Ghost from ghost kitchen

November 16 – 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Pecinka Ferri Culinary Center

3 Spielman Rd., Fairfield, NJ 07004

(973) 812-4277


9:00 – 10:00 AM Registration Open

10:00 AM Opening Remarks by Joe Ferri, Pecinka Ferri

10:10 AM Overview of Ghost & Ventless – Scott Heim, Middleby- Main Stage

10:30 AM Cooking Demonstrations

11:00 AM Keynote Address by James Walker, CFE, SVP Nathan’s Famous Inc. – Main Stage

11:30 AM Cooking Demonstrations Continue

1:00 PM Breakouts A&B

1:30 PM Breakouts C&D

2:00 PM Breakouts A&B Repeated

2:30 PM Breakouts C&D Repeated

3:00 PM Cooking Demonstrations Continued

4:15 PM Panel Discussion Moderated by Fred Klashman TFS **JUST ADDED**

5:00 PM Closing Remarks by Ed Pecinka

Breakout Sessions:

A.)Sous Vide, a Key to Cross-Utilization presented by Sean Wheaton, Cuisine Solutions

B.) Sustainability Through Electric & Ventless presented by Chef Chris Galarza, Forward Dining Solutions

C.) Building Bagel Businesses One Entrepreneur at a Time presented by Beth George, BYOB Bagels

D.) Authenticity: Ghost Kitchens from Scratch, Built for the Future presented by David Richer, Orbital Kitchens

Panel Discussion **JUST ADDED**

The Post-Pandemic Future of Ghost Kitchens and Ventless Installations

Moderated by Fred Klashman of Total Foodservice Magazine


Jonathan Christerson, Brixmor

Josh Halpern, Big Chicken

Scott Heim, Middleby


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Scott Heim, Middleby Corporation

Scott joined Evo America in 2012, sparking the product development work in the griddle, plancha and cooktop categories.  Evo became one of Oregon’s 100 fastest-growing private companies for three consecutive years.  He directed the launch of the EVent® ventless griddle in 2015, with Benihana as the lead customer. This patented innovation became the catalyst that resulted in the Evo & Middleby merger at the end of 2018.  Scott is a leading industry authority on ventless commercial kitchen solutions and creating unique F&B concepts. He has educated many on how to incorporate high-quality, commercial cooking action stations in non-traditional locations, taking essentially dead spaces and creating new pockets of revenue. Since Scott joined Middleby through the acquisition of Evo, he has been working with FSCI designers and operators on a variety of ventless action stations across all of the Middleby brands.

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James Walker CFE
Nathan’s Famous Senior Vice President, Restaurants

Mr. James Walker, CFE, is a top restaurant industry expert with a specialty in rebranding and repositioning iconic American comfort food brands. Walker is an industry-leading authority in restaurant technology and delivery channels, and he specializes in mergers & acquisitions, domestic and international development, operations, franchising, and new product development.

With more than 30 years of broad based, senior level, management experience in the hospitality and retail industries, Walker has served as President, Chief Development Officer, as well as in Senior Operations and New Product Development positions, for brands such as Baja Fresh®, Cinnabon®, Johnny Rockets® and Subway®. As the North American Vice President for Subway®, Walker oversaw their 28,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada. He has conducted business in more than 70 international markets, including such emerging markets as Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Pakistan and Mongolia. In 2019, Walker was appointed to the Board of Advisors for Ireland’s Rocket Restaurants Group, which includes Eddie Rocket’s chain of American diners and ROCKET’S fast casual restaurants. In 2021 he joined the Board of Advisors for Let Us Nudge and Freatz who are both emergent Restaurant Technology Solutions.

Mr. Walker holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and has received certificates and diplomas from a number of institutions and colleges, including Yale’s School of Management, and Harvard’s Business School. A life-long learner, Walker recently completed MIT’s “Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Business Strategy” program. In 2020 and 2017, he was a Reader’s Pick for the Nation’s Restaurant News “Power List” of notable restaurant executives. In 2016, he was awarded the President’s “E” Award by President Obama for Excellence in Furthering American Business Internationally. In 2015, the International Franchise Association (IFA) conferred the designation of Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) to Mr. Walker, and in 2021 Mr. Walker joined Society of Fellows of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA)
Food is the only art form that you experience with all          your senses, and you must experience to live.” – J.W.

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Chef Chris Galarza, Forward Dining Solutions

Entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and podcaster Chef Chris Galarza is renowned for his work in kitchen electrification and is the Founder and Culinary Sustainability Consultant for Forward Dining Solutions LLC. As the country’s foremost expert in commercial electric-kitchens chef works with manufacturers, brands, designers, and chefs to create lasting sustainable kitchens and culinary ecosystems. Chef has worked on notable projects such as Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus (the world’s first fully self-sustained university campus), Microsoft Redmond, and Castilleja All-Girls School.
Chef worked for several prestigious establishments such as Carnegie Melon University, Monterey Bay of Pittsburgh, and The Greenbrier of WV where he apprenticed under several Certified Master Chefs and culinary Olympians. Chef leverages his experience as a culinarian, educator, and consultant to get projects moving forward and leaves operators educated and prepared to successfully, efficiently, and safely run their kitchen for years to come.

