’ Association, Canadian Food Safety Management, New Food Products- Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, Culinary Tourism Society of B.C. and AREGALA, (the culinary associations of Latin American) As an international ambassador of the profession, Marcus is frequently taking delegations of Chefs to other countries to showcase exportable products on trade missions for Canada and or in world culinary competitions events where he is a judge and coach for the Canadian team. He has three food publications under his name, coordinated a cookbook for the BC Chefs Association and is a featured monthly writer for several magazines. March 2003, Marcus received the “Chef of the Year for Western Canada" and in 2005, "Chef Of Year for British Columbia." 2014, inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in Ottawa. Currently he owns a food manufacturing plant, MAVA Foods, which produces food products for grocery stores, convenience stores, schools, BC Ferries, private label and the Meals on Wheels program for Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby and Langley. Marcus believes in using local farmers products in all of his food offerings at MAVA Foods and strives to be green friendly. The Mavalicious KidsEat program provide Health Check certified meals along with gluten free and regular offerings. As a consultant, his experience and understanding of the industry has enabled him to set up the VIP Chalets for the Molson Indy, establish a condiment line, “Eat Fresh Eat Local Eat Healthy and Food for Life and successfully bring these Retail Meal Solutions to the BC marketplace. In June of 2010, he developed the recipe and brand, XFour , a local corn and rye based vodka distilled four times and finished with glacier water. There are now seven varieties under the XFour brand sold across Canada and USA. All three vodkas have won International awards for the Best of Category. This year, two of the vodkas were served at the Emmys. VonAlbrecht & Associates brings in private casks of single malt whiskey with limited quantity of up to 700 bottles worldwide. His Scotch and Chocolate classes have caught the attention of thousands of people attending HopScotch or the Victoria Whisky Festival. For the past twenty three years, he has aggressively developed fund raising events for non-profit organizations and has helped Canadian Breast Cancer, the Vancouver Crisis Center, Ovarian Cancer and the Alzheimer’s Society. Marcus has hosted three International conferences: The Social Service and Community Heath Conference in Edmonton and two Canadian Culinary Federation National conference in British Columbia. Before moving to Vancouver, Marcus was an independent entrepreneur, owning two restaurants, a shopping centre kiosk and being the official caterer to the Government of Alberta. He has cooked with media personalities on local television, been interviewed on radio and articles written in newspapers and featured in magazines across Canada. His claim to fame is being the first documented Canadian chef to cook on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa.
Author of the book “The Complete Arthritis Health, Diet Guide and Cookbook”, Kim speaks and lectures on healthy eating choices, transforming complex scientific information into easy to understand terms to help her clients get results. Kim is often asked to comment on nutrition issues by local and national journalists and is a guest lecturer at McGill for students in dietetics and medicine. A graduate of McGill University, including an integrated internship at several major Montreal hospitals, she is a member of the Ordre Professionnelle des Dietetistes du Quebec, Dietitians of Canada, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and The Canadian Obesity Network.
Founder and President
Food Distribution Guy
Richard Baker is a skilled strategic branding and award-winning marketing professional. His background stems from 25+ years in the consumer-packaged goods sector - working with some of Canada’s largest national brands such as Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce, Rich Products, and Candle Impressions, in brand development, marketing and business development roles. Today, Richard is the Founder and President of Food Distribution Guy. He helps ensure their clients success is sustainable in the long-term and to assist them in obtaining products distribution through the appropriate channels (traditional grocery, health stores, mass merchandiser, club, general merchandise, C-stores) available for retailing their product.
Director of Marketing
Tammy Barrett has been working within the CPG industry for 24 years and is currently the Director of Marketing and Trade Development for Carlton Cards – the number one greeting card company in Canada. Carlton Cards purpose is to make the world a more thoughtful and caring place. every. single. day. Tammy and her team work closely with the best retail partners in Canada to create dynamic and highly profitable greeting card departments selling the brands Canadians love – Carlton Cards, Papyrus, Recycled Paper Greetings and Cartes Carlton.
Robin Bradley is an Associate Publisher with Mercury Publications in Winnipeg. She has over 15 years of experience working with food and beverage manufacturers with Western Grocer and Health & Wellness Retailer Magazine. Robin has worked closely with large and small food manufacturers launching new products in the grocery and health food business. Her specific areas of expertise include: marketing and communication strategies, advertising and sales. Grateful for working in such an exciting, ever changing industry, Robin enjoys working closely with food and beverage clients to help them get their products on shelves in retailers across Canada.
