Culinary Agents is a different kind of food network. After 13 years working across different business units at IBM, Alice Cheng has found a way to combine her analytical skills with her passion for the food industry. She created Culinary Agents, a professional networking and job matching websites designed specifically for people working or aspiring to work in the food, beverage and hospitality industry.

Combining the qualities of both LinkedIn and, Culinary Agents uses an algorithm to match profiles of businesses with profiles of people looking to work in the industry. With a range of positions from food writing and food media to more traditional roles of line cooks and servers, there are plenty of job opportunities available on Culinary Agents.

"I started this company to help the hard-working, talented people of this industry find amazing opportunities by giving them the connections and the tools needed to reach out to the right people and businesses," Cheng says.

Before working at IBM, Cheng worked in the food service industry for many years, and recognized the difficulty her co-workers had in applying their hospitality skills to progress their careers. As the industry evolved via mainstream media, there was a lack of tools and innovations to support finding the best jobs and people.

This lack of resources inspired Cheng to create With a strong sense of drive and entrepreneurial spirit, Cheng is not shy about crediting her hardworking team members and mentors who continue to support her in many ways.

"What I'm so proud of is my team – the dedication, the drive and our culture. Everyone believes and sees how we’re helping people and the industry connect around opportunities, and it’s so inspiring," Cheng says. 

With the company's international launch last year and their nationwide coverage, Culinary Agents has led the charge of connecting existing and aspiring hospitality professionals online to the best opportunities and to each other.

Her advice for breaking into the world of food entrepreneurship? "Take a humble approach, ask questions, listen, and work hard."

Alice Cheng is one of the many amazing and inspiring women coming to speak at Northwestern University's Sugar and Spice Summit on Saturday, April 1. Buy your tickets here before they sell out!