THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE FOOD HAPPEN
We’ve been in business since 1977, working across the food industry for clients both large and small. We are a group of employee-owners who don’t just develop food— we live it, breathe it and obsess over it.
CHIEF STRATEGY & CLIENT ENGAGEMENT OFFICER
When it comes to diverse and delicious food, I have been fortunate. My mother was raised in an ethnically-diverse area of NJ and learned to cook and bake foods that made even the native Italians, Germans, and Irish proud. Plus she worked as a waitress in restaurants too, so I got to try whatever came home with her at night, from lobster claws to steamer clams. Even pig’s feet (not sure where those came from).
But I didn’t grow up with a particular desire to work in the food business. I studied architecture in college. Then finance. I stumbled into the food business after 3 years as a financial analyst (boring). I set off to grad school and worked as an intern at Heinz between 1st and 2nd years. I was fortunate enough to join Heinz full time after I graduated, and have loved the business of food ever since.
CHIEF INNOVATION & MARKETING OFFICER
I grew up in the back of a Chinese restaurant owned by my neighbors, playing hide-and-seek in the kitchen and banquet rooms. I don’t remember a time before the restaurant, which explains my obsession. These days I love exploring food through travel. A few memorable bites: a banquet at a private restaurant in Beijing, the mind-blowing prix fixe meal at Oaxen Krog in Sweden, dinner in a wine cave in a castle in Italy’s Piedmont, and a bag of Combos at Machu Picchu after a long day of hiking. My vision of the future of food, especially as it relates to how we will feed the growing world population with limited and challenged resources is using technology to do so, whether it’s old tech like farming practices that regenerate the soil, or new tech to cultivate animal protein from cells.
Want my attention? Bribe me with homegrown tomatoes. I’m a sucker.
JAIME REEVES, Ph.D.
EXECUTIVE VP, PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT & COMMERCIALIZATION
California native…specifically the Central Valley where everything grows!
Love to be outside either running, hiking, skiing, swimming or relaxing in the backyard eating delicious food with my family and drinking a nice glass of wine.
Mom of adorable boy/girl twins (yes twins are a lot of work!) and a covid fur baby Labrador Retriever.
Favorite food: chili verde and anything grilled or smoked.
JUSTIN SHIMEK, Ph.D.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER & CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
I’ve always loved both the science and craft of food. Growing up in Anoka, Minnesota (the Halloween Capital of the World!) my first job in food was as a Subway ‘Sandwich Artist’ at age 15. A high school science fair project in a nutritional biochemistry lab at the University of Minnesota led me to pursue my undergraduate degrees in food science and nutrition.
I headed West by motorcycle to ultimately earn my Ph.D. in Food Science at UC Davis. I discovered California Wine Country and a personal passion for wine, which eventually became a professional passion a few years later.
When it comes to food today, I enjoy coffee in all its forms, cooking breakfast with my wife and our two kids, and exploring the nuances of backyard BBQ with an ever expanding range of smokers and grills in search of the perfect brisket.
EXECUTIVE VP, INSIGHTS & INNOVATION
New England native. Mom of 3 humans and a Boston Terrier.
Thrive on living, traveling, and eating abroad. Wine enthusiast, avid skier, and pie maker. Love cooking for a crowd.
Favorite food: lobster. The most unusual food I ever ate: fried dragonflies on a stick in Yunnan, China.
CHAIRMAN & CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER
Since 1974, Steve has held food industry positions in sales, finance, marketing and new product innovation. Since joining Mattson in 1988, Steve has worked broadly across food, beverage, packaged good, restaurant and food service categories, working for virtually every Fortune 500 food company.
Steve has also created innovative industry techniques to enhance and accelerate the new product development process. These techniques include ways to enhance collaboration, consumer insights, and enable deeper consumer involvement in the new product development process.
