North America’s top women in food and beverage will gather for the WCR—Women Chefs & Restaurateurs National Conference and 25th Anniversary Celebration for two days of speakers, panels, education and mentor sessions a cooking competition and festivities, April 21–23 at the ARIA in Minneapolis and St. Paul College.
This year’s theme, “Women Speak: Curating the Future of Food,” explores how women are shaping the industry and offers invaluable learnings for females in the culinary industry. Themes covered in the conference include restaurant culture and harassment in the workplace, representing the female voice, building a personal brand, and female entrepreneurs, as well as more trend-focused topics like cooking with heirloom grains, sustainable seafood, beer pairings, innovations in produce, and more.
Founded in 1993, WCR is a nonprofit organization that works to promote and enhance the education, advancement, and connection of women in food, beverage, and hospitality businesses across the world. The 2018 conference will feature:
An Opening Keynote by Carla Hall: As this year’s keynote speaker, the co-host of ABC’s “The Chew” and competitor on Bravo’s “Top Chef” will share a dynamic talk that explores this year’s theme to kick off the conference.
GrubHub RestaurantHER Campaign: Attendees will learn more about GrubHub’s RestaurantHER campaign, an initiative dedicated to supporting women-led restaurants nationwide. The first $100,000 of their $1 million pledge will be donated to WCR to support its scholarship program and pilot a mentorship program, as well as the development of a LEADership toolkit to help make restaurant culture more equitable. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to contribute to building the toolkit in real time.
Fifth Annual WCR Food Games: While enjoying a lunch featuring recipes from WCR founders, attendees will be treated to a twist on the conference’s crowd-pleasing favorite Food Games: this year in the form of a video. Hosted by Elizabeth Falkner, the culinary competition will be filmed in collaboration with Yale University and presented during lunch, with the winner announced live, receiving their award from Holland America.
Opening Night Party: The brightest female culinary talent from the Twin Cities prepares a wide array of food and drink for the opening night party, with plenty of delicious bites, beverages, and entertainment to celebrate the first night of the conference.
Breakout Sessions: Conference attendees can learn more about trends in the industry, as well as personal and professional development, through intimate educational seminars and demos covering everything from sweet and savory applications of Belgian chocolate, peanut butter and fermentation pairing, to how women curate a healthy planet, B.O.L.D. Leadership and much more.
Food, Wine, and Agriculture Tours: Attendees get the chance to explore some of the Twin Cities’ most innovative spaces for food and drink development, including a tour of its urban farming operations, a tour of the state’s first vineyard, Alexis Bailly, from female winemaker Nan Bailly, and an exploration into the intersection of food, science and technology with Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) in the NE Minneapolis Food District.
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