Food Industry Frustrations

    Monday, September 29, 2014

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Coaches and Mentors
  4. Sponsors
  5. Organizing Team
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Food Industry Frustrations

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014
Event starts at 6:30 pm

115 5th Avenue
6th Floor
New York, NY 10003

Register Now

Exploring solutions to difficult challenges

What problems do people face in the food industry? Why are some solutions adopted and implemented quickly while other seemingly promising ones are just left to flounder and be forgotten?

We’re gathering some leading experts in various facets of the food industry to come together and talk about what works and doesn't work for them, and plant the seeds for an evening of brainstorming sustainable solutions and startup ideas to some of the toughest challenges in the space today.

This workshop is also a low-key introduction to the upcoming Startup Weekend Food Edition, the first ever in New York. We want to educate newcomers to the startup/entrepreneurial space on the things they should focus on, and what may make or break the success of an idea. Specifically, participants will be working on the idea/business model generation phase and ways to validate that idea and possible business models.

Q. Who is this event for?
A. This is geared towards people who have minimal experience in or are new to the startup industry. This is a low-barrier event for people who feel uneasy about doing an entire Startup Weekend, or are unsure that they have the skill set to do the 3-day event. We want to encourage you to dip your toes in the entrepreneurial world by framing the space for you and giving you access to valuable insight from the stakeholders in the space!

Q. Can I still participate even if I consider myself a serial entrepreneur?

A. Of course! You'll be helping other people learn the ropes of what matters and doesn't matter in the very first stages of forming a business around a great idea. After all, execution is critical to success, and it's great to spread that wisdom around!

If you'd like to sponsor this event or get involved, email us at

Get the complete experience!

You might also enjoy Startup Weekend Food Edition NYC

See what it's all about

Learn More



6:30 pm
Networking, Drinks, and Check In
Get checked in at the venue, have a drink, and network with other participants

7:00 pm
Intro to Foodstand and the Event

7:10 pm
Moderated Discussion
Panelists talk about the pain points in their respective fields, and why some solutions work and some don't.

7:40 pm
Ask questions about the industry to the panelists

7:50 pm
Breakout Groups
Brainstorm ideas to solve the problems that the panelists just posed, figure out how to validate those ideas, and attract customers!

8:25 pm
Quickfire Pitches
Like a real Startup Weekend, you have 60 seconds to pitch your ideas as succinctly as possible. Get some feedback on your pitch!

8:45 pm
Wrap Up
Time to head home! Hopefully you'll continue working on your idea during the main Startup Weekend!

Coaches and Mentors

Auria Abraham
The Sambal Lady

Auria Abraham is a Malaysian chef and artisanal goods producer who lives and works in Brooklyn. Since 2012, she has been cooking and sharing authentic Malaysian cuisine at local markets, street fairs and supper club events in and around the city. She also produces a small-batch, all-natural, traditional family recipe Malaysian condiment called Hot Chilli Sambal. Most recently, her sambal was voted as a finalist for Martha Stewart's American Made 2014 Food Awards. Auria's biggest joy is in sharing the exotic cuisine of her homeland with curious cooks and adventurous eaters here in New York City.

Bobby Bouyer
Executive Chef at The Delta Grill

Ken Conn
Host and Executive Producer of Cajun in the City

Chef Cajun Ken is the host and executive producer of the Network TV show Cajun in the City. Ken's cuisine specialty is Southern and Cajun food. Born and raised in the deep south Ken started his love of Cajun cooking on a Louisiana tug boat in 1993. He moved to NYC 2004 and conducted cooking classes at home that grew into a network cooking show. Cajun in the City airs each week on channel 56 TWC and is airing in all five boroughs and a global network SWIG TV Fall 2014.

Evelyn Garcia
Executive Sous Chef at Kin Shop

Evelyn Garcia was born and raised in Houston Texas. Moved to New York to obtain her culinary degree at the Culinary Institute of America. Since graduation in 2010, she has traveled trough Asia and worked her way through popular Asian restaurants in New York City. Currently she is the Executive Sous Chef at Kin Shop in the West Village.

Hnin W. Hnin
National Welcome Table Coordinator at ROC United

Hnin was born in Burma and raised in Brooklyn. She's a proud vegan who hearts food, non-violence, and global justice. Currently, she is building a startup for ROC United to advance restaurant worker rights. She also serves as the Board Chair for CoFED and an Advisory Board member for SAAFON.

Vin McCann
Partner at Heyer Performance

Vin McCann is a restaurant consultant and educator. He is a partner at Heyer Performance Inc., a boutique firm specializing in concept creation and restaurant development. Vin has twenty five years of experience as a restaurant executive, and has held full operational responsibilities for companies with annual sales volumes ranging between 15 and 400 million dollars. As a restaurant owner, chain executive and consultant he has created and implemented sales building, profit enhancement and organizational strategies in multiple restaurant segments: fine dining, casual theme, catering and quick serve concepts. He has taught restaurant management and business planning at New York University and has been on the faculty of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City for the past 7 years.

Zachary Pickens
Urban Farmer

Zachary Pickens is an urban gardener, seed saver, Master Composter, and the full-time urban farmer at the Riverpark Farm at Alexandria Center. Zach developed school garden programs and managed youth-run farmers’ markets throughout Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx before joining Riverpark Farm as Farm Manager. Zach is a certified Master Composter and also started Rooftop Ready Seeds, focusing on the development of a stock of vegetable seeds that are tailored to the unique climate of the city of New York.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Food Industry Frustrations team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Signature Sponsors


Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend New York City is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Kenny
  • Valerie
  • Michelle
  • Simran
  • Amanda
  • Andrew
  • Dimitris

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