Steve also created the world’s first open source food product via an industry-wide experiment called Project Delta. Malcolm Gladwell, an embedded journalist in Project Delta, wrote a feature article about Project Delta that appeared in the Annual Food Edition of The New Yorker.
ALANA BERTELSEN, CSF
ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST
Born and raised in Northern California, I am 100% Italian with deep ties to those Italian roots.
My passion is great food with depth of flavor. I do not eat to live, I live to eat so every meal is important and seen in my eyes as an opportunity to create or experience something really tasty.
I love finding new and trendy places to dine (both locally or while traveling), exploring different cuisines from all cultures and ethnicities, and entertaining family and friends in our home.
Some of my favorite memories involve lingering around the table with my extended family after a big Sunday night dinner prepared by the women who taught me much of what I know culinarily and to value slow food.
If it’s savory and salty there’s a 99.999999% chance that I’ll love it!
Born and raised in the Bay Area with roots connected to the Philippines.
Home fermented foods, baked desserts, and banana ketchup are staples in my life. At least two of the three can always be found in my fridge.
FACILITIES AND SANITATION
Born in Mexico, raised in the Bay Area.
Coming from a Mexican family my mom has always cooked traditional Mexican food as it’s an important part of our culture. One of my favorite dishes is Enchiladas.
In my free time, I enjoy working on my garden which includes corn, tomatoes, and zucchini to just name a few.
ALLISON NEEDELS, CFS
VICE PRESIDENT, GROUP MANAGER
I was born and raised in Westchester County New York. I was permanently transplanted to the Bay Area in 1992.
In high school, I competed in basketball, tennis, and skiing. Now my favorite “sport” is dining al fresco at local restaurants and wineries! I adore salads with bold vinaigrettes, seafood of any kind with a great glass of wine.
Cooking for my family and friends brings me great joy with plenty of laughter for all!
SENIOR FOOD SCIENTIST
As a Bay Area native raised on farmers’ market produce, I firmly believe nothing compares to a dry farmed Early Girl tomato in the peak of summer. I fully embrace my “food nerd” status through systematically trying every available brand of chocolate and taking each opportunity to harvest my own fruit and vegetables. Recipes are my favorite souvenir when I travel and thus far Hungarian chicken paprikash, Italian gnocchi, and Finnish Karelian pies are among my most loved and made.
I dream of a sustainable and delicious food system that can support the world’s growing population. I performed over four years of research on reintroducing waste streams from the olive oil and wine industries back into the food supply at the USDA and UC Davis in service of this mission. At Mattson, I channel my passion into helping clients create delectable and sustainable products.
ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST
Born and raised in Berkeley!
Sourdough lover. Pizza (semi) guru. Stuffed pasta aficionado. TV junkie/Bravo superfan.
On the quest to taste all the hazy IPAs out there.
Savory > Sweet since the beginning – At 5 years old, I requested broccoli and zucchini over being offered bon bons at the movies.
OFFICE MANAGER & EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
Born and raised in the Bay Area. With a Mom from Malta and a Dad from England we ate a wide variety of foods, always home-cooked. I carry that tradition on with my three children.
I have a son with nut and gluten allergies, so understanding ingredients in what I cook and coming up with new creative ideas to provide a variety of options for my son and family is important to me.
On the weekends my husband and I enjoy grabbing a cup of coffee and walking on the beach with our labradoodle.
My favorite food is Cioppino.
COMANUFACTURE SEARCH MANAGER
I’m a competitive runner, which enables my other obsession – food!
The best part of traveling is walking from bakery to bakery in a new town. I meandered my way to an AMAZING side-street bakery in Paris, jetlagged at 5 a.m., then spent the next week trying to find my way back there. I’m convinced I was dreaming.
ANNE MARIE PRUZAN, CFS
VICE PRESIDENT, GROUP MANAGER & TECHNICAL OPERATIONS
Born and raised in upstate NY, leaving Ithaca in 1996 with my cat and husband in tow for a warmer climate. We both decided it would be nicer to drive to the snow vs. living in it! We arrived in California thinking we’d be here for maybe 10 years – now 25 years later we’re still here!
