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Education/Speaker & Chef Profiles

Educational Seminars
Schedule at a glance

Glenda Beasley, founder, Marketing Mileage

In addition to 15+ years in media and marketing program design Glenda Beasley, the founder of Marketing Mileage, has conducted numerous client and industry seminars on research methods, media strategy, marketing strategy and lifestyle marketing campaigns.

Marketing Mileage projects typically employ the use of strategic co-marketing plans, entertainment marketing elements, sales promotion, events, paid and earned media planning and the creative project development/production needed for program fulfillment.

Bonnie Berube, President of BLB Consulting, Inc.

BLB Consulting specializes in Food Service Management Consulting and Advisory, Technical and Marketing Services. Representative services are marketed to all areas of food service including premier health care and corporate organizations. Berube serves as a Clinical adjunct faculty member of the University of Houston , Dietetic Internship Program.

Bonnie Berube is an administrator with broad-based management experiences based in food distribution, health care, advanced education, consultations, food purchasing and cook-chill food preparation. She possesses unique blend of interpersonal and varied computer implementation experience and is considered a strong manager with futuristic thinking capabilities. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Houston and a Master’s degree in Intuitional Administration from Texas Women’s University. She also a ServSafe instructor and has Registration American Dietetic Association Licensure.

Alex Brennan-Martin, Co-Owner, Brennan’s of Houston

The Brennan family’s New Orleans mainstays like the original Brennan’s and Mr. B’s Bistro in the French Quarter and Commander’s Palace in the Garden District have garnered the devotion of epicures from around the world. Along with sister Ti Adelaide Brennan and cousin Lally Brennan, Alex has returned to Houston to open the newest member of the famed Commander’s Palace Family, Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar. Alex’s latest endeavor, The Simple Truth, published in January (Bright Sky Press), details his approach to business management and hospitality, and explains just how universally applied the Brennan’s philosophy of serving customers can be.

Brennan-Martin is a member of the Texas Restaurant Association's President's Council, a founding member of the American Institute of Food and Wine, a member of the Society for American Cuisine in Houston, and a founding member of the TRA Education Foundation. Brennan's has been recognized as one of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America for 10 years running, and Brennan-Martin serves on the DiRoNA board of directors.

Brennan’s has been recognized with the Santé “Wine and Spirits Hospitality” award in the Southwest Region for 2001 and 2002 The Zagat Survey regularly lists Brennan’s among Houston’s most popular dining spots. On Alex’s watch, the restaurant also achieved an Exxon Mobil four-star rating from 2000-2003, among many other local and national awards and designations. Brennan-Martin was named "Restaurateur of the Year" by My Table magazine and was featured with his family as one of the "Top 50 Taste Makers" by Nations Restaurant News.

John Buchanan, Senior Vice President Lettuce Entertain You & President Lettuce Consulting Group

John Buchanan has worked at more than a dozen Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) properties since joining the organization in 1978. Buchanan held the position of Vice President of Training and Development at LEYE for several years and was the original author of the firm's Management Training Program. He missed the excitement of operations and went on to participate in over two dozen restaurant openings.

A psychology graduate of Northern Illinois University , Buchanan lectures at LEYE's internal " Management University " on a variety of topics. Buchanan is a frequent speaker at Loyola University , Kendall College , Roosevelt University and international trade shows. John is a bi-annual guest instructor at Switzerland 's esteemed Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne and has been a lecturer as a part of the school's International Hospitality Consulting curriculum.

Chef David J. Bull, Driskill Grill, Driskill Hotel in Austin

Recipient of “Best New Chef-2003” by Food & Wine, David J. Bull, at the age of 29, has won high praises for his dynamic and innovative cuisine. Fans include Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and former President and Mrs. Clinton.

Dishes with the freshest and finest ingredients and a liberal doses of creativity are the building blocks to great cuisine that provide Austin with the ultimate in fine dining at the Driskill Grill, located inside Austin’s historic hotel, The Driskill.

Chef Bull participants in numerous community organizations including, Share Our Strength, March of Dimes, Austin Farmers Market, Texas Culinary Academy , Texas Hill Country Food & Wine Festival, Communities in Schools, Caritas of Austin and the Sustainable Food Center .

