2017 Speakers Coming Soon!
2016 Conference Speakers
Kim Severson "is the Atlanta bureau chief for The New York Times. She joined the staff in 2004 to cover food, writing for the Dining section, the National section, Week in Review and others. Previously, she spent six years writing about cooking and the culture of food for the San Francisco Chronicle. Before that, she had a seven-year stint as an editor and reporter at The Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. She has also covered crime, education, social services and government for daily newspapers on the West Coast. Severson has won several regional and national awards for news and feature writing, including the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism for her work on childhood obesity in 2002 and four James Beard awards for food writing."
"Rien Fertel is a Louisiana-born and based freelance writer and professional historian. He's written on food and travel and books for Oxford American, Garden & Gun,Southern Living, Spirit, Saveur, The Local Palate, and other publications. His first book, Imagining the Creole City, arrived in 2014. The next, The One True Barbecue: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Cook the Whole Hog, is out in the spring of 2016. In addition to the freelance life, he holds a PhD in History from Tulane University and an MA from the New School for Social Research. He is presently a Visiting Professor of Urban Studies at Bard Early College New Orleans and a part-time professor at Tulane University."
Brian Hart Hoffman
Brian Hart Hoffman is President/Chief Creative Officer at Hoffman Media, LLC, where he oversees the editorial planning and brand direction for all publications, as well as the public relations and special events divisions. Since joining Hoffman Media, Brian has been the driving force behind the launch of The Cottage Journal, Bake from Scratch, Southern Cast Iron, and Southern Home. His special-event leadership with the company includes planning and executing major consumer events. Prior to joining the company in 2007, Brian worked in the airline industry, which allowed him to live in six cities throughout the United States. He has visited all 50 states.
In addition to his professional obligations, Brian serves with numerous charitable organizations including:
• Alys Stephens Center; Junior Patrons Board
• MS Society of Alabama; recipient of the MS Leadership Award
• Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America
• American Cancer Society
"Kat Kinsman is currently Editor at Large and former Editor in Chief of Tasting Table. Before that, she was the Managing Editor of CNN’s Eatocracy, edited CNN’s Matrimony section and First Person essay series and she was a writer and editor for CNN Living. She's the former Senior Editor for AOL Food and Slashfood, a KCBS Certified Barbecue Judge, proud member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the vice chair of the James Beard Journalism Committee. She was nominated for a James Beard Broadcast Award in the TV Segment category in 2013. She also won the EPPY Best Food Website with 1 million unique monthly visitors and over in 2011. She often speaks to groups of people about food, writing, mental health and social media. She's also writing a book called “Hi, Anxiety” due to be released in November of 2016 "
"Tina Antolini is a Peabody-Award-winning storyteller and radio producer. She serves as the host and producer of Gravy, a podcast with the Southern Foodways Alliance, which was named the James Beard Foundation's Publication of the Year for 2015. Tina's worked in public radio for more than 10 years, including NPR’S State of the Re:Union (SOTRU) and New England Public Radio, and has produced stories on everything from Iraqi religious minorities to the sex lives of lobsters . Antolini won a Peabody and a national Edward R. Murrow Award for her work on SOTRU. She attended Stanford, Hampshire College, and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies"
Eric & Mandee McNew
"Together, Eric and Mandee have been living the foodie life exploring local, national, and international food destinations, sharing recipes, and experimenting with fermentation, home curing, and even gardening. Eric’s passion for food originated with the talents of his country-cooking mother. Mandee is a city girl originally from Atlanta who especially enjoys the more scientific aspects of cooking like baking and cocktail design. They have written for national blogs like Taste Trekker, DayTripper365, and Bon Appalachia and regularly develop recipes for blogs, newsletters that need a food section. They also manage the social media/marketing accounts of local restaurants in Knoxville."
*Lift Your Spirits, with Chris McMillian, released May 2nd, 2016. "Always fascinated by the way the lure of nutmeg and peppercorns motivated the exploration of the world, Liz Williams was lucky to be born into a family of Sicilian heritage in New Orleans. She grew up eating in two great food traditions. She is a founder and President of the SoFAB Institute. Much of her research and writing centers on the legal and policy issues related to food and foodways. Her book, coauthored with Stephanie Jane Carter, The Encyclopedia of Law and Food, was published by Greenwood Publishing in 2011. In 2013 AltaMira published New Orleans: A Food Biography. In 2016 her book, co-authored with Chris McMillian, Lift Your Spirits, was published by LSU Press. A graduate of Louisiana State University (BA, English) and Louisiana State University Law Center (JD) she has served in the U.S. Army as a Judge Advocate General (JAG). She has practiced law in Washington, DC and Louisiana. She has written many articles for a variety of magazines and journals, has served as judge in many cooking competitions, and has consulted internationally on the food of New Orleans. Travel is an excuse to eat in new places. She is a member of the Folklife Commission, State of Louisiana."