I love cooking for an occasion, any occasion, and planning the menu. Nothing better than a delicious meal, good wine (and dessert) and dining in our back yard with friends. Such joy comes from a meal shared with those you care about.
When not at Mattson, hiking, biking and gardening, along with volunteering at the local animal shelter keeps my life interesting.
Born overseas on the shores of Tripoli, grew up in the South (Georgia) and established CA as my home sweet home with my family of 5 + 1 cute little Maltipoo.
My passion for food grew significantly after coming out to CA for college at UC Berkeley and experiencing California’s delicious culinary diversity.
Fast forward to the present day… I enjoy food that awakens the senses and I believe the proverbial saying that you are what you eat.
One of my favorite things to do is explore local and pop-up bakeries to see what’s trending and satisfy my sweet tooth.
“Love the Life you Live. Live the Life you Love” – In my free time, you can find me doing just that, spending time connecting with loved ones, stand up paddleboarding with my SUP pup, going for walks or finding great joy in my new gardening hobby!
ASSOCIATE GROUP MANAGER
North Carolina native with a healthy obsession with baked goods. Trips with my husband and pup are planned around visiting bakeries where my eyes are always bigger than my stomach, but I need to taste it all!
No matter where I am, I am usually singing and dancing at least a little bit.
“Kain na tayo.” That means “Let’s eat!”, in Tagalog (Filipino). Having grown up in the Philippines, I noticed that every big party is not complete without the “Lechon” (a whole roasted pig–the most invited party guest).
My favorite dish is adobo (chicken or pork braised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce), and halo-halo for dessert (crushed ice with condensed & evaporated milk, taro, yams, beans, fruit preserves, rice crispies, flan, and ube ice cream on top).
I love to explore hiking trails, beaches, and scenic spots, and explore good food places in the area with friends on weekends.
VICE PRESIDENT, INNOVATION MANAGER
The #1 thing I learned in culinary school and while cooking professionally is to let the ingredients do the talking. Because when you start with the highest quality local ingredients and serve them with a minimal amount of fuss, the experience will be truly authentic, enjoyable, and even the ever elusive “crave-able!”
Having spent the last 25 years working with packaged food and foodservice companies, this is also something I try to bring to each project. Because when something is truly cravable and satisfying, people will come back for more.
When I am not working or cooking with family and friends, I am enjoying deeply flavorful cheese paired with crusty bread and a bold glass of red wine while tending my 50+ rose bushes.
MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS DESIGN LEAD
I make things pretty.
Born on the tropical island of the Philippines, grew up in the Bay Area, studied in San Diego and Italy, and escaped to Chicago mainly for the food (not the weather).
Mama of two. Love to travel, and travel to eat. I bake cakes and like to create art with food. I design, style and snap. Obsessed with capturing life’s everyday moments.
SENIOR COMMERCIALIZATION MANAGER
My fondest food memories are of the family dinners that my first generation Italian American grandmother, Palma Giacopuzzi Abram, would cook. Starting with Canederli (bread dumplings served in broth), followed by Polenta or Gnocchi, and homemade Ravioli. Delicious!
When I started college at UC Davis, I had no idea that a major in Food Science even existed. My roommate from Iowa suggested it, and I was so happy to find that I could combine my love for both science and food into a career.
CONSUMER INSIGHTS MANAGER
I grew up immersed in food culture. Throughout my childhood, I worked alongside my grandmothers in the kitchen and was captivated by stories of my entrepreneurial grandfather and his 1950s food truck. Between spending time at my family’s fruit and nut orchard and visiting my grandparents’ small-town grocery store and pasta business, it was only natural that I caught the food bug. From homemade ravioli to tamales, the cultural influence of both grandparents cultivated my passion for creating and sharing memorable meals with family and friends.