Teresa Byrne-Dodge, Editor & Publisher, My Table magazine

Teresa Byrne-Dodge has been writing about Houston restaurants for more than 20 years, first as restaurant critic for the Sunday magazine of The Houston Post (1984-1988), then as restaurant critic for Houston Metropolitan magazine (1988-1992) and Houston Life until it folded in 1995. Since 1984, she has written hundreds of freelance articles for such publications as The New York Times, Food & Wine , Texas Monthly , Travel Holiday, Restaurant & Hotel Design, Southern Living and many others. From 1995 to 1996, she was the on-air restaurant critic for KHOU-Channel 11’s morning news show in Houston .

Her restaurant reviews appear in a number of books as well, including Jerry Herring’s Guide to Houston, IN World Guide, Debrett’s World of Travel 1990 and Mariani’s Coast-to-Coast Dining Guide with America’s Best Critics. She is also the Houston-based editor or coordinator for all editions of the Zagat Houston Restaurant Survey. In June 1994, with a $3,000 nest egg, Byrne-Dodge launched a bimonthly 12-page dining-out pubication called My Table: A Critical Guide to Dining in Houston. Response to My Table was immediate and enthusiastic. Today it is a 64-page magazine read by some 16,000 restaurant-loving Houstonians.

Eric Chester, President, Eric Chester and Generation Why

The expert on Generation Why; in fact, Eric Chester coined the term. Since 1986, Chester has been speaking to and working with Generation Why youth and has addressed more than two million teenagers. He frequently appears on national media such as Good Morning America, MSNBC, FoxNews and CNN to provide perspective to concerned adults.

Chester presents programs that enable adults to more effectively manage, motivate, and understand youth of America . Samplings of his clients include Toys R Us, International Dairy Queen, Six Flags Amusement Parks , Arby’s, The Society for Human Resource Managers, and Discover Card Financial Services. His latest book is “Employing Generation Why- Understanding, Managing, and Motivating Your New Workforce.”

George Cole II, Co-owner and Executive officer, i Fratelli

George is the eldest of the four Cole Brothers is co-owner of i Fratelli ("the brothers" in Italian), a family-owned business established in 1987, which comprises the full-service i Fratelli Ristorante & Wine Bar in Irving and five i Fratelli Pizza take-out and delivery locations. Mike and his brothers are working on opening five more delivery stores by the end of 2005.

George received his B.A. from Stephen F Austin State University in Nacogdoches . After a spending some time in graduate school and in sales with Moore Business Forms, he founded the i Fratelli concept with his brothers.

George graduated from the Leadership Irving course in 1992 offered by the Irving Chamber and the Leadership TRA course in 1993. He has participated for several years as an officer and director of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, serving as President in 2002. He also held a director position for the TRA for seven years and in June 2004 he will begin a term as TRA President.

Mike Cole, Co-owner and Director of Operations, i Fratelli

Mike is the third of the four Cole Brothers and co-owner of i Fratelli ("the brothers" in Italian), a family-owned business established in 1987, which comprises the full-service i Fratelli Ristorante & Wine Bar in Irving and five i Fratelli Pizza take-out and delivery locations. Mike and his brothers are working on opening five more delivery stores by the end of 2005.

Following his graduation from MacArthur High School in Irving , Mike received an Associates degree in food service operations from El Centro College . After gaining experience working in many food-service positions for several companies, Mike founded the i Fratelli concept with his brothers.

Chef Tiffany Collins, Culinary Director, Texas Beef Council

Tiffany Collins helped develop a design show for Southern Living magazine and is the spokesperson for the hour and a half show. Collins manages creative development for the show and takes responsibility for the production and event planning.

Before being named Southern Living Design Director, Collins spent six seasons as a Foods and Entertaining Specialist with the Southern Living Cooking School where she traveled to more than 40 cities a year, delighting audiences with cooking demonstrations, menu planning and entertaining ideas. She was responsible for working with food advertisers like Kraft, Sargento, Campbell ’s and the Beef Council developing recipes to reflect the advertisers’ product’s goals. She is currently a spokesperson and contributing editor for Cooking Light Magazine while serving as Culinary Director of the Texas Beef Council.

