Annual conference registration closes Weds., Aug. 16

This time next month we'll be walking through Reading Terminal Market to meet with Anuj Gupta, general manager of the Market and Rick Nichols, former food columnist and editorial writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer who championed the preservation of the market when its future was uncertain. Later that day we'll tackle how freelance journalists earn a living with many fewer opportunities for traditional journalism, followed by a tour of La Colombe coffee and distillery. A secret local expert will then wrap up our afternoon in the Fishtown neighborhood with a behind the scenes tour of three local distilleries, New Liberty, Rowhouse Spirits and Philadelphia Distilling. That evening we'll toast local and regional specialties at our signature event, Taste, at the Museum of the American Revolution

Registration closes this Wednesday, August 16. Don't wait. Register today!



La Colombe Coffee and Distillery in Fishtown. 

La Colombe Coffee and Distillery in Fishtown. 

Dozens of food vendors share regional delicacies at Reading Terminal Market. 

Dozens of food vendors share regional delicacies at Reading Terminal Market. 

5 Things You Didn't Know About Eating in Philadelphia

As a Philly native and a food writer, I can tell you one thing for sure: A lot of people have the food scene here dead wrong. For example, I wouldn’t suggest wasting a meal on a cheesesteak. Soft pretzels do not justify the stomach space they take up and our famous Tastykakes are really not all they have been made out to be.

At this point, you’ve probably got our heaviest hitting restaurants on your list of places to dine, and the likes of ZahavFork, and Bibou are more than worth a visit—if you have the budget and can get a reservation. But just under the surface of Philadelphia’s food image lies a treasure trove of unsung pleasures. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about us that you should keep in mind as you plot your Philly food itinerary.

It’s not all about the restaurants. You probably have heard about our restaurant scene and the celebrity chefs that have helped Philadelphia rise to national prominence. But you might not have heard about a lesser known part of our culinary landscape: Food artisans, specialty grocers, and other makers. In Reading Terminal Market alone, you can taste world-class charcuterie at La Divisa Meats, try local farmstead cheeses and small batch pickles at Fair Food Farmstand, or take some freshly churned butter from Condiment back to your hotel room along with your High Street bread.

We’ve got surprisingly healthy options. We’re not all bread, meat, and cheese in Philly. If you are interested in lighter, healthier eats, this is a great place to visit. For starters, we have what is likely the very best vegan restaurant in the US in Vedge. Yes, it books up far in advance. If you miss the chance to nab a table, check out Vedge’s sister restaurant V Street—it’s more casual and just as terrific. Other amazing vegan spots include Charlie Was a Sinner,P.S. & Co. and Miss Rachel’s Pantry.

International eats abound. Philadelphia is home to one of the largest Cambodian populations in America. Several wonderful restaurants have opened to serve them the spicy, vegetable-forward food of their homeland. These friendly restaurants are very welcoming. Take a short bus or cab ride to South Philly to eat at Khmer Kitchen. The Inquirer’s Craig LaBan will tell you exactly what to order. We’ve also got Mexican food galore, West African, Malaysian, and Vietnamese… to name a few of the global cuisines you’ll find here.

Zero-proof drinks. It’s true that Philadelphia is a great place to indulge in craft beer, natural wine, and high-end cocktails. But if you’re not in the mood for booze, we’ve still got you covered for festive drinks. At ITV, Top Chef winner Nick Elmi’s outstanding bar on East Passyunk Avenue, genius bartenders mix cocktails made with Seedlip—the world’s first distilled nonalcoholic spirit. Vernick, this year’s James Beard award-winning restaurant for the Mid-Atlantic region, pours house-made sodas that refresh a thirsty traveler and complement its outstanding food. In Fishtown, both Front Street Café and La Colombe offer locally made kombucha on draft.

Our oldies are still goodies. New restaurants tend to get all the love, but in this town, when a restaurant stays in business for 10-plus years, you know the food is good. One such place to seek out? Chlöe BYOB in Old City. This charming spot will tell you everything you want to know about neighborhood restaurants here. You’ll be tempted to order the whole menu, but the ribs are a must. And they are enough to share. Regulars throw fits in the dining room if this dish runs outs. Bistro 7Paradiso, and Amada are all classics that rarely get attention anymore but are going strong after all these years.

Joy Manning is editor of Edible Philly and the cohost of the Local Mouthful podcast. She will moderate the panel Food Journalism in the Gig Economy at the AFJ annual conference. Follow her food adventures on Instagram @joymanning. Don't wait. Review the agenda and register for the conference today. 