Business Development and Negotiation Manager, Corporate Brands
After obtaining a BBA degree, Guillaume joined the Metro team as a negotiator for Private Label. He later became Business Development Manager within the Metro Private Label team, building his 10-year experience in meat, seafood, dairy, frozen and non-food/HABA categories. He is passionate for food, and contributes to develop innovative private label products, that helps generate the Metro Private Brand market share growth year after year.
Business Development Manager, Corporate Brands
Overwaitea Food Group
I started my career with Save on Foods as a buyer where I spend 8 years. Then I was presented an opportunity to work at store level as a meat manager which turned out to be an amazing experience. From there, I made my way back to Head Office where I was brought in to join the Corporate Brands team as a Business Development Manager where I currently work on both frozen and dairy products. I have a strong desire to create and experience amazing food experiences and my background in filmmaking enable me to use my creative side when envisioning visually appealing packaging.
Christiane Chabot is an expert consultant with a strategic vision and a solid track record in the food industry, namely in retail and distribution, foodservice and industrial manufacturing. As part of senior management teams in companies such as Catelli, Loblaw Companies Ltd, Danone, she developed a strong expertise in successfully managing and building teams of professionals in areas such as Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Product Development, Crisis Management and Environment Sustainability . Christiane is now active as a consultant in order to contribute to the growth and success of her clients.
Director, Product Development Corporate Brands
Metro Brands g.p.
Paula Deane is the Director of Product Development for Corporate Brands at Metro Inc. Paula has a unique combination of product development and business expertise from over 20 years combined experience in the manufacturing, retail and supply sectors. After graduating from the University of Guelph, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, Paula combined her passion for science and food to start her journey in creating innovative products for the Canadian market. Paula started her career at one of North America’s largest food manufacturers as a product development scientist, developing products from concept to commercialization. Several years later, Paula moved to a major grocery retailer as Director of Product Development, where she launched a new 3-tier, 5 sub-brand program reflecting a good, better, best strategy. Afterwards, as Director of Corporate Brands Convenience for a major retail drug chain, Paula managed the private label Convenience portfolio where she developed and launched new brands and revitalized the seasonal programs. Prior to joining Metro, Paula worked with local and international suppliers to bring innovative new products to Canadian retailers. Now at Metro, Paula and her team are focused on developing great tasting, quality products to deliver the best product experience for their customers and earn their long-term loyalty.
Pur-Logic Solutions Inc.
Mohamed graduated from York University in 1991 and articled with one of the "Big 5" accounting firms. He received his designation in the fall of 1993 and for the next 13 years, covered the gamut in the finance and insurance industries. In his spare time, Mohamed serves on Many Non Profit Boards and enjoys cooking and trying different recipes. Presently, Mohamed is Partner in a software consulting firm.
Culinary Adventure Co.
Kevin Durkee is the Big Cheese and Owner of Canada’s largest culinary tourism operator, Culinary Adventure Co. This 8-year enterprise runs a delicious portfolio of Food Tours and Culinary Adventures in six (6) Canadian cities. Winnipeg, Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, Charlottetown and Halifax. Recognized by Destination Canada, the Culinary Adventure Co. was awarded national Canadian Signature Experience designation for its innovative Escape the City: Canoe Paddle + Culinary Adventure. A designation only awarded to the top 1% of attractions and experiences in Canada. Kevin and his team are called upon to develop and lead Media, Journalist, Influencer and VIP Food Tours on any number of Retail, Food, Culinary and Grocery Trends hundreds of times per year. In addition, their signature TREND TREK, an annual collection of new trends, flavours, chefs, dining + shopping experiences has been sought after by Artisan Food Producers, CPG firms and Retailers alike.
With over ten years of public relations experience, Marie-Christine stands out for her precision and effectiveness in the management and development of 360 communication strategies. An expert in corporate communications, she specializes in the fields of agribusiness and retail trade. Her previous jobs have allowed her to acquire expertise in the field of communications. Before joining TACT, Marie-Christine worked at a major public relations agency as a senior advisor in corporate and financial communications. She has collaborated effectively on numerous national mandates for public and private organizations working in various sectors including agribusiness, mining, finance and transportation. Marie-Christine holds a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations from the Université du Québec à Montréal and is a member of the Board of Directors of Théâtre du aujourd'hui.
Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Grocer magazine
Canadian Grocer Magazine
Shellee Fitzgerald been on the Canadian Grocer team for more than 15 years and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the magazine. Read coast to coast, Canadian Grocer has been serving the grocery industry for more than 130 years. Prior to joining Canadian Grocer, Shellee, a graduate of Queen’s University, worked in communications at the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (now Restaurants Canada).
Vice President and Senior Partner
With 20 years of experience, Manon Genest has solid communications expertise in the political, association, and private sectors. She has held a number of leadership positions, where she learned to develop a strategic approach, set priorities during emergencies, and settle difficult situations quickly and tactfully. She works primarily in business communication, mainly in the agrifood industry. Manon also has a wealth of experience in government and politics thanks to over 10 years of involvement in the federal and provincial political systems. Her community involvement includes sitting on the board of directors of l’Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec
Genna’s path in retail hasn’t followed convention. Born an entrepreneur, trained as a pastry chef, buyer, and sommelier, her breadth of knowledge ranges from fashion to hospitality and coffee to croissants to travel and wine. Her decisive curatorial style is inspired by years working abroad in London and Berlin, taking cues from unique retail and hospitality destinations across the globe. In Toronto, she has piloted the lucrative expansions of eminent local restaurants and retailers, including Terroni’s Sud Forno, Pusateri’s Fine Foods and award-winning Saks Food Halls by Pusateri’s. As the Category Manager for Pusateri’s Bakery, Café, and Confectionary departments since 2015, Genna’s trendsetting vision and collaborative nature have markedly influenced their industry-leading assortment in specialty grocery. Genna is an honours graduate of the University of Toronto with a Joint Specialist in Political Science and Philosophy, and is currently studying for Sommelier certification with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET).
George Guidoni is the editor-in-chief of the Canadian Packaging magazine, published 10 times a year in Toronto by Annex Business Media. George has been the editor of Canada’s only professional magazine serving the country’s packaging and related industries for the last 20 years. Prior to joining Canadian Packaging, George has also served in various chief and/or senior editorial capacities at other prominent trade magazines, is a past recipient of several awards and award nominations in various competitions dedicated to recognizing journalistic excellence and achievement.
Catherine Lefebvre is a nutritionist, speaker and author of Sucre, vérités et conséquences (a book about sugar, its history and impact on health), as well as of recipe books Choux (about local cabbages) and Les Carnivores infidèles (vegetarian recipes). She is particularly fond of food actors, those who feed us every day, whether they are local or on the other side of the world.
Nutritionist Co-Founder / Vice President, Co-founder
DUX Program / EDIKOM
Martin Lemire is a nutritionist co-founder of the DUX Program and Vice-President co-founder of EDIKOM, a firm specializing in communication and information in the food sector, leading the magazine L’actualité ALIMENTAIRE, LE must magazine, and the GAÏA AWARDS, celebrating excellence in biofood packaging. Since 2012, he is actively leading the DUX EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER Program, a national and innovative program celebrating the leadership in bringing improved nutrition for Canadians Martin holds a bachelor's degree in nutrition from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montreal, and a Masters in Communications at UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal) after obtaining a major scholarship from the Danone Institute of Canada, specializing in food media communication.
Director of Marketing
Jinny joined Lantic Inc. in Oct 2014 and is currently Director of Marketing responsible for new product development and different areas of marketing, including strategic planning, brand management, promotions, research, new concepts, grocery and packaging. Most recently, she has led Lantic Inc’s efforts into diversifying into a line of award winning nature-inspired sweeteners. Having worked in the CPG industries for over 20+ years, she has started her career as a Food Product Developer at Campbell’s, focusing on developing new technology and product innovations. With a passion for foods, consumer trends and retail launch, Jinny moved over to marketing leading product portfolios and marketing strategies for companies such as Pinnacle Foods and Bayer in various capacities. Jinny holds a degree in Food Science from the University of Guelph, an MBA from Schulich School of Business and a Culinary Baking Certificate from George Brown College.
Cumulating over 35 years of trade and generic marketing with retail experience in organizations like Dairy Farmers of Canada, Launch and Best Brands as well as CPG companies like Colgate-Palmolive and Cadbury (now Mondelez), Gilles works as a consultant for his own consulting firm, GMD Consultant, focused mainly on the retail market, helping small, medium and large companies, and their brands, with their retail and distribution strategies across Canada.
Private Brands, Product Development Manager
Walmart Canada Corp.
