Get to know CBCI
Expertise & Passion
Real. Culinary. Solutions.
We are a devoted team of skilled and gifted chefs, food scientists, business strategists, marketing specialists, and creatives inspired by our President & Executive Chef Charlie Baggs. Our team is led by some of the most driven and influential professionals in the industry. With decades of combined experience in the food and beverage industry, your business is in very capable hands.
All About Flavor
Meet the Team
PRESIDENT & EXECUTIVE CHEF
Starting in 1999, Chef Charlie began this labor of love to build the food industry’s premium consulting practice. His passion for cooking goes back to his childhood in Indiana where he first learned how to make biscuits and gravy with his father.
Armed with a degree from Purdue University in hotels, tourism, and restaurant management, Charlie continued his higher education at the Culinary Institute of America, graduating with honors. He then honed his skills working in some of America’s top kitchens including Ambria, Spiaggia, Marriott Hotels, and Walt Disney World.
As a nationally recognized expert in the industry, he has been 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. He and his team also conduct virtual culinary training sessions via webinars from his kitchen.
When not cooking up magic in his kitchen, Charlie enjoys helping teach Boy Scouts how to plan and cook meals around a campfire. A big believer in the concept of giving back, Chef Charlie was an adjunct professor at Purdue University, where he taught a course in “Culinary Arts for the Food Scientist” within the Food Science Department. He and his team also train students from the Illinois Institute of Technology in culinology and product development. From his culinary center headquarters to his clients’ kitchens to training his next protégée, he can always be found bringing his passion for cooking to life.
VP OF SPECIAL PROJECTS
The highlight of Kathy’s professional life is the critical role she has played in working with Charlie to build CBCI and help it grow. While CBCI was growing, Kathy worked in partnership with her husband to manage the essential, non-culinary components including marketing, accounting, human resources, and IT.
Prior to helping Chef Charlie grow the business, she put her bachelor’s degree in finance from Suffolk University to work in the financial industry with positions at SQL Financials, Northern Trust Bank, Continental Bank, and the Bank of New England. While she enjoys having her talented husband take charge of dinner, Kathy is the executive chef when it comes to cooking up the family breakfast and baking holiday treats with the kids. Kathy spent many years volunteering in various roles with the Women’s Food Service Forum. In addition to being Chef Charlie’s business partner, Kathy also manages the many activities of the Baggs family, including their four children and an adorable family dog.
VP BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Becky Schlaebitz grew up in a household where food brought friends and family together. There was always a garden, filling the dinner table with fresh fruits and vegetables and filling the cellar with homemade canned products. Having cucumbers and cream over mashed potatoes paired with homemade fried chicken was a common meal on a hot summer Nebraska day.
Graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in journalism, food was never far away. Enthusiasm for communications and commerce lead Becky to the commodity trading and food ingredients business and eventually sales.
A benefit of working more than 25 years in sales and leading teams in various customer channels, international geographies, and different product lines, including soybeans and soybean oil, corn and corn byproducts, wheat and other small grains, garlic, onion, and peppers, Becky likes to connect people and ideas. Always learning, she went back to the University of Nebraska, receiving her Executive MBA degree with a focus on international business in India.
Becky is a problem solver. She loves connecting client needs to the talented team at Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations. Still a gardener, now at high elevation in Colorado, she enjoys using all her experiences, personally and professionally, to bring projects and visions to life.
AVP OF CULINARY
Chef Juliet Greene discovered her culinary passion at age 15 as an exchange student in Seville, Spain. Throughout her high school years in the U.S., she worked at a local restaurant in her community. Following graduation, she continued to pursue her passion and develop her palate while in New Orleans attending Tulane University, where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Business and Spanish.
Upon graduation, Juliet traveled the world in her first career as an international banker, but her desire to cook brought her back to the kitchen for formal culinary training. Chef Juliet Greene earned her Culinary Arts degree from Kendall College in Chicago. She subsequently served as the Culinary Program Director and Lead Instructor for Sur La Table in Chicago. In addition to her savory experience, Chef Juliet worked as a pastry chef for the Racquet Club in Chicago.
She first joined Charlie Baggs Inc. in 2004 in the Chicago office and then opened the Denver office in 2007. In 2012, Chef Juliet left Charlie Baggs to join Leprino Foods as their Global Executive Chef running the culinary departments in both Denver and Singapore. When the opportunity presented itself to rejoin the Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations team in 2016 as Director of New Business Development and Sr. Corporate Chef, Chef Juliet made the exciting decision to return home to her original roots in the corporate chef world. With a true passion for working with food manufacturers and national accounts, Chef Juliet focuses on driving demand for her clients by bringing real and unique flavors to the menu.
CORPORATE RESEARCH CHEF
Growing up as the son of a captain in the Indian Merchant Navy, Chef Zal was exposed to a variety of cultures in locations as far flung as Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Istanbul, and Sydney, which sparked his interest in the culinary world at a young age.
While completing his bachelor’s degree in tourism studies from the Indira Gandhi National University in India, Zal began his career working for the luxury hotel chain Oberoi. He spent late nights studying and working in all areas from dishwashing and cooking on the line to butchery, Garde Manger, bakery, and pastry, where he eventually specialized in chocolates. This experience inspired him to gain more formal culinary training by coming to the U.S. In Chicago he pursued an associate degree in culinary arts from Kendall College, eventually interning with Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations.
