Two Days of World-class Food

A select group of R&D professional chefs converged in Birmingham, Alabama for the Pecan Chefs Summit, April 2017, hosted by the National Pecan Shellers Association.  This exclusive two-day culinary experience immersed R&D chefs into the world of pecans at the Time Inc. Food Studios.

We got to see pecans used in a lot of different ways Chef Adam Dodge – Time Inc. Food Studios

The Pecan Chefs Summit is a fun place to get ideas and be inspiredBenjamin Stanley – Baskin Robbins

R&D Chefs and Culinary Influencers

Judging for the competition is fierce!

Time Inc. Food Studios, the central resource for the creation of world-class recipes and food photography is located in a 40,000 square-foot facility with 28 test kitchens, 12 photo studios, a showcase kitchen, a video studio and much more. This is where dynamic food content is created across the Time Inc. portfolio of print and digital brands including: Southern Living, Cooking Light,, Real Simple, People, InStyle, Health, Essence, Coastal Living, All You, Sunset and Oxmoor House.

The Pecan Chefs Summit brought world-class chefs into these test kitchens and photo studios with a common goal of creating delicious recipes home cooks can easily recreate for their families. Everyone experienced the flavors, food pairings and uses of innovative pecan products such as pecan pieces, meal, flour and oil in state-of-the-art facilities with the finest industry talent.

The roster of R&D chefs and culinary influencers included Aramark, Baskin Robbins, Cinnabon, Hyatt Hotels, PeachDish,, Time Inc. Food Studios and US Foods. Attendees gained valuable insights into preparing dishes with pecans through recipe development, a hands-on cooking challenge, networking opportunities and a chance to collaborate with like-minded chefs and culinary leaders.

Chef Josh Butler of US Foods wins!

The winning recipe, Asian Lettuce Wraps, was created by Chef Josh Butler of US Foods who said, “I feel that by attending the Pecan Chefs Summit I was able to learn about the nutritious benefits, multiple varieties and the multitude of pack sizes of pecans. It was also great meeting other chefs in the corporate world, we all shared the very unique experiences of each of our jobs with one another. I will be sharing the amazing benefits and wide diversity of pecans with the US Foods team of chefs and developers.”

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Recreate some of the amazing chef inspired recipes
 Marie Ostrosky

Marie Ostrosky

Culinary Director

This year’s Pecan Chefs Summit Culinary Director was Marie Ostrosky, senior television producer, food stylist, cookbook author and recipe developer. From pecan pieces, to halves, to meal, to flour, to oil, the chefs created recipes that incorporated pecans into appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desserts.

With more than 20 years of culinary expertise, Marie’s path led her to the kitchens of the Food Network, where, for 15 years, she was at the forefront of cooking shows as entertainment. She developed original, Emmy-nominated programming such as “Emeril Live!,” “Molto Mario” and “Grillin & Chillin with Bobby Flay” plus segments for Martha Stewart Living, NBC’s “TODAY”, CBS’s “This Morning” and Discovery Channel – just to name a few. Marie is also a recipe developer for brands such as McCormick Spices and Perdue Chicken. Read more.

Marion Laney

Marion Laney

Director of Photography and Still Photographer

Marion Laney has a passion for shooting food: for fourteen seasons with “Good Eats” with Alton Brown on Food Network, “Feasting on Waves” with Alton Brown, the FYI series “Rusty’s RockFeast: Backstage with Zac Brown Band”, and chefs Rick Bayless in Mexico and Mario Batali in Italy on two culinary TV series for PBS and Food Network respectively. He’s also worked on numerous food related commercials like Publix, O’Charley’s, McDonald’s, etc . Marion extends his passion for food as one of a six-member committee for the annual James Beard Foundation Broadcast and Journalism Awards (the Oscars of the culinary industry). Read more.

Alex Willson

Alex Willson

NPSA Director

Representing the pecan sheller/grower community was NPSA Board member, Alex Willson. Alex is the Chief Operating Officer of Sunnyland Farms and a native of Albany, GA.  Sunnyland Farms, approaching its 68th anniversary in business, is a third generation family-owned business situated in the heart of Pecan Country. The plant is nestled in the middle of 1,700 acres of majestic pecan trees. Visit their website at or call 229-317-4979 for more information.

Carolyn O’Neil

Carolyn O’Neil

Nutritionist, Author, Media Expert

Presenting the nutrition story of the pecan was Carolyn O’Neil, M.S., R.D., noted nutrition expert, award winning food writer and author of Southern Living’s bestselling Slim Down South Cookbook: Eating Well and Living Healthy in the Land of Biscuits. Carolyn reminds us “Pecans are part of a heart healthy diet with 19 vitamins and minerals but remember, it’s a ‘handful’ not a ‘can full’.”  Read more.