simon majumdar

A Passion for Potatoes, a Culinary Demonstration
World renowned broadcaster, author and well-recognized TV personality

Thursday, January 10
11:00am-11:45am
Exhibit Hall 4, Innovation Hub

Simon Majumdar is a world renowned broadcaster, author and cook who has dedicated the second half of his time on this planet to fulfill his ambition to “Go Everywhere. Eat Everything.” It is a journey that has taken him to all fifty states and to dozens of countries around the world. He has written three books: Eat My Globe, Eating for Britain, and his latest book Fed, White, and Blue, which catalogs his journey to American citizenship. Simon is also a well-recognized TV personality, regularly appearing on Food Network shows such as Cutthroat Kitchen, Beat Bobby Flay, Iron Chef America, The Next Iron Chef, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, and Extreme Chef. He has also recently appeared as an expert commentator on National Geographic's major series “EAT: The Story of Food.” He is also currently a restaurant critic for Time Out LA and has written other articles for such outlets as The Guardian and The Times of London.

Majumdar will wow you as he demos his favorite potato dishes - Patata Vada and Smashed Potatoes - and shows off his passion for potatoes and culinary skills. He'll also share entertaining tales from his extensive travels and deep knowledge of food history.

You've seen him as a judge on top Food Network shows like Cutthroat Kitchen, Iron Chef America, Beat Bobby Flay and Extreme Chef. Now, Majumdar will be on the other side of the judges table to host the 4th annual Spud Nation Throwdown. Come and watch local Austin chefs compete for the title of 2019 Top Spud.


roy spence

The Power of Purpose in Business, Life and America
Co-founder and Chairman, GSD&M and Co-founder and CEO, The Purpose Institute

Thursday, January 10
12:00pm-1:45pm
Ballroom D, Level 4

In today’s world of constant chaos, people are feeling more disconnected from themselves and their core Purpose – both in life, in their work and even in their country – than maybe ever before. This is where the power of Purpose comes in. Come to the Potato Expo 2019 to hear from Roy Spence, Austin A-lister, entrepreneur, CEO, best-selling author, and “Adman of the Century." Spence will discuss how the most successful organizations and most beloved brands have a Purpose beyond profit and are motivated by creating an environment that makes a positive difference in the lives of the people they serve.

In 1971, Spence started GSD&M, a leading marketing communications and advertising company, with a few friends right out of college. With a passion and determination to finagle his way into big pitches, he helped grow some of the world’s most successful brands like “Don’t Mess with Texas,” Southwest Airlines, Wal-Mart, DreamWorks, the PGA TOUR, BMW, and the U.S. Air Force.

Spence is also the co-founder of the Purpose Institute and and founder of The Promiseland Project and has made it his life’s journey to discover and bring to life the path to Purpose and higher calling for leaders in all sectors of American life. As part of the Purpose Institute he has played an integral role in powerful campaigns urging the country to come together after natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and the massive earthquake in Haiti. In the wake of 9/11, Spence brought together current and former president's for the “I am an American” PSA that helped steer our nation away from discrimination and hate and channel its anger into a celebration of our diversity. His newest initiative, The Promiseland Project, is a long-term grassroots campaign to unleash the power of Purpose to bridge the cultural divide by understanding each other’s life experiences.

You don’t want to miss this unique opportunity to hear from Roy Spence, aka “Reverend Roy,” on how finding Purpose in your life and your life’s work is an energizing and powerful force to counter chaos and divisiveness.


TONY PAYAN, PH.D.

North American Trade in an Era of Uncertainty
Adjust Associate Professor, Rice University, Francoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexican Studies and Director of the Mexico Center at the Baker Institute

Thursday, January 10
4:10pm-5:00pm
Exhibit Hall 4, Innovation Hub

The quarter century before 2016 was characterized by worldwide consensus on pressing for liberal democracy, fostering free trade and investment and crafting international governance based on cooperation, especially in the West.

In North America, the equivalent was a path of integration, underpinned by the North American Free Trade Agreement. The last two years, however, have upended that consensus. We now face rising nationalism, a potential global trade war, the collapse of international cooperation and the advent of a more competitive and even hostile environment.

In the United States, the public is politically divided, NAFTA may be in its last days, and there is talk of a border wall. In Mexico, the new president promised to reduce that country’s dependence on imports of everything—from gasoline and natural gas to grain and foodstuffs.

Faced with this, what can we expect over the next two years? How much uncertainty will all this bring to the economy? What does that mean for citizens, consumers, producers, exporters, and the economy in general?