Collins refined her education of the Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University in Charleston , South Carolina as well as through her undergraduate degree at Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth . She is an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Susan Combs, Texas Agriculture Commissioner

Susan Combs is the first woman elected to serve as Agriculture Commissioner for the State of Texas . Prior to her election as Texas Agriculture Commissioner in 1998, Combs served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives.

Combs is a graduate of Vassar College and has worked in international advertising, on Wall Street and for the federal government. She returned to Texas and received her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. She then served as an Assistant District Attorney in Dallas and after leaving the legislature she served as State Director for U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. For more than 20 years Combs has been a small business owner and rancher.

In April 2001, Combs received the Texas Dietetic Association's Bluebonnet Award for her dedication to nutrition and in January 2004 she received the John P. McGovern Award from the Texas School Health Association for highly meritorious contributions to the field of school health. Susan Combs is committed to strengthening the Texas agriculture industry and her efforts were recognized by Progressive Farmer, naming her the 2002 Leader of the Year in Texas Agriculture.

Michael T. Counihan, F.C.S.I., Counihan & Associates

Michael T. Counihan’s forty years experience spans all aspects of the Food Service and Hospitality Industry. He has held staff, management, middle management, and corporate staff positions with some of the largest contract companies in the Food Service Industry.

Counihan developed and directed the Restaurant Management Program at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, the first program of it’s type in Texas. As a Training Coordinator for a large Contract Food Service Operator, he developed and trained management and personnel in over thirty states. He has successful operations experience as an Owner/Operator, Developer, Investor, District and Regional Manager, and Director of Food Services for a major University. His consulting experience includes over seven hundred clients including independent and chain Restaurants, private clubs, institutional accounts, government food service programs and as an expert in a variety of litigation and professional activities.

Counihan’s company, Counihan & Associates, is a multi-faceted consulting and design firm dedicated to the Hospitality Industry. Counihan & Associates was established in 1984 after an intense study of the Hospitality Industry by its Owners. They recognized the need for experienced professional consulting and design services for the entire Industry. Counihan & Associates’ Staff is committed to providing the expertise needed in a timely manner to develop, design, open, manage, evaluate or refine any type of Hospitality Industry Business or Institutional Operation; regardless of size, complexity, or the particular problems.

Creed L. Ford III, Founder and Chairman, Fired Up, Inc .

Creed Ford began his career in the restaurant industry as a manager at the Pelican’s Wharf Restaurant in Dallas . He then joined the management team at the first Chili’s Grill and Bar and held positions from General Manager to Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President and Member of the Board of Brinker International, Inc.

In 1997, Ford left Brinker to become a franchisee of Chili’s Grill and Bar and partnered with Lynn Ford to start Ford Restaurant Group. Presently, Ford Restaurant Group supports eleven franchised Chili’s Grill and Bars, two Ozona Grill and Bars, Kona Ranch Steakhouse, Elite Circle Grille and Rudy’s Country Store and Bar·B·Q. Creed Ford co-founded Fired Up, Inc. in 1997 purchasing the seven-unit Johnny Carino’s Italian Kitchen chain. After redefining the Carino’s concept, Ford and his partners launched Johnny Carino’s Country Italian restaurants. Today, Fired Up, Inc. owns 54 company restaurants and supports a franchise system.

Creed Ford serves as Chairman of Fired Up, Inc., Board Member of Cosi Inc. and Rudy’s Country Store and Bar·B·Q. He is Chairman of the Texas Restaurant Education Foundation, a Director of the Fired Up Charitable Foundation and member of the Center of New Business Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University.

Shanna M. Garcia, VP and Associate General Counsel, Taco Cabana

Shanna Garcia is Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Taco Cabana, San Antonio , Texas . Taco Cabana operates 122 restaurants in Texas , Oklahoma and New Mexico . As in-house counsel, Garcia is responsible for TABC compliance, including the application process, private club operation, investigations and audits, and employee training. Prior to joining Taco Cabana, Shanna Garcia practiced employment and commercial litigation at Haynes and Boone, LLP.

