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Chris Cochran

Principal Consultant, Author, Food Stylist

Chris Cochran knows the restaurant industry. He started his long and varied career in the restaurant industry at age 13, earned degrees in Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management, and spent his formative years working with renowned chefs, including David Burke, Charlie Palmer, Judy Rogers, and Alice Waters. After opening two successful restaurants in San Francisco, he brought his expertise to his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, where he added franchising to his repertoire as a successful multi-unit operator. He has since provided restaurant consulting to startups, existing restaurants desiring improvements, and  restaurants with franchise goals. Through consulting for restaurant operations, retail and food service products, franchises, and custom hospitality software, Chris help clients to identify areas of growth and opportunities to achieve increased profitability. Quite simply, he has witnessed his clients achieve their business objectives and enjoy multi-million dollar revenue increases. Chris’ business acumen has grown right along with his passion for food and style. In addition to his consulting work, he contributes to cookbooks and industry journals as an author and food stylist. He is a member of the American Bar Association.

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Chris Bennett

Client Engagement Specialist, Writer, Editor

With more than 20 years of professional experience, Bennett is an award-winning software designer and an expert in motivating people in entertaining and engaging ways. He works with a diverse group of industry clients, including Disney, AARP, and Scandinavian Airlines, and has appeared as a media resource for NBC TV, NRP, Forbes.com, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. Bennett is currently the Principle Instructor and Designer at Peace Innovation Institute, based in The Hague, where he designs curriculum to maximize innovation and creativity in organizations. He also lectures at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, where he teaches and researches frameworks to translate game design methodology into results-driven, real-world applications for corporations. His past work includes growing the online brand Diner Dash into a $40 million franchise, with over 1 billion downloads, and his work with Electronic Arts, which has generated over $3 billion in revenue to date.

Mark Masterson

Mark Masterson

Brand Strategy Specialist

Mark Masterson’s conceptual proliferation and abstract angles on life make him and his work stand out. Mark invented an outdoor retail concept called Porcupine in Boston, Boulder, and Seattle. He worked on the Torch Relay for Coca-Cola and the Olympic Games. He created new liquor brands and packaging for AB/Inbev. He fine-tuned all-star events in New York’s Central Park for AOL and Amex, and produced ground-breaking work for Electrolux, GM, Sony Pictures, Princess Cruises, SAB Miller, Nestlé Nordic, Disney, and Justin Timberlake. After leading creative for Coca-Cola Companies and Brown-Forman at Momentum Worldwide, Mark helped create the boutique agency white_space, where he transformed from brand builder to brand creator. Mark studied with design and illustration legends Roman Duszek, Cedomir Kostovic, and Eric Pervukhin. He has lived in Sweden, Barcelona, and Beijing, proving his brand of thinking has no borders, and then his wanderlust led him full circle to rejoin Momentum as Executive Creative Director/Country Head, Greater China, and global creative head for GumboLive, a think-tank partnership between IPG MediaBrands and Momentum Worldwide. Having a thirst for new ideas and the world’s most exciting markets, Mark then became the Executive Creative Director for Jack Morton Worldwide, Greater China.

Mark Schepker

Mark Schepker

Creative Director of Packaging, Photographer

Mark Schepker is an internationally known visual stylist who specializes in sumptuous food photography and strategic creative direction. Mark got his start in packaging design at advertising agencies in St. Louis, Missouri. He has worked on major campaigns for Anheuser Busch, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Heinz, Nestle, Bacardi, Republic of Tea, and more. Through his 20+ years of experience he has developed a unique ability to understand and address business needs with a creative vision that fosters beauty and is backed by technical mastery. Mark has executed strategies and photography for: Sugarfire Smokehouse’s appearance on HGTV’s Beat Bobby Flay, Betty Crocker, Muir Glen Tomatoes, and Australia’s Majans Snacks, to name a few. He won the 2015 American Packaging Design Award for Majan’s Bhuja Snacks, and is a two-tie Lucie Foundation International Photography Awards honorable mention recipient. Mark has traveled the world providing creative and strategic vision to globally recognized clients, but he maintains a presence in his hometown of St. Louis. You can see his work everywhere – from outside of the Hi Pointe Drive-In to the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis.

John Fausz

John Fausz

Lead Researcher, Writer

Certified sommelier and beverage industry professional John Fausz possesses more than a decade of experience in bar management, and has first-hand experience in the production of beer, wine, and distilled spirits. He has worked as a general manager and beverage director for the Bengelina Hospitality Group, and has consulted on beverage programs in Saint Louis and West Palm Beach, Florida. He has contributed to articles for Feast Magazine, Alive Magazine, The Riverfront Times, the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, and Condé Nast Traveler, and was featured as one of the Best Bartenders in America by Southwest Airlines Magazine. He currently works as a distiller and head of on-premise sales for OOLA Distillery. Recent accolades include: Best in Category – Rectified Vodka from the American Distilling Institute [ADI], 2018; Best Traditional Gin, USA, from the World Gin Awards, London, 2017; and Gold Medal, Cask Strength Bourbon from ADI, 2018.

Andrew Schmitt

Andrew Schmitt

Dietary and Nutrition Specialist

Andrew is a registered licensed dietitian with a background in culinary arts. He is grateful to have been raised in a city with an exciting food and restaurant scene. He earned degrees in culinary arts and culinary nutrition while working in various roles as a chef, nutritional counselor, and nutrition educator. He has turned his full attention to the nutritional aspect of his work and now works full-time as a registered licensed dietitian. Andrew’s love of food and restaurants means that he provides services beyond the basics of a nutritional label. Andrew analyzes recipes and menus to provide expert advice on improving the nutritional profile of individual dishes or the entire menu.