Marci Levine, Lead Tester, Beef Culinary Center
As the newest member of the team, Marci is responsible for managing and leading the recipe development and testing process. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Education, she honed both her culinary and baking and pastry arts skills at the Culinary Institute of America. Marci then moved on to run the culinary arts and catering programs at a charter high school for at-risk youth. Looking for a change in scenery, she went on to work for the United States Antarctic Program as an executive chef. Most recently, Marci has worked for Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill as the corporate chef, focusing on recipe and menu development before coming to NCBA in July 2015.
Marci’s passion for cooking was nurtured by her mother and grandmother at an early age. She continues to delight in sharing the food experience with her family and friends. When she’s not in the kitchen, she can be found spending time outdoors, enjoying cultural events, or assisting in the training of service dogs.
Recipe Testing Team
Laura Majors, Bonnie West, Pam Nash, Chris Caldes
Based in Denver, Colorado, Laura joined the NCBA test kitchen team in 2012. A graduate of Cook Street School of Culinary Arts in Denver and the University of Arizona, Laura is a chef and culinary marketer. Laura led the marketing team at Leprino Foods for over ten years, where she adapted recipes to food trends and developed the marketing strategy for major food companies and pizza chains. In addition, she was also a start-up partner for Hacienda Maize Jammin’ Jalapeno Jelly. Laura loves the culmination of science and art that cooking creates. As a tasty product in itself and a great flavor carrier, Laura finds beef an exciting product to feature on the plate.
Bonnie started at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the beef checkoff in 2010, when the first testers were hired to work in the Culinary Center in Denver. Having worked on and off since 1982 for the beef industry, her career began as a Consumer Specialist with the Colorado Beef Council. Later, she worked for the American National Cattlewomen as coordinator for the National Beef Cook-Off, Promotion Project and as the Communications and Funding Development Specialist. She is now serving her 21st year in the industry. Bonnie holds a degree in Consumer Sciences and Housing with a specialization in Equipment from Colorado State University. She is also a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
Bonnie sincerely enjoys the opportunity to work in the culinary center at NCBA and considers it a privilege. She has always enjoyed preparing beef and beef recipes and feels fortunate to have the opportunity to help promote the healthy and delicious source of protein that our industry produces.
Pam is responsible for carrying out recipe development and testing, as well as applied cookery testing. Prior to joining the testing team in 2010, Pam was a corporate trainer with a specialty in leadership training. Having two kids requiring special diets, Pam wanted an education that would focus on food production and diet. Pam received her A.S. degree in the Culinary Arts from The International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Denver, and immediately after graduation, she joined the beef testing team.
Pam enjoys the diversity in her job; working with new recipes, ingredients and flavors and taking on new challenges. In her down time, you can find Pam competing in local triathlons.
Chris joined the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the beef checkoff in the Recipe Testing and Development Department in January, 2011. She obtained her culinary training at Denver's Cook Street School of Culinary Arts and completed Levels I & II Sommelier training through the International Sommelier Guild. After attending supplemental training at the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners in Piedmont, Italy and with Master Chef Renee Berard in Bandol, France, she worked in Denver's Adega kitchen under one of 2003 Food and Wine's top 10 Chefs of the year, Bryan Moscatello. Following that, she returned to Cook Street as an assistant culinary instructor.
Outside of her work with NCBA, she adds to her list of culinary skills: food styling for such clients as the Food Network and Fine Living magazine, private in-home chef services and culinary instruction.