gourmandise grain conference
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Gourmandise Grain Conference

The Gourmandise School at Santa Monica Place

TRADE DAY - Monday, September 25, 2017   |   8:30am – 6:30pm

Keynote Speaker – Dave Miller of Miller’s Bake House

Building Local and Regional Grain Networks, Seed to Table

Join us as we continue the momentum from last year’s Grain Conference with another exciting day of workshops, speakers and panel discussions.  Learn from the industry’s leaders, chefs and farmers sharing their knowledge and pro techniques in working with whole grains.  We’ve also expanded this year by adding a bigger collection of speakers and thought-leaders as we share the incomparable benefits of local heirloom grains.

Event Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Dave Miller

Miller’s Bake House

Dave has been baking whole grain sourdough breads for 32 years. He’s worked and apprenticed for bakers in the Northeast, France, Luxemburg, and Belgium. Since opening his bakery in 1992 he has had the opportunity to witness drastic changes in the world of baking, farming, as it pertains to wheat, and the public’s perception of both. He is a founding member of the California Grain Campaign, who’s goal is to help establish local markets for California grain growers and to educate Californians about grain growing and processing in the state.

Photo Credit: James Kern

Breakout Discussions

  • Establishing Grain Cooperatives
  • How to Teach your Staff about Whole Grains (FOH & BOH)
  • Pricing, Labeling and Transparency

Workshop Leaders

Or Amsalam
Lodge Bread
Alex Davis
Jorge Gaviria
Clémence Gossett
The Gourmandise School
Nan Kohler
Grist & Toll
Chef Michelle Lainez
Alex Phaneuf
Lodge Bread
Nathanael Siemens
Fat Uncle Farms
Therese McLaughlin & Adam Novicki
T&A Farms
Crystal White
Wayfarer Bread

Event Details

Press & Media

For press inquiries, please contact Sabrina Ironside at [email protected] for more information.

Conference Schedule

8:30am – 9:30am
60 min

Check-in, Pastries & Coffee

Pastries and coffee provided by Bakers Kneaded Panaderia & Caffe Luxxe

15 min


Pastry Chef Clémence Gossett & Sabrina Ironside, Co-Owners, The Gourmandise School

9:45am – 10:30am
45 min

Keynote Speaker

Dave Miller of Miller’s Bake House

10:45am – 12:15pm
90 min

Morning Workshops

A: Whole Grain Naturally Leavened Boules with Alex Phaneuf & Or Amsalam, Lodge Bread and T&A Farms

B: Ask an Expert with Nan Kohler, Grist & Toll. Submit your recipes in advance and get the answers you need when converting to using local wheat.

C: Masa with Chef Michelle Lainez and Jorge Gaviria, Masienda

D: Beyond the Grain Bowl with Minh Phan, Porridge + Puffs

60 min


Brought to you by Pasturebird and more!

60 min

Breakout Discussions

A: Establishing Grain Cooperatives with Farmer Mai Nguyen

B: How to Teach Your Staff About Whole Grains (FOH & BOH) with Alex Davis

C: Pricing, Labeling and Transparency with Nathanael Siemens, Fat Uncle Farms

90 min

Afternoon Workshops

A: Sourdough Bread with Andy Kadin, Bub & Grandma’s and Nan Kohler, Grist & Toll

B: B: Spec Sheet 101: How to Differentiate between Wheat Varietals for Optimal Baking with Nathanael Siemens, Fat Uncle Farms

C: Baguettes with Crystal White, Wayfarer Bread

D: Whole Grain Pastries with Clémence Gossett, The Gourmandise School

15 min


45 min

Main Hall Discussion

The Future of Grains

30 min

Closing Statements

60 min

After Party with grain based spirits!

*Schedule and leaders subject to change

Speaker Bios


Or's love for food has been shaped by his Moroccan heritage and large family meals. His culinary journey began when he spent summers in Israel as a child, watching his aunts cook authentic dishes for his huge extended family. Or has been cooking for as long as he can remember, graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles in 2009. Since then, he has worked under some of LA’s top chefs, including Wolfgang Puck at Spago and Chef Micah Wexler at Mezze. For his work at Lodge Bread, Or was named a Zagat 30 Under 30 in 2016. In 2017, the James Beard Foundation acknowledged Or as a semifinalist in the category of Outstanding Baker.


Alex P. Davis has spent nearly a decade in the service industry. Eschewing a career in law to follow his passion for food and beverage, he is a Certified Cicerone® and an accomplished bread baker, consulting at multiple Los Angeles restaurants. He has also spent time with Library Alehouse and Lodge Bread Company.


After 10 years of successful unhappiness writing for TV and advertising, something had to change. Andy always had quiet designs on a life in food but the transition had to be an earnest one. The big question was where to direct his food-relative focus and that decision had to be born of experience. So, he found low pay/high educational value food work wherever he could - 50 lb. deep friers, sandwich shop cold lines and, eventually, bread ovens. No matter what direction he decided to go - grocery, bar, 47 different restaurant concepts - bread was going to be a part of it, so Andy committed to baking at home every day for a year. After much failure, his elementary creations found the mouth of Scott Zwiezen of Dune in Atwater Village. Scott called Andy cold and asked him to bake daily ciabatta for the restaurant. Andy accepted and over the course of two years he grew the bakery from one man and a home oven to eight bakers, five drivers, a dedicated bakery space and over 50 accounts across town including Osteria Mozza, Bestia, Here’s Looking at You and Kismet. Andy lives atop Mt. Washington with his girlfriend Patricia.


