Strawberries & Blueberries
Laura Stec - Innovative Cuisine
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"Laura is a true professional; an expert on green cuisine and the impact of food and beverage on the environment. Even with two decades of experience, she still showed a sense of humility addressing the ever-changing challenges we face. Laura is detail oriented, inspirational and a champion advocate of environmental responsibility. Even the video guys said you were the best presenter at the conference!"

Travis Scott, Patrick Henry Promotions (for Loews Hotels)

Thank you for coming to the library and giving such an inspiring presentation! You are a fabulous speaker and know your subject; you are able to present with humor and insight. I notice that you crafted the presentation to resonate with audience members, who were passionate about food. The audience was very engaged and clearly invested in the topic. You have inspired me to look for a local vegetarian cooking class; I realize I need to learn the basics."

Cella Mitchell San Francisco Main Library

I love your book! It is an excellent blend of scientific based facts and good nutrition tips. I loved how easy and interesting it was to read through it. I will pick it up and read a few pages and find lots of interesting facts and ideas for meals. This is an important book for people to read. Please keep up your worthwhile work.

Jacqueline McBride, Lawrence Livermore Lab


Lecture Topics

Some presentations are suitable for public events (e.g., community, church, or cultural events), while others are tailored to specific market segments (e.g., government, business, or healthcare). All presentations run 1-1.5 hours, unless noted. Talks can be tailored to your requirements and budget.

Solutions to Global Warming - A Culinary Perspective

Global warming has become a defining scientific, political, and social issue of our era. This interest has spurred endeavors to reduce carbon "foot-prints," but there has been minimal focus on reducing carbon "food-prints," which are the effect that our industrial food system is having on global warming. This talk tackles the issue, focusing on how food impacts climate change and what individuals can do about it. The authors of Cool Cuisine: Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming examine connections between food, environment, energy, and economy, offering ways to reduce food-prints through revised business models and food choices. Atmospheric scientist Dr. Eugene Cordero presents research on the energy efficiency of our food system and shows how food choices can impact our changing climate. Chef Laura Stec talks about solutions through a culinary perspective, introducing ideas such as "soil as a seasoning agent," "plastic and water pairing," and the "energetics of high vibe foods." A short culinary "how-to" class completes the presentation.

The New Economy and the Food System - Best Bang for the Bite and the Buck

This presentation looks at the new economy through the eyes of the food system. Rather than expanding control and diminishing variations, the emerging food economy is about expanding variety and building smaller, yet efficient, regional food systems. When healthy food systems model a "full-circle food cycle," or a "cradle-to-grave" system that builds upon the interconnections of community, ecology, and business they thrive. Atmospheric scientist Dr. Eugene Cordero presents research on the energy efficiency of our food system in relationship to our changing climate and our economic system. Chef Stec looks directly at business / regional food system leaders and at new business and investment models that are emerging to accommodate them. This talk addresses the importance of learning the story behind our food and shows how broadening our relationship to food and cooking is our first step toward a bountiful green-cuisine economy. Taste of California Artisan Cheese and Vegetable Platter, highlighting bee pollinator crops, can be served and discussed.

Taste Your Way Thru the Book - A Cool Cuisine!

Enjoy a 2-hour tasting class where book recipes and food samples are intertwined with the story behind the food. Based on the book Cool Cuisine: Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming, cooking tips are given on how to create positive environmental change through food choices. MENU: Taste of California Artisan Cheese and Vegetable Platter highlighting bee pollinator crops; Grass-fed Beef Crostini with Arugula, Dry Jack and Green Peppercorn; Palette Cleanser - Honey Sparkler; Popping Chocolate Gomasio over High-Vibe Ice Cream; Green Drinks, featuring Laura's "Red, White, or Green?" wine list.


Solutions to Global Warming (and other municipal hassles) - A Culinary Perspective

Specifically designed for policy makers, this talk reports on trends in urban agriculture and manufacturing using the San Francisco Bay region as a primary guide. Chef Stec discusses how our modern-day business model has created a "global-warming diet" and what communities are doing to combat the trend. She introduces the Four Biggest Unmet Needs and the Three Next Best Ideas for regional agriculture systems, and she describes what cities and counties are doing to help find solutions. Stec reviews climate action plans from Berkeley, San Francisco, and Palo Alto, CA, describing innovative food-purchasing policies, waste-reduction measures, land protection and allocation issues, and their expected effect on greenhouse-gas reductions. A mini cooking demo completes the presentation.


The Business of Eating - Green Cuisine Trends and Practices

What's hot and what's not? Ask Chef Laura Stec, a Bay Area chef who received the "Top Trendy Business" award at the 2010 NASFT Fancy Food Show. This talk reviews green trends in the food industry, and debunks popular myths about local foods and profit potential. Innovative food service production practices at leading companies such as Google and Kaiser Permanente are introduced. Stec discusses how companies large and small are turning waste into fuel, carbon offsetting, inspiring staff to think sustainably, and incorporating green-cuisine vendor networks. A discussion of flavor trends and a green-cuisine tasting complete the presentation.


Cool Cuisine - Feed Your Body, Mind and Planet

Foods that are best for the health of our people are also best for the health of our planet. Is this statement accurate, why does it matter, and most importantly if it is true, what's in it for eaters? Based on the book, Cool Cuisine - Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming, and work by Harvard University in partnership with the Culinary Institute of America, this talk links the four key U.S. dietary concerns (overweight and eating too much sodium, poor carbohydrates, and red meat) to major problems affecting environmental health. We show how the problems (and solutions) contribute to the taste and nutrient-quality of our food, and how teaching food/environment connections is an important motivator (especially in youth). We review The Shoppers Challenge, a food industry take on who grocery shoppers choose what to buy, and discuss ways to inspire eaters toward healthy, full-flavored choices. A discussion of the "energetics of food," plus a mini cooking demo, complete the presentation.


Bringing Regionally Responsible Cuisine into Food Service

In conjunction with and based on a successful program with Loews Hotels, Laura presents an inspiring hour-long workshop for chefs and food service professionals looking to incorporate regionally responsible cuisine into their kitchens and business models. A motivating presentation that addresses:

  • "Why should we do this and how much will it cost?"
  • "How can I do this easily?"
  • Current food labeling and marketing terms
  • Corporate and local leaders and their practices
  • Wholesale access to specific foods: meat, eggs, produce, seafood, water and alcoholic beverages.
  • What do we do with the waste?

Included are handouts, an action plan, and an individually designed, regional contact list of vendors and organizations addressing your specific needs, goals and challenges. Contact for availability and fees: [email protected].