As a nationally recognized hospitality executive, Russ brings over 40 years of experience and expertise in culinary arts, on-site hospitality programs, restaurants, hotels and of course, consulting.
After graduating from Johnson & Wales University with multiple degrees in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management, Russ worked in the hotel industry for 5 years, primarily at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago in various department head positions.
For the last 28 years, Russ has been in non-commercial onsite foodservice where, for 10 years, he was a senior member of the MBNA America client liaison team managing a $40M dining & hospitality workplace amenity program. From there, Russ was a senior executive with a Chicago based foodservice management company where he oversaw foodservices for dozens of corporate campuses.
Since 2013, Russ has been an industry leading consultant having led complex projects for some of the biggest Fortune 100 companies in the nation.
Russ is also very active in industry associations. Most notably, he has served on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Society for Hospitality & Foodservice Management (SHFM), serving as SHFM President in 2006. Other notable accomplishments & recognitions:
Karen Malody, FCSI, is a leading industry culinary and hospitality consultant residing in Portland, Oregon. She has been a professional member of the Foodservice Consultants Society International for twenty years where she has served on various key committees and spoken at several conferences.
With a focus on concept and menu development, prior to her founding Culinary Options in 1997, she served as Director of Menu Development for Satisfaction Guaranteed Eateries, Inc., in Seattle, WA, where she collaborated on the development of five new restaurant concepts and reengineered two existing ones. She was then recruited to become vice-president of Food, Beverage and Product Development for Larry’s Markets in Seattle, WA, a nationally known high-end supermarket.
She then became Director of Food, Beverage & Menu Development for Starbucks during which time she created the national food manager’s program, served on the Frappuccino™ development team and coordinated all bakery relationships providing food for Starbucks nationally.
Karen has assisted over 100 restaurants, clubs, hotels and gourmet retailers develop their concepts, menus and operating plans. Given the degree to which commercial and noncommercial foodservice operations have adopted considerable commercial restaurant approaches to their own concept development and operations, much of her work in the past six years has been with corporate dining and colleges and universities. As a faculty member for the Foodservice Design Bootcamp for the past six years, her contributions surrounding the issues of project visioning and concept development have led to a deep understanding of issues facing noncommercial operators today.
Karen is a frequent speaker at Foodservice conferences, to include the Society for Hospitality & Foodservice Management SFHFM) of which she is member), Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI), Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry (MAFSI), Multi-unit Foodservice Equipment & Supplies (MUFES), National Restaurant Association (NRA) and, as previously mentioned, the educational faculty at Foodservice Design Bootcamp (exclusively for noncommercial operators). Karen is also the recipient of various foodservice industry awards for her work. She is a graduate of Whitworth College in Spokane, WA, and received her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Washington.