Stratford will host the fifth annual Culinary Tourism and Local Food Summit, which presents an opportunity for farmers, producers, chefs, restaurateurs, retailers and buyers to connect with their peers in Wellington, Waterloo, Huron and Perth counties.
The summit takes place Monday at the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A full day of sessions begins with a best practices panel discussion with Steve Beauchesne of Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. near Ottawa and Cynthia Peters, owner of From the Farm Cooking School in Prince Edward County.
They will join four regional business owners to discuss their experiences with culinary tourism and local food.
The classic “speed dating” session invites chefs and buyers to circulate and interact with farmers stationed around the room featuring their products, while a learning lunch session encourages discussion around current issues including leveraging events to boost your business, working through the challenges of local food with a farmer and chef team and learning about specialty crops that can be grown in the region.
Afternoon break-out sessions will focus on engaging existing and potential customers by delving deeper into different sectors of culinary tourism.
The day will be capped off with an interactive product development session led by Rebecca LeHeup, executive director of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, who will present the assets and opportunities in this region and the potential that lies ahead using the tools and resources available to businesses.