Whole Grains Council

about us

Culinary Advisors

The Culinary Advisors of the Whole Grains Council inspire us with great recipes, help us answer thorny questions from consumers, and can even consult with manufacturers on product development. We are honored to have this diverse and dedicated group of culinary experts working with us.

Our WGC Culinary Advisors

Robin Asbell, Author
The New Whole Grains Cookbook
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Robin Asbell is a chef, food writer, and cooking teacher specializing in natural foods. During her 20 years in the food industry, Robin has worked as a chef in both restaurants and private clients' homes, developed recipes for restaurants and Web sites, and written numerous articles for such magazines as Vegetarian Times, Better Homes and Gardens, and Fine Cooking. She has been writing a monthly column called "Eating Healthy" for more than 10 years. Visit her website to learn more.

Kathryn Conrad, Chef and Senior Food Stylist
Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

Milwaukee, WI

Kathryn Conrad is a Chef and Senior Food Stylist at Reader's Digest Association, Inc. and a freelance recipe developer and writer. Her career has included work with Cooking Light Magazine, Health magazine, ChefsBest, Duncan Hines, and the Campbell Soup Company. For more information visit her website kathrynconrad.webs.com

Jesse Cool, Chef/Owner
Flea Street Café, JZ Cool, the Cool Café at Cantor Art Gallery
Menlo Park, CA

Chef Jesse Cool is the chef-proprietor of three restaurants: Flea Street Café, JZCool Eatery and Catering Co., and the Cool Café at the Cantor Center for the Visual Arts on Stanford University's campus. A prolific food writer, Jesse has authored four cookbooks and has contributed to publications such as Food and Wine, Fine Cooking, Shape, and Rebecca's Garden, and has appeared on various television venues including The Today Show, The Food Network, and BayTV's Bay Café. Visit her website to learn more.

Judith Finlayson, Author
The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook

Toronto, ON, Canada

A former journalist and author, Judith Finlayson decided barely more than a decade ago to turn transform her life-long love of cooking into a second career. Today, her cookbooks have sold almost three-quarters of a million copies. Her passion for eating delicious food that is also nutritious sparked an interest in whole grains. Her book The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook contains over 150 recipes for healthy living, which range widely from breakfast to dessert, and includes detailed nutritional analyses for individual grains as well as for the recipes. Visit her website to learn more.

Ellie Krieger, RD, New York Times Bestselling Author and TV host
Healthy Appetite, Food Network
New York

New York Times bestselling author Ellie Krieger helps people of all ages to live life in healthy balance, nurturing a richly satisfying, sumptuous – and attainable – lifestyle without gimmicks and crash diets. Ellie received her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in nutrition from Cornell and Columbia University, then worked in obesity treatment at the prestigious La Palestra Center for Preventative Medicine.


She's the author of Small Changes, Big Results (2005) and The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life (2009), winner of both the IACP Cookbook award and the James Beard Foundation award. In addition to her Food Network show, Healthy Appetite, Ellie appears regularly as a guest expert on dozens of programs including Today, Good Morning America, CNN, and CBS's Saturday Early Show. She's also a contributing editor and columnist with Fine Cooking magazine and Food Network magazine, and a contributor to numerous publications including Parenting, Shape, Woman's Day, Self, Glamour, Men's Journal, Prevention, and many more.  Visit her website to learn more.

Paul Lynch, Executive Chef
FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar
Radisson Plaza Hotel, Minneapolis, MN


A native Texan, Chef Paul Lynch received his degree from New England Culinary Institute. Chef Paul has enjoyed an around-the-world career with Four Seasons Hotels, and then Westin Hotels, and has been the Executive Chef at the landmark Radisson Hotel in Minneapolis since 1999. As Chef de Cuisine of FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar, Chef Paul has received many awards and accolades including: Restaurateur of the Year, Taste of Elegance competition, and the Beefbacker Award, and is a founding member of the Heartland Food Network. He has been recognized in scores of publications including Bob Appétit, Minnesota Monthly, Midwestern Living and Minneapolis St Paul magazine.

