The 2018 AFJ Annual Conference: Save Money + Experience the MIM!

A jazz organ at the Musical Instrument Museum, just one of the highlights in this collection of global instruments. Photo courtesy Musical Instrument Museum. 

A jazz organ at the Musical Instrument Museum, just one of the highlights in this collection of global instruments. Photo courtesy Musical Instrument Museum. 

The 2018 AFJ annual conference is packed with sessions designed to challenge and inspire you, including our Friday morning plenary featuring Eric Newton, Innovation Chief at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Newton's session will detail how modern-day journalism tools were predicted in pop culture and science fiction. He'll address how the past impacts the future and where things go from here. Check out the full conference agenda and list of speakers at


House-made mesquite meal and Supai red corn quesadillas, a feature at Café Allegro's 2017 Eat Local Challenge. Photo courtesy Café Allegro. 

House-made mesquite meal and Supai red corn quesadillas, a feature at Café Allegro's 2017 Eat Local Challenge. Photo courtesy Café Allegro. 

The night before we get things rolling, join us for an opening reception like you’ve never experienced before at AFJ. If you’ve attended past conferences, you know that Tuesdayevening before the conference is usually low key, with perhaps a bar meet-up at the host hotel. 

Not so this year. The incredible Musical Instrument Museum (the MIM) will open its doors for a private reception for AFJ conference attendees. The AFJ Board will welcome you to one of the top attractions in Phoenix, rated one of the top 25 museums in the country by TripAdvisor. 

The MIM opened in Phoenix in 2010, founded by Robert J. Ulrich, chairman emeritus of Target Corp. Inspired by the Musical Instrument Museum in Belgium, Ulrich created the Phoenix MIM to, unlike other musical museums, showcase a vast collection of instruments from every country across the globe. There is no other museum in America like the MIM.

Café Allegro, the signature eatery inside the MIM, is operated by Bon Appétit Management Co., an innovative California-based food services company known for turning the traditional corporate contract food services business model upside down. The café’s menu focus is local: Arizona produce and proteins. The photo here highlights a dish from their 2017 Eat Local Challenge, featuring house-made mesquite meal and Supai red corn quesadillas. At the Tuesday evening reception, you'll enjoy a variety of small bites from the café, paired with local Arizona wines, within the confines of one of the most interesting museums in the U.S.

The conference is open to the public. Not a member? Like saving money? Ready to save on your membership AND registration fees? 

Join AFJ as a member now! Folks who join AFJ as new members ($100) and register as an AFJ member ($375) by the June 1 deadline can save $50. Registration rates this year are based on the following tiered pricing structure:

  • May 3 - June 1 - $375 for members; $425 for non-members
  • June 2 - July 13 - $400 for members; $450 for non-members
  • July 14 - Sept. 1 - $475 for members; $525 for non-members

Don't wait. Join AFJ as a member today and join us in Phoenix this September.

AFJ would like to thank our generous sponsors Arizona Vignerons Alliance and Bon Appétit Management Company and Visit Phoenix for making this evening possible.


Looking back on 2017 by AFJ President Kathleen Purvis

Looking back on 2017, has there ever been a year that has better shown the value of ground-breaking food journalism? Months before #metoo and attention to the career-destroying antics of Harvey Weinstein, Brett Anderson of the New Orleans Times-Picayune was already at work, chasing reports of sexual harassment by chef John Besh and disturbing patterns in his company’s treatment of female employees.

That was quickly followed by the solid reporting by Kim Severson and Julia Moskin of The New York Times on similar behavior by restaurateur Ken Friedman. Then Amanda Kludt’s staff at broke the news on accusations against super chef Mario Batali.

As food journalists, many of us can cite times when we were dismissed as “recipe churners” or treated as lesser journalists even in our own newsrooms. But the work of these fine food reporters and editors proves that food journalism is journalism. Period.

While you’re thinking about whether to join AFJ or renew your membership, think about the value of what we all do. In the same way that many members are reinventing themselves and finding new paths for their careers, AFJ is reinventing itself, too, to play a role in supporting skills, training and professional development. And, yes, many of us can still write a mean recipe, too. 

I can’t wait to see what our members will do in 2018. But right now, in 2017, I’m proud to know you all.

Kathleen Purvis, AFJ President and member since 1994



As if AFJ needs to provide a good reason to visit Philadelphia.

Conference chair Maureen Fitzgerald, Philadelphia Inquirer Food Editor, has created an event that highlights Philadelphia's rich history with iconic tastes of the city's inspired foodscape, abundant with so much more than meaty sandwiches. This year's annual conference includes a panel featuring several of the nation's most lauded chefs and restaurateurs, a private lunch for conference attendees at Stephen Starr's beloved Talula's Garden and a discussion exploring the basics of pathfinding your food journalist career while following your moral compass. Pulitzer Prize-finalist Laura Reiley of Tampa Bay Times will moderate a panel with chefs addressing the realities of operating a Farm to Table restaurant with integrity. Signature events of the annual conference kick off Wednesday evening when we honor Marian Burros, recipient of the 2017 Carol DeMasters Award for Service to Food Journalism, followed by the announcement and presentation of the first-, second- and third-place awards to winners of the 2017 AFJ Awards Competition. The Taste of Philadelphia takes place at the newly-opened Museum of the American Revolution Thursday night. Here is the agenda. Ready to register?