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Beth George, BYOB Bagels

Co-Founder of Consulting Firm, focusing on entrepreneurs who seek to build new bagel enterprises as well as existing businesses that seek to develop, improve or expand their bagel offerings within an existing enterprise. We assist with business planning, site and equipment needs, and formulation development. Our clients include a small NYC start-up that worked with us during the nascent stages on their business, including site review and recipe formulation development, ultimately made it to Shark Tank, and sold the business for 34M within a 3-year time frame; a franchise chain in the Bahamas; a privately owned chain of cafes in Paris, France; a privately owned chain of cafes in Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania; an expanding bagel cafe brand in Sweden, along with many “mom and pop” start-ups across the US and around the globe, including one that proudly was awarded Best of Boston in the 2019 Best of Boston edition of Boston Globe Magazine. Featured in the NYTs, ABC Bite Size, CBS Sunday Morning, NJ-12/Positively NJ, Food52, The London Times, Food52, Rachael Ray, and other media.
David Richer, Orbital Kitchens

David Richer is the CEO and Co-Founder of Orbital Kitchens, a virtual restaurant group that develops and operates virtual restaurant brands and integrated commissary kitchens. Orbital Kitchens currently operates one of the highest-grossing ghost kitchens in the United States. Before co-founding Orbital Kitchens, David had a background in commercial real estate with a focus on hospitality and industrial leasing. 

Sean Wheaton
Sean Wheaton, VP of Culinary, Cuisine Solutions 

Sean Wheaton joined Cuisine Solutions in 2018 as culinary business development manager. He was named vice president of culinary in 2020, where he currently heads operations. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, now known as Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Art, Wheaton honed his skills in numerous fine dining restaurants in San Diego. In 2004, relocated to Washington, DC accepting a position as sous chef at Equinox working for Todd Gray. Equinox was nominated for a James Beard award all three years of his tenure at the restaurant. 

Chef Wheaton freelanced for multiple catering companies, including the original incarnation of José Andrés Catering, working with Chef Katsuya Fukushima.  In 2010, he joined ThinkFood Group and spearheaded many noteworthy off-site events at venues such as the White House, the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the US Capitol.  He served on the development team working on openings for several of ThinkFoodGroup’s full service restaurant projects including Mi Casa at the Dorado Beach, a Ritz Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico; Bazaar Meat and Ku noodle at the SLS Hotel in Las Vegas, as well as America Eats Tavern, China Chilcano, FISH, and Beefsteak in Washington, DC.  He also collaborated on ThinkFoodLab.  José Andrés’ fast casual incubator working on Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas, as well as the Levy partnership at Audi Field, DC United’s new soccer stadium. 
Jonathan Christerson, Brixmor

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Josh Halpern, Big Chicken

Josh Halpern is the Chief Executive Officer for Big Chicken.  Josh is a dynamic, partnership-focused, thought leader with a robust career in streamlining efficiency, driving innovation, building diverse engaged teams, and growing economic results across the CPG, retail, and restaurant verticals.

Most recently, Josh served as the Chief Sales Officer for FIFCO USA, the 8th largest US brewing company, where he was responsible for commercial operations and building top and bottom-line results for Off-Premise, On-Premise, and company-owned brewpubs.  Prior, Josh led the Anheuser-Busch InBev, On-Premise and Small Format channels in the US, and Shopper Marketing globally.  During his tenure at Anheuser-Busch InBev, Josh built the strategy for licensed, branded experiential zones leading to 46 restaurants and bars in stadiums, airports, and hotels, including the iconic “Beer Park by Budweiser” at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.  He was also responsible for Anheuser-Busch’s pilots in the QSR space resulting in piloted distribution at Starbucks, and a beer-as-ingredient Budweiser Beer Cheeseburger at Hardees/Carl’s Jr.  Halpern has held roles at Reckitt Benckiser, Just Born Candy, Clorox, and Procter and Gamble growing brands in 50+ categories.

Josh leads from a partnership-first perspective, unlocking growth for the company, suppliers, customers, and business partners.   As a result, his teams have won “Vendor of the Year” honors from many restaurants and retailers including: Buffalo Wild Wings, Hilton, Twin Peaks, HMS Host, Centerplate, Hooters, Hard Rock Café, Outback Steakhouse, Murphy USA, Circle K and more.  Halpern is known to incorporate his business and financial acumen while using big data to solve complex problems while focusing on efficiencies.  He is a certified Six-Sigma Green Belt.

Josh believes in giving back to the industry.  He currently sits on the boards of the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Supplier Board, and Niagara University’s Food Marketing Center of Excellence.  Prior, Josh has served on the boards for the International Foodservice Manufacturer’s Association (IFMA), and the National Restaurant Association’s Military Foundation.  Halpern holds an MBA from Babson College and a BS from Cornell University.  Josh and his wife are the proud parents of three amazing boys and live in the New York Metro Area.

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Fred Klashman, Co-Publisher TFS-TOTAL FOOD,Greenwich,. CT
The veteran media executive and his wife Leslie founded TFS-Total Food Service in 1990. Fred Klashman was a former sales executive at CBS Radio and ABC TV before launching TFS-Total Food Service.
Klashman is a native of Newton, MA. He attended Colorado College in Colorado Springs where he played Division 1 hockey. After his collegeiate career, Klashman embarked on a career in sports marketing. He held public relations
posts in the National Hockey League, North American Soccer League and World Championship Tennis.
TFS-Total Food Service boasts a print edition readership of some 30,000-plus Tri-State chefs, restaurateurs, and food service professionals. In addition, TFS digital edition circulation has grown worldwide in excess of 50,000.
The company’s  web site has become
A must read for some 100k plus monthly visitors  from around the globe who want to know what’s new in the restaurant and foodservice industry.
Klashman has made his communities a priority. In has adopted hometown of Stamford, CT he has coached hockey and soccer and most recently golf with Challenged People in Motion.
He recently served as  President of the Partridge Invitational Club which raises scholarship fund for culinary and hospitality students secondary educations.
Klashman and his wife Leslie have been honored by the AJC- American Jewish Committee and the Food and Bevarage Association of American and MAFSI-Manufacturers Agents Association for the Food Industry for their contributions to the industry.

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