2023 Conference Speakers

2023 Conference Speakers

The speakers at this year’s Health meets Food conference offer perspectives from farm to table, academia, in-patient programs, hospitals and restaurants. Their perspectives will enlighten and inspire those who practice medicine, those who teach, and those who nourish us in clinical and hospitality settings.

Hands-On Session Faculty

Chef Jay Judy

UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management
Skills Building – Knife Skills

Jonathan “Jay” Judy is a Chef Instructor specializing in fine dining, catering and banquet preparation. He holds a Master of Arts in Career and Technical Education from the University of South Florida, a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from Florida State University and an Associate’s Degree from Tallahassee Community College.

Chef Judy earned his culinary credentials while working as an apprentice at a Michelin Guide rated restaurant before working in various levels of the professional kitchen; from line cook to kitchen manager and finally, executive chef. He has operated several restaurant kitchens, as well as the kitchen of an Orlando area Jazz and Blues nightclub.

Chef Judy began teaching at the Rosen College as an adjunct in the summer of 2010 and was delighted to join the faculty as a full time Instructor in fall of 2010. Prior to UCF, he served as a Culinary Instructor at Winter Springs High School for nine years and developed the curriculum as Director of Culinary Operations. Additionally, Chef Judy has worked as a freelance private chef and caterer and has prepared meals for many private functions, including weddings and banquets.

Chef Judy has a great love for all things related to food and enjoys cooking at home, as well as spending time with his wife and two children.

Barbara Kamp, RD, CCMS

Culinary Medicine Specialist Board
Skills Building – Flavor and Taste, Skills Building – Green Sauces

Certified June 1, 2018. As a Registered Dietitian (RD), nutritionist and chef, Barbara Kamp approaches culinary education with the desire to demonstrate that combining the art of food preparation with the science of nutrition results in food that is at once healthy, beautiful and delicious.

With an undergraduate degree from New York University, where she specialized in sculpture and silversmithing, an associate degree in Culinary Arts, and a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition, Kamp joined the faculty of JWU’s North Miami Campus uniquely qualified to teach students how healthy can still be appealing. As a Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist, Kamp encourages students to reimagine the role of food in their everyday and professional lives.

Jennifer Leon, RD

George Washington University Culinary Medicine Program

Ms. Leon provides nutrition education and counseling for patients treated at the GW Cancer Center. She works within each patient’s health history and current environment to use nutrition as prevention, treatment, and support.

She leads the Nutrition Club support group where nutrition topics are presented and good food is enjoyed. Before becoming a dietitian, Ms. Leon was a management consultant, focusing on higher education institutions and government organizations.

Roniece Weaver, MS, RD, LD

Hebni Nutrition
Skills Building – African Heritage

Roniece Weaver is one of the founders of Hebni Nutrition, The Fresh Stop Bus,and Black Dietitians Matter.

She is responsible for 12 published books, 6 of them through the American Diabetes Association. A few titles include: “Nutrition on the Go”, “Family Style Soul Food Cookbook”, and “Recipes for Healthy Kids: Cookbook for Homes, Childcare, and Schools”.

Great nutrition improves the quality of life. Ronnie is known for delivering upscale customer-focused support services, providing comprehensive food analyses, and creating healthy recipes with robust flavors has earned us the trust and confidence from our clientele in the nutrition industry.

For over 10 years, Ms. Weaver & Associates, Inc (RWA), has provided quality services to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), the local government of Orlando, Florida, and other federal government agencies within the country. We have actively participated, partnered, and developed projects that are similar in scope, size, and complexity such as The Recipe Standardization project with USDA and Orange County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services.

Chef Caesar Cruzado

UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management
Skills Building – Latino and Caribbean Spice Blends

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, I studied Culinary Arts at the International School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, Universidad Ana G. Méndez. Early in my career, I was the television host for the culinary segment on “Tu Mañana Univision” in Puerto Rico for three years (2000-2003). Next, I was a chef instructor at Instituto Vocacional Ana E. Méndez (2001-2003). Later, I worked as a culinary coordinator and chef instructor at Universal Career Counseling Center (2003-2006). Then, in 2006, I relocated with my wife and three children to Orlando, Florida, where I now work at the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management as a Chef and an Adjunct Instructor. I currently serve as Interim Director of Food and Beverage Operations in the Department of Foodservice & Lodging Management at UCF Rose College.

There is no place in the Caribbean that does not experience the vibrant ethnic fusion of the region, which is a paradise of colors and rhythms, and gastronomy is no exception. Caribbean gastronomy is one of the most succulent, tasty, and colorful due to the variety of dishes that uniquely blend European, indigenous, and African influences.

