AFJ Annual Conference
September 21-23, 2016


Sheraton Seattle


View of Seattle

View of Seattle

Tuesday, September 20

5:30-7:00 p.m. AFJ Board meeting (Sheraton Seattle Diamond Room). (Invitation Only.)

5:30-7:30 p.m. Casual, pay-your-own-way meet and greet for early arrivals at the Fountain Wine Bar and Lounge in the Sheraton Seattle.

Wednesday, September 21

Breakfast on your own or with a colleague.

8 a.m. Registration opens at Sheraton Seattle (Cirrus Room).

8–10:30 a.m. Coaching sessions with Dorothy Kalins (see below for more information on Dorothy).

11 a.m. Press room opens.

11–11:15 a.m. Conference opens. Welcome by Conference Chair Nancy Leson and AFJ President Debbie Moose.

11:15 a.m.–12 p.m. Keynote address by Dorothy Kalins — How to navigate a fast-changing (and not always for the best) publishing landscape.
AFJ coach-in-residence Dorothy Kalins will discuss how to manage work decisions and relationships with both bosses and peers. She will also highlight the importance of research and reporting, especially in this “get it up and then get it right” digital world that turns that cornerstone of journalism on its head.

12–12:15 p.m. Break.

12:15–1:15 p.m. Screen Time: How two Seattle companies—Allrecipes and ChefSteps — bring recipes and techniques to the table. Allrecipes’ Esmee Williams, VP consumer/brand strategy, and Chris Young, founder of ChefSteps, will make presentations about their innovative business, then open the session to questions from the floor.

View of Elliott Bay beyond Pike Place Market

View of Elliott Bay beyond Pike Place Market

1:15–1:30 p.m. Walk to Pike Place Market.

1:30–5:00 p.m. Pike Place Market — Then and Now.
Market Director Ben Franz-Knight will guide AFJ attendees through the history of Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market, the epicenter of fresh food in Seattle for more than 100 years. After lunch with a view of Elliott Bay, AFJ attendees will tour the Market and sample fare from a variety of Market vendors – bring an appetite to taste cheese, salmon, chocolate, chowder and more. The tour will end with a happy hour hosted by Old Stove Brewing Co.

Food and drink will be provided by the following vendors:

Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt
Pike Place Chowder
Pure Food Fish
Rachel’s Ginger Beer
Wilridge Winery

5 p.m. Press room closes.

79 p.m. AFJ 2016 Competition Awards Presentations and Cocktail Party (Cirrus Ballroom, Sheraton Seattle).

Presentation of Carol DeMasters Award for Service to Food Journalism to Jessica B. Harris.

Announcement of winners in each competition category.

Late dinner on your own.

Thursday, September 22

8:00 a.m. Press room opens.

8:00–9:45 a.m. Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room tour with breakfast.

9:45–10:15 a.m. Break, walk back to the Sheraton. Sessions will be held in the Metropolitan A room.

10:15 a.m.–5:15 p.m.

Exhibits open in the Metropolitan A room. Exhibitors include the following:

Allrecipes, Esmee Williams, Vice President, Consumer & Brand Strategy
Charles Smith Wines, Jessica Chromy, Senior Account Superviser
Chihuly Garden and Glass/Collections CafeApril Matson, Director of Public Relations
SaltWorksMegan O’Keefe, Marketing Coordinator
Sasquatch Books, Rebekah Anderson, Director of Marketing
Space Needle/SkyCityApril Matson, Director of Public Relations
Sur la TableDoralece Dullaghan, Director of Strategic Partnerships
Theo ChocolateDrew Zandonella-Stannard, Marketing Manager
Visit SeattleAlisa Carroll, Director, Public Relations

10:15–11:15 Is Fine Dining Dead? Panel discussion with Holly Smith (Café Juanita), Mark Canlis (Canlis), Thierry Rautureau (Loulay, Luc). Providence Cicero, lead restaurant critic for the Seattle Times, will moderate. A member and former chair of the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee, she has covered the Northwest food and wine scene for more than two decades.