Manisha Nagar is the Private Brands, Product Development Manager for Consumables, Health & Wellness for Walmart Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Chemistry degree and has over 15 years of experience in Private Label Product Development. She has worked on the development of over 5000 Private Label products over the span of her career and is very passionate about Product Development. In a very competitive environment where Private Label strives to be the leader with all retailers, the ability to differentiate Walmart brands by offering a value-added proposition without compromising quality is what makes Manisha shine as a Product Developer. Save Money Live Better!
Follow Me Foodie.com
Mijune is an international food personality, founder of FollowMeFoodie.com and judge on Food Network's Top Chef Canada and Iron Chef Canada. Named “Must Follow” by The Social Media Awards, and one of the "World's Most Extreme Foodies" in The Sunday Times, she is also a judge for the BC Product of the Year Award, and Vancouver Magazine Awards.
SPARKER Strategy Group
Susie Erjavec Parker is the owner of SPARKER Strategy Group, Winnipeg's first and only social media and public relations agency. Susie is a frequent speaker and media commentator on the current and future state of social media having been featured on CBC, CTV, Global News, The Globe and Mail, Moneysense Magazine, Corus Radio, and more. She consults on public relations, marketing trends, and how these intersect with consumer behaviour. Susie is also the founder and managing editor of WinnipegMom.ca, a lifestyle site for Winnipeg parents and the businesses and brands that serve them.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Joann Perron is a Senior Analyst for the food and beverage processing industry, which is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Canada. Focusing on the economic development of the sector, one of her major responsibilities is coordinating the Food Processing Industry Roundtable, which is the primary engagement mechanism for the department with respect to the food and beverage processing industry. Joann has been working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for 18 years; she has also served the public as a Senior Policy Analyst and as an Economist. Joann has a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Manitoba.
Store Brands Specialist
Federated Co-operatives Ltd.
After completing a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing, Nena started her career in marketing consulting where she created business and marketing plans for small and medium sized companies. Eventually her love of food took over and she was excited to start a career in the food industry. Her career at Federated Co-operatives Ltd. (FCL) started in category management, but her ultimate passion for Store Brands and Product Development followed shortly thereafter. Nena works in a small team that creates and manages FCL’s Store Brands portfolio.
Executive Assistant to the President
Quality Foods Ltd.
Dianna has been with Quality Foods’ since their inception in 1982 in downtown Qualicum Beach, BC. At that time she had many roles in the small first store, including wrapping meat and hand-printing all of the store’s display signage. She has seen and affected change in the company’s growth over 36 years, and she’s now a member of the company’s senior executive and continues to wear many hats. She started and manages A Step Above, a unique upstairs giftware and kitchen store-within-store concept, while being Executive Assistant to the company president, overseeing the store’s Q-Card program, community event sponsorships and more.
Grocery Business Magazine
Mary Scianna is editorial director of Grocery Business Magazine and vice president of Zedcom Media Inc., a Canadian publishing company. She has more than 25 years of experience working with business-to-business trade publications and has a passion for food, fitness, and health and wellness.
Chief Specialist, Strategy and Innovation, Charcuterie and Cheese
Jean-Francois has worked for Sobeys for 23 years. His experience in grocery stores began with IGA who gave him the opportunity to continue his career at Sobeys head office. There he was responsible for supervising and coaching many IGA deli meat managers. During the past five years he has been developing strategies to innovate in fines cheese and deli meat. His work gave him the ability to contribute in conception of new stores, to develop formation programs and strategies to innovate in-store.
Retail Brand Consultant
Paula Zivot has always had a “feel” for food and design. Combining that innate sense with her strong work ethic, powerful intuition and tremendous foresight that allows her to connect dots others haven’t even considered, created the perfect recipe for success, and made Paula a well-respected retail brand executive. Her roster of high-powered, iconic clients for whom she has developed Premium private brand programs for giants including A&P, Dominion, Loblaws, Safeway, Stop’n Shop, Wegmans as well as Zellers and Hudson’s Bay Company. There is little in the business that Paula has not achieved, working across all categories; taking products from concept to fruition. A true trend-setter, Paula launched Martha Stewart in Canada and secured and developed the Gloria Vanderbilt home brand for Zellers, has seen her passion and dedication for “all things food” take her across the globe and back, including her role as a perishable foods consultant in Brussels, where she worked her magic for clients in North America, France and Italy. A graduate of Le Cordon Blue de Paris, Paula thinks both inside and outside of the box as her two Clio awards for packaging and design would attest. Married with 3 children, this Winnipeg native and Toronto resident, is a self-described “foodie” and cinephile who enjoys combining both passions to entertain her friends and family.