After working in many notable Chicago restaurants, including Perennial, Virant, MiTerra, Alinea, and Jam, Chef Zal returned briefly to India and collaborated with Chef Charlie on a development project with a large prepackaged convenience food manufacturer there. A short time later, he returned to Chicago to work with CBCI, focused on the technical side of product development.
Chef Zal is naturally curious and maintains a passion for food investigation and creation, using his time off to experiment with out-of-the-box ideas to blend the science and art of food. He believes imagination balanced with common sense will get you everywhere. He is incredibly talented at finding unique solutions to our client’s technical challenges and bringing flavor to life.
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT CHEF
Until he was a junior in high school, Chef Carter imagined a future in the scientific world of medicine. Culinary school was not even a consideration. In fact, he didn’t know much about cooking other than what he picked up on visits to his grandparents, watching the Barefoot Contessa, cooking traditional family dishes, and relishing in his grandmother’s family china. Yet food was a central point in Carter’s life; from a young age, it made him realize the magic a meal can bring to a group of people.
Then, the trajectory of his life changed with the unexpected death of his father. It caused him to reevaluate everything, which led him to thinking about an age-old saying his father often repeated – “Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
That was when he knew he needed to go to culinary school to make his father proud and continually learn the art of cuisine. Neither of his parents cooked much, so Carter’s interest in culinary school surprised his supportive, amazing family. He applied to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and instantly knew it was the place for him.
Chef Carter went all-in on his newfound career path, learning everything he could from what he claims were “the best chefs in the world.” He graduated as a dean’s list honoree with a bachelor’s in culinary science. By next year, he hopes to complete his master’s in food business management from the CIA, with a focus in concepting and food production.
Carter has worked in a variety of food industry jobs, starting with the humble yet important job of dishwasher. His other opportunities led him to work in fast-casual restaurant chains, catering, as a junior sous chef, a FOH manager-in-training, and most recently, as a culinary testing technician for an appliance company.
Chef Carter takes great pride in his hometown of Buffalo, New York, where he was born and raised, although he readily admits it’s neither a food capital nor a foodie destination – unless you’re a chicken wing afficionado – and who isn’t? While Buffalo reminds him of wonderful homestyle cooking with his grandmother, nowadays he’s more apt to riff on the classic French cooking techniques he mastered in school, enhancing them with an elevated modernness.
As a product development chef, he uses his culinary skills to identify areas for process improvement, and collaborates in ideation, product innovation, and gold standard product formulation. He is eager to work with the CBCI team to help companies push themselves to their culinary goals. Chef Carter is also a seasoned culinary instructor, tutor, and photographer.
Nicole VanWort was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City where her passion for food was created from her exposure to different ethnic cuisines during her childhood. After taking culinary classes during high school and working in restaurants, Nicole attended Johnson and Wales University to study Culinary Arts followed by a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Nutrition with a focus on Food Science and Product Development.
During her senior year in college, Nicole studied abroad at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand to study critical food gastronomy and sustainability. Upon returning to the states, Nicole moved to Chicago, IL, and brought her experience in the restaurant industry to her position as a Product Development Chef with Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations.
Chef Nicole thoroughly enjoys the discovery phase of projects when she can dive deeply into the food and cuisine research required for successful development. This information informs her recipe development process to ensure that our clients receive the most successful outcomes. She is also very proficient in planning menus, prepping delicious samples, and representing our clients’ brands at trade shows and large events in the culinary space.
EMERITUS VP OF RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Julie comes from a food family. Her father grew up on a dairy farm and pursued a career in agricultural economics, her mother is a registered dietitian, and her brother is a professor and fruit breeder who helped introduce Honeycrisp apples to the world. Her fondest childhood memories about food involve churning homemade ice cream on the porch, which eventually became the “main dish” for dinner on summer Sunday evenings.
Throughout her 30+ years as a food product development and technical services leader, she has served as a respected thought partner for her colleagues and customers and helped to develop and introduce immensely successful new products in food service and retail. Julie holds a bachelor’s degree in food science from Purdue University and a Master of Science in food science from Michigan State University. She has worked for companies such as ConAgra Foods, Ralcorp, Bakery Chef, Quaker Oats, General Mills, and Oscar Mayer.
Julie is recognized for collaborating with customer teams to overcome challenges by thinking differently and finding innovative ways to solve detailed industry problems and being able to communicate complex technical ideas to all audiences.
Julie is also a National Board-Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach. In her spare time, she guides clients to live a healthier life than previous generations and helps them make lifestyle changes to prevent and reverse chronic illnesses, such as cognitive decline and diabetes. Her knowledge of healthy eating and living also informs her work in leading the Charlie Baggs technical team’s product development work.
Julie’s travels have taken her to every state in the U.S. and many countries in Central America, South America, Asia, and Europe. She has enjoyed eating and experiencing the culture in each of these places!
Behind the Scenes
We are constantly developing innovative solutions for clients looking to expand their businesses, fill gaps in their market, and generate deep and reliable consumer insights. Our team is one of the best in the food industry, and we are proud of our ability to move quickly, comprehensively solve complex issues, and nimbly navigate the technical side of the food industry.