Forage PEI, a new food symposium taking place October 18 and 19 in Charlottetown, will host a formidable line-up of food leaders from across North America.
Renowned chefs, writers, food photographers, farmers, and brew masters will join keynote speaker, Chef Amanda Cohen, for a series of food-related panel talks and food experiences with Forage attendees.
Cohen, a well-known leader of the vegetable-forward movement and owner of New York City’s award-winning vegetarian restaurant, Dirt Candy, will deliver the keynote on the first day. She’ll touch on a number of topics including vegetable centric cuisine, the year of the female chef, tipping and current food trends.
Amongst her many accomplishments, Cohen was the first vegetarian chef invited to compete on Iron Chef: America, her restaurant was selected as one of the ten best vegetarian restaurants in America by Food + Wine magazine, and she received an award for her writing from Gourmet (RIP).
“Forage PEI is an excellent new resource for growing experiential and food tourism in Atlantic Canada,” said Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Malpeque, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). “The Government of Canada is pleased to support this innovative approach to education and collaboration in our vibrant food industry with an ACOA investment of $47,500. Engaging these talented people will help businesses in the region expand on our renowned food and tourism offerings.”
“We’re really excited to have Chef Amanda Cohen joining us at Forage PEI. She has a wealth of knowledge regarding many relevant topics and will be a big draw for attendees,” said Jeff McCourt, PEI Food Advocate and co-chair of the Forage PEI Committee.
The deadline for early-bird tickets has been extended until September 30 to ensure those working in the height of the harvest and tourism season have an opportunity to register. A limited number of tickets are available to primary producers at 50 percent off the regular rate.
Participants will have the opportunity to take in four panels throughout the first day of the symposium. “The panels will focus on current trends and topics relevant to the Island’s food scene. We’re extremely pleased with the high caliber of knowledge and experience represented by the panelists,” said McCourt.
The first panel will focus on the importance of influence and engagement. It will feature Dennis Prescott, a Moncton-based chef, cookbook author and food photographer; Todd Perrin, a Top Chef Canada 2011 competitor and Executive Chef/Co-owner of Mallard Cottage in Newfoundland; Halifax-based lifestyle blogger Kayla Short, and Al Douglas, PEI Food Advocate and Director of Branding & Community Engagement with the PEI Brewing Company.
The afternoon will kick-off with a panel discussion about women in food. Joining the panel are Charlotte Langley, Chef, Culinary Curator and MSC Ambassador; Ivy Knight, writer, cultural programmer and former cook; Sarah Bennetto O’Brien, chef and owner of The Handpie Company; and Sally Bernard, organic farmer and co-owner of Barnyard Organics. Craft brewery owners Mitchell Cobb of Upstreet Craft Brewing and Steve Beauchesne of Beau’s All Natural Brewing will be joined by fishmonger Hana Nelson of Halifax’s Afishionado, Mike MacKenzie from Seed to Sausage, and PEI’s Jason Tompkins of Poke Shack for a panel entitled ‘Meet the Trendsetters’.
The final panel of the symposium will explore one of the country’s most timely trends, cannabis edibles. Panelists for the 420 Flavours discussion will include Chef John MacNeil of Retreat Edibles, Vladimir Klacar, Auxly’s Associate General Counsel & Head of Regulatory Affairs and Alex Smith, CFO & VP of Canada’s Island Garden/FIGR East.
The second day of Forage PEI will feature an immersive five-hour food experience at the Inn at Bay Fortune with host Chef Michael Smith. A highlight of the day will be the creation of a Guinness World Record Charcuterie Board curated by renowned Canadian Expert Michael McKenzie of the legendary Seed to Sausage. An after party at Upstreet Craft Brewing will close out the first annual Forage PEI with a taste of the Island’s burgeoning craft brew scene.