11:15–11:30 a.m. Break.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Tipping Point: Seattle restaurateurs are at the vanguard of a national movement to abolish tipping. Some are doing just that in advance of the $15 minimum wage. Panel discussion with James Beard Award-winning chef/restaurateurs Renee Erickson (Sea Creatures), Jerry Traunfeld (Poppy, Lionhead) and Tom Douglas (Tom Douglas Restaurants). Rebekah Denn, two-time winner of the James Beard Award for journalism and curator of an upcoming museum exhibit on Seattle and food, moderates the discussion.

12:30–1:45 p.m. Lunch on your own.

2–3 p.m. Start Talking and Learn to Podcast: Spilled Milk Podcasters Spill It. A panel discussion with the comedic brains behind the popular culinary podcast “Spilled Milk”: authors Molly Wizenberg (, “A Homemade Life,” “Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage”) and Matthew Amster-Burton (“Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater,” “Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo”) and their producer Abby Cerquitella.

3–3:15 p.m. Break.

3:15–4:15 p.m. Dishing about Dough—A Finance Bootcamp for Freelancers: Jess Thomson, Seattle-based food writer and cookbook author, gets real, talking dollars and making sense of life in a freelance economy.

4:15–4:30 p.m. Break.

4:30–5:15 p.m. Feeding the Need: Presenters Megan Karch (CEO of FareStart) and Kevin Finch (Executive Director of Big Table) helm nonprofit agencies whose missions make magic. Karch won a James Beard Humanitarian Award for her work with FareStart, a social service agency and thriving food-service business that transforms the personal lives of homeless and impoverished individuals through an intensive culinary job-training program. Finch, a former restaurant critic who founded Big Table in response to the huge but often invisible needs of those working in the restaurant and hospitality industry, leads a paid and volunteer team that offers crisis care and ongoing mentoring to those falling through the cracks.

5:15 p.m. Press room closes.

6:00–6:30 p.m. Walk to the monorail/travel to Taste Seattle Opening Reception.

6:30–7:30 p.m. Taste Seattle Opening Reception, to be held at the Space Needle. Reception will feature food by chef Jeff Maxfield, as well as  local oysters and wines, sponsored by Taylor Shellfish Farms and Charles Smith Wines.

View from Chihuly Garden and Glass

View from Chihuly Garden and Glass

7:30–10 p.m. Taste Seattle Event, to be held at the Chihuly Garden and Glass (right next to the Space Needle). Food from celebrated Seattle chefs Matt Dillon, Tom Douglas, Renee Erickson, Edouardo Jordan, Thomas Kollasch, Thierry Rautureau, Holly Smith,Taichi Kitamura, John Sundstrom, Jerry Traunfeld, Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi will be served.

Will feature wine from the following wineries:

Brian Carter Cellars
Cadence Winery
Guardian Cellars
Lauren Ashton Cellars
Robert Ramsay Cellars
Two Vintners

A coffee cocktail will be provided by Heritage Distilling Co. and Starbucks.

Seafood will be provided by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Friday, September 23

Breakfast on your own.

Sessions will be held in the Sheraton Cirrus Ballroom.

9 a.m. Press room opens.

9–9:45 a.m. Flour Power — A New Breed of Grain: Speaker Stephen Jones is redefining the nation’s regional-grain economy one strain at time. As director of the Bread Lab at Washington State University, Dr. Jones is the go-to guy for the advancement of geographically appropriate grains. At the Bread Lab — and in the field — he shares his knowledge with celebrated chefs and bakers from across the land, experimenting with milling and cooking methods and partnering with a wide world of enthusiasts to spread the gospel of good grain.

9:45–10 a.m. Break.

10:00–10:45 a.m. Gluten Phobia, White Bread, and NYC Bagel Water: Bread Fact & Fiction — Modernist Cuisine Head Chef Francisco Migoya will share how bread isn’t as simple as you think. It’s steeped in tradition and beliefs—many of them wrong as Migoya as his team discovered while researching and experimenting for the upcoming book Modernist Bread: The Art and Science.

10:45–11 a.m. Break.

