Association of Food Journalists
bullet 2014 AFJ Annual Conference

Eat. Drink. Write. Memphis!

Sept. 10-12, 2014

Memphis, Tenn.

The Peabody Memphis

Registration for this event will be available soon!


AFJ 2014 Annual Conference Preliminary Agenda



5:30-7:30 p.m. Welcome to Memphis! Pre-Conference Mixer

Cocktail party for early AFJ arrivals and selected local media



Breakfast on your own

8 a.m. Press Room and Registration Open

8:30 -11 a.m. One-on-one coaching sessions

15-minute coaching and critique sessions; eight each with Kim Severson (The New York Times) and Kat Kinsman (Eatocracy/CNN); advance sign-up required.


9-11 a.m. AFJ Board and Committees meetings (invitation only)

11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. AFJ Board and Committee Lunch (invitation only)


12:45-1 p.m. Conference Opens

Welcome by AFJ President Debbie Moose

Brief overview of sessions and events by 2014 Conference Chair Susan Puckett and Jennifer Biggs (Memphis Commercial Appeal).


1-3 p.m. The Changing Landscape of Food Journalism: Keynote by Kim Severson and Kat Kinsman

Kim Severson — four-time James Beard award-winning food writer for The New York Times and author of four books — came up through the newspaper industry; Kat Kinsman — managing editor of Eatocracy, CNN’s food blog, with more than 47,000 Twitter followers — has a passion for social media and the digital world. Together, they offer a lively overview of the state of food writing and multimedia storytelling, and the challenges and opportunities ahead.


3-3:15 p.m. Break


3:15-4:15 p.m. One Table, Many Voices: Understanding Memphis’ Food Culture

Panel presentation and discussion that puts Memphis’ historic and contemporary culinary culture in perspective.


4:15-5 p.m. Know Your Barbecue

What makes Memphis BBQ unique from other regional styles, and how to evaluate smoked meat no matter where you are. What can you learn about a place or a people through its Q? A checklist for critics, writers and eaters presented by Daniel (aka BBQSnob) Vaughn, Texas Monthly's barbecue editor and author of The Prophets of Smoked Meat, the debut title published in Anthony Bourdain's book line.


5 p.m. Press Room Closes for Day





6:30 or 7-10 p.m. Taste of Memphis at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music

BBQ High and Low

Memphis top chefs and the local legends who inspired them offer tastes of the foods that made them famous. Music and documentary videos round out a deliciously educational and entertaining evening.



8 a.m. Press Room Opens

8:30-10 a.m. AFJ Annual Meeting (open to all members)


10-10:15 a.m. Break


10:15-11:15 a.m. Ethics in a New Era of Food Writing

What rules for ethical journalism still hold … and which might need to change? A panel discussion of ethical issues in the changing food journalism landscape.


11:15-noon Food Truck Culture

Brief introduction to the history of food trucks in the U.S., followed by conversation and Q&A with three Memphis food truck owners.


12 noon-1 pm Food Truck Lunch

Food truck rodeo in Court Square arranged by Downtown Memphis Association.


1:15-2:30 p.m. Southern Food: Whose story is it anyway?

A panel of African American food writers/culinary historians discusses the challenges of writing about food, culture and race -- pre- and post- Paula Deen scandal.


2:30-3:30 p.m. How Oral History Can Enrich Your Storytelling

What is oral history? How does it differ from memoir? How does an oral history interview differ from a regular interview? What kind of equipment do you need to produce a quality oral history?


3:30-3:45 p.m. Break


3:45-5 p.m. Cutting-Edge Strategies for Fighting Hunger and Obesity...In a City Where You'd Least Expect to Find Them


5 p.m. Press Room Closes for Conference


6:30-9 p.m. 2014 AFJ Awards Competition Banquet at The Peabody Hotel

6:30-7 p.m. Reception with drinks and passed appetizers

7-9 p.m. And the Winner Is — Dinner and presentation of awards



9-10 a.m. How to Build a New Platform for Your Work

How to come up with a fresh idea, brand it and market it — no matter what media platform you call home.


10-11:30 a.m. Hands-On Skill-Building Sessions

Four concurrent group sessions to be determined by survey of members


12-12:30 p.m. Tour National Civil Rights Museum

Take city trolley to the museum. Visit lunch counter exhibit.


12:30-2:30 p.m. Soul Food Luncheon at the Museum

Memphis Dining Before and After 1964: Keynote by Adrian Miller, lawyer, culinary historian, barbecue judge, soul food scholar and author of Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time (University of North Carolina Press, 2013). Panel discussion with retired civil rights leaders on 50th anniversary of Civil Rights Act.


2:45-3 p.m. Conference Closes


3:30 Unofficial, self-pay mixer at The Peabody bar


3:30 Optional post-conference overnight Delta Detour to Clarksdale, MS, leaves from The Peabody



Kim Severson, The New York Times
Kat Kinsman, Eatocracy/CNN
Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly
John T. Edge, Southern Foodways Alliance
Adrian Miller, author, soul food scholar
Toni Tipton-Martin, The Jemima Code
Julia Reed, award-winning food writer, author
Michael W. Twitty, Afroculinaria
Sid Evans, Time Inc.
Chuck Reece, The Bitter Southerner, Kredible
Regina Charboneau, chef, cookbook author



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.


Beale St.
Nightlife on Beale Street
Phillip Parker
© Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011


Registration for this event will be available soon! 

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