Human-Centered Food Technology

Technological solutions geared towards evolving foodscapes


Christoph Milz

Managing Director, Hestan Smart Cooking

Christoph Milz is the Managing Director of Hestan Smart Cooking. Christoph formed a team of engineers, chefs, scientists, designers and marketers to build the Hestan Cue – a smart cookware, smart induction burner, and recipe app that work together to automatically control the temperature and timing of each recipe step. Since its launch in April 2016, Hestan Cue has helped people to cook thousands of amazing dishes that they would never have been able to cook with the same confidence and guaranteed results. Prior to this, Christoph helped to build the culinary business unit of PolyScience, a leader in professional sous vide cooking devices. He holds an MBA and was trained as a Chef in Germany.


Angelica Sullam 

Director of Business Innovation, Good Eggs

Angelica Sullam is Director of Business Innovation at Good Eggs, an online grocery store that delivers absurdly fresh groceries and meal kits all over the Bay Area. Angelica believes that growing a sustainable food system is a critical and tangible strategy to combat climate change. As an early team member, her commitment to sustainability has been a key driver in building Good Eggs’ supply chain and distribution model. Most recently, she created their corporate social responsibility strategy and spearheaded a sustainable packaging initiative. Angelica holds a BA in Philosophy from Wheaton College (MA).



Charlie Ayers

Executive Chef/Proprietor of Chowbotics

Chef Charlie lives by the creed "eat, drink, and be merry." For the past 25 years, he has embodied this ideal as a chef, providing eclectically inspired food and drink in an atmosphere of music and fun. Charlie is best known as, “the chef who fed Google.” It was a job he won in a cook-off in 1999, judged by the company’s then 40 employees. By the time he left Google in 2005, his team of five chefs and 150 employees were serving 4,000 lunches and dinners a day at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, CA. After six years at Google, Charlie left to open Calafia Café & Market A Go Go in Palo Alto, CA. His concept epitomizes the idea that "being green" is good for the producer, consumer, environment and local community. Charlie has published a cookbook, Food 2.0: Secrets from the Chef that Fed Google, that exemplifies his culinary vision. In May, 2014 Charlie received an honorary doctorate degree from his alma mater, Johnson & Wales University for his contributions to the culinary arts.



Rob Trice

Founder of Better Food Ventures and The Mixing Bowl

Rob Trice is the Founder of Better Food Ventures and The Mixing Bowl. He is leveraging his experience in mobile, internet and telecom venture capital to pursue the application of information technology to food and agriculture challenges. Better Food Ventures makes investments into startups that are harnessing the power of information and communications technology to improve food and agriculture. The Mixing Bowl is a forum to link food, agriculture and IT innovators. Rob previously worked at international VC funds, including Swisscom Ventures, SK Telecom Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners and Nokia Venture Partners (now BlueRun Ventures). Prior to his days in venture capital, he worked at DIRECTV in LA & Tokyo and at a DC-based think-tank, The Center for Strategic & International Studies.  He also founded the non-profit Corporate Innovators Huddle, serves on the board of San Francisco-based engaged philanthropy organization, Full Circle Fund. He splits his time between Menlo Park, CA and Pescadero, CA.