Morris Wayne Hoover, President, H oover & Associates, Inc.

Morris Hoover has been involved in the practice of architecture for the past twenty-three years. Initial experience was gained through employment with Diversified Design Disciplines, International, contributing to projects in the Mid East and throughout the continental United States . Later, small office procedures were gained in the total involvement philosophy of a ten person design-build office. For two of his four year tenure, Hoover acted as general contractor for over thirty projects totaling over two million in construction costs that had been designed by the six other architects in the firm.

In 1981, Hoover began his practice, Hoover & Associates, Inc., and has operated as President of the company since. Over four hundred projects have been completed, located throughout thirteen states. Projects have been commercial, residential, retail, medical, and hospitality in nature. Additionally, Hoover has done third-party construction observation for financial institutions and private clients, and has consulted with the Texas Department of Highways and Public Transportation regarding right-of-way acquisitions and the restructuring of improvements involved. Hoover is a member of the Texas Restaurant Association. He is also active in various civic activities, having contributed time both professionally and personally to a variety of public service projects.

David Hyatt, Vice President & Partner, DeCotiisErhard

Dr. David Hyatt joined DeCotiisErhard in 1998 as the Director of Research and Measurement. He became a Customer Leader in 1999, and Vice President and partner in 2002. Dr. Hyatt works closely with DeCotiisErhard’s customers to develop selection systems that identify qualified candidates and surveys that measure stakeholder experiences. In addition, he provides strategic consulting to senior executives and managers, and develops and implements new tools and processes that drive customer success.

Dr. Hyatt received his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Bowling Green State University in 1990, where he was awarded a Non-service Fellowship. He received an M.A. in Psychology from the College of William and Mary, and a B.A. in Psychology from Allegheny College .

From 1990 to 1994, Dr. Hyatt was an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh , where he contributed to the development of and taught in the Master's Industrial/Organizational Psychology program, chaired several Master's thesis committees and was awarded several professional development grants. In 1994, Dr. Hyatt left academia and joined NCS as a Senior Survey Research Consultant, where he designed, implemented, and analyzed employee and customer research.

Dr. Hyatt's research has been presented at numerous national and regional conferences and published in Personnel Psychology, The Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, and Quirks: The Journal of Marketing Research.

Joseph Larry Jackson, Vice President All Concepts, Outback Steakhouse

Joseph Jackson is a Vice President for Outback Steakhouse, Inc., the parent company for Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Lee Roy Selmon’s, Bonefish Grill, Cheeseburger in Paradise, Roy’s and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. He is a 27-year veteran of the restaurant industry and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Houston . Joseph owned an Outback in San Antonio before coming to Tampa and has served as General Manager for Steak and Ale, Bennigan’s, and Olive Garden Italian Restaurant.

After a promotion brought him to Tampa four years ago, Joseph has been actively involved in the Tampa community. He is Chair of the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs (TOBA) Board. In addition, he is on the Board of the Tampa Bay WorkForce Alliance and the National Council for Community and Justice (NCCJ). He has worked with Tampa Bay Academy of Hope, Hillsborough Organization of Progress and Equality (HOPE), the Nation Urban League, local Urban League affiliates and the African- American Advisory Board at the University of South Florida, which last year established the Kente Awards recognizing community leaders and university personnel who work together to support scholastic achievement and race relations in Tampa.

Barry Katz, Owner, Katz’s Deli

Barry Katz has pastrami in his veins-this fifth generation deli man started his career as a young dishwasher in his father's famed Deli & Bar on Austin 's 6th Street . After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America and the Florida International School , Katz took the reins of the family business. In just a few short years he quadrupled the restaurant's profits and realized it was time to seek broader horizons. In October 2000, Katz opened his successful Houston location, extending the family's commitment to quality, with his own unique vision for the future.

Tom Kenney, Joint Venture Partner, Outback Steakhouse and 2003/2004 Texas Restaurant Association President

Tom Kenney worked more than 20 years in the hospitality industry. His Austin-based regional office supports 16 central and west Texas restaurants from small-market cities like San Angelo and Abilene to large-market metropolitan areas like Austin and San Antonio .