Von Diaz is a food writer, and radio producer at StoryCorps. Born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico and raised in Atlanta, GA, she is also a self-taught cook who explores food, culture, and identity through memoir and multimedia. Her forthcoming cookbook, "Gordita: Craving Puerto Rico," uses storytelling and recipes to explore the colonial and contemporary history of the island, the legacy of African slavery in the Caribbean, and the ongoing cultural exchange between Puerto Rico and the mainland. Her work has been featured on NPR, The Splendid Table, StoryCorps, WNYC, PRI’s The World, BuzzFeed, The Southern Foodways Alliance’s Gravy Podcast and Quarterly, Colorlines, and Feet in 2 Worlds. Von studied Journalism and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University, and Women’s Studies at Agnes Scott College.
Kristen Miglore is the Creative Director at Food52. She abandoned a career in economics to pursue a master's degree in food studies from New York University and a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education. Her writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, and The Atlantic, and she was nominated for a James Beard Award for Food52's Genius recipes column in 2014. The column led to the Genius Recipes cookbook in 2015, which became a New York Times Best Seller. She lives in New York City and usually has a pastry in her purse.
Kenzi doesn’t have a complicated origin story—she always knew she wanted to work in food media, from the very first issue of Gourmet she snagged from an office lobby. She’s the Managing Editor of Food52, and the host of their James Beard Award-nominated podcast, Burnt Toast. She’s also the editor of their annual Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks—which she loves like a child—and her writing has appeared in PUNCH, Cherrybombe, Backpacker Magazine, and more. She lives in Brooklyn, and is never very far away from a Negroni.
Erin Byers Murray
Erin is a Nashville-based food writer, cookbook author, and magazine editor who has a not-so-secret obsession with oysters. She loves telling stories about farmers, cooks, kitchens, and local food communities. In 2011, she published her first book Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm (St. Martin's Press). The New England Kitchen: Fresh Takes on Seasonal Recipes (Rizzoli), which she co-authored with award-winning Boston chef Jeremy Sewall, was released in October 2014. These days, she's the editor of Nashville Lifestyles magazine where she gets to write regularly about Nashville's food, culture, and people. She'salso one of the co-founders of Dirty Pages, a storytelling project that launched in early 2015. Before moving to Nashville, she lived in Boston where she worked as a writer and editor at Boston magazine and DailyCandy.com and, together with her husband, Dave and friend Nicole Kanner of All Heart PR, she co-founded Eat Your Heart Out Boston. In her spare time, she freelances for various publications like Food & Wine, The Local Palate, Tasting Table, FoodNetwork.com, LuckyPeach.com, AOL Travel, and Wine & Spirits Magazine.
Jennifer Justus is author of Nashville Eats (Abrams, October 2015) and The Food Lovers’ Guide to Nashville (Globe Pequot, November 2012). She worked as food culture reporter at The Tennessean for several years before embarking on a freelance career that led to work in TIME, AFAR, Serious Eats, Southern Living, Imbibe and more. Her work has appeared in two editions of Cornbread Nation: The Best of Southern Food Writing, and she also co-founded Dirty Pages, a recipe storytelling project that's currently on display at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans.
Deanne Revel manages editorial content on TravelChannel.com and GreatAmericanCountry.com. She spends her weekends traveling or catching a show in Knoxville at the Bijou Theatre, where she serves on the Board of Directors. Deanne takes her biscuit with butter and strawberry jam.
Colby Gallahar is a Nashville native who never intended to call East Tennessee home. But, after stumbling upon the global headquarters of the leader in lifestyle media, Scripps Networks Interactive, he’s grown to love the scruffy city of Knoxville. In his role, Colby manages cause marketing and social responsibility for HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country. He loves breakfast for dinner so he can wash down his biscuits with Tennessee Whiskey.
Janet Kurtz is and has been the Director of Sales & Marketing at The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, TN for the past thirteen years. The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville is the only Mobil Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond hotel in Tennessee and five contiguous states. As a hospitality and brand architecture executive with proven revenue generating results, Janet assists hotels and restaurants with top level, results driven, marketing and public relations strategies.