My love of cooking inspired me to take food classes in San Francisco, Napa Valley, and New Orleans. Food classes led to food careers, and I began catering weddings and corporate events and working in the restaurant industry.
In my free time, I enjoy hiking Tahoe trails with my goldendoodle, paddleboarding, and seeking out farmers markets and locally owned health food stores.
DOUG BERG, CFS
VICE PRESIDENT, GROUP MANAGER
California and Bay Area Native – with Midwestern roots by way of Wisconsin.
Food Science “stock” with Culinary “top notes”.
My passion is homemade “slow” food and creating things from scratch. Naturally leavened bread, long braises, ice cream, and laminated doughs. I love the challenge of creating things with a long ingredient list and complicated steps.
Nothing beats a homegrown freshly picked heirloom tomato.
SENIOR COMMERCIALIZATION MANAGER
Oregon native. The ocean and outdoors have always been a large part of my life.
I’m a foodie to the core and enjoy getting lost in specialty stores and farmer’s markets. I have a passion for deconstructing good food and recreating it with my own twist.
The strangest foods I have ever eaten are blood sausage & steamed tripe.
EDWIN PALANG, Ph.D.
SENIOR COMMERCIALIZATION MANAGER
Hails from the Philippines. Devoted rescue cat Dad.
On weekends you will find me cycling. Dream of cycling a leg of the Tour de France.
Obsessed with roasting my own coffee. Favorite part of traveling is visiting grocery stores.
Craziest food ever eaten: Balut (incubated duck egg) in the Philippines.
INNOVATION ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
Ever since I was a kid, I have been obsessed with baking and watching cooking shows (two of my favorites: Alton Brown’s Good Eats & The Great British Bake Off). I grew up in San Diego but have lived in New York, New Jersey, Turkey, North Carolina and now the Bay Area- all of which have influenced the way I eat. To me, there’s nothing better than freshly made flour tortillas or a perfectly brewed pot of tea.
Two of my favorite hobbies are grocery shopping and trying out new restaurants. I always go out of my way to check out local grocery stores whenever I travel (there is always something unique to find!).
A Chicago native, I discovered a passion for cooking in my Sicilian grandmother’s kitchen. I love to travel and experience cultures through their heritage foods, especially when visiting family in Osaka, Japan. I worked in pharmacy for years before applying my knowledge of chemistry to food and haven’t looked back since!
After work and on the weekends you can find me paddleboarding the lagoons of Foster City or cycling the Bay Trail. My most memorable food experience was watching Jay Fai cook her signature crab omelettes over an open flame at her Michelin starred Bangkok restaurant.
Born & raised in Sonoma County, I’m lucky to have always been surrounded with good food and great wine. I love to try new pairings that at first may seem unusual but they just *work*, like macaroni and cheese scooped onto a salt and vinegar chip. Even the smallest of food adventures excites me – I screamed the first time I saw an Aldi supermarket. My food philosophy is: I’ll try anything at least once!
In my spare time you can find me traveling with my partner & dog, hosting a blind wine tasting, sitting lawn-side at an outdoor concert, or searching for the perfect snack at the farmer’s market.
SENIOR FOOD SCIENTIST
As an inquisitive scientist at heart; I can be found building, tinkering and exploring new hobbies. My happy place is fine tuning recipes on my smoker, dissecting the traits of a new beer, or spending time crafting new adventures with my wife for my children.
I was raised in São Paulo, Brasil and my family immigrated to the United States in 1965. I am a proud mother of Sergio and André, and also a proud grandmother of six grandchildren.
I was introduced to different cuisines in Brasil which have a very strong presence from Portuguese, Italians, Spaniards, Germans, Japanese, and Middle Easterns. My love of cooking began with my grandmothers, my maids, and my mother.
Mattson has educated me in so many ways about different ingredients, different kinds of food, and how to reinvent one’s old ideas.