Kenney moved to Austin from College Station , Texas where he was active in the community, serving on the executive committee of the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce and chairing the government affairs committee. He was named Brazos Valley “Restaurateur of the Year” in 1996.

Kenney was President of the Board of Directors of the Brazos Food Bank and served on its board of directors. He also served on the executive board of Brazos Valley Charities as the organizer of a celebrity golf tournament and was the major fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club. In 1997, the College Station Rotary Club honored Kenney with a “Paul Harris Fellow” for his community service and The Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce recognized him as “Community Volunteer of the Year” in 1999.

Currently, Kenney is the 2003/2004 TRA President and serves on the advisory board for the Austin Sports Foundation and is a member of the Austin-Downtown Rotary Club. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and is married with three children.

William “Bill” Kibler, Manager of Training and Development, Bob Evans Farms, Inc.

William (Bill) is Manager of Training and Development for Bob Evans Farms Restaurant Division. He is responsible for the development, production, and implementation of Bob Evans interactive computer-based training program, The Bob Evans Learning Place.

Bob Evans Restaurants initially assigned Kibler the task of exploring the possibility of E-learning nearly two years ago. Today, the Bob Evans Learning Place is has a full curriculum available to the nearly 40,000 employees working in 560 Bob Evans Restaurants, nationwide. Through this project, Kibler has developed an understanding of the exploration, ROI, production, and implementation of E-learning. In addition to production he is the Administrator of Bob Evans Learning Management System (LMS). Bob Evans LMS is hosted by their own intranet and delivers real-time tracking of every employee’s learning progress.

Bill Kibler began his career with Bob Evans more than twenty-three years ago as a Manager-in-Training at Bob Evans Unit #65 in Boardman , Ohio . He became a General Manager in 1983, and operated units in Youngstown , Ohio ; Cleveland , Ohio ; Cincinnati , Ohio ; Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania ; Milford , Delaware ; and Dover , Delaware . He joined Bob Evans Training Department in September of 1999.

Jim Laube, Founder and President, RestaurantOwner.com

Jim Laube specializes in working with restaurant operators who want practical advice to make their restaurants more profitable and improve their business management practices. He has worked for a regional restaurant chain and an independent fine dining restaurant in both the operational and financial areas as a restaurant manager, controller and CFO

Laube is a contributing writer for Restaurant Hospitality, Nations Restaurant News, Foodservice.com, Pizza Today, the Society for Foodservice Management's “SFM Source,” and the American Express “Briefing” newsletter. He helped produce two CD-ROM programs with the Texas Restaurant Association entitled “Restaurant Numbers” and “Food Cost Fitness.”

RestaurantOwner.com features business management resources in the form of streaming, Flash-animated, multimedia training programs as well as articles, business tools, downloadable forms, report templates, checklists and a wide variety of restaurant operating procedures. Clients include Red Lobster, Papa John’s Pizza, KFC, Marriott, Hard Rock Café, Food Services of America, Cornell University , Aramark, Shamrock Foodservice, National Restaurant Association.

Matthew Mabel, Founder, Surrender

Matthew Mabel founded Surrender, a leading hospitality and management consulting firm, in 1991. The company specializes in business growth, organizational development, strategic planning, team building and concept and management development. Surrender develops custom programs for the specific needs of their clients ensuring effective business structure and productive human resources. Mabel's background includes over 20 years in the hospitality industry as a multi unit owner/operator, corporate treasurer and CEO.

Wyatt Magnum, President, MMG & CMS

Wyatt Magnum is often a guest speaker at national trade show conferences and is a contributing writer to various industry publications. In 1990, Magnum was named a charter member of "Who's Who in Entertainment" and in 1999, was named to the Advisory Board of Nightclub & Bar magazine. Magnum is considered to be one of the world's leading experts in nightclub and restaurant recorded music programming.

His company, MMG, provides customized music environments to restaurants, bars and lounges and CMS provides nightclub music consultation services to club owners worldwide.

