We’re thrilled to announce the finalists for the upcoming Make It in Brooklyn: Brooklyn Bites Food Tech Pitch Contest! Get your tickets now!

On Wednesday, May 29, these five finalists will come together at City Point BKLYN to present their innovative ideas and solutions to a panel of food industry experts. Innovators will go head-to-head, unveiling groundbreaking concepts that fuse technology with culinary ventures. Get ready to be dazzled by the ingenuity and creativity of Brooklyn’s vibrant food tech community!

The finalists are:


CEO: Brandon Shi
Plate Post builds Video Menus for Restaurants, transforming the way restaurants showcase their dishes with real video engrained into the menu. Why? People are visual, and currently can’t see what the food actually looks like, without opening apps like TikTok, etc! Paper menus need to be replaced with more tech-forward ways to order.  

barnwell bio

CEO: Michael Rhys
Barnwell Bio is a data platform to monitor the health and wellness of livestock and poultry via wastewater – this is a cost effective, proactive, and non-invasive way to provide insights on animal health. The data generated offers an early warning of emerging outbreaks and trends that can allow players across the supply chain, from farmers to vendors, to make data-driven business decisions.

Foodstream Network

Co-founder and CMO: Richard Cumming
Foodstream is the number one social network which aims to transform the fragmented landscape of food aid and insecurity into a coordinated, efficient, and impactful ecosystem. Through technology, community engagement, and data-driven insights, Foodstream seeks not only to alleviate immediate needs but also to contribute to the long-term solution of ending food insecurity.

Plot Bot

Founder and CEO: Samia Lemfadli
Plot Bot is a user-friendly environmental sensor kit that helps soil-less (hydroponic, aquaponic, aeroponic) farmers monitor the health of their farm system affordably & easily. Through the mobile/web app users can set thresholds for healthy growing conditions for their crops and receive health alerts. Plot Bot equips hydroponics hobbyists, urban farmers, and educators with the same technologies found in commercial farms for a fraction of the costs via a user-friendly sensor kit. users will easily access a farm monitoring system in their water reservoirs to track key health metrics for soil-less farm systems.  


CEO: Maneesa Wijesinghe Nelken
ZeroDay turns food waste into renewable energy with innovative hardware and platform solutions. Every day, tons of food waste end up in landfills and incinerators, significantly contributing to environmental degradation and climate change. ZeroDay’s cutting-edge hardware, “Forest,” transforms food waste into renewable natural energy feedstock, or “blocks,” via compaction and containment. By harnessing the power of anaerobic digestion, the blocks break down and convert into biogas, a clean fuel source that can be used to generate electricity, heat, or even vehicle fuel. The platform solution provides real-time monitoring and management of food waste streams, allowing businesses, municipalities, and institutions to track their waste generation, optimize collection routes, and identify opportunities for waste reduction and diversion. With Zero Day, food waste becomes a valuable resource, powering our communities and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

The judges panel includes:

Anna Castellani

Anna Castellani, a restauranter with over two decades of experience, has cultivated a vast network of food industry leaders, positioning Local Culture as the premier agency for revitalizing neglected spaces. Her journey began in New York City’s vibrant food scene, where she established The Dumbo General Store and later Foragers Market, pioneering a movement towards locally sourced, quality-driven goods. Anna spearheaded the creation of DeKalb Market Hall. This success catalyzed the birth of Local Culture, enabling Anna to consult on, construct, and manage a series of acclaimed food halls. 

Nazli Parvizi

Nazli Parvizi is a seasoned professional whose career spans the realms of government, food, hospitality, and the arts. With a degree in Food Anthropology and a minor in Biology from Barnard College, Columbia University, Nazli co-founded Night Kitchen Brooklyn, a catering company, shortly after graduation. However, driven by a desire to contribute to public service following the events of 9/11, she transitioned into government roles. 

As President of MOFAD (Museum of Food and Drink), Nazli leads a team dedicated to exploring the world through the lens of food. With her background in culinary arts and extensive experience in public service, she brings a unique perspective to the intersection of government, food, and the arts. 

shad ahmed

Shad is native New Yorker with an insatiable appreciation for food, travel, and cultural exploration. In 2020, Shad took to social media to share his foodie experiences, igniting the flame that would soon become “The Brunch Guy” – a brand dedicated to showcasing the very best of the city’s culinary landscape. Now, as a full-time content creator, Shad has made it his mission to uncover the city’s hidden gems, best deals, and must-try experiences. 

Shorne Benjamin

Chef Shorne is owner and founder of Fat Fowl, a popular new age Caribbean restaurant located in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn, NY. Recently featured in national media outlets such as the Today Show, the Tamron Hall Show, Ebony Magazine and NBC New York, his cuisine signifies traditional Caribbean food with the use of accustomed spices with a “new age” twist. One of his signature creations, the Oxtail Grilled Cheese sandwich, has gone viral on social media, attracting many from across the globe to try it at his eatery in the DeKalb Market in Downtown Brooklyn. 

Chef Shorne’s achievements have been recognized internationally and nationally, such as winning the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival Celebrity Chef Throw Down in 2017 and becoming a semi-finalist at the International Iron Chef Competition in Toronto. Chef Shorne’s legacy continued on screen, featuring on a number of guest cooking appearances, such as competing against Bobby Flay on the Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay and as a finalist on Chopped.

theodora fontas

Theodora Fontas is the Managing Director at Chefs for Impact, a NYC based 501(c)(3) dedicated to educating the public on food sustainability in collaboration with chefs, farmers, and producers. Hailing from a family of farmers, Theodora has long understood the intersections of food and planetary health, and through her work with Chefs for Impact, is striving to create a nexus between producers and the public to create a healthier food system for both people and planet.

The event will be emceed by:

Brian Braiker

Brian Braiker is the editor of Brooklyn Magazine, a fact he uses to justify eating out most nights of the week.