My passion is cooking, crafting, crochet and knitting. My favorite time now is spending time with the grandchildren.
DIRECTOR OF CONSUMER INSIGHTS
I grew up in a family that cooks… Mom valued the early frozen convenience products (fish sticks & Tater Tots on babysitter nights!), while my grandmothers let me gain hands-on experience with “easy scratch” helpers (hello Shake & Bake pork chops and Bisquick chicken & dumplings!). It also helped that I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley in California where school field trips included a dairy, cattle ranch, cattle auction, chicken farm, meatpacking plant, fruit/vegetable cannery, and many local farms to harvest our own fruits and vegetables.
But my true love is in serving food (and wine) which led to a career in hospitality that included 100s of weddings, holiday parties, conventions, corporate retreats, cocktail parties on yachts, and even Mickey Mouse shaped pizzas.
And now my passion is in exploring consumer rituals and habits around food like:
Thirsty Thursday (my personal favorite!)
Flash Fried Friday
How can I help create the next named ritual!?
Every Friday night, my whole family including cousins, uncles, and aunties gathered at my PoPo’s (grandma) house to eat homemade Cantonese soups and dishes she spent the whole day making. After dinner, we would watch TGIF or a movie, laughing and eating sliced fruit together. Through this weekly tradition, my PoPo taught me that food, family, and love are all related, which set me off on a career path working with food in all its delicious forms!
Besides the joys of eating, I love exploring and understanding how we all interact with food, our culture, community, and the environment. I dream of a world where we all have access to fresh, healthy, and sustainable foods. On weekends, you can find me staying active and spending time with loved ones trying to recreate those early memories that PoPo shaped me with. Current activities include paddle boarding, fishing, and paddle board fishing!
ACCOUNTS PAYABLE SPECIALIST
My childhood journey had always been influenced by food.
From New Year celebrations to birthday parties, my family would get together making plenty of traditional Vietnamese dishes and I enjoyed eating them all until I couldn’t take another bite. When I was in school, I couldn’t help but fall in love with street food after class to the extent that I can still recall how good they tasted until now. These are some of the factors that shaped my initial passion for food.
As I grow older and now have access to a wide variety of food from different nationalities and styles, one of my biggest missions is to try as many different kinds as I can and find out which I love most.
In my free time, I love to hike, eat out, and explore new foodie destinations with friends.
Jay has been with Mattson since 2006.
JENNIFER GOZA, Ph.D.
Food has a unique ability to unify communities and cultures. Growing up in a multicultural household, food brought my family and friends from different languages and backgrounds together—my first non-English words were all names of my favorite foods! My desire to learn about the world has been guided by food. What began with taking food systems classes at UC Berkeley continued as I apprenticed in alternative farming in Hawaii and Spain, supported coffee producers for the US Peace Corps in Panama, studied the aromatic chemistry of beer in Chicago, and dove deep into the world of flavor systems and perception at Penn State. At Mattson, I get to continue this exploration by helping to bring a wide variety of products into the world.
In my spare time, you can find me experimenting with new recipes or fermentation methods with friends and family, or trying out new restaurants and breweries around the Bay.
CONSUMER INSIGHTS MANAGER
I caught the food bug while assisting evening cooking classes at a small San Francisco Bay Area cooking school while in college and never looked back. My career has always focused on food – from working with Julia Child to fostering discussions between culinarians and the nutrition community, to polling consumers about their bologna consumption, and studying wine consumers. Most of all, I love food history, finally knocking an MA in Food Studies off my bucket list just before the pandemic.
Living a food-centric life…
Celebrating the holidays with our family and family recipes – bastilla and baklava, chawanmushi and maze gohan, and everyone’s favorite potato salad and icebox dinner rolls.
Enjoying food from the latest bakery, restaurant, food truck, pop up and fast food trend with my friends and two sons.
Cooking inspirational recipes from Serious Eats.
Providing food to those in my community through organizations throughout the bay area.
