An In-Depth Look at BITE Silicon Valley: Where Food and Technology Met
By Kathryn Besser
Photos courtesy of Bite Silicon Valley and Kaye Cloutman
Caryl Chinn, VP at Octagon Culinary and founder of BITE Silicon Valley, crafted a food event that charted novel and exhilarating territory. A culinary powerhouse and out-of-the-box thinker, Caryl clasped hands with both foodies and techies to firmly establish the cross connection necessary to address Earth’s food future.
It’s fitting that the first conference of its kind was inaugurated in Silicon Valley (Levi’s Stadium on June 5-7, 2015). By making the match between tech’s ability to fluidly iterate solutions and chef’s/foodie’s abilities to broaden the world’s palate, she has roused the vanguard. These days, the intersection of food+tech is one of the most stimulating places in the world.
Caryl Chinn shared her thoughts on BITE SV with GEV Magazine:
What was particularly gratifying about the Conference Day at BITE Silicon Valley was seeing how the audience responded to the presentations. I think if you go to enough conferences, you start to hear the same things repeated, so by combining celebrity chefs with the tech companies in Silicon Valley, there really were some fresh ideas shared.
When we were planning BITE, I noticed recently that a lot of my chef friends have come to the same conclusion–our food system is broken. Each of them got there in their own way, and each has chosen to address a different aspect of the food system, but they were all asking themselves the same question: what can I do to fix this? How can I take my knowledge, talent and connections and do something to really move the needle?
So, for instance, BITE’s chef chair, José Andrés–he has long been involved in DC Central Kitchen in Washington and worked tirelessly with them. After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, he helped create World Central Kitchen to not just feed people, but rather set up sustainable solutions to hunger and food instability. His work with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is truly inspiring and totally embodies the spirit of how thoughtful innovation can feed the many.
And then there’s chef Roy Choi, who is widely acknowledged as the food truck pioneer who kicked off a whole culinary movement. He left a career path that started at the Culinary Institute of America and the Michelin-starred Le Bernardin for the streets of LA. When he noticed the disparity between the celebrity chef-driven culture he was part of, and the reality of “food deserts” on the streets where he grew up. Roy was inspired to once again disrupt the system and now he’s taking on the fast food industry in under-served urban communities.
At the Grand Tasting, there was this wonderful mash-up of chefs presenting wildly creative and beautiful bites, alongside tech companies who are bringing some amazing technology to the home cook, or home brewer, or photographer. It was this really cool landscape to explore – new foods, new tastes and new technology.
And at the conclusion, we were thrilled to work with Feeding Forward–an innovative food rescue app created by Komal Ahmad. She was able to collect the leftover food at the end of each day, and quickly distribute it to local partner agencies who could distribute it to those who needed it. After talking about how important it is to prevent food waste, we knew we had to make sure BITE wasn’t contributing to the problem!
Overall, we hope BITE Silicon Valley provided not just delicious food, but food for thought.
For our recap of the BITE Silicon Valley Conference, read Issue 16 below