Jessica Stugelmayer joined AFJ as a member in June 2016. She won a 2017 James Beard Foundation Media "Best Television Segment" Award for her work on "Harvesting Alaska", which includes stories on yak farming and more. We asked Jessica to share the top three reasons she is investing her time and money to attend the 2017 AFJ annual conference in Philadelphia.  

When I am deciding whether or not to attend a conference, I have to justify the hefty price tag of traveling from Alaska. Here’s why I’m going to the AFJ conference in Philadelphia.

Priceless connections - The people you meet at this conference will be the ones you reach out to when visiting a new city or writing about a type of regional cuisine. During a recent trip to San Francisco, a journalist I sat next to at an awards dinner met me for a drink in a great little dive bar and we discussed ways to find funding as independent producers.

Inspiration - Get out of the daily grind and dream up new projects while surrounded by some of the brightest minds in our industry. Anne Lamott wrote that writers spend their days listening, observing, and storing things away. Then we take it home and turn it into gold. (Or at least we try.)

Future collaborations - After you’ve met these amazing people and come up with innovative ideas, you’ll go your separate ways. But weeks, months, maybe even years after the conference, those connections could lead to something more – maybe you start the next big thing like Canal House or invent the successor of the Tasty-style videos.

Early bird rate extended to July 28!

AFJ loves ya. We hate to see good people spend lose an opportunity to save big bucks, so we have extended the early bird registration deadline to Friday, July 28. That doesn't mean you should wait until Friday to register!

The coaching sessions are FILLED, we are now accepting waitlist requests. The walking tours are almost full. Here is the agenda for the conference. Don't wait. Save $75. Register today!


We love early birds

It pays to register early for the 2017 AFJ annual conference. The private tours to landmarks and hidden gems of Philadelphia offer new perspectives of national icons and distinct neighborhoods. Arranged by our Platinum Sponsor Visit Philadelphia, these tours are limited to the first 30-40 people who register. Available spots are going fast. High fives to early birds Gwen Ashley WaltersCynthia ClampittNancy LesonSuzanne LoudermilkSusan NicholsonLaura Reiley,Steve Hoffman and Molly Watson, just a few of the folks who have locked down spots on these tours.

SAVE MONEY, WIN A PRIZE! EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION CLOSES JULY 19 - Hey there, VIP. This conference is going to be amazing because of you. Because email and Twitter can't replace conversations over cheesesteaks and stories shared walking from one distillery to the next. Collaboration is powerful and AFJ facilitates these opportunities at the national conference. Register today  to receive the early bird rate of $375 per person for three days of programs designed to sharpen your skills and kindle your curiosity. This exceptional value includes a discount over the regular registration rate of $450, which goes into effect July 20. Early birds also receive automatic entry in the  Visit Philadelphia  + AFJ giveaway contest that includes a two-night hotel stay and $100 gift certificates to   Starr Restaurants   and  GARCES . Save money and win a prize? Score.  

BRINGING CANAL HOUSE TO YOU - Conference chair Maureen Fitzgerald, Philadelphia Inquirer Food Editor, secured Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer as the keynote speakers for this year's conference. The creative geniuses behind Canal House will be available for nine coaching sessions on Wednesday, Sept. 13. These first-come, first-served sessions fill quickly, often taken by our early bird registrants. Only seven coaching sessions are still available. Stay tuned for the summer newsletter feature on why Maureen sought out these media powerhouses for the AFJ conference. Here is the full agenda. Ready to register?

HOTEL INFORMATION - The Loews Philadelphia is our host hotel for the 2017 national conference. Insiders know that this is the place to stay in Philadelphia. The Loews will be home base for conference operations. Our early bird arrival meet and greet will take place Tuesday evening at Bank & Bourbon bar inside the hotel and registration occurs at the Loews Wednesday morning. Buses to offsite tours convene at the hotel. Don't miss the exclusive AFJ discounted rate of $199/night! Click here to register via the conference hotel registration site. A pop-up menu will appear, asking you to select your guest type. Choose "ATTENDEE" and proceed to make your reservation using this dedicated website. See you at the Loews!  

Did we miss something? Email with additional questions. Visit our shiny new website to learn more about the Association of Food Journalists.


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?

AFJ announces finalists for 2017 AFJ Awards Competition

We are pleased to announce the complete list of finalists in the 2017 AFJ Awards Competition. This year we received almost 300 entries from a wide swath of publications. Eater, San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post led the list with at least six finalists each. We look forward to recognizing the first-, second- and third-place winners on Sept. 13, 2017, at a special awards ceremony during AFJ’s annual conference in Philadelphia.