Feeding my furry and feathered friends at the local animal shelter.
Live for and love the diversity, and the cultural and social aspects of food.
FACILITIES AND SANITATION
Born and raised in Mexico, I enjoyed eating all kinds of Mexican food, including a typical food from the state of Michoacan called Morisqueta (white rice, beans, Pork with sauce, sour cream and cheese). When I came to the United States I started trying all kinds of food from different cultures. One of my favorites is Indian butter chicken. On the weekends or after work, my kids and I like to work on our garden full of vegetables.
My love for food stems from my Mom and Grandma’s home cooked meals. My favorite dish they make is Chili Verde. Not only am I part of the Mattson team, but I also teach Zumba (dance fitness) at various gyms around the Bay Area. My greatest passion is dance and I have loved dance ever since I was a little girl.
SENIOR FOOD SCIENTIST
I nourish my soul and stomach through tending to my vegetable garden and fruit trees. You can find me homesteading on the weekends canning tomatoes and making preserves.
While I am rooted and inspired by historic craftsmanship, I also have an eye to the future, diving into the scientific advances of food technology. I’m driven by learning how things work, whether it’s watching a plant grow, fixing something around the house, or developing a new food. Coming to work each day allows me to learn not just the breadth but also the complex nuances of the food we eat, and I create; which and keeps my mind fueled for more.
KATHY WESTPHAL, CFS
My Home Economics teacher mother had all five kids cooking in the kitchen by the age of 7.
I found Food Science at UC Davis – the perfect marriage of my love of Chemistry and my passion for cooking. I have worked on just about every kind of food product, but have especially enjoyed applications work with novel food ingredients.
My weekends always start at the local Farmers Market and end by hosting a large Sunday dinner for my neighbors and friends. I also love gardening and canning my own produce.
SENIOR FOOD SCIENTIST
As a fifth generation Chinese American born and raised in the Bay Area, I was fortunate to get a taste of traditional Cantonese cooking every Sunday at my Grandma’s house while my family and I explored other cuisines during the week.
Some of my favorite memories while traveling include learning to make croissants in Paris, discovering honey toast in Tokyo, and savoring the yogurt parfaits in Riomaggiore. I also love baking and sharing with friends and family to see the excitement on their faces.
If I’m not baking, you’ll likely find me at Disneyland.
California Native, born and raised. I learned to cook and appreciate great food from my Italian mother who made classic Italian dishes on a regular basis. I learned early on that the secret to making great sauce is a blend of fresh ingredients and patience, as it can take hours for the ingredients to achieve their peak performance. I have always been fascinated with science and actually entered college studying Mechanical Engineering. While taking an elective general nutrition course, I first heard the term Food Science. After doing a bit of research I soon learned that I could combine my two passions: Food & Science and shortly after I changed majors.
On weekends I enjoy outdoor activities such as gardening, sporting events, boating, gatherings with friends & family and especially poker night at my father-in-law’s house.
ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST
Northern California native. My oldest memories revolve around food. As a kid I would watch Saturday morning cooking shows rather than cartoons, play restaurant rather than board games and make mud pies rather than sand castles.
Stumbled upon Food Science in college and never looked back.
Love cooking with my kids and sharing food experiences with my family and friends.
Native Oregonian–lover of nature, skiing, hiking, camping, and food gatherings with friends and family. Mom of two young adults and one food-obsessed chocolate lab.
I learned to cook and appreciate great food from my Greek mother who regularly made simple, close-to-the-earth yet delicious Mediterranean dishes like dolmas, avgolemono soup and moussaka. She even made hummus, fresh pocket bread and strained her own Greek yogurt back in the ‘70’s, traditions I carry with me today. A meal of small-bites, where so many different flavors and textures can be enjoyed in one sitting, is my go-to. My all time favorite: a 13-course dinner paired with wines at Michelin star Madrona Manor Restaurant in Healdsburg, CA.
