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Schedule Announced: 29th Annual American Express Restaurant Trade Program at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 15-17, 2018

American Express Presents Exclusive Programming for Restaurateurs, Chefs and Operators


Celebrated chefs, restaurant operators and leading hospitality industry professionals will gather at the historic Hotel Jerome in Aspen from June 15-17, 2018, for the 29th annual American Express Restaurant Trade Program. An exclusive feature of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, this year’s program will showcase three panels that offer best practices and insights from the industry’s brightest culinary stars, as well as valuable networking opportunities. 

“Helping the restaurant industry thrive is critical for American Express. The Restaurant Trade Program is another powerful way that we back our restaurateurs,” said Gunther Bright, Executive Vice President, Merchant Services – U.S., American Express. “We support restaurant leaders and help them grow their businesses through our strong relationships with Card Members, partnerships with cutting-edge technology players, marketing expertise and business insights. In 2017 alone, over 1.5 million additional U.S. merchant locations began accepting American Express, including over 105,000 more restaurant locations*.”

The schedule for the 29th annual American Express Restaurant Trade Program is as follows:


  • 9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. – T100: Meet the Masters: Lessons from the Journey
  1. Moderated byHunter Lewis (Editor-in-Chief, Cooking Light, FOOD & WINE Magazine) PanelistsHugh Acheson (Chef & Owner, Five & Ten, The National, Empire State South, Spiller Park, Archie’s), Traci Des Jardins (Chef, Owner & Partner, Jardinière, The Commissary, Arguello, Mijita, Public House, Transit, School Night), Will Guidara (Restaurateur & Co-owner, Eleven Madison Park, The NoMad, Made Niceand Gabrielle Hamilton (Chef & Owner, Prune)
  2. Topics: The panelists will share insights about the paths that led them to their current positions as leaders in the field. This conversation will showcase best practices for overcoming obstacles, course correcting, creating opportunities in adverse situations, and more.
  • 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. – T200: The Power of the Community: Engage, Rally & Inspire
  1. Moderated byAndrew Zimmern (Four-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, Chef and Writer)
  2. PanelistsJose Enrique (Chef & Owner, Jose Enrique), Renee Erickson (Owner, Chef & Author, The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Win, Barnacle, Bar Melusine, Bateau, Rana e Rospo, General Porpoise), Jen Hidinger-Kendrick (Co-founder + Partner, Staplehouse and Co-founder + Spokesperson, Giving Kitchen) and Marcus Samuelsson (Chef, Co-Owner & Author, Red Rooster Harlem)
  3. Topics: This dynamic group will explore the ways in which the hospitality industry drives positive change in communities. Listen in as the panelists draw on personal experiences of integrating philanthropic efforts into successful business models, while offering best practices for how the hospitality industry can reinvigorate communities and create opportunities for employment and economic growth.


  • 9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. – T300: Revenue Revamped
  1. Topics: Panelists will take a deep dive into how successful chefs and operators drive business; specifically, how to utilize various business channels, alter concepts and redirect revenue in order to create greater revenue and opportunities in today’s economy.
  2. PanelistsAndy Chabot (Sommelier and Food & Beverage Director, Blackberry Farm), Stephanie Izard (Chef & Owner, Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, Duck Duck Goat), Michael Solomonov (Chef & Co-owner Zahav, Co-owner Federal Donuts, Dizengoff, Abe Fisher, Rooster Soup Co., Goldie) and Curtis Stone (Chef & Owner, Maude and Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant)
  3. Moderated by: Ashley Christensen (Chef & Proprietor, AC Restaurants)

For more information on the 2018 American Express Restaurant Trade Program, please visit

*Based on internal comparison of American Express restaurant locations in December 2016 to American Express restaurant locations in December 2017.

About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at 

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