Board of Directors

Chantal Cooke
Chantal Cooke
Wales, United Kingdom

Chantal Cooke is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, travel writer, and co-founder of the UK’s ethical radio station PASSION for the PLANET. She has been vegetarian for over 30 years and is passionate about promoting tourism as a force for good – especially when it comes to food. Her key focus is ethical and responsible food tourism, in particular helping restaurants and other food venues cater to, and benefit from, the growing vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian market. Chantal was appointed a London Leader in Sustainability by the Mayor of London for her work promoting green and ethical living. Chantal has worked as journalist / presenter for the BBC, commercial radio, national newspapers and magazines for over 25 years. She has reported from Bosnia and Northern Ireland, and written travel articles for the Independent on Sunday and The Guardian. In 2002 she set up PASSION for the PLANET, which broadcast on DAB and via the Internet, picked up a number of awards and attracted an audience of over 100,000. During that time, Chantal interviewed over 6,000 people. She is author of two books and has been featured in a number of business books and even a novel! In addition to her social links below, find Passion for the Planet on Twitter here and on Facebook here.

Erik Wolf
Erik Wolf
USA | UK | Spain

Erik is the founder of the food travel trade industry, and founder and Executive Director of the World Food Travel Association, the world’s leading authority on food and beverage tourism. He’s also the publisher of Have Fork Will Travel and author of Culinary Tourism: The Hidden Harvest. He’s also a highly sought speaker on food and beverage tourism. He has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek and Forbes, and on CNN, Sky TV, the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, PeterGreenberg.com, and other leading media outlets.

Favorite cuisines – Italian, then India/Thai, then Levant (Middle Eastern). Favorite drink – red wine or hard cider. Favorite dessert – chocolate is always the correct choice. Favorite destination for food or drink – San Sebastian, Spain or Bologna, Italy. Where I want to travel (back to) for food next – Portland, Oregon, USA.

Founder, World Food Travel Association
Midgi Moore
Midgi Moore
Juneau, Alaska, USA

Midgi Moore, CCTP is the owner and Chief Eating Officer for Juneau Food Tours. She has lived in Alaska for more than 10 years and got her start in the culinary industry as a food writer and blogger. Midgi has worked diligently to tell Alaska’s food story, particularly in Juneau, seeking unique opportunities to share Alaska’s rich food story. Her company opened in 2015 and has hosted thousands of hungry visitors in Alaska’s capital city. She serves on the Advisory Board for the World Food Travel Association, from which she earned a Culinary Travel Professional certification. On the local level, she serves as President of the Juneau Downtown Business Association and on the board of Juneau Rollergirls, a non-profit roller derby league. She is also a Junior League volunteer and teaches 5th graders about entrepreneurship. Her passion for food and telling the story of Alaska have been noted in the New York Times, Washington Times, Washington Post, Vogue.com, as well as countless blogs and international and national television shows, including All the Best with Zita and Gordon Ramsey: Uncharted.

Aashi Vel
Aashi Vel
San Francisco, California, USA

Aashi Vel is the co-founder and co-CEO of Traveling Spoon, a company that is changing the future of travel by creating meaningful travel experiences. Traveling Spoon provides travelers with private, authentic food experiences, from homemade meals to cooking classes, in people’s homes around the world. The company has been featured on Business Insider, TIME magazine and Forbes as the future of culinary tourism. Most importantly, the company has meaningful impact, not only on travelers but also on their hosts that are enabled to become micro-entrepreneurs, earning an income doing what they love. An industrial designer and patent holder with a deep passion for problem-solving, Aashi has designed several award-winning products. Aashi enjoys helping aspiring entrepreneurs by brainstorming an appropriate minimum viable product to get their companies started. She is a magna cum laude graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design and received her MBA from UC Berkeley. Aashi also co-hosts the Association’s Eat Well Travel Better: The Business of Food Travel podcast.

Roberta Garibaldi
Roberta Garibaldi
Bergamo, Italy

Roberta Garibaldi is an academic professor with long-established expertise in wine and food tourism. She is also member of a number of scientific committee and editorial boards; among which she is member of the board of the World Gastronomy Institute and of the governing board of the Italian Society of Tourism Science (SISTUR). She participates in many conferences as a keynote speaker and has a long experience in coordinating and managing territorial projects both at international and local level. She has also been a speaker for the wine and food forum of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). She has authored several scientific publications, including monographs, curatorship and contributions in books, scientific journals and conferences’ proceedings. She is the author of the “Report on Gastronomy Tourism in Italy”.