Grew up in San Francisco (Chinatown) in my grandmother’s kitchen where I learned food is love and food brings family and friends together. A career changer who took the plunge into culinary school and never looked back. Can never say “no” to dessert and forever on the quest to make the best chocolate chip cookie. Ultimate craving: a simple bowl of hot ramen.
An ice cold glass of milk.
Nature created the perfect beverage. A sweet, rich, creamy and satisfying food that has been dissected, researched and challenged all for the purpose of recreating. The sum of all the parts can be made but are we able to capture the essence of all that dairy can do in food?
Science is leading the way to bridge that gap and what seemed impossible is nearly within reach, whether it be from plant-based fermentation proteins or GC-screened flavor compounds. I look forward to the near future when this is mastered. Not at the expense of what started this journey but in gratitude of how something so seemingly simple as milk can bring endless joy to food.
Growing up, I was blessed to be raised in a family that valued healthy cooking. Of course, growing up I may not value it as much as I do today. With an upbringing in cooking with and for others, becoming a chef was an easy choice. After going to culinary school and obtaining my degree in Culinary Science, the world of cooking really opened up in a new way for me. I was able to use data-driven science to improve the quality and healthiness of my food, without having to sacrifice flavor and enjoyment. Since then I have tried to spend my career at the intersection of healthy and delicious cooking!
PILOT PLANT TECHNICIAN & MAINTENANCE SPECIALIST
I was born in Fargo, North Dakota, and raised in Madison, Minnesota where my mom would cook lutefisk (fish) and lefse (tortilla made from potatoes). Madison is the lutefisk capital of the world.
I am a third-generation Norwegian. I have 4 children & 4 stepchildren, 14 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.
Bay Area native, loves all things active and outside, especially if the activity involves special treats at the end. Cooking for my family and friends brings me great joy, as does the home food science project like kombucha, discovering the secrets to the best potato latke, plant based yogurt, or “how many veggies can I hide” in this mac and cheese.
Long term goal is to improve my green thumb and grow more food for home cooking/preserving. Nothing beats picking sun warmed fruits and veggies from your own backyard! My biggest gardening success is a passion fruit vine that provides 100s of fruits each year, all whilst shading our home in the hot summers. Sharing this abundance with family, friends and neighbors is such a delight each year and epitomizes one of the many ways that food brings our community together.
My favorite food is Mexican Food. Growing up in a Mexican household, anything having to do with food is a time to be together with family and socialize (prepping the food, eating the food, and cleaning up after). My favorite memories are when we would get together to make tamales every year.
One of my favorite dishes is fried pork ribs in a green or red salsa with cactus, rice, beans, and homemade flour or corn tortillas. It’s even better if someone else makes it (mom).
ASSOCIATE INNOVATION MANAGER
I was born in Hong Kong and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am inspired by culinary traditions around the world and especially fascinated with flavors developed with time and age-old techniques — think anchovies, kimchi, jamon iberico, fish sauce, fermented bean curd, shrimp paste, miso and more. Some call it stinky, I call it umami and delicious!
My absolute favorite food is fresh sea urchin. It’s sweet, briney, creamy and packed with flavors of the ocean (the good kind).
Outside of work, you will find me walking the farmer’s market, picking up fresh catch off the harbor and experimenting with new recipes. I also enjoy hiking, wheel throwing and caring for my vast collection of houseplants.
SENIOR FOOD SCIENTIST
As a kid, nothing beat the arrival of late summer when my mom started harvesting our garden to make huge batches of pesto and gazpacho. Her culinary lessons combined with my favorite TV program, Alton Brown’s science-infused cooking show Good Eats, to form the basis of my food worldview. I am obsessed with diving deep into the chemistry of food to make it more delicious–an obsession that has only grown stronger in my quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. In my downtime, you will find me perusing the cookbook section of the library, feeding my sourdough starter, and surreptitiously picking figs from my neighborhood trees. Show up with a bag of Trader Joe’s elote corn chips, and we may just become best friends.