Cary Neff, Vice President of Culinary
Morrison Management Services


Chef Cary Neff is recognized as a pioneer in putting whole grains in the center of the plate, in creative and delicious ways. Best known for inventing “Conscious Cuisine” (and for his book of the same name), he has long been instrumental in convincing diners that healthy food can be enticing.  As a teenager, Chef Cary trained in classical French cooking at a Chicago trade school, then, through hard work, earned prestigious positions at Chicago’s Ritz Carlton and Park Hyatt hotels.  As his career progressed, he became known for transforming the nature of spa food from “low fat” to “full flavor,” in stints at Miraval Life in Balance  Resort and Spa in Arizona, and at La Costa Resort and Spa in California.


Since December 2008, Chef Cary has served as Vice President of Culinary for Morrison Management Specialists, the healthcare division of Compass North America, a position that allows him to reach an exponentially larger audience, while bringing a new dimension of health and healing to hospital patients and staff.

Steve Petusevsky, Director of Retail Culinary Innovation
NECO Foods
Lantana, FL


Through his syndicated column, Vegetarian Today, Steven Petusevsky reaches over ten million people monthly, teaching them how to select ingredients, cook intelligently and live better without sacrificing flavor. Before opening his own restaurant, he was National Director Of Creative Food Development for Whole Foods Market, and worked for several large resort chains including Intercontinental Hotels, Meridien Hotels and Rockresorts. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Steve is nationally recognized as a pioneer in introducing mainstream America to natural foods. Visit his website to learn more.

Peter Reinhart
Johnson & Wales University
Charlotte, NC


Chef Peter Reinhart holds the position of Chef on Assignment at J&W's Charlotte campus. He joined J&W in 1999 as an instructor and moved to our Charlotte campus in 2003. For the 5 years prior to teaching at J&W, Reinhart was a full-time instructor at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Before that, he founded and ran the award-winning Brother Juniper's Bakery in Santa Rosa, California. An internationally renowned expert on bread and baking, Reinhart is the author of numerous books, including his newest, Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor (Ten Speed Press, 2007). Visit his blog to learn more.

Lorna Sass, Author
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
New York, NY


A native New Yorker, Lorna Sass (aka "The Grain Goddess") developed over 200 delicious whole grain recipes for her book Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way (Clarkson Potter, 2006) which won the James Beard Foundation award as best healthy cookbook. Lorna has written articles for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Sun Times and many other major newspapers and national magazines. She's also the award-winning author of thirteen cookbooks, including Cooking Under Pressure, Recipes from an Ecological Kitchen and Great Vegetarian Cooking under Pressure, which was nominated for a James Beard award. Visit her website to learn more.

Joel Schaefer, Research and Development Chef
AllergyFree Foods
Jacksonville, FL


Joel Schaefer has been in the food service industry for over 25 years. He is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and Valencia Community College with an AS in Culinary Management, a Certified Chef de Cuisine, and a Certified Hospitality Trainer. Joel’s experience includes being a culinary instructor at Kapiolani Community College, hosting a healthy cooking television segment called “Simply Food” in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Manager of Product Development and Special Diets for Walt Disney World Resort and an adjunct culinary nutrition instructor for Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida. He is currently working on an educational food allergy and recipe book and is the Research & Development Chef for AllergyFree Foods.

Ana Sortun, Chef/Owner
Oleana Restaurant
Cambridge, MA


Chef Ana Sortun, a culinary advisor to the Whole Grains Council, has worked in kitchens around the world, including Spain, Turkey, Italy and France. Oleana, her Cambridge, MA restaurant, features unconventional spices and dishes that combine her classic French training with Mediterranean influences. Oleana was named one of the "Best New Restaurants in America" by Esquire magazine, and was nominated for a James Beard Foundation award in 2002. Visit Oleana's website to learn more.

Maria Speck, Author
Ancient Grains for Modern Meals

Cambridge, MA


Maria Speck is the award-winning author of Simply Ancient Grains and Ancient Grains for Modern Meals (both by Ten Speed Press). Simply Ancient Grains was selected as a top cookbook for 2015 by the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and Sweet Paul, as well as on NPR's Here & Now. It also won an M.F.K. Fisher award, first prize in the book category.


Maria's first cookbook, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, received multiple awards, among them the coveted Julia Child Award. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post namedAncient Grains a top cookbook, and Cooking Light included it as one of 100 best cookbooks of the past 25 years. Raised in Greece and Germany, Maria has a lifelong passion for whole grains. She is a veteran journailist and food writer and has contributed to numerous publications in both the US and Germany. For more, visit www.MariaSpeck.com.



All information on this website is © 2003-2013, Oldways Preservation Trust/Whole Grains Council, unless otherwise noted.