Food Chains Summit

Friday, Sep 6
10:00 — 16:30

Food Chains Summit

This summit is part of Techfestival: a 3-day festival in Copenhagen with 200+ events on humans and technology.
Interested? Great! Please apply to join. Note that this summit has limited seats.

How can we put humans back at the centre?

Tech is radically overhauling how we grow, transport, sell and consume food. Even what we conceive of as food.

This offers the opportunity for more accountability, transparency and efficiency in the food supply chain; deeper insights into the senses that drive people’s culinary desires and choices; amplified personalisation and enjoyment of food experiences; the power to help communities engage around healthier eating habits. 

But much of this technology looks set to push humans out of many key roles along the food chain and neglect the broader ecologies involved in food production, our relationships with wildlife and the planet. However, the consequences of this may not be of concern to those developing the tech. 

In this summit, through highly interactive workshops and discussions, we will examine how to place people at the heart of food tech developments, and how to accommodate human labour and intelligence and the complexity of multispecies ecologies.

From the breeding of seeds and the feeding of fields to the serving of meals; from the shipment of produce to the delivery of takeouts, and everything in between. How can we ensure that tech empowers, rather than displaces, humans from the food chain? How do we prioritise the joy of being human and the human intelligence needed for creating a regenerative food system that has integrity and discernment?

Key questions to explore

  • How do we design food tech that places humans at its core and values human discernment?
  • How can tech empower people to regain agency over their relationships with food, from growing and communicating, to distributing and consuming it?
  • How can we nurture a broader view of future food systems that can mutually benefit end consumers and the collaborators (microbial, vegetal, animal, ecological) essential to its working?
  • To create a regenerative food ecology we need to place the senses at the heart of food experiences. How can we use technology to prioritise the senses to amplify peoples’ enjoyment of food and engagement in food systems? How might technology drive us further from these goals?
  • Technology, particularly automation, will make some roles within restaurants and their supply chains redundant: what will hospitality jobs of the future look like and how will gastronomic experiences change?
  • Trust and transparency are key to technology that empowers humans. What needs to be transparent and how can we ensure it is so? What should be measured and how can we ensure people understand the value of doing so?

Desired Outcome

Besides people thinking about what tech is going to change how we produce and eat food, we want people to explore the ramifications of this technology.

Critically, we want people to leave with a sense of agency over their future, and food tech, by virtue of having explored and thought about these ideas. 

By helping to de-scare and de-mystify the food chain of the future we intend for participants to pass on this agency to their customers, bosses, coworkers, founders, children.

We will finish the summit with a  round of commitments with each person being asked to reflect on the day and answer, “What’s your commitment for tomorrow?” These will be recorded and sent to our participants shortly after TechFest.

Speakers lineup:

Juan Botero (COL), Researcher at BCC Innovation, Head of Technology at LABe – On the living lab

Dr. Natalie Tillack (GER), CEO and founding partner of – On blockchain and the food system.

Emily Whyman, Collective Edibles/Institut d’Arquitectura Avançada de Catalunya – On multispecies urban planning  

Workshop: Facilitated by Project Gastronomía Initiative

Enjoy the day with Ice cream from Østerberg Ice Cream, Copenhagen & Treats from Restaurant Cub, London

Who should join

Chefs, researchers, VCs, technologists, farmers and food producers, scientists, philosophers, designers, anthropologists, and people working in the food industry who may have lacked access to conventional education.

Apply here

Who are your Summit hosts?

Johnny Drain (GB)

Dr Johnny Drain, is a physical scientist, writer, and cook with a PhD in Materials Science from the University of Oxford. A go-to expert for chefs looking to find new approaches to cooking and develop new processes, he has previously advised the Argentinian government on how to make better butter; helped set up an ice-cream company in Switzerland; carried out research at the Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen; worked with the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Mirazur in France; and recently set up a fermentation R&D lab beneath London’s Cub restaurant. 

In his work as a Co-founder and Co-editor MOLD Magazine with LinYee, he examines the intersection of food and design. In 2018 the New York Times described MOLD as “one to watch” in a new generation of independent food magazines.

Estefania Simon Sasyk (HUN)

Estefania Simon-Sasyk has served as an executive chef, restaurant consultant and is now a research chef at the Basque Culinary Center Innovation (BCCInn). Her culinary expertise brings together her 12 years of working in France, Spain, Peru, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and her mixed Venezuelan, Hungarian, and Lebanese heritage. Estefania refined her culinary chops working at well-established Michelin-starred and 50 Best restaurants but prefers developing food experiences that are delicious, caring, healthy, and accessible for everyone. She also leads Project Gastronomía initiative, a space of co-creation for multidisciplinary stakeholders along the food system to reflect on actionable that use Food as a vehicle for creating a Future of Food sustainable for the environment, healthy for all humans and delicious.  

Juan Botero (COL)

Juan David Botero is an industrial engineer, researcher, cook and consultant, and has an MA in Gastronomic Innovation and Management. He has accumulated many years of developing business strategies and products for tech companies and put them into his passion for food and gastronomic development. He now works as a researcher and tech leader at the Basque Culinary Center’s R&D (BCCInn). He’s currently the head of technology for the project LABe Digital Gastronomy Lab, a Living Lab of open innovation projects, where researchers, startups, companies and users can experiment, co-create and test FoodTech products and services. He works with a human-centric approach to catalysing the integration between the evolving gastronomic sector and Industry 4.0 technologies.

Next event is: How NOT to build AI!
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