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The *NEW* Culinary Innovation Theater offers the opportunity to engage in a whole new way with your colleagues as well as world-renowned chefs, bartenders, and culinary professionals.

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Culinary Demonstrations   

A highlighted feature of the California Restuarant Show - the Culinary Innovation Theater is an educational, interactive, and entertaining area for restaurant and foodservice professionals who want to stay up to date in the industry. Come see our featured chefs, watch their cooking demonstrations and taste their samples.






Rocco DiSpirito


Rocco DiSpirito is a distinguished American chef, celebrated for his James Beard Award-winning culinary skills and as an author of fourteen acclaimed books, including three that have reached #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list. Born on November 19, 1966, in Queens, New York, DiSpirito has made significant contributions to the culinary world, both through his innovative cooking and his health advocacy  .

DiSpirito’s journey into the culinary realm began at a young age, with his education at the Culinary Institute of America laying the foundation for his career. By the age of twenty, he was already working in the kitchens of legendary chefs worldwide, showcasing his extraordinary talent early on. His restaurant, Union Pacific, received a three-star rating and became a culinary landmark under his stewardship. The restaurant was famous for its exceptional quality, with Ruth Reichl notably moaning in pleasure at the taste of the food in her New York Times review .

Beyond the kitchen, DiSpirito has made his mark on television, participating in shows like “Dancing with the Stars,” “Rocco’s Dinner Party,” and “Guy’s Grocery Games,” among others. He also made a notable appearance on Guy Fieri’s “Guy’s Grocery Games - Superstar Tournament,” where he won the first prize for his chosen charity . DiSpirito’s commitment to health and nutrition became particularly evident following a personal health scare that led to an emergency discectomy spinal surgery in 2015, which significantly impacted his life and work .

Rocco DiSpirito is also an accomplished author, with his cookbooks reflecting his dedication to healthy eating without compromising on flavor. His titles include “Flavor,” “Rocco’s Italian American,” and “The Negative Calorie Diet,” among others, showcasing his versatility and commitment to making healthy food accessible to everyone . His latest book “Everyday Delicious” will be published April 30th 2024.

Throughout his career, DiSpirito has been honored with numerous awards, including the James Beard Foundation Award for his book “Flavor,” and has been recognized as America’s Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine, along with several other accolades that highlight his influence and achievements in the culinary world .

For more detailed information about Rocco DiSpirito’s life, career, and contributions to the culinary arts, you can visit his official website and other resources   .


Stephanie Izard


A James Beard Best New Restaurant nominee, Girl & the Goat has been praised by high-profile publications such as Saveur, New York Times, and Food & Wine. Little Goat Diner, Stephanie’s highly successful follow-up to Girl & the Goat, features classic, Americana cuisine in a diner setting. In March 2016, Stephanie opened her third restaurant, a Chinese-inspired concept called Duck Duck Goat and in 2019, Stephanie’s Peruvian-inspired eatery, Cabra, opened on the rooftop of The Hoxton, Chicago. Most recently, Izard opened her first two restaurants outside of Chicago: Girl & the Goat and Cabra, both in downtown Los Angeles. 

In 2017, Izard launched a project aimed to help home cooks add more fun, flavor, and most importantly, simplicity to their cooking. Her colorful, vibrant retail product line, This Little Goat features a variety of globally inspired, flavor-packed chili crunches. Izard’s first book, “Girl in the Kitchen,” was released in 2011 and her second book “Gather & Graze” was released in April 2018.


Nina Curtis


Chef Nina Curtis is a celebrated professional in plant-based cuisine, named one of the 25 Top Women in Foodservice and Hospitality for 2024. With over two decades of culinary excellence, she has redefined the possibilities of plant-based cuisine, earning widespread acclaim from vegans and non-vegans alike. In 2020, she was honored as America's Top Hospital Chef, highlighting her commitment to health and flavor. In 2023, Chef Curtis curated a historic plant-based menu for a White House State Dinner at the invitation of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, honoring Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This groundbreaking event showcased her ability to elevate plant-based cuisine to luxurious heights. As the Director and Executive Chef of Plant’ish & Co. Culinary Arts, Chef Curtis continues to innovate and inspire through her delectable creations and leadership. Her role in the American Culinary Corps, a James Beard Foundation and State Department initiative, underscores her dedication to culinary diplomacy and cultural exchange. Chef Curtis's influence extends beyond the kitchen. She is a passionate advocate, sharing her expertise through captivating dining experiences and enlightening lectures, inspiring culinary professionals and enthusiasts worldwide with her imaginative and nourishing creations.