M. Jack Martin, III, Attorney

M. Jack Martin, III is an Austin-based attorney whose practice is focused almost exclusively on alcoholic beverage related matters. He has been assisting clients at all levels of the alcoholic beverage industry in organizational, licensing, advertising/promotional and compliance issues and defending them in administrative actions brought by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for over thirteen years. Martin has also been involved in the rule making process before the agency, having served on a number of ad hoc committees of industry members and TABC representatives to craft new rules designed to implement the requirements of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.

Stephan Millard, Senior Marketing Manager for Casual Dining, Unicru, Inc.

Unicru, Inc. is a leading provider of workforce selection and optimization solutions to over 50 companies, including six of 40 largest employers in the US .

Prior to Unicru, Millard spearheaded marketing for a division of Kronos Incorporated. As a senior executive, he has a combined 17 years in high tech and human resource industries, both in technical and marketing roles.

Steve Miller, Joint Venture Partner, Outback Steakhouse

Steve Miller has been working in the restaurant industry for over 28 years. After graduating from the University of Nebraska with a Business Degree in 1986, he has opened or operated restaurants in Nebraska , Colorado , Nevada , Arizona , Texas , Oklahoma and Virginia .

In 1993, he joined a franchise group to open Outback Steakhouse restaurants in Southern Virginia and West Virginia . In 1997, he moved to The Woodlands, Texas to take over 17 Outback Steakhouse’s in the South Texas area. Since then, he has opened eight more Outback’s in Houston , San Marcos , Baytown , McAllen , and Lufkin .

Steve currently serves as Vice-Chairman on the Board of Directors for the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation.

Jacob “Jake” M. Monty, Founding Shareholder, The Monty Law Firm, P.C.

Jake Monty is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has successfully represented employers in investigations and audits by the Department of Labor (DOL), Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Monty sits on the INS Roundtable of the District Director of the Houston office and is outside Counsel to the Mexican Consulate in Houston on Labor issues. He is an expert in dealing with labor issues with an increasingly Hispanic workforce. He is Chairman of The Association for the Advancement of Mexican (“AAMA”), the largest Hispanic-oriented non-profit organization in Texas and a regular speaker on labor and immigration topics before professional groups. Additionally, Monty is a frequent contributor to trade publications on labor and immigration issues.  

John Poulos, Partner, DiscoverLink, Inc.

John Poulos has more then seventeen years experience in the foodservice industry. Poulos combines extensive foodservice experience with E-Learning expertise and DiscoverLink’s proven methodology to deliver real, measurable results. He has acted in partnership with multiple restaurant organizations to develop and implement integrated customized e-learning solutions that have met his customers ROI requirements. Poulos also manages all operational functions for DiscoverLink.

Prior to joining Discoverlink, Poulos was vice president of sales for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) where he was responsible for developing strategies, plans and initiatives that supported the mission and goals of the NRAEF. Prior to joining NRAEF, Poulos was director of national accounts and research and development for Grecian Delight Foods, Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of top quality Mediterranean and Ethnic foods for the foodservice and retail markets. Poulos also served as director of business development, where he was a key player in developing a new company division.  

Kent Rathbun, Executive Chef/Proprietor, Abacus and Jasper’s in Dallas

Executive Chef Kent Rathbun has developed a style of Contemporary Global cuisine, drawing on Southwestern, Mediterranean , American, Cajun/Creole and Pacific Rim influences.

Rathbun established his own world-class restaurant, Abacus. Since its opening in 1999, Abacus has received numerous accolades, including Mobile Four-Stars, AAA Four Diamonds and Five Stars from the Dallas Morning News.  

In 2003, Rathbun opened Jasper’s with a menu focusing on the best of America ’s regional cuisine, including steaks, chops, fish, rotisserie chicken, salads, pasta and pizza. Jasper’s was named one of Esquire Magazine’s Top 20 Best New Restaurants in America .

