About this project
The Conference: Food + Travel
- September 20-22, 2013
- Providence, Rhode Island
- More info on our website
We are launching the nation's first food tourism conference, designed specifically for people who plan their vacations around food. Our goal is to show passionate foodies how they can explore the world through cuisine by bringing together chefs, farmers, winemakers, and other artisanal food producers from different areas.
- Sample foods from different places
- Learn the culinary history of different regions
- Gain practical tips for planning your own food-based vacation
We will host our first conference in Providence, Rhode Island, which was recently named the nation's top city for food, drink and restaurants by Travel + Leisure magazine.
This conference is for anybody who loves to travel and loves food. It will attract hundreds of food bloggers, travel writers, culinary students and passionate foodies.
Everybody is invited, whether you are a seasoned traveler or looking to plan your first culinary vacation. You do not need to be a food tourism professional to attend, but professionals are welcome and are likely to find a lot of value in this event.
Although we expect that most attendees will come from New England, foodies from all over the country are welcome.
Friday, Sept. 20:
- Cocktail Reception
Saturday, Sept. 21:
- Keynote Address by Chef Matt Jennings of Farmstead
- Breakout Sessions
- Tasting Pavilion
- Group Dinners at local restaurants
Sunday, Sept. 22:
- Food Truck Circle
- Culinary Walking Tours
More details below.
Keynote Speaker: Chef Matt Jennings
We are thrilled and honored that Chef Matt Jennings of Farmstead in Providence has accepted our invitation to give the keynote address at our conference. His expertise in the world of cheese, his penchant for snout-to-tail cooking and his commitment to sustainable, regional farmers have earned him many accolades, including:
- 2011 James Beard Foundation Award Shortlist Nominee, Best Chef Northeast
- 2012 James Beard Foundation Award Shortlist Nominee, Best Chef Northeast
- 2009 Winner, Cochon 555 competition
- 2010 Winner, Cochon 555 competition
- 2011 Winner, Cochon 555 competition
- One of Food & Wine magazine's '40 Under 40 Big Thinkers'
- One of the Mother Nature Network 'Most Sustainable Chefs'
Each session will focus on the cuisine of a different region. The sessions will cover regions from all over the country and even the world, but will also include several regions within driving distance of Providence.
- Authentic Bolivian & Peruvian Food
- The Chocolate of Madagascar
- The History of Rum in New England
- Trace & Trust
- More to come...
We are currently conducting a call for speakers and will finalize the session lineup in May.
Enjoy food and wine samples from dozens of regional purveyors in the beautiful Biltmore ballroom overlooking the city.
Mingle with other passionate foodies at The Dorrance, the beautifully renovated restaurant and bar in this historic downtown building.
Get to know your fellow foodies as we break into groups for dinner at different restaurants all over the city. (For people familiar with Mystery Meet social dinners, these will follow the same format.
Food Truck Circle
Sample from the city's finest food trucks in the heart of 'downcity' Providence.
Welcome to Providence
We will host this event in Providence, Rhode Island, which was recently ranked as the nation's top city for food, drink and restaurants by Travel + Leisure magazine.
Saturday's events will be held at the Providence Biltmore. The Biltmore's Grand Ballroom on the 17th floor provides stunning views overlooking the city.
The cocktail reception will be at The Dorrance, the recently renovated restaurant and bar that boasts stunning stained-glass windows and the city's hottest mixologists.
Future conferences may be in other cities.
We are offering multiple tickets so that people can chose which days they want to attend:
- Admission to Saturday's events at The Biltmore (the keynote address, breakout sessions, and tasting pavilion) - $65
- Friday's cocktail reception - $20
- Group dinners and food trucks priced separately
- Culinary walking tours are offered exclusively as Kickstarter rewards
- There will be a "combo price package" for people who want to attend the events on all three days.
And More Stuff
Every attendee will also receive:
- A gift bag full of goodies from our sponsors
- Digital photos from the conference
- Access to audio recordings of the speakers
We are working closely with a number of partners, including:
- Providence + Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau
- City of Providence, Department of Art, Culture & Tourism
- Rhode Island Tourism Division
- Eat Drink RI
- Savoring Rhode Island
- Newport Gourmet Tours
- A Taste of Rhode Island
- Food Lovers' Guide to Rhode Island
This event is already generating a lot of buzz in the press:
- The Providence Journal
- Rhode Island Small Business Journal
- Providence Business News
- 630 WPRO-AM
- City of Providence
- See more press coverage
Our long-term goal is to produce several food tourism conferences a year in different regions of the county.
Risks and challenges
Q: Can we attract sponsors?
A: While we aren't banking on sponsorship dollars (we're relying on the Kickstarter campaign to cover our costs), sponsors will ensure that we are able to produce this event in future years. Attracting sponsors for an event is always the most difficult in the first year. However, we have already seen a flood of early inquiries just through social media and press coverage.
Q: Can we handle all the logistics of producing this event?
A: Seth Resler has produced dozens of events, including concerts, restaurant competitions, fashion shows, mixology competitions, business conferences, and more. He has developed extensive relationships with event vendors in Rhode Island. He was even honored with a Citizen Citation from the Mayor of Providence for the last culinary event he produced.
Q: What if there's a Waterfire that night?
A: In the summer and fall, Providence often hosts "Waterfire" on Saturday nights. Waterfire is a beautiful evening festival in which torches are lit down the middle of the river in the center of the city and vendors, artists and musicians set up along the banks. We do not know whether there will be a Waterfire on the evening of September 21st yet, but we are in contact with the organizers and will arrange our conference schedule accordingly. We will not need to change the conference date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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