Eric Greenspan



Eric Greenspan is an acclaimed chef and popular TV personality. He is the author of two cookbooks: The Great Grilled Cheese Book: Grown-Up Recipes for a Childhood Classic (published by Ten Speed Press) and Cook Up Comfort with Eric Greenspan (published in partnership with WW). Following his graduation from UC Berkeley’s prestigious Haas School of Business with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Eric attended the acclaimed Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris. He went on to train in New York with such celebrated chefs as Alain Ducasse, David Bouley, and Rocco DeSpirito, as well as apprenticing at three-star Michelin chef Ferran Adria’s El Bulli in Rosas, Spain. As executive chef at Los Angeles’ acclaimed Patina, Eric garnered critical acclaim for his imaginative and bold cuisine and was named one of Angeleno Magazine’s “Eight Hot Chefs” in 2003. His kitchen was the top-ranked French restaurant in the 2004 Zagat Guide. In spring 2007, Eric opened The Foundry on Melrose to similarly rave reviews and resounding success. The Foundry was runner-up for Los Angeles Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant.” With its swanky bar, live music, and unsurpassed cuisine, the restaurant earned a swath of accolades. Condé Nast Traveler named it Best New Restaurant, it made Los Angeles Magazine’s Top 75, and the “Essential 99” restaurants of the late LA Weekly Pulitzer-winning food critic Jonathan Gold. The Foundry was also a semi-finalist for The James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant in America. Starting in 2011, Eric has hosted, judged, competed or appeared on countless TV shows, including on Food Network, A&E, National Geographic, NBC, Fox, Travel Channel, FYI, Tasted, Tastemade, Facebook Watch, and many others. He defeated Bobby Flay on “Iron Chef America,” is a regular judge on Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games” and makes regular appearances on “Guy’s Ranch Kitchen.”




I was born & raised in a suburb of Boston by my Parents who owned an Italian Restaurant. I learned cooking from both of them from a young age but a passion for the stage took me in another direction. I've had a successful career in entertainment industry for years as a Singer/Songwriter/Actor/Vocal Coach/Personality but I auditioned for MasterChef Season 10 and won a coveted white apron to make the TOP 20. That experience took my creativity to a new realm...the kitchen. I want to take my BIG Personality + my BIG passion for food and put it in a place where the entire globe can see it! I hope you enjoy yourself, laugh, learn a new trick or two and are inspired to cook!


David Glancy



David Glancy, MS, CWE Founder & Chief Education Officer, San Francisco Wine School

David Glancy is one of only 273 Master Sommeliers in the world and one of only 12 Master Sommeliers who has also earned the Certified Wine Educator Credential, Society of Wine Educators’ highest certification. David is also a certified French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Professional, and Certified Specialist of Spirits. He has earned the credential for every program he teaches, and more. David has been a Master Sommelier and active member of the Court of Master Sommeliers (the Court) for over 20 years. In 2006, while working for Professional Culinary Institute (now International Culinary Center), he created the only Certified Sommelier Program ever approved by the Court. In just 5 years, he helped more than 400 students to pass the Court of Master Sommelier's rigorous Certified Sommelier exam. This was 10% of the world's supply of Certified Sommeliers at that time. Soon after, in 2011, David founded San Francisco Wine School to create the ideal educational setting from the ground up. He wanted to open up the wide world of wine to students everywhere, at any level, by offering all of the wine industry's most relevant credentials under one roof. Since staring the school, David has written 16 different educational programs to fill gaps in the industry where none existed including the renowned, California Wine Appellations Specialist CWAS. Read about his vision.

David has been a judge and popular speaker at some of the world’s most prestigious wine competitions and conferences. After his long-time service on the board for Society of Wine Educators, he currently sits on the Board for SommCon where he continues to help create high quality educational opportunities for members of the trade. During the COVID crisis of 2020, the Glancy Wine Education Foundation was established in his honor to provide educational scholarships for those looking to start or advance their careers in wine or hospitality.









Introducing the California restaurant show