Foodiepreneur Event: “The Business of Food”
Held Virtually

Monday, May 24, 2021, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm 

NJSBDC at Brookdale Community College invites entrepreneurs to attend a free, high-impact Foodiepreneur event. The workshop will be focused on people growing or launching a food business in New Jersey, such as a restaurant, food truck, commercial food product development and/or artisan goods. This free event will take place on Monday, May 24, 2021, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm virtually.

“Foodiepreneur: The Business of Food” will give current and potential food entrepreneurs candid insights from the experts into one of the largest industries in our area. The goal of Foodiepreneur is to facilitate a real dialog about topics that are important to entrepreneurs in the food industry.

There will be a panel discussion with restaurant owners from Chilangos, and Glenda’s Kitchen. These panelists have successfully navigated the process of launching and growing food businesses. They will discuss their backgrounds, successes, and challenges throughout the process and offer insight to fellow business owners.

Speakers will also include representatives from  Rutgers Food Innovation Center, NJEDA, NJ Business Action Center, and Foodpreneur.

A Q&A exchange will conclude this event.

Seating is limited for this free event and spots will go fast. To register call 732-842-8685




Leo Cervantes

Leo Cervantes came from Mexico to New Jersey almost 30 years ago, building an American dream life for himself. It includes two popular restaurants, three children and high-powered friends such as Bruce Springsteen and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. Cervantes is the owner of Chilangos in Highlands and La Playa in Keansburg and the author of Chilangos in the House: The True Story of a MexiCAN. The book is the story of Leo’s poverty-stricken childhood, his absentee father, his loyal siblings, and his mother, a smart, creative, hard-working woman who taught her children how to make the best of any situation.  A Mexi-CAN, Leo shows you how one can love two countries at once: his Mexican roots and his American home.                                   


Carmen Petruzzelli

Glenda’s Kitchen Gluten Free cookies combine the best of both worlds: delicious and savoury treats, that are both healthy and delicious. Carmen Petruzzelli started Glenda’s Kitchen in May of 2014 with her mother’s recipe, made for her sister Sofia who was diagnosed with PCOS and had to eat a Gluten Free Diet! On her 25th birthday she asked her mother for her super-duper top-secret recipe! Not having any background in business or baking the former fashionista created Glenda’s Kitchen! Carmen started baking in her old     elementary school kitchen to see where her business would take her. After 6 months she quit her jobs and devoted 120% to Glenda’s Kitchen! The company is named in honor of her mother and all the cookies are named after her family members that enjoy them so much.


Esther Luongo Psarakis

A strategic sales/marketing, and educational consultancy, addressing the educational needs of entrepreneurial food, beverage and consumer companies, offering creative comprehensive curriculum to launch foodservice business. Representative works with established international companies seeking to enter the US market.

Nolan Lewin
Acting Executive Director

Rutgers Food Innovation Center is a unique business incubation and economic development accelerator program, which is part of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The Center provides business and technology expertise to startup and established food companies in the mid-Atlantic region, and utilizes its outreach capacity to reach food and agribusinesses throughout the world.



Carla Morrison
mall Business Liaison

Carla Morrison has worked with New Jersey Economic Development for a little over one year. Prior to joining NJEDA, Carla was a serial entrepreneur. She has owned a children’s transportation company, Subway franchise and a preschool. She also has over twenty years of experience in the banking and finance industry. Carla received her Bachelor’s Degree  from Rutgers University School of Business and is currently pursuing her MBA.



Don Newman
Manager, Office of Small Business Advocacy

Mr. Newman serves as the Manager of all Business Advocacy within the New Jersey Department of State, Business Action Center.  As Manager, he provides services to business of all sizes and at all stages of development, from startups through maturity.  These services include identifying specific programs for which business are eligible and helping them locate the resources that best meet their needs.  In addition, Don manages the NJ Business Helpline, 1-800 JERSEY-7 and a new live chat. This year, through both platforms, his team responded to over 35,000 business questions. With over 16 year of experience as a business advocate, Mr. Newman has assisted countless businesses grow and prosper in our state.  Prior to joining state government, Don managed and worked for several small businesses, gaining valuable experience in such varied fields as inventory management, sales, business planning, and marketing.