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Chicago Restaurant Week Educational Seminar & Networking Event

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 | 8:30 - 11:00 a.m. | City Winery

FEATURED PANELISTS

 

Steve Green

 

STEVE GREEN | FOUNDER & CEO - #Foodiechats

Steve Green was born and raised in downtown Chicago, and graduated from the University of Miami in 1998. He then jumped into the digital marketing space in 2001, when he was utilizing AOL Member Search to qualify potential clients and build business relationships. With the launch of LinkedIn in 2004, that was a natural progression for Steve to continue his digital marketing and building online community. As social media grew and more platforms sprouted, Steve really embraced social media to build his monthly live Business Networking events in Chicago. As Twitter grew in popularity, he starting building his online Twitter Community which lead to his infamous Tweet on May 9, 2011, which was, "What's everyone having for dinner tonight? #Foodiechats" Over 5-years later, and 280 straight Mondays hosting his sponsored Twitter Chat, Steve has built an incredible social foodie community that features brands, products, restaurants and connects foodies worldwide. 

     

Melissa Rinke

 

MELISSA RINKE | DIRECTOR, ENTERPRISE ACCOUNTS - OpenTable

Melissa got her start in hospitality as one of the very first hosts at the original Maggiano's on Clark and Grand while a student at DePaul University. From that first host stand to helping introduce OpenTable in the Chicago market back in 1999, she has found a home in hospitality. Now overseeing and assisting OpenTable's largest enterprise clients, Melissa has partnered with a bevy of restaurants, helping them maximize their partnership with OpenTable through operations, data, and marketing. Before serving on the enterprise team, she worked in a number of previous roles at the company, including installer, trainer, support associate, and client relations manager. She has ceaselessly curated a career of being an advocate on behalf of restaurants back to OpenTable.

     

Ryan Arnold

 

RYAN ARNOLD | DIVISIONAL WINE DIRECTOR - Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

A graduate of the University of Montana, sommelier Ryan Arnold studied in both Torino and Rome during his college years where he first fell in love with two of life's greatest pleasures: food and wine. In 2004, he began his career opening the Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) Chicago restaurant Osteria Via Stato, and was reintroduced to Italian wine in the States, further sparking his passion to pursue a career in the wine business. In 2006, he started with local Italian wine importer Vin Divino and was quickly promoted to regional manager and then in 2010 moved on to open the Chicago branch of Winebow, a New York-based import company. Two years later, Arnold rejoined the LEYE team as Divisional Wine Director where he develops the wine programs at restaurants including Ema, RPM Italian, Il Porcellino and HUB 51. Arnold's other passions are traveling and experiencing new cultures, and he's been a member of the NBC Olympic Hospitality Team during the last six games. Arnold was a recent winner of Wine Enthusiast's "40 Under 40" Award.

     

Steven Hartenstein

 

STEVEN HARTENSTEIN | CFO/COO - Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants

Steven Hartenstein is the CFO/COO of Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants and Phil Stefani Signature Events. Steven began with the company in 1993 and has been an integral part of growing what is now one of the top premier restaurant, catering, concessions, food service providers with world class hospitality in the country. Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants has grown to include many full service restaurants, quick casual café's located at O'Hare and Midway airports and throughout the Chicagoland area, a large catering and concession division as well as handling the food service at Navy Pier. Most recently his team opened up two new brands: MAD Social and Broken English Taco Pub. Next on their list of openings is Flamingo Rum Club. The team is continuing with their mainstay traditional brands and is reinventing themselves with some new smaller and fun concepts. Steve started working in the industry in 1978 and graduated from Florida State University in 1986 with a business degree and major in Hospitality Management. Prior to joining Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants, he worked with various different companies including Lettuce Entertain You, Levy Restaurants, Gordon Sinclair, Tri M Management (Spinnakers) and Chicago Dining Authorities (Red Kerr's, Harry Caray's) just to name a few. He believes that the key to success is hiring great people, developing a strong team, empowering them and staying involved. His leadership skills along with his deep understanding of the business and ability to exceed guests expectations continues to contribute to the success and growth of Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants and Signature Events.

     

Benjamin Smock

 

BENJAMIN SMOCK (MODERATOR) | OWNER & PRESIDENT - Toque + Bottle Advisory

Benjamin Smock, a graduate of The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University, has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. In 2006, Smock founded Toque + Bottle Advisory to provide food, beverage, and service expertise to Convention and Event planners. Toque + Bottle Advisory plans and executes chef tasting and beverage sampling events for Choose Chicago, Chicago Auto Show, and the National Restaurant Association. In 2008, Smock created the Bistro Tickets concept for RSNA, a dining innovation which coordinates lunch, dinner, and experience plans for the thousands of convention visitors. Bistro Tickets now operates over 20 city wide conventions annually in 12 major markets, including RSNA and ASCO Annual Meetings here in Chicago. 


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