This workshop will explore Caribbean cuisine’s flavors, aromas, and textures from a nutritious and healthy perspective. We are taking advantage of the richness of ingredients and native spices of the region, such as paprika, achiote, oregano brujo, Naranja agria, avocado, guava, and coconut, among others. We will also be fusing these flavors with popular modernist techniques such as Vacuum compression, Sous Vide and Siphons, to create new healthy trends while respecting the culinary tradition of our grandmothers.


Peter H. R. Green, MD

Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University

Peter Henry Rae Green is Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. He is notable for his expertise in celiac disease and and his research includes epidemiology, clinical manifestations, associated diseases and the pathophysiological mechanisms of the syndrome.

He is the author of a book titled “Celiac disease, a hidden epidemic” and currently in its second edition and has over 300 publications in medical journals that include original research, invited reviews, editorials and book chapters.

Hemant Sharma, MD, MHS

Chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children’s National

Hemant Sharma, M.D., M.H.S., is the Chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children’s National. He is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine, and the Director of the Food Allergy Program at Children’s National. He has served as the site director of the allergy immunology fellowship program with the National Institutes of Health. He is Director of the FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) Clinical Network site at Children’s National.

Dr. Sharma completed medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, residency and chief residency at Duke University and pediatric allergy and immunology fellowship at Johns Hopkins. During fellowship, he completed a Masters in Clinical Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, as well as a fellowship in Health Media at Nemours.

He joined the faculty at Children’s National in 2008. His areas of clinical, advocacy and research interest include racial and socioeconomic health disparities and community-based management of food allergy. He writes a quarterly column in Allergic Living magazine and answers readers’ food allergy questions. He is heavily involved in advocacy, participating in regional and national legislative efforts to improve the health of the food allergy community. Dr. Sharma is board-certified in Pediatrics and in Allergy and Immunology, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, serving on the Adverse Reactions to Foods Committee. Due to his efforts on behalf of the food allergy community, he was selected to receive the 2016 FARE Vision Award.

Gregory Adam Harlan, MD MPH

University of Southern California

Dr. Harlan will discuss the genesis of Culinary Medicine programming at the University of California Keck School of Medicine. Discussion will outline the 5 year journey to incorporation of substantive nutrition and Culinary Medicine programming at the medical school including support from the medical school leadership.

Dr. Harlan graduated from Princeton University and Keck School of Medicine. He completed Pediatrics residency at UCSF, and a Master in Public Health from the University of Utah. Greg was Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and a pediatric hospitalist in Utah for 7 years, then spent 5 years at IPC The Hospitalist Company as the Director of Medical Affairs.

Greg joined Keck in 2014 as Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Medical Education. He Co-directs Keck’s foundational course: the Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM). He is also assistant director of the Keck Coaching Program. Greg works clinically in outpatient pediatrics at LAC+USC Medical Center. Greg’s professional interests center on professional identify formation, faculty development, the business of medicine, lifestyle medicine, and culinary medicine.

ICM is a three semester integrated curriculum taught by 70 faculty,emphasizing the doctor-patient relationship, the development of professionalism, and acquisition of clinical skills in interviewing and physical exam.

The Keck Coaching program includes a longitudinal, 4-year relationship between a physician coach and a medical student over the entirety of medical school. Students meet 10 times with their coaches at dedicated intervals to work on professional identity formation, especially focusing on times of transition in medical school.

Greg directed the Business of Medicine course for Year III students for 5 years. This program focused on healthcare finance, future career options, the role of the physician in the business of medicine, and healthcare quality.

He created the Culinary Medicine selective for Year II students, teaching them hands-on culinary skills and nutrition education in partnership with LA Kitchen and the Wellness Center at LAC+USC. More recently his team offered a 4-week Culinary Medicine elective for 4thyear medical students, held remotely during the COVID pandemic, based on the ACLM open-access Culinary Medicine curriculum. He is passionate about nutrition and promoting healthy lifestyle choices for families and students. He is currently working with pediatric residents on a Quality Improvement project centered on promoting healthy habits and reducing childhood obesity in their clinic.

Leah Sarris, RD, LDN, CCMS

Wild Hive

Leah Sarris is an educator, chef, and dietitian with a focus on innovative industry training. Her wide-ranging professional background spans from foodservice to agriculture and community engagement, especially within the non-profit sector. As the Executive Director of the New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI), she merges passions for food and education by providing robust learning opportunities to aspiring chefs, those in the industry, and culinary enthusiasts on food and hospitality principles.

In her former role at the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, she helped develop and implement the United States’ premier interdisciplinary Culinary Medicine program. Leah is particularly excited to provide culinarians, healthcare professionals, and the community the opportunity to learn how to make great food that just happens to be good for them, as well as the world.

