The Research Chefs Association (RCA) has announced that Chip Potter has accepted the position of executive director, starting Jan. 9, 2017.

Potter’s background in both professional associations and in the food industry makes him uniquely qualified to help direct and support RCA as the organization continues to evolve and grow, according to Catherine Proper, CEC, president of the RCA.

Most recently, Potter was the vice president of the National Automatic Merchandising Association, a $5 million non-profit organization supporting the foodservice refreshment services industries. He also comes to RCA with a strong track record of leading teams to success.

His extensive experience in strategic marketing positions in the food industry, including as the vice president of marketing for Dawn Food Products, Inc. and director of multiple divisions in Kraft Foods, will serve him well as RCA looks to expand brand awareness and grow the RCA community, Proper said.

The RCA also recently announced education and keynote speakers for the 2017 RCA Annual Conference & Culinology Expo. The highly anticipated event will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from March 14-17, 2017 and will bring together culinary and research and development professionals to focus on the fast-growing discipline of Culinology — the blending of culinary arts and food science.

Ali Bouzari, Ph.D. will be one of four keynote speakers. Bouzari is a culinary scientist, author, educator and co-founder of Pilot R+D, a culinary research and development company based in northern California. Bouzari has helped change the way cooking is seen by teaching and developing curriculum at top universities and collaborating with the country’s most innovative restaurants.

Sharing his enthusiasm for Culinology and the conference, Bouzari said, "I'm presenting at the conference to try and give two potent reservoirs of creativity and insight—chefs and scientists—another way of speaking the same language."

The second keynote speaker is Neville Craw, corporate executive chef of Arby's Inc. Craw became a member of the Arby's team in August 2004 and has a breadth of experience both in chain account and manufacturing product development. Craw also serves as the director of product development and innovation at Arby's and is a widely known leader in culinary research and development trends.

The annual conference will offer education sessions focused on the hottest topics in food product development today, such as replacing artificial colors, GMO labeling standards, high pressure pasteurization (HPP), antibiotic and hormone-free proteins and much more.

Learn more about the 2017 RCA Annual Conference & Culinology Expo, and register at