FIT Symposium

2025 Date TBD

2024 FIT Symposium Logo (April 18-19, 2024)

Hosted by JWU’s College of Food Innovation and Technology (CFIT), the annual FIT Symposium brings together food professionals and thought leaders from all corners of the industry to map out kinships, strengthen networks and break down imagined divisions.

Across two days, the Symposium will feature panel discussions, presentations and breakout sessions designed to inspire discussion, collaboration, and interdisciplinary brainstorming for solving problems and exploiting opportunities.

Help spread the word on social by using the hashtag #JWUFITSymposium.



Keynote speakers Jacques Pépin '10 Hon. (left) and Farmer Lee Jones (right)

With two days of expanded programming, this year’s FIT Symposium focused on bringing a world of culinary techniques to Providence. With a full day of interactive workshops, attendees could try new working methods and learn from experts in soba making, plant-based pastry, coffee cupping, chocolate-making, and more.

In addition, Jacques Pépin ’10 Hon. and Farmer Lee Jones shared wisdom from their long careers — Pépin of his 70 years of making people happy with his cooking, whether on PBS or Instagram, and Farmer Lee Jones of his 40 years of sustainable farming.

FIT Symposium Brings a World of Expertise to Life

“Cooking is love. You cannot cook indifferently.” Jacques Pépin ’10 Hon.


Socializing before the start of JWU Providence’s 2023 FIT Symposium.

Culinary professionals have a reputation for being independent and driven, and their work frequently demands a head-down work ethic favoring autonomy over community. The third edition of JWU Providence’s Food Innovation & Technology (FIT) Symposium brought together a diverse group of chefs, activists, makers and creators to network and collaborate.

Building Culinary Community at the FIT Symposium


Johnson & Wales University’s College of Food Innovation & Technology (CFIT) held the second FIT Symposium, a virtual gathering of the food industry’s top thought leaders, in March 2022.

Watch a playlist of individual panels below. (You can scroll through the panels by clicking the button marked “1/11” in the upper right corner of the screen.)

Panels included:

  • Culinary Nutrition Defined
  • Food Safety Evolution
  • Future Focused: Leveraging Trends to Shape the Industry
  • Leading Women: The Entrepreneurship Journey
  • Reaching our New England Food Vision
  • Peak Performance: Fueling the Modern Athlete
  • Innovation from Curiosity
  • Focused on Food Justice
  • Keynote: Evolution of a Chef
  • Growing a Grainshed
  • Closing the Gap: Cannabis & Your Overall Health

The 2021 FIT Symposium examined the curve balls, unexpected challenges and potential for massive change that 2020 threw the industry’s way. Veteran restaurateurs Emeril Lagasse ’78, ’90 Hon. and Aarón Sánchez served as keynote speakers, sharing their own lessons learned, while Champe Speidel ’00, ’16 Hon. of Persimmon (Providence, RI), Paul Kahan of One Off Hospitality Group (Chicago, Ill.), and Lindsay Tusk of Quince (San Francisco, Calif.) traded war stories and wisdom from an unprecedented year of upheaval and adaptation.

Watch their thought-provoking discussions below, and catch up on the takeaways in this post-Symposium wrap-up.