VICE PRESIDENT, INNOVATION MANAGER
Good ideas come from everywhere! And, the really good stuff appears when a mix of fine grit, some elbow grease, and a little polish is applied. When I’m not thinking about the future of food or out on a soccer field or cross-country trail cheering on our daughters with my wife – I love building, restoring, and getting out to ride bikes… all sorts of them.
My ride in the food & beverage industry has included the opportunity to build & grow award-winning brands and innovation across categories at companies big & small, including a mission-driven startup of my own. I’ve been on several Pitch Slam stages, helped to develop Gold Effie winning marketing campaigns, and have worked on products that have won Natural Products Expo Nexty Awards. On a volunteer basis, I serve on the executive team of Naturally Bay Area’s board in addition to Naturally Network’s National Board of Directors.
If you really want to impress me – make a lasagna that’s better than my grandma’s was. Or, have a try at tamales that are better than my mother-in-law’s. I dare you!
Peter has spent his entire career in the food and beverage industry and joined Mattson in 2003.
Peter has worked on a diverse range of product categories and brands during his tenure with Mattson to include: PepsiCo, Gatorade, Soylent, Probar, KraftHeinz, ConAgra, Monin, Attune Foods and many others.
SENIOR CULINARY SCIENTIST
ME + MY FOOD PASSIONS
(150 words or less)
Freshly baked pastries. A perfectly brewed cup of coffee. Plated dishes that are both art and food (good food, of course). A comforting home cooked meal. The beauty of fresh produce. Cakes that make people smile (and taste great to boot). New retail products that make me think “that is so cool!” The simple joy of fresh bread with butter. New ways to use familiar ingredients. Familiar ways to use new ingredients. Dessert.
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT
I was born and raised in Liverpool, England, and grew up around food with my father who owned Chinese food restaurants and was also a food manufacturer.
I came to California in 1986 and have two beautiful daughters. I love to hike, travel, and enjoy live theater.
My first lesson about food was that it can be a very important part of a person’s life. I was not more than 10 years old when my father took us all the way to Ipoh, Malaysia, because he wanted to have the best fresh rice noodles in the world. Showing us the city where he was born and raised was the second reason. I remember buying fresh, juicy rambutan from a roadside vendor and eating piping hot bak kut teh every breakfast, but everything else about the trip is a blur.
Another lesson about food I’ve learned is that cooking with love is a key to good food. I’m not sure when or where I picked up this concept, but when I see it in someone, I know I’ll be enjoying what I’m about to eat. I try to cook that way, and I’ve also been lucky to have been surrounded by people who do this.
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT TECHNICIAN
Raised in the woods of Connecticut, my relationship with food started with my father’s cooking. The meals he created every night for me and my family were inspired by his proud motto: “there is no food that I do not like to eat.” Needless to say, we experienced quite a variety at the table growing up, and we’re lucky to have made our home in an agriculturally rich area; we even had a “bring your tractor to school” day at my high school!
Now you can find me every Sunday in San Francisco at my local farmer’s market, right next to my favorite bakery, trying not to buy more than I can eat.
SENIOR FOOD SCIENTIST
Born and raised in San Francisco to Chinese immigrant parents who have strong roots in traditional Taishanese cooking. My earliest memories of cooking involved helping my mom and grandma make “fun guo” dumpling wrappers, pressing dough balls between a tortilla press, and working out those 4-year-old arm muscles.
I am a new plant mom who is actively trying to learn how to care for houseplants and (despite my intense fear of bugs) nurture a vegetable and fruit garden to encourage more farm-to-table dining. When possible, I love traveling and experiencing the destination’s culture through its local cuisine. An unconventional favorite of mine is from Peru: a cold glass of chicha morada (purple corn drink), a side of cancha serrana (Peruvian corn nuts), and a big plate of split-roasted cuy (guinea pig). YUM!