We will be determining our 2019 speakers in the coming months. In the meantime, please see below just some of our outstanding 2018 speakers.
Michael W. Twitty | Keynote Speaker | Afroculinaria
Michael W. Twitty is a renowned culinary historian and food writer from the Washington D.C. area. He blogs at Afroculinaria and has appeared on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, and has lectured to over 300 groups. In May 2018, Mr. Twitty was awarded the James Beard Foundation Book of the Year Award for his book exploring the history of southern cuisine: The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South. He has also served as a judge for the James Beard Awards and is a Smith fellow with the Southern Foodways Alliance. Additionally, Mr. Twitty is a TED fellow and speaker and the first Revolutionary in Residence at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He was named one of the top twenty greatest food bloggers of all time by FirstWeFeast.com as well as one of Southern Living‘s “Fifty People Changing the South.” HarperCollins released Mr. Twitty’s The Cooking Gene, in 2017, tracing his ancestry from Africa to America and from slavery to freedom.
Ellen Altamirano | Zehnder Communications
Ellen Altamirano’s job is to make sure her clients’ social media efforts are consistent, on-brand and beneficial to both their brands and their audiences. Her duties are balanced between working on top-level strategy and leading the teams managing day-to-day implementation of clients’ organic and paid social efforts, ensuring that content reaches target demographics. Ellen has also led live activations at client events, conferences and trade shows like the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. By monitoring detailed reporting analytics, she then works with Zehnder’s clients to align and optimize social media strategies with their overall marketing plans. The effectiveness of her strategic efforts and client success led to the Advertising Club of New Orleans Social Media Person of the Year honor in 2018.
Gavin Booth & Karen Reinsberg | Couple in the Kitchen
Food & Travel Bloggers, Photographers, Content Creators, Food Festival throwers, and Date night experts! Gavin and Karen spend their lives traveling and eating their way around the world while sharing recipes and their date nights along the way. Since starting Couple in the Kitchen in 2015 they’ve worked with brands including Coca-Cola, Hilton Hotels, Whole Foods, Amazon, and many more. In addition to providing content creation and photography services to brands, they hold a regular television segment on Studio 512. Karen and Gavin reside in the live music capital of the world, Austin, Texas. They have been interviewed by Eater, have been named an “Ideal Content Creator”, and highlighted as one of “10 Austin Instagram Accounts You Should Follow Now.” You can find them on Instagram @coupleinthekitchen.
Stacy Brooks | Tangled Up In Food
Stacy Brooks has been blogging since 2011. Her blog, Tangled Up In Food, features recipes, food focused travel writing, and tips for making the most of Minneapolis-St. Paul’s vibrant food scene. She has worked with brands and destinations including Stonyfield Organic, Barlean’s, and Travel Manitoba. In addition to blogging, Stacy is a freelance food and travel journalist, and her writing has been featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Cheese Connoisseur, The Kitchn, and Twin Cities Eater.
Before making the leap to writing full time, Stacy spent several years in the legal field as an intellectual property paralegal. She’s fluent in legal jargon and actually enjoys delving into government rules and regulations.
Kristen Chidsey | A Mind “Full” Mom
Kristen is the mind behind A Mind “Full” Mom. After a medical diagnosis that rendered her unable to teach, she decided to take her passion for cooking and meal planning and create a website her family and friends could reference for inspiration. What started four years ago as a hobby to pass time, has grown into a passion and a thriving business. Kristen has grown her blog and business alone through hard work, determination, and research. Now what started as her hobby blog has become more profitable than teaching. A Mind “Full” Mom has been featured on Better Homes and Gardens, Food Network, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Shape Magazine, Country Living and more.
A Mind “Full” Mom focuses on easy, healthy recipes that help parents put a family-friendly meal on the table while being mindful of dietary restrictions and limited budgets. Kristen is passionate about finding solutions for her audience to their dinner dilemmas and loves to showcase brands in an authentic solution to their problem.
