Directors

Erik Wolf
Erik Wolf
Founder & Executive Director - Portland | London | Barcelona

Erik is the founder of the food travel trade industry, 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
Lionel Chee
Lionel Chee
Board Member - 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
Board Member - 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
Board Member - 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
Board Member - 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 promote 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 the 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.

Maria won the Association’s Ambassador of the Year award in 2017. She joined the Association’s Board of Directors in 2019.

favorite cuisine – Greek

favorite drink – white wine

favorite dessert – profiteroles are always the best!

favorite destination for food or drink – Italy

where I want to travel for food next – Spain

Brian F. Lorge
Brian F. Lorge
Board Chairman - 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.

Wojtek Osinski
Wojtek Osinski
Board Vice Chairman - Warsaw, Poland

Wojtek is an innovator with strong understanding of consumers and marketing. He manages the Taste Poland website and offers food and beverage tourism consulting as needed. Previously, he successfully managed local and regional brands at Nestle. He’s a pragmatic & result driven team leader; a strategist with long-term thinking; and innovator; and of course, a food traveller & blogger. Wojtek serves as Vice Chairman of the World Food Travel Association’s Board of Directors, as well as a certified ambassador of the Association in Poland.

favorite cuisine – Italian and Polish, of course

favorite drink – gin usually with tonic modern variations work too

favorite dessert – mango sticky rice

favorite destination for food or drink – Sicily and Tuscany, Italy

where I want to travel for food next – Andalusia, Spain

Certified Ambassadors

Erik Wolf
Erik Wolf
Founder & Executive Director - Portland | London | Barcelona

Erik is the founder of the food travel trade industry, 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
Jane Connelly
Jane Connelly
Asst Marketing Manager - Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Jane is strong believer of food and travel as a mechanism for sustainable tourism and economic growth. Whether it is promoting local culinary cultures or developing food tourism initiatives. Food and travel and go hand in hand. Favorite cuisine – Thai. Favorite drink – Albariño White Wine. Favorite destination for food or drink – Sevilla, Spain. Where I want to travel for food next – Hong Kong.

Garry Taylor
Garry Taylor
South Wales, United Kingdom

Garry serves as an Ambassador to the World Food Travel Association in Wales, United Kingdom.

Chrissa Krassa
Chrissa Krassa
Thessaloniki, Greece

Chrissa has been involved to the tourism sector since 2000 as the Director of Philoxenia Tourism Exhibition. In 2011, she started working at Respond On Demand promoting Greek tourism destinations and Greek Hotels to tourism professionals worldwide (tour operators, travel agents, MICE organizers etc). She serves as an Ambassador to the World Food Travel Association in Greece.

Camille Hoheb
Camille Hoheb
Upstate New York, USA

Camille is one of the most recognized champions of wellness travel and is the President of Wellness Tourism Worldwide (WTW). At WTW, she leads consultancy engagements that assist governments, businesses, and entrepreneurs to capitalize on the US$500+ billion wellness tourism industry. She serves as an Ambassador for the World Food Travel Association to the wellness tourism industry.

Suraj Pradhan
Suraj Pradhan
Kathmandu, Nepal

Suraj serves as am Ambassador of the World Food Travel Association in Nepal.

Disha Kapoor
Disha Kapoor
Delhi, India

Disha serves as an Ambassador of the World Food Travel Association in India.

Luis Cortes Martinez
Luis Cortes Martinez
San Sebastian, Spain
Gloria Rodriguez
Gloria Rodriguez
Madrid, Spain

Gloria represents the World Food Travel Association as a certified ambassador in Spain.

Veruska Anconitano
Veruska Anconitano
Dublin, Ireland

I’m a Freelance Food and Travel writer and also a Freelance Online Marketing Manager for food and travel brands and destinations from all over the world. I decided to start my food and travel blog in 2010, when I moved to Ireland. Since then, I’ve been working with brands, companies, tourism boards and magazines. The connection between food and travel is the thing I’m interested the most and it allows me to travel a lot to discover food, small local experiences and things that “normal” tourists don’t even know exist. Thanks to my experience, I’m also invited to speak regularly at international food and travel events (e.g. TBEX and similar) and an Ambassador of Italian Food in the World. I’m also a certified sommelier.

Check out my YouTube Channel.

Check out my other website.

