Our Team

David Rabie

David is our co-founder and CEO. He's a self-professed food nut with an MBA from Chicago Booth. Before starting Tovala, he worked for the co-founder and CEO of Veggie Grill and ran Groovy Spoon – a bi-coastal chain of frozen yogurt stores. He also spent time working at Google and Foundation Capital. His favorite ingredient is avocado.

Bryan Wilcox

Bryan is our co-founder and CTO. He was raised on a farm, and grew his own fruits and vegetables. Maybe that's why his favorite ingredient is Jonathan apples. Bryan worked on appliances at GE and Whirlpool before earning his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois. After his PhD, Bryan launched his own product development firm – The Product Manufactory.

Peter Fiflis

Peter is our lead engineer. He just wrapped up his PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Illinois. I know, right? Before joining the Tovala team, he started BreakfastBox, an automated breakfast appliance. So I guess you could say Peter loves food just as much as the rest of us. His favorite ingredient is Parmesan cheese.

Alex Solomon

Alex is our Marketing Director. Prior to joining Tovala, Alex honed his skills as a marketing honcho at Ogilvy & Mather and FCB. He started his career in the trenches as an options trader. He's a UPenn grad who loves food and cooks a mean steak. His favorite ingredient is bacon. On anything.

Adam Brakhane

Adam is our resident computer engineering expert. We snagged him from Wolfram Research a year after his graduation from the University of Illinois, where he studied computer engineering with a focus on embedded signal processing and control systems. His favorite ingredient is chocolate syrup. Yum.

Josh Billions

Josh is our software development genius. He studied Art and Technology Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he created software applications and worked at Apple. He went on to found MB Labs, MobileTherm, and Catalyze Chicago before joining Tovala. His favorite ingredient is garlic. Some say it goes well with ice cream.

Cen Qian

Cen is our biz dev and operations all-star. Descendant of a long line of chefs and farmers, Cen loves cooking and lives for good food. Before Tovala, she developed her business acumen at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Right now she's finishing up her MBA at Chicago Booth. Her favorite ingredient is shrimp.

Alexander Plotkin

Alexander is our Chief Culinary Officer. He's a flavor guru who has honed his craft around the world at fine dining legends like Noma & Alinea, as the Director of Culinary Innovation for Cantu Designs, and as as a Corporate Chef for Kerry Flavor and Ingredients. He joined us after starting his own food innovation company, Epic Eats Innovation. His favorite ingredient is lemon.

Taryn Aronson

Taryn is our Chief Operating Officer. She holds a BS from Wharton and an MBA from Kellogg. She's an innovation master who started her career at The Blackstone Group, helped create Hulu at NBC Universal and worked on operational efficiency at Redbox. She's married with 2 super cute kids and can't wait to use the Tovala to balance her busy life. Her favorite ingredient is pineapple.

Hayoung Kwon

Hayoung is our Design Lead. She studied design at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was Whittl's Design Lead and now has her eyes on all things visual at Tovala thanks to her experience in interaction design, graphic design, and even visual exhibitions. Her favorite ingredient is eggs.

Brian Krall

Brian is our Lead Front-end Developer. Since graduating from the University of Iowa 9 years ago, he has launched websites and web apps for everything from communities to digital media, enterprise and startups. His favorite ingredient is feta cheese.

Stephanie Sorensen

Steph is our Head of Experiential and Social Marketing. She came to us from Harpo Studios. She was on the team for the final three seasons of The Oprah Winfrey Show before transitioning to Harpo's creative development group. She is a graduate of Northwestern University. Her favorite ingredient is salmon.

Tyler Mey

Tyler is our Lead Data Engineer. He joined us after slicing and dicing data, not food, at BriteCore and Wolfram|Alpha. He has a BS in Computer Engineering from University of Illinois and is earning his MBA from Washington University at night – he’s a busy guy. His favorite ingredient is a pancake (trust us, it’s an ingredient if you’re creative enough).

Erik Chizeck

Erik is our Sous Chef. He’s a Jack-of-all-trades in the kitchen who graduated from Western Culinary Institute in Portland. He honed his skills further at Homaro Cantu’s Moto, Sepia, and Chicago’s Barrelhouse Flat. Erik has a profound respect for his ingredients, especially his favorite, chili peppers.