Toni Dash | Boulder Locavore
After a personal experiment of over-wintering in Colorado sourcing her produce and protein exclusively from a 100-mile radius, Toni started Boulder Locavore to share her food finds. Her blog quickly evolved to focus on seasonal food and cocktail recipes (all gluten-free), as well as travel, and has garnered a national and international following. Her work has been featured by the Huffington Post, The Today Show, Shape magazine and more.
Christen Evans | Apogee Agency
The Social Media and Influencer Manager of Apogee, Christen Evans got her start in affiliate marketing on the blogging side in 2013. She joined Apogee in early 2017, originally to help affiliate recruiting efforts and has transitioned into working on building relationships with influencers, sending monthly newsletters to affiliates to keep them apprised of merchant news and ensuring Apogee has a strong presence on social media platforms. She also provides the comic relief for the Apogee team, largely in .GIF form. Christen also blogs about affiliate marketing for bloggers at bourbonandsparkle.com, and about simply celebrating love at theminimalistwedding.com. Being the social media-minded person she is, you may follow her on Instagram @theonlychris10 or @bourbonandsparkle or Twitter @theonlychris10 or @bourbonsparkle.
Álvaro Hernandez | Amma Productions
Spanish-born content creator and producer Álvaro Hernández Blanco studied film in Navarra, Spain and UNC-Chapel Hill, before moving to LA. There he worked as editor on various documentaries before shifting gears to short-form online content. Álvaro produced the viral sensation “Latinos don’t do basic foods”, which garnered over 70 million views on Facebook for Latino content page We Are Mitú. With them, he also directed the series “What’s Good in your hood”, a Hyundai-sponsored project which highlighted immigration stories through the local food scenes of various neighborhoods. In 2015, Álvaro produced the short documentary “Gotta Serve Somebody”, about the life of a recovering gang-member in East LA, which was awarded the 1st price in the international Showing Film Festival, held in Madrid. Álvaro continues to develop and produce successful content for the likes of We Are Mitú and Tastemade travel, as well as other brands such as Toyota, WeeSpin, and Cheerios.
Elliot Hutchinson | Zehnder Communications
Elliot has a wide variety of public relations experience, including government relations, issues management and grassroots outreach. He also specializes in crisis communications and client media training.
Elliot manages strategic public relations planning and execution for DuPage Medical Group in Chicago that focuses on both the client’s business and community outreach. He also oversees strategic public relations planning for Origin Bank, within its core market of north Louisiana, as well as in its emerging markets of Mississippi and Texas. In addition, Elliot manages public relations, social media and signature events for the world-renowned luxury hotel Royal Sonesta New Orleans, including its food and beverage outlets.
His previous experience includes media relations, content-marketing collaboration and overseeing logistical accommodations for news conferences, media briefings and various types of special events. Elliot has also handled coordinating communications with large client groups and organizing scenario-based crisis communications planning drills and training exercises.
Trish Lindemood | KitchenBloggers
Trish is an experienced digital media consultant with over 25 years of diverse sales and marketing experience. During her corporate career, she worked with several industry-leading organizations, including Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, and Time Warner Media.
Since 2008, Trish has helped hundreds of local businesses and online entrepreneurs become more successful with a winning combination of strategic web development, search engine optimization, content marketing, and paid advertising campaigns. Today, Trish manages KitchenBloggers.com, where she helps her dynamic community of food, lifestyle, and health & wellness bloggers build profitable and fun web-based businesses. Her mission (and her passion!) is to help her community members create their dream business and lifestyle by merging their love of food with practical and profitable monetization strategies, including digital product creation, offline service offerings, and creative affiliate marketing techniques.
Chef Dennis Littley | Ask Chef Dennis
Food & Travel Blogger, Chef, Content Creator, Digital Strategist and Conference Speaker! Dennis is a retired Chef and Culinary Instructor, now enjoying life traveling and eating his way around the world and sharing his recipes and adventures along the way. A native Texan living most of his life in the Philadelphia area, Dennis now resides in Kissimmee, Florida with his wife Lisa.