Aron Pobereskin

Culinary Director, Redbud Brands

A Chef by trade, Aron’s career has spanned nearly 15 years in some of the world’s most-innovative and competitive culinary landscapes; he now leverages his post-modern culinary training into solutions for better-for-you, better-tasting consumer packaged goods. Aron’s product development success can be seen in the recently retailed “Snow Days” grain-free pizza bites, and forthcoming “Joydays” cookies: the premier entry into the CPG “Blood-Sugar Balance” category. As a member of the shared services team at Redbud Brands Aron provides culinary direction, as well as consultation for brands in which he does not hold a permanent role.

Graduating from the ranks of Chicago’s 3-Michelin-starred Alinea, and Copenhagen’s Noma (rated repeatedly as The World’s Best Restaurant by San Pellegrino’s “World’s 50 Best” list) before graduating high school, Aron then attended and graduated from The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park before holding managerial roles in award-winning restaurants from New York to the Yucatán, Chicago, and Los Angeles. With leadership in mind and intent on making meaningful contributions to the communities in which he’s lived and worked, Aron has executed handfuls of restaurant openings, cookbook authorship, and the launch of 501(c)(3) non-profit, ReThink Food: an organization which works with restaurants to rescue excess foods and has prepared and distributed over 6.9 million meals to the food-insecure since its 2018 launch.


Melissa Fuster, PhD

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Dr. Fuster’s research examines the contextual factors influencing food practices and the policies and interventions implemented to improve them. This work applies a multidisciplinary and intersectional approach to examine underlying social determinants of diet-related health inequities, with a focus on Latin American communities and its diaspora communities.

Her community-based research experience has sought to address diet-related disparities, aiming to shift emphasis to upstream approaches that engage the structural factors that underlie access to healthy food and high-quality healthcare. This was the subject of her first book, Caribeños at the Table: How Migration, Health, and Race Intersect in New York City. Building on this work, Dr. Fuster is currently tackling food access issues via the Latin American Restaurants in Action (LARiA) Project, supported by an NIH/NHLBI Career Development (K01) Award.

The LARiA Project applies systems science, design thinking, and implementation sciences to engage Latin restaurants in designing and implementing innovations to facilitate healthier eating. Additionally, she also engages in research examining nutrition expert perceptions and practice and food policy implementation. She completed her Ph.D. in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and a post-doctoral fellowship in food studies at New York University. Before joining the faculty at Tulane, she was an Assistant Professor at the City University of New York Brooklyn College.

Sameera Talegawkar, PhD

George Washington University

Sameera Talegawkar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences. Dr. Talegawkar is also Affiliated Faculty at the Sumner Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Dr. Talegawkar’s research focuses on the role of diet and other lifestyle predictors on aging related outcomes, and on the role of diet on health disparities experienced by under-served and minority populations. She has expertise in nutritional assessment in diverse populations. Currently, she leads a project examining the role of dietary trajectories over the adult life course with physical function, disability, and mortality. She also serves as a co-investigator on a project in Odisha, India, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that seeks to change social norms surrounding behaviors to reducing anemia among women of reproductive age. Dr. Talegawkar is the co-chair of the Jackson Heart Study Nutrition and Physical Activity Working Group, and a member of the study’s scientific council.

Dr. Talegawkar has served as the PI or co-I on research funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the World Health Organization, HarvestPlus and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She teaches at the undergraduate and graduate level, including Assessment of Nutritional Status (EXNS 2120) and Epidemiology of Aging (PUBH 6248).

Prior to joining the faculty at the GWU in 2015, Dr. Talegawkar was an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University where she currently holds an adjunct appointment. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Nutritional Epidemiology from the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and completed her post-doctoral training at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

Chef Alex C. Askew

Black Culinarian Alliance Corporation

At 14 he received his first job offer as a personal chef through a high school vocational work program and after 6 years of working in a variety of restaurants in and out of New York City decided to attend the Culinary Institute of America and graduated in 1989. With a focus on eating lifestyles and trends in new menu alternatives, he began food research, development, and consulting for companies; General Mills, Hilton Hotels, Aramark Corporation, Specialty Restaurants and a host of private clients. Alex’s experience covers many areas in the culinary/foodservice which include consulting in areas of menu development, R&D, startup operations, systems and controls, training, food manufacturing, business planning, concept development, and healthcare.

While working in restaurants that broadened his experience in different cooking styles as well as cuisines which included Cajun and Creole, Holistic, Latin and American fusion. In 1993 Alex Co-founded the BCAGlobal (Black Culinarian Alliance Corporation) which dedicates itself to Education, Awareness, and Exposure for young minority students seeking careers within the culinary and hospitality industry. The newest core program, “Mindful Eating for the Beloved Community” has gathered National attention for bringing Food, Race, and Social Justice to the forefront while focusing on training chefs of color as Health Equity Ambassadors to produce healthy and whole communities.

