Epic Eats Innovation, LLC is a Chicago-based food design and innovation firm founded by a chef/food scientist that blends culinary and scientific expertise to continually reinvent the concepts of food.
With extensive knowledge in ingredient functionality, epic eats innovation collaborates with restaurants and food companies, ranging from startups to global corporations. Epic Eats Innovation is equipped to act as either an advisor or an external research and development team to improve existing products and techniques. Ideation is a fundamental building block of every epic eats endeavor. It is our mission to provide the creative force to generate new ideas and implement those ideas from their inception through production. Epic Eats Innovation navigates beyond conventional approaches to food development to create unique products and processes.
Epic Eats’ diverse expertise delivers the perfect setting for new ideas that offer solutions to current problems, improvements to existing methods, or opportunities for advancement in the food industry. Through new products, techniques and cutting edge technology, epic eats innovation brings the latest innovations to market.
Chef Alexander Plotkin is the CEO and founder of Epic Eats Innovation, LLC. Chef Plotkin combines his culinary skills and creativity with a deep understanding of the science of food to serve as the driving force of inspiration for what Epic Eats Innovation has to offer. As a culinary scientist, Chef Plotkin utilizes complex scientific and culinary concepts that are distilled into an accessible and approachable language for his clients. Chef Plotkin navigates beyond conventional approaches to food development to create unique products and processes, thereby streamlining production processes without compromising flavor. Ideation is a fundamental building block of every Epic Eats endeavor, and Chef Plotkin leverages his background in scientific research and development to devise creative and concrete solutions to culinary obstacles.
Chef Plotkin holds a BA in Food Science & Entrepreneurship from Indiana University. He spent a semester studying in San Sebastián, Spain, at Universidad del País Vasco, as well as at the gastronomic society, Cofradía Vasca de Gastronomía, under Chef Luis Mokoroa. Chef Plotkin has trained globally under renowned chefs including Chef René Redzepi, Executive Chef of Noma; Chef Juan Mari Arzak, Executive Chef of Arzak; Simonette De Mari and family, Tuscany, Italy; Chef Grant Achatz, Executive Chef/Owner of Alinea; Chef Michael Carlson, Executive Chef/Owner of Schwa; and the late Chef Homaro Cantu, Executive Chef/Owner of Moto.
In 2010, using his experience and training in Italian cuisine, Chef Plotkin assisted Ralph Lee and Ari Gejdenson as they brought an iconic Florence, Italy concept to Washington, DC, by opening the Hilly-award-winning restaurant Acqua al 2, on Capitol Hill. Chef Plotkin studied Oenology during the 2011 grape harvest while living at Château de Cabans vineyard in Bordeaux, and Château Margaux in Médoc before interning in the test kitchen at Noma in Copenhagen.
In 2012, Chef Plotkin took his years of education and training in formal cuisine, combined them with product development, and started working for one of the world’s largest food ingredient suppliers, Kerry. There, Chef Plotkin worked on product development for some of the largest foodservice chains in the world. Also in 2012, Chef Homaro Cantu selected Chef Plotkin to assist in writing, testing and editing recipes for the Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook. Chef Plotkin held the position of Director of Culinary Innovation for Cantu Designs. As Director of Culinary Innovation, Plotkin worked extensively with highly innovative patent pending food technologies such as alternative energy technologies that address the reduction of our carbon footprint, energy saving kitchen wares, pharmaceutical products derived from organic sources, aerospace, and indoor farming.
Caesare Assad is a co-founder and Principal of The Cleaver Group. Throughout her career, she has led food business innovations for a diverse range of clients in Washington DC, Vermont, Massachusetts and California. Her 15+ years of operational expertise as a chef, general manager and program director span industries that include food and beverage, nonprofits and Fortune 500 corporations. With additional certifications in personal training, nutrition and facilitative leadership, Caesare provides a uniquely practical perspective on the dynamics of leading and motivating groups, activating relationships and implementing new ideas.
Sarah Ahern, MA is the Co-Founder and Principal of The Cleaver Group. For over a decade, she has developed and executed programs and products for major corporations, nonprofits, and small businesses. Her expertise includes a Masters in Health Education with a specialization in Nutrition, hands-on experience as a Therapeutic Chef, as well as delivering successful regional and national sales and marketing programs. With a focus on design thinking, she creates models that meaningfully influence and change the way health is experienced for both business- and consumer-focused markets through experiential food programs.