Lionel Chee
Lionel Chee
Singapore

Graduated from Les Roches Hotel School Switzerland, he has spent more than 10 years in the hotel industry, 20 years running a heritage restaurant in Singapore and catering and presently promoting local heritage food as a licensed tour guide in Singapore and cooking lessons during his spare time. He is also the lead guide for a few travel agents and sits on the board of Society of Tourist Guides.

Suzanne Storms
Suzanne Storms
Hong Kong, China

Suzanne Storms, Principal Instructor of International Cuisine at the International Culinary Institute in Hong Kong, was raised in the northeastern United States.

Her cultural curiosity and dedication to hospitality has led her to China, The United Arab Emirates, South Korea, and back to China.

Her focus includes the development of culinary educational programmes, curriculum, and content, teaching, and research on work integrated learning placement and its influence on the career success of culinary professionals.

Her professional interests include the work culture of chefs, hospitality development and management, and higher education.

Jose Maria de Juan Alonso
Jose Maria de Juan Alonso
Madrid, Spain

José María has had a long career as an international tourism consultant, always involved in the enhancement of the cultural and natural heritage, sustainable tourism  and the creation of products and services for niche tourism markets.

Through his own company KOAN Consulting he has worked extensively in product design and marketing of food and wine tourism for a variety of regions and countries. Currently he serves as the training director for the Spanish Wine Tourism Association. He also shares the position of Technical Secretary of ITER VITIS – The European Vineyard and Wine Routes.

He is currently involved in different food system and food tourism development projects, such as the EU Project “Sustainable Food System for Development within the Social Economy in Europe”, launched in November 2017. He is also a lead in the new project “Los paisajes de la Sierra de Madrid se sientan a la mesa” (The landscape of the Madrid Sierra sits at the table), the first integral approach of responsible food tourism developed in Spain, with a pilot at the regional level financed by the Madrid regional Government. He also serves as Scientific Advisor of FoodTreX Pamplona, held yearly in Pamplona (Navarra, Spain).

Maria Athanasopoulou
Maria Athanasopoulou
Thessaloniki, Greece

Maria Athanasopoulou first got involved with tourism in Greece when she started writing articles in 2008, as an amateur but soon afterwards in 2009, she becomes chief editor of the online, non-profitable e-magazine Taksidi 2 Greece. At the same time, she established the company Respond on Demand aiming to the promotion of all types of Greek tourism to travel agents abroad. She is a member of the International Association of tourism writers and photographers and participates with often articles to online magazines and electronic travel platforms. Gastronomy is the main focus of Top Tourism nonprofit company, where Maria is a co-owner. She has addressed speeches to several events concerning the important role of gastronomy to tourism development. She also serves as ambassador in Greece of the World Food Travel Association, supporting the development of food tourism in the region. She currently serves as the Association’s Chairperson of the Board of Directors.

Brian F. Lorge
Brian F. Lorge
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Foodservice and craft beverage industry management services, marketing and consulting expert with 39 years of industry experience drawing from single and multi-unit operations management at all levels. Over 15 years in foodservice distribution senior management for Fortune 100 leader including Corporate Executive Chef, Brand Manager and 10 years as VP of Marketing. Currently, President/CEO of award winning agency for 11 years, Executive Director of three American Culinary Federation Chapters: Michigan Chefs de Cuisine, the Windy City Professional Culinarians and the ACF Cleveland Chefs. Vice President of Marketing for Baderbräu Brewing Company; Vice-Chairman, Sec./Treas., Certified Ambassador & Certified Culinary Travel Professional (CCTP), World Food & Travel Association and freelance writer, editor and publisher for Foodtrekker. Current/past clients include ACF National office; the Michigan Restaurant Association, Lansing, MI; Master Food Brokers, Chicago; Tyson Foods; Levy Restaurants: Ford Field & The Detroit Lions; Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Restaurants & Catering Company/True Cuisine, Wood Dale, IL; Steve & Rocky’s, Rocky’s of Northville and Rocky’s Rotisserie, Weber’s Inn, Westborn Markets (3 stores) in Suburban Detroit; Moonraker (2 units), Battle Creek; Hamburg Enhanced Recreation Organization, Hamburg Twp., MI; and many other DMO’s, NGO’s, Chambers, manufacturers, distributors, brokers, schools and private clubs.

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