Udi Goldschmidt
Udi Goldschmidt
Jerusalem, Israel

Since 2000, Udi has been creating food tourism adventures. Udi built the Bedouin style hospitality camp at the Massada National Park and established the Jerusalem Culinary Institute. As one of the founders of culinary tourism attractions, Udi is a popular speaker on the subject and a consultant to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. He currently writes and publishes articles about the uniqueness of Israel as a food destination. In 2017-18, Udi served as the elected Chair of the Israeli Association for Culinary Culture. Currently Udi promotes the concept of the Culinary Museum of Israel while being the National coordinator for the Slow Food Chef Alliance. Udi is also a Certified Ambassador of the World Food Travel Association and a member of the Association’s Advisors & Experts Network.
Read Udi’s weekly blog.

Gerrie du Rand
Gerrie du Rand
Pretoria, South Africa

Gerrie is an associate professor in the Department of Consumer and Food Sciences in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa. She is recognized academically, both nationally and internationally, as a researcher and expert in the field of Food and Hospitality related consumer behaviour.  Her specialty area of interest is food tourism and the use of local foods in culinary mapping.  Her current extensive involvement with post graduate students focuses on topics ranging from consumer food practices and behaviour, culinary practices, innovative culinary product development and food tourism. She is currently involved in various research projects regarding  consumer aspects of food safety of fresh produce, food waste management and food security.  She has published various articles and chapters on food tourism and culinary mapping as a tool in destination marketing.

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.

Livio Colapinto
Livio Colapinto
Trani, Apulia, Italy

Quality, objectives and performances are my sweet & sour obsessions. When working as a consultant, my primary focus is understanding needs; then provide solutions; then implementing changes; then exceeding goals. Naturally born curious, I find relentless opportunities within my ever-evolving network of contacts. I am a forward-thinker and avid consumer of new experiences, challenges and knowledge. I enjoy being engaged and inspired by others and I like to aim at the big picture while constantly controlling relevant details. He is also a co-owner of Zest of Italy.  He has designed and managed projects in Food and Hospitality businesses, mentoring companies and leading start-ups such as Slow Food (IT and JP), Eataly (IT), LA Organic (Madrid, ES), Italia Club (Tokyo, JP), Eli Zabar (New York, US), Mozza Group (Los Angeles, US), One Off Hospitality (Chicago, US), Maison Troisgros (FR), Jagerwirt (AT), Fink Haberl (AT). He has also assisted international food professionals like Paul Kahan, Eli Zabar, Michel Troisgros, Oscar Farinetti, Chad Colby, Johanne Killeen, Don Madia, Therry Alexander, Erik Wolf, Ben Poremba, Werner Goach, Manfred Flieser, Faith Willinger, Benedict Beaugè, Corby Kummer, & Carlo Petrini.

Roberta Garibaldi
Roberta Garibaldi
Bergamo, Italy

Roberta Garibaldi is responsible for the Tourism Lab, professor of Marketing and Tourism Industry and researcher in ‘Management of Tourism Industries’ at the University of Bergamo. She is Director of the East Lombardy European Region of Gastronomy and coordinator of the Observatory on Enogastronomy Tourism. She has been engaged in several research and consulting activities such as planning, coordination and development of research and consulting for local authorities, consortium and companies. Also she was involved in research with other universities, e.g. University of Milano-Bicocca, University of Milano, University of California-Chico, and Trentino School of Management. Roberta is author of books and papers published in national and international journals.

In addition to the above, she is also a board member of IGCAT (International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism); a member of AIEST (Association Internationale d’Experts Scientifiques du Tourisme); member of ATLAS (Association for Tourism and Leisure Education); and a delegate of the Lombardy Region to SISTUR (Italian Association of Tourism Sciences).

Lionel Chee
Lionel Chee
Board Member - 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.

Jose Maria de Juan Alonso
Jose Maria de Juan Alonso
Board Member - 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
Board Member - 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 promote 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 the 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.

Maria won the Association’s Ambassador of the Year award in 2017. She joined the Association’s Board of Directors in 2019.

favorite cuisine – Greek

favorite drink – white wine

favorite dessert – profiteroles are always the best!

favorite destination for food or drink – Italy

where I want to travel for food next – Spain

Wojtek Osinski
Wojtek Osinski
Board Vice Chairman - Warsaw, Poland

Wojtek is an innovator with strong understanding of consumers and marketing. He manages the Taste Poland website and offers food and beverage tourism consulting as needed. Previously, he successfully managed local and regional brands at Nestle. He’s a pragmatic & result driven team leader; a strategist with long-term thinking; and innovator; and of course, a food traveller & blogger. Wojtek serves as Vice Chairman of the World Food Travel Association’s Board of Directors, as well as a certified ambassador of the Association in Poland.

favorite cuisine – Italian and Polish, of course

favorite drink – gin usually with tonic modern variations work too

favorite dessert – mango sticky rice

favorite destination for food or drink – Sicily and Tuscany, Italy

where I want to travel for food next – Andalusia, Spain