During the new phase of his culinary journey as a Food & Travel Blogger, Dennis has amassed an impressive combined following of over 1.8 million followers on his social channels. Dennis regularly speaks at conferences around the country on the topics of Live Streaming, Social Media for Small Business and Travel Blogging.
Jason Logsdon | Amazing Food Made Easy
Jason Logsdon is a passionate home cook who loves to try new things, exploring everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to blow torches, foams, spheres and infusions. He has published 11 cookbooks which have sold over 50,000 copies in paperback and electronic formats. He has also created online cooking courses, custom kitchen tools, and branded t-shirts to better serve his readers. He runs AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com, one of the largest sous vide and modernist cooking websites, and afmeasy.com/MakinBacon, a website dedicated to helping food bloggers better monetize their blog.
Kate Lundin | Zehnder Communications
Kate joined Zehnder shortly after graduating from Louisiana State University and has been part of the team for almost nine years. She handles the media planning and placement duties for some of the agency’s largest accounts, including Ericsson, Visit South Walton, and Sazerac. Her strong relationships with tourism and hospitality vendors have allowed Kate to leverage exceptional media buys and placements on local, regional, and national levels. She has extensive knowledge and expertise with all forms of media, including interactive, which is constantly evolving.
Jenny Melrose | The Melrose Family
Jenny is a former reading specialist who “retired” from her teaching career when her blogging income far exceeded her salary. Through her unique pitching system, her lifestyle blog, The Melrose Family, became regularly sought out by nationally recognized brands such as Neutrogena, Smuckers, Glad, Costco, Stanley Steamer, Sara Lee and many more. Now, she’s made it her mission to use her teaching skills and extensive experience as a successful influencer to share her strategies with thousands of other entrepreneurs via JennyMelrose.com and her podcast Influencer Entrepreneurs.
Rachel Miller | Rachel Miller.com
Serial online entrepreneur and mom of six kids, Rachel began as a blogger and went on to build audiences ranging in the millions. She is a published author of multiple books including a best seller that sold more than 100,000 copies, and has had her vitals featured on Good Morning America and other national magazines and syndicated shows. She will share how vitals can help you build an audience.
Ted Murphy | Izea
Ted Murphy, CEO of Izea, has bootstrapped companies off credit cards, been venture capital backed and most recently took Izea public. He has consulted some of the world’s largest marketing organizations including FOX, Bombardier, General Motors, SeaWorld and Disney. He is a prominent TV commentator on tech and social media marketing trends and platforms, and has negotiated deals with numerous celebrities. Ted encourages his team to push the envelope to build upon Izea’s entrepreneurial DNA and has unveiled notable industry innovations, including the world’s first Virtual Reality Influencer Network.
Yuka Ohishi | Pinterest | Blossomlink
Yuka Ohishi is a Creator Programs lead and International Program Manager at Pinterest. She began her career at Pinterest building community efforts in Japan as the second employee in the Tokyo office. Before Pinterest, she was a mobile games product manager, collaborating with big brands to launch new games on their platforms. On the weekends, Yuka also creates lots of her own content—from travel videos to tech news podcasts.
Christina Peters | Food Photography Club
Christina Peters is an award winning photographer. She received her second degree in photography from the Art Center College of Design in California and has been shooting ever since. Concentrating in food photography for the last 15 years, Christina began teaching food photography classes at her studio in 2011. Her classes are designed for food bloggers, chefs and other culinary professionals. In 2017, she also launched her the Food Photography Club. This site is dedicated to all things food photography with video content, live webinars, and a private community to teach you how to be a professional food photographer. Her clients include Bath and Body Works, Marriott Hotels, Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt, Rubios Grill, Walmart, and Nestle, just to name a few.