Fresh, stone milled flour has changed me forever, as a baker and a person. Sourcing and working with a variety of wheat and grains has unlocked a whole new world of flavors and textures. For me, there is simply no turning back; this is just the beginning of falling in love with baking over and over again. No grain is the same, no harvest is the same, no baker is the same, therefore our flour shouldn’t be the same. The art of milling is the key to exploring the diversity we have been missing in the world of wheat and flour.


Coming soon.


Rose is the chef and fermenter behind Red Bread and Pastry Chef at Manuela DTLA. Rose has always been captivated by food, especially whole ancient grains for their deep flavor and nourishment. She is committed to understanding the science, art, and magic of real food treated with care. Rose is a passionate chef, baker, master food preserver, and is actively involved with food justice issues.


Dave has been baking whole grain sourdough breads for 32 years. He’s worked and apprenticed for bakers in the Northeast, France, Luxemburg, and Belgium. Since opening his bakery in 1992 he has had the opportunity to witness drastic changes in the world of baking, farming, as it pertains to wheat, and the public’s perception of both. He is a founding member of the California Grain Campaign, who’s goal is to help establish local markets for California grain growers and to educate Californians about grain growing and processing in the state.


“[This is] why I farm: to provide delicious, nutritious, culturally-appropriate food using environmentally regenerative methods. It’s critical to ensuring food security and good health for everyone. I draw from my scientific knowledge, food business management experience, and cooperative community organizing background to grow food and create farming networks. I present on organic no-till, draft animal, and dry farming techniques and participate in experimental, environmentally regenerative farming trials.
I treasure heritage grains for their drought resistance. You can get tons of food from a few inches of rain. It's ancient and it's California's future.”


LA Chef Minh Phan is lover of grains. Being one of the first Angelenos to put quinoa on the menu (not to mention the acclaimed 9-grain buckwheat pancake) at Axe in 1998, she continues the exploration with her projects Porridge + Puffs, Mignardises, and a new project to launch later this year. She’s responsible for many a grain bowls through her various posts and consultations. Albeit her love of things in a bowl, from the soulfulness of holding the bowl in your hand to the multitudes of composition, she is constantly working on creative ways to deliver food.


Born and raised in the Coachella Valley, Alexander Phaneuf has been cooking since the age of 14. Following culinary school in New York City, Alex was hired by Masaharu Morimoto to open Morimoto Napa. Alex transitioned to a sous chef position under Dominique Crenn at Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, leading the team to the first of their two Michelin stars. A chef colleague from Crenn persuaded him to accept a sous role at AQ, which led to him taking over its sister restaurant TBD. He relocated to Los Angeles with the goal of opening his own restaurant and soon met Or Amsalam, who shared Alex's passion for baking artisan bread. In 2017, James Beard Foundation acknowledged Alex as a semifinalist in the category of Outstanding Baker.

Sasha Piligian - Sqirl

Sasha is a native Angeleno and self-taught Pastry Chef. Her first experience in a professional kitchen was under the mentorship of Roxana Jullapat at Cooks County where she honed her skills and learned the importance of seasonality. Today Sasha finds her inspiration by the seasonal finds of Southern California both at the market and whole grains she sources from Tehachapi Grain Project and Grist and Toll. She is currently the Pastry Chef at Sqirl baking rustic fruit forward desserts and pastries.

Sonoko Sakai

Sonoko Sakai is LA and Tehachapi based cooking teacher and food writer. She travels around the country, sharing her passion for grains. In her previous life, Sakai was a film buyer and producer. When she finished producing a difficult film, she took satisfaction in learning about noodles in Japan. She studied with a couple of masters and now teaches the meditation of noodle making. Sakai likes the humaneness and intimacy of working with her hands and the smallness of a simple craft. While searching for a good source of buckwheat in 2009, Sakai met Glenn Roberts at Anson Mills and began a dialogue on heirloom grains. In 2012, Sakai received a seed grant (4 tons of seed and a combine) from Roberts to kick start the Southern California grain movement. She has been collaborating with local farmers, chefs and scientist to bring back heirloom grains to this region. Sakai has served as a grain consultant/advisor for the Skagit Valley in WA, Anson Mills in South Carolina and the Japanese rice growers association. Sakai teaches at the Bread Lab at WSU, King Arthur Flour Baking School and the Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savory and other places. Sakai occasionally pops up at restaurants as a guest noodle chef. Sakai is currently working on her 3rd cookbook on Japanese Home Cooking, which will be published by Roost Books in the fall of 2019.


Nathanael Siemens' grain genealogy extends across several continents and centuries to the Germans Mennonites of the Russian steppes. Today, Fat Uncle farms integrates trees, grains and livestock into the same fields. Nathaniel has been active in the grain movement for the last few years helping to advance policy and practices to get whole grains on to peoples’ plates throughout California.

Alex Weiser

Alex is an enthusiastic supporter of sustainable farming of all kinds, and he continues to experiment with diverse crops, including heirloom and traditional regional varieties, at his family's farms. He is even working on creating an infrastructure to help local farmers grow and harvest delicious, drought tolerant Heritage Grains. His hope is to bring these sustainable, flavorful and healthy heirloom grains back to Southern California. Weiser Family Farms produce is available at farmers markets, select stores, and many of the finest restaurants in Los Angeles County and the Southland.


Wayfarer Bread is a small neighborhood bakery based in San Diego focused on selling naturally fermented breads hot and fresh, directly to the community. Though primarily a bread bakery, Wayfarer will also provide pastries and sandwiches on fresh bread in the afternoon. Always made in small batches. Always with highest quality locally sourced ingredients. Always fresh. Before Crystal started Wayfarer Bread, she also spent time at Proof Bakery in LA and Tartine Bakery in SF.

Conference Partners