Alex has enjoyed guest appearances on Good Morning America, CBS Early Morning Show, and the Food Network. He was a Distinguished Visited Chef (DVC) for Sullivan University, visiting professor at the School of Hotel and Tourism-Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2011 Business Leader of Year from the Marcella Brown Foundation, in May 2012 received the distinguished New York Institute of Technology Global Leadership Award and served on the American Culinary Federation Accreditation Commission. In 2014 Alex was selected as a National Kellogg Fellow Leader in the Racial, Equity and Healing (REH) cohort. In 2020 Alex was awarded the Castanea Fellowship in Food Systems Leadership. In 2021 Alex was selected as an International cohort member of the UN Food Summit and OpenIDEO -Rockefeller Foundation Game Changer in Food Systems.

With over 35 years in the restaurant and hospitality field Alex continues his use of knowledge and experience as a foundation for further growth and development in the culinary industry and continues the important social change work using food as a nexus and mindful eating as a platform to improve lives with resiliency in the community.

Chef Junichi (Nickname:Jimotti)

Junichi Takazoe, owner and chef at Jimotti’s Restaurant, has an extensive experience and deep knowledge in Japanese cuisine.

He has served at well-known restaurants such as

Nobu (Minami-Aoyama Tokyo, Japan)
Marui-Sushi (Ginza Tokyo, Japan)
Sen Nari Sushi (Gardena, CA)
Hamasaku (West Los Angeles, CA)
K-Zo Retaurant (Culver City, CA)
Kata Robata (Houston, TX : Helped for catering)

Junichi also served US-Open tennis 2015 as a chef. He has many experiences serving for many Hollywood celebrities in Los Angeles, such as Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Leonardo Dicaprio, Christina Aguilera, Maria Sharapova, Kaka, Cameron Diaz, Jean Reno, Michael Oviz and more.

He moved to Orlando, FL, in October 2015 and supported the opening at Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs. After that he started his catering business, which became now Jimotti’s Restaurant.


Chef Gary Jones

I work at the intersection of food and beverage and the environment. This can include seafood sustainability, food production and food waste, plant based diets, nutrition as well as guests with food allergies. All taken through the perspective of a career chef with a broad range of talents and interests.

I also work with processes and strategies for healthy vitality foods and lifestlyes and our guests with allergies and other dietary special needs.

Sven Gerlinger

Northwell Health

With a focus on providing exceptional customer service and delivering the highest quality care, Sven Gierlinger is responsible for building an engaging, innovative and collaborative culture that drives organizational growth and customer loyalty through the customer experience.

He came to Northwell from the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit where he served as vice president, hospitality and service culture, responsible for creating a superior and consistent service experience for patients, visitors and employees. Mr. Gierlinger worked closely with leadership to drive culture change around improving the customer experience in every encounter across the system.

Prior to that, he was administrator, hospitality services, for Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, responsible for all aspects of non-clinical operations, the Wellness & Integrative Health Center, retail shops and café, and the customer experience.

Mr. Gierlinger began his career in the luxury hotel business, holding a series of leadership positions with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. He played a key role in the openings of several Ritz-Carlton hotels in Germany, Japan, Indonesia and the United States, responsible for executing and implementing Ritz-Carlton service standards, training staff, and leading teams of trainers.

Lisa Roberson, RDN, LD

National Director of Wellness and Sustainability
Morrison Healthcare, Member of Compass Group

Lisa Roberson, RDN, LD is a Registered Dietitian with 25 years of experience in nutrition leadership in hospitals. She is the National Director of Wellness & Sustainability for Morrison Healthcare, the specialized healthcare food service sector of Compass Group.

Her mission? Transform hospital food environments by igniting a passion in others to crave nutritious-yet-delicious food while also adhering to sustainable practices that result in healthier people and a healthier planet.

Lisa is originally from San Diego, CA but trained as a Registered Dietitian at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN. Over the last decade, she has leveraged her expertise in corporate wellness & sustainable food systems to support population health and sustainable food systems in the 1000 hospitals Morrison serves. Lisa and her team focus on population health management and championing causes related to health equity, food justice, and sustainability. She also trains chefs and dietitians across the country in executing hands-on teaching kitchen programs that educate hospital staff, patients and their communities on culinary and nutritional literacy.

Lisa supports the development of her colleagues as a volunteer leader on the Council of Future Practice in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, whose role is to shape the preferred future for 70,000 dietitians nationwide. In her spare time, she can be found at the Farmer’s Market, near water or hiking with her son, Cole, and dog, Belson.

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