Stefani Pollack | The Cupcake Project
Stefani Pollack’s blog, Cupcake Project, began in 2007 as a way of documenting her quest to master the cupcake in time to bake hundreds of cupcakes for a friend’s wedding. Since then, her recipes have been featured regularly in Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, she’s been a contributor for Parade Magazine, Paula Deen, and Chowhound, and she freelances for magazines like Fine Cooking and AllRecipes. As readers have moved from blogs to Facebook and then to Instagram, Stefani has made Instagram a top business priority. She has over 750,000 followers on her @cupcakeproject Instagram account and grows her account by 500 to 1000 new followers a day. Stefani has a background in corporate training and she’s passionate about teaching others to use Instagram to achieve their business goals.
Hillary Reeves | Chicory
Hillary Reeves is the Director of Integrated Marketing at Chicory, a media and ecommerce tech company in New York. Since 2015, she has worked as a core member of the team to build Chicory’s publisher network to over 80M unique users, and today leads all brand and B2B growth initiatives for the organization. Before Chicory, Hillary spent time working in theatrical marketing at organizations like The New 42nd Street, The Metropolitan Opera and Camp Broadway, where she helped to manage large-scale productions like the National High School Musical Theater Awards (The Jimmy Awards), the 2008 Broadway production of A Tale of Two Cities, and performances in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. As a food-lover, she also freelances as an assistant editor to bloggers like Molly Yeh and Lily Diamond and has contributed to Food52, Food Network Magazine and Good Housekeeping. She attended Fordham University and graduated with a degree in English and Theology.
Aaron Ru | Pinterest
Aaron Ru leads Content Business Development and Strategy efforts at Pinterest, with a focus on driving compelling, engaging and actionable content on platform. Prior to Pinterest, he worked at United Talent Agency, one of the entertainment industry’s premier talent and literary agencies, where he worked on strategic partnerships and M&A across film, TV and digital media. Aaron started his career in Technology and Media Investment Banking at UBS. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Business School.
Yuni Sameshima | Chicory
Yuni Sameshima is the Co-Founder and CEO of Chicory, the NYC-based technology company that makes recipes shoppable and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create digital grocery shopping experiences. Under Yuni’s leadership, Chicory has grown to reach over 80 million unique viewers per month, and their clients and partners include Time Inc., Peapod, and many more. Yuni has spoken globally about grocery trends and ecommerce. Prior to founding Chicory, he worked in the food and venture space at Chobani and ff Venture Capital. He graduated from Colgate University with a Bachelor of Arts in Molecular Biology and speaks fluent Japanese.
Jana Seitzer | Whiskey Sunshine | Geek Girl Digital
Jana is a savvy strategist and clever marketing communicator with extensive marketing, design, and public relations experience. She founded her first company in 1998 and offers nearly 20 years of award-winning experience in corporate communications, print & digital design, marketing strategy, social media strategy, and brand strategy. She’s also the proud mother of four kids, wife, a lifestyle and travel blogger, speaker, and rarely sleeps.
María Sierra | La Cooquette
María Sierra is co-founder and lead host and producer of La Cooquette, a food & travel YouTube channel that celebrates culinary adventures all around the world. She speaks to an audience of over 500K followers, exciting people with fun and creative recipe videos as well as in-depth entertaining food documentaries shot across different countries…in English and en español! This has allowed her to collaborate with numerous brands such as General Mills, Knorr, Post, Tabasco, Western Union, Disney Pixar, Dole, and Tastemade among others. In addition, María’s entrepreneurial spirit has been recognized by Ford, who named her one of its 2016 Legendary Women. Maria was also a Tecla Awards finalist in 2016 & 2018 and a Shorty award finalist in 2015.
Wendi Spraker | Loaves and Dishes
Wendi lives in Danbury, North Carolina where she unapologetically blogs about comfort food. Her site has nearly 300 home-tested recipes. (Wendi also happens to be good at SEO, as her blog has an Alexa rank of just over 500,000.) In addition to time spent on her blog, Wendi is a mom, a nurse, and a town councilwoman.