11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Annual Business Meeting (current AFJ members only).

12:30–1:45 p.m. Lunch on your own.

1:45–2:30 p.m. Small Business Becomes Big Business: Patric Kuh is a James Beard award-winning Los Angeles restaurant critic and columnist and author of the new book “Finding the Flavors We Lost: From Bread to Bourbon, How Food Artisans Reclaimed American Food.” Kuh will lead a discussion of the artisan food movement in conversation with Armandino Batali, the Boeing retiree who founded Seattle’s Salumi Artisan Meats (you may know his famous son) and Kurt Timmermeister, the farmer, dairyman and memoirist who founded — and lives on — Vashon Island’s Kurtwood Farms (you should know his famous cheese).

2:30–2:45 p.m. Break.

2:45–3:15 p.m. Last Words (conference close): Nancy Leson.

3:15 p.m. Press room closes.

5–10:00 p.m. Optional Woodinville Wine Tasting/Dinner Event at Chateau Ste. Michelle
Post-conference dinner and wine tasting at beautiful Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington State’s founding winery, in Woodinville Wine Country — a half-hour from Seattle (complimentary bus service to and from the event will be provided for AFJ attendees). Participants may expect to return to Seattle by around 10 p.m. this evening.

àMaurice Cellars
Baer Winery
JM Cellars
Long Shadows Vintners
Mark Ryan Winery
Novelty Hill/Januik

Hotel Information

Sheraton Seattle Hotel, 1400 6th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
Reserve your room here
Or you may call 888-627-7056 to reserve your room today. Make sure you mention that you’re with the Association of Food Journalists annual meeting room block.
Getting to and from the hotel

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors


Dorothy Kalins has been an innovator in magazine editorial and management for decades. In 2001 Kalins joined Newsweek as Executive Editor, brought in to build consensus and lead a team to rethink the magazine’s editorial direction. She helped direct the magazine’s National Magazine Award–winning coverage of 9/11.

Kalins was the first woman ever named Adweek’s Editor of the Year; she was awarded the prestigious Matrix Award from Women in Communications for her work in magazines. In 2010, she accepted the Exceptional Woman in Publishing Award from WIPP. In 2013, Kalins was inducted into the Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who in Food & Beverage.

Kalins was founding partner and editor in chief of Meigher Communications, where she founded Saveur in 1994. Saveur was based on an idea Kalins had for a food magazine that would connect readers to authentic ingredients, experiences, and traditions—ideas that forever changed the category of food magazines. In its first five years under her direction, Saveur received 17 nominations and won three National Magazine Awards including one for general excellence, as well as many awards from the James Beard Foundation (including one for Kalins herself for magazine writing, and the Foundation’s Best Cookbook Award, for “Saveur Cooks Authentic American,” first in a series of three Saveur books).

In 2006, Kalins launched Dorothy Kalins Ink, editorial consultants. As director, she and her team work on book and magazine projects both here and abroad, producing and writing cookbooks and consulting on editorial positioning, management, staffing, and redesign.

Kalins has produced and edited four seminal books with chef John Besh about the food of New Orleans, the award-winning “My New Orleans,” followed by “My Family Table” (IACP winner and Beard nominee), “Cooking From the Heart”, and in 2015, “Besh Big Easy”. Her collaboration with Chez Panisse chef and New York Times food columnist David Tanis resulted in the bestselling “A Platter of Figs,” and a followup, “Heart of the Artichoke.” In 2013, Kalins co-authored the first-ever “Gramercy Tavern Cookbook” with chef Michael Anthony and a history by Danny Meyer. Last fall’s collaboration with Anthony, “V is for Vegetables,” won the 2016 James Beard Book Award in its category. Kalins also produced “Zahav,” the definitive work on Israeli-American cuisine with the award-winning chef Michael Solomonov. That book was named James Beard Book of the Year in 2016.

Kalins is currently at work on “The Shake Shack Book,” to be published in 2017, as well as another two books with Michael Solomonov. She is an editorial consultant to Panna, a leading edge video cookbook for the iPad.

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