The Okanagan Food & Wine Writers Workshop was in Kelowna once again this year, and again the city rolled out the welcome mat. This scholarly group was here to dive into professional development workshops on writing, pitching, crafting a story, coming up with angles, and how to present their work. They did this from the focused environment of their Cove Lakeside Resort digs from May 9 through 11, and put their learnings into practice by visiting local hot spots for food and wine and using the experiences and characters they met here as fodder for their stories, blogs, and writings. Some blogposts have already started to come in, so check out my blogroll at the bottom of this column to browse what the participants are saying about the workshop and the special local businesses they have discovered along the way.
The workshop is organized by ‘seasoned’ food writer Jennifer Cockrall-King (pardon the pun), and has become an annual occurrence in Kelowna. Cockrall-King has had her articles published in numerous publications across Canada ranging from West World Magazine to enRoute magazine and has written a book on urban agriculture called Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution.
The participants for the workshop come from all over Canada to hone their writing, including Calgary, Edmonton, Swift Current, Vancouver, and several local writers. She has assembled an impressive cast of instructors who will join her in leading the workshop sessions of the Okanagan Food & Wine Writers Workshop.
Anita Stewart was awarded a Doctor of Laws (Honouris causa) in 2011 from the University of Guelph’s College of Management & Economics and in 2012 was invested into the Order of Canada. She is the University of Guelph’s Food Laureate, a first for both Canada and the world. She is the first Canadian to earn a Master of Arts in Gastronomy from the University of Adelaide in South Australia; has authored or co-authored 14 books on Canadian foods and wines and is a regular on CBC Radio Radio. She is the Senior Editor of Taste and Travel Magazine and the founder/creator of Food Day Canada, a pan-Canadian event that celebrates the summer’s bounty in our most respected restaurants.
Neal McLennan is the Food & Travel editor at Western Living Magazine and the spirits columnist at Vancouver Magazine. He's also a frequent contributor to such outlets as EnRoute, Cooking Light, BC Business and Seattle Magazine writing on topics ranging from first growth Bordeaux to the glass ceilings at corporate law firms. He lives in Vancouver with his wife Amanda Ross and their two young daughters.
Julie Van Rosendaal
Julie Van Rosendaal is the author of six best-selling cookbooks, the latest being Alice Eats: a Wonderland Cookbook she co-authored with chef-illustrator Pierre Lamielle. Julie is also the food editor of Parents Canada magazine and a freelance writer, contributing regularly to local, national and international publications. She's the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One, co-host of It’s Just Food on the OWN television network, and is the co-editor (with Elizabeth Booth) of RollingSpoon.com, an online magazine that talks to bands and musicians about what they like to cook and eat. Julie is a food photographer and stylist for various print campaigns, and she is perhaps best known as the writer/photographer for her award-winning food blog, DinnerwithJulie.com, which documents real life in her home kitchen in Calgary, Alberta with her husband, Mike, and 8 year old son, Willem.
A freelance writer based in Penticton, BC, above the Naramata Bench, Roslyne Buchanan is a regular contributor on topics such as food and drink, travel, and lifestyle in media such as Food & Wine Trails, The Field Guide, Savour, Niche, Destinations Travel Magazine, blog.hellobc.com, and myvancity.ca.
Nancy is the owner of Sandhill Book Marketing Ltd., a Kelowna-based book distribution company formed in 1984. For 30 years, the company has specialized in the sales and distribution of independently published and small press books. Sandhill has a large retail customer base of independent bookstores, chain stores and specialty accounts across the country. In addition to managing the distribution company, Nancy has also published five titles under the imprint of Sandhill Publishing. She is the co-author of the highly successful How to Self Publish and Make Money with Marion Crook which, until it went out of print after selling almost 10,000 copies, served as an introduction to the Canadian book industry for those who are new to it.
Jennifer is a food culture writer, splitting her time between Edmonton, Alberta, and the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. She is the Consumption columnist for Eighteen Bridges magazine, and writes for other publications such as Maclean’s, Western Living, NUVO, and enRoute magazine. She is the author of Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and The New Food Revolution.
A few highlights of their food and wine experiences in Kelowna were touring Paynter’s Market in West Kelowna with founder, the amazing Sheila Paynter and her granddaughter Jennay Oliver; and then feasting al fresco at Rabbit Hollow with The Chef Instead, Martin Laprise, and the Happy Gourmand, Kristin Peturson-Laprise. They also took in the Reds, Whites and Blues Wine Festival event at The Cove Lakeside Resort and met the wineries of the Westside Wine Trail. They enjoyed a film featuring Kevin Kent, Knifewear Kelowna owner, and talked sharp kitchen tools with the Knifewear personalities. Finally they dined surrounded by apple blossoms at Function Junction Fruit Stand in Kelowna on a gourmet meal prepared by Chef Matthew Batey, at a lunch sponsored by BC Tree Fruits.
There is so much to see and do in Kelowna if you’re a foodie… and if your passion is to write about it, then this workshop is undoubtedly the crème de la crème in professional development. Distinctly Kelowna Tours was the guided transport service provider for the Okanagan Food and Wine Writers Workshop, an instrumental aspect of this workshop as any event organizer can attest, and one that truly showcased Kelowna in a professional and personable way.
When all was said and done, the participants of the workshop, who are avid voices in the social media, created a big buzz around Kelowna within their social media spheres. Read about the impact of their tweeting and social media on our Tourism Kelowna News Centre blog.
Here are some of the blogposts that have been written so far – with more to come. It is plain to see that this workshop delivers big results for workshoppers and for Kelowna as the host destination and all participating businesses. Keep your eye on the workshop’s website for updates and information on the 2015 workshop.