Rathbun has been nominated as the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef for three consecutive years, has appeared on a number of TV shows; the TV Food Network’s “Chef du Jour”, Cooking Live with Sara Moulton, the CBS Early Show, the Rosie O’Donnell Show and NBC’s Today Show. Rathbun has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Rosie Magazine, Bon Appetit, Southern Living Magazine, Nation’s Restaurant News, Elle, Veranda Magazine , USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the Dallas Morning News. Rathbun was one of the featured chefs for the Bush 2001 Inaugural Ball and has participated in the Pre-SuperBowl Event, “Taste of the NFL” for the past two years.  

TJ Schier, President and Founder, Incentivize Solutions

Prior to founding the company, Schier spent over 15 years in the hospitality industry in operations, training, recruiting and call centers, most recently as the VP of Field Support for the nation’s #1 family entertainment chain, CEC Entertainment. He is also Contributing Editor and Monthly Columnist for QSR Magazine, 2002-2003 President of CHART (Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers) and author of “Send Flowers to the Living!”

Incentivize Solutions provides seminars, designs incentive and recognition programs to drive sales and profitability and creates training materials, seminars and presentations that rock.

Lawrence Shiman, Senior Account Executive, Opinion Dynamics Corporation

Lawrence Shiman has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University , where he focused on public opinion and public policy. He received a Bachelor’s degree from New York University in politics and psychology and is a member of the American Association for Public Opinion Researchers.

Shiman works for Opinion Dynamics Corporation, a national leader in market research, polling and consulting with more than a decade of experience measuring and analyzing consumer attitudes regarding nutrition, diet, packaging, fast food and soft drinks. Past clients include the Coca Cola Company, General Mills, the Florida Department of Citrus, the National Soft Drink Association, the Produce Marketing Association, the Grocery Manufacturers of America and Stop & Shop Supermarket Company.

Banger Smith, President, Menus for Profit, Inc.

Banger Smith has helped hundreds of restaurants across the country achieve greater profitability. Using his knowledge of menu merchandising and point of purchase collateral, he has been hailed as the "Miracle Worker" of menus by Restaurant Hospitality magazine. His unique approach to menu engineering and analysis has helped increase profits as much as 12% per month for restaurateurs.

Banger is a restaurant management veteran with over 20 years as General Manager with the nationally acclaimed Ray’s Boathouse in Seattle . Before opening Menus for Profit in 1996, Banger served as Vice President of The Menu Workshop, in Seattle , working "miracles" for both large and small restaurants throughout the United States and Canada .

Xavier Teixido, Former Chairman of the National Restaurant Association

Xavier Teixido is the owner/operator of Harry's Savoy Grill, which has expanded to include a large banquet facility, Harry's Savoy Ballroom, and is located in Wilmington , Delaware . His newest restaurant, Harry's Seafood Grill, is now open as a full service operation in Wilmington 's Riverfront Market, with seating for 150 guests and patio seating for an additional 100 guests who are treated to a scenic view of the Delaware River .

Chris Tripoli, President, A'la Carte Foodservice Consulting Group

Chris Tripoli has over 30 years of service in the Hospitality Industry as a developer, designer, owner and operator. Chris moved to Texas after completing Food Service Management at Phoenix College and Arizona State University to help develop Luther’s Barbecue Restaurants in Texas , Oklahoma , and Colorado .

In 1981, Tripoli founded his restaurant company and developed Fat Frank’s Grub and Saloon in both Houston and Austin. Before forming A’la Carte Food Service Consulting Group, he opened the award winning Nicole’s café San Felipe in Houston and helped develop Truluck’s Steak and Stone Crab in Houston, Dallas, Addison and Austin. Tripoli contributes to various trade publications and is often a guest speaker at trade shows and conferences. He developed a curriculum entitled “So You Want To Open A Restaurant?” and teaches at the small business development center at the University of Houston .

Don Walden, Attorney

Don Walden is also a sole practitioner in Austin . The majority of his practice involves representing clients before state regulatory and licensing agencies, including the TABC. Walden has been involved in cases involving alcoholic beverage matters from both sides of the docket, having represented the TABC in administrative proceedings and in the courts as an Assistant Attorney General during 1991-1993, and numerous permit holders in contested hearings and court cases against the TABC since that time. Walden is board certified in administrative law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
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