Sept. 10-12, 2014
Mark your calendars now! Sept. 10-12, 2014, are the dates for the 2014 annual conference in Memphis, and plans are shaping up for a career-energizing program full of great story opportunities relevant to every market. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the 60th anniversary of when Elvis cut his first single, “That’s All Right (Mama),” at Memphis’s Sun Studios. The timing couldn’t be better to explore the evolution of race relations in restaurants and African-American contributions to the national palate. We’ll also discuss the relationship between food and music in a city where the two have always been indelibly intertwined.
Barbecue and soul food are just the beginning. In recent years, the city has reshaped its culinary landscape by embracing its cultural and agrarian roots. In doing so, the city has supported award-winning chefs and nationally recognized restaurants, developed a vibrant local food movement and found innovative ways to tackle the problem of the city’s chronically underfed and poorly fed.
Our host hotel is The Peabody Memphis, which has its own great story. (AFJ’s room rate for a single is $155.) It is often said that the Mississippi Delta begins in its luxurious historic lobby, where the twice-daily March of the Ducks has been a beloved Memphis tradition since the 1930s. We’ll be within walking distance of many attractions and restaurants rich in tradition and quirky local color, and historians will be on hand to offer tips and even personally guided tours. We are also looking into offering an optional side trip to Clarksdale,Miss., the true Cradle of the Blues and a haven for hot tamales and other fun food traditions worthy of writing about. Another optional event will be a Tuesday, Sept. 9, opening reception, giving attendees extra incentive to fly in early.
Stay tuned for more details to follow about this exciting conference!