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The Taste of Innovation

The Taste Of Innovation

April 26, 2018 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm


A Glimpse Into The Past

2017 Taste of Innovation

Matt Matros

Matt Matros is one of Chicago’s leading food & beverage entrepnuers. Matt is the founder of PROTEIN BAR® (, a wildly popular chain of halthy food fast casual restaurants. Most recently, Matt has founded LIMITLESS™ Coffee & Tea (, a vertically-integrated coffee & tea company that is relentlessly pursuing the cleanest coffee & tea in the world. LIMITLESS’ coffee and tea products can be found in over 2,000 grocery stores nationwide and at popular restaurants such as Bar Siena, Barrio and Little Beet Table.

Charlie Baggs

Renowned Chef Charlie Baggs is the founder and creative fire behind Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations. Starting in 1999, with his focus of integrating an innovative and quality approach that ensures every client meets their culinary business goals, Chef Charlie has led this labor of love to become the food industry’s premium consulting practice. He then honed his skills working at some of America’s top kitchens including: Ambria, Spiaggia, Marriott Hotels, Walt Disney. As a nationally-recognized expert in the industry, he is also a Distinguished Speaker for The Institute of Food Technologists and has shared his expertise as a speaker at the Annual Conferences of the National Restaurant Association and The Research Chefs Association.

Natalie Shmulik

Natalie Shmulik is the go to resource for everything food business related. Along with an M.L.A. in Gastronomy from Boston University, she has a wide range of experience working with supermarkets, culinary publications, consumer packaged goods companies and food service establishments. After successfully operating her own restaurant, Natalie was hired as a specialty consultant for one of Ontario’s largest supermarket chains where she enhanced consumer experiences through educational initiatives. She was recently featured in Forbes and continues to play a valuable role in branding and marketing for food businesses around the country, with her specialty in trend forecasting. She is now the CEO of The Hatchery- Chicago’s premier food business incubator.

Julie Bombacino

Julie Bombacino is Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Real Food Blends, the leading maker of 100% real food meals for people with feeding tubes. Originally inspired by she and her husband Tony’s young son AJ, who is tube-fed and the company’s “Chief Inspiration Officer”, Real Food lends now serves tens of thousands of people nationwide. Prior to co-founding Real Food Blends, Bombacino spent 15+ years in various digital and direct marketing leadership roles at companies of all sizes including Road Runner Sports, United Airlines and optionsXpress where she helped her teams achieve record sales and growth.


Tony Bombacino

Tony Bombacino is Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer of Real Food Blends. Prior to co-founding Real Food Blends, Bombacino spent 15+ years in various digital and direct marketing leadership roles at companies of all sizes including Andersen, United Airlines, Resolution Media (acquired by Omnicom Media Group), where he was the 6th employee and part of the original leadership team,, where he helped grow the company’s revenue 25X during his tenure and Signal (formerly BrightTag).

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