Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Oxonians Are ‘Winners’ at Saint Petersburg Food Conference

Emeril addresses the conference attendees. Photo by Laurie Triplette
Emeril addresses the conference attendees. Photo by Laurie Triplette

Two Oxonians were among 61 food writers from around the nation honored last week at the 2015 annual Association of Food Journalists (AFJ) conference in Saint Petersburg, FL. The three-day conference highlighted pertinent food world issues, Florida food, and the results of the organization’s annual food writing competition.

AFJ awarded John T. Edge its second Carol DeMasters Award – the association’s highest honor – for his significant contributions to the field of food journalism. Edge is director of the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA), an Institute of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss).

Laurie Triplette was awarded third place in the AFJ’s annual food writing competition category of Best Food Column. The Best Food Column category covers all media platforms, including print and electronic. Triplette was honored for her weekly Hotty Toddy column, “On Cooking Southern.”

The AFJ food writing competition attracts submissions from print and electronic food writers across the journalistic spectrum, ranging from major metropolitan newspapers, to magazines and online media publications. AFJ membership is not a requirement for submission.

The AFJ is a 41-year-old professional organization dedicated to preserving and perpetuating responsible food journalism in all media. AFJ recognizes that responsible food journalists serve their communities by stimulating more informed conversations about what we eat and why. Its 240-plus-members maintain strict ethical standards – not advertising or promoting specific food-related businesses. Both Edge and Triplette are AFJ members.

This year’s AFJ conference was held at the Poynter Institute in Saint Petersburg. It was a fitting location for the seminars, panels and lectures that focused on the changing 21st Century environment for food journalism, in which product-sponsored blogs now rival major publications for audiences. The Poynter Institute is recognized globally for its journalism mission to provide instruction, innovation and resources for anyone aspiring to engage and inform citizens in 21st Century democracies.

Here’s a brief rundown on what was covered during the three-day conference:

  • Poynter vice president and acclaimed journalism scholar Roy Peter Clark musically shared the essentials for good food writing, and opined – with examples – on why MFK Fisher’s food writing ranks up there with Shakespeare’s plays.
  • Noted columnist Jeff Klinkenberg explained why food writing is even better than being a blind dog stuck in a smokehouse.
  • Nathalie Dupree, the indomitable Grand Dame of Southern Food Writing, held a group conversation on whether Florida (still) sets a Southern table… and also how writers can stay relevant in the evolving food scene.
  • A panel of Asian-Floridian chefs reflected on the 42 different Asian ethnic groups that represent the fastest growing ethnic group in the South, and how their and consumers’ tastes have been affected.
  • Several panels discussed the exploding Tampa Bay dining scene, and compared Tampa-versus-Miami Cuban sandwiches.
  • Five years post-BP oil spill, Dr. Bill Hogarth, director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography, Katie Sosa, vice president of sales for Sammy’s Seafood, and Craig Pittman, Tampa Bay Times environmental writer, examined the Gulf of Mexico as a culinary boundary, and confirmed that crabs and oysters are still in trouble.
  • A panel of successful food bloggers led a discussion about how ethical food blogging can be possible.
  • Poynter instructors and guests conducted technical seminars on how to share good sharable digital content, essential digital tools for storytelling, why staying current with SEO (search engine optimization) is crucial, and on the topic of digital ethics.
  • A panel of restaurant reviewers explored the questions: Is there a future for the independent restaurant reviewer – how can professional restaurant criticism rise above YELP noise?

 

The AFJ annual conference always features the foods and food culture of the host location. As might be expected, Florida’s Gulf seafood, caviar and local farm-sourced fare were the highlights of the cuisine. Attendees experienced the local sourcing of Locale Market’s meats, seafood, dairy and produce, and explored the world of sea salt with Sea Salt Restaurant chef/owner Fabrizio Aielli, who uses 130 different types and flavors from around the world for his innovative dishes. They also toured Bern’s Steak House and its affiliate, the Epicurean Hotel, and nearby Haven Restaurant, sampling taste-teasers such as lamb meatballs, mini-éclairs, multiple flavors of French macarons, cheeses and wines.

A highlight of the week was “Emeril’s Taste of Florida.” The art-and-food culinary extravaganza held at the Saint Petersburg Museum of Art was based on the Cooking Channel’s “Emeril’s Florida.” It is not hyperbole to declare that the many flavors provided by 16 chefs, farmers and food artisans were extraordinary. (Check out the food album below.)

For a complete list of the 2015 AFJ Food Writing Competition winners, click here.

chris-ponte-IMG_3128

Epicurean Macarons
Epicurean Macarons
Food tasting by Haven
Food tasting by Haven
Locale Luncheon
Locale Luncheon
Locale Luncheon
Locale Luncheon
Locale Luncheon
Locale Luncheon
Locale Luncheon
Locale Luncheon
Locale Luncheon
Locale Luncheon
Locale Market
Locale Market
Taste of Emeril - B.T. Nguyen
Taste of Emeril – B.T. Nguyen
Taste of Emeril - B.T. Nguyen
Taste of Emeril – B.T. Nguyen’s dish
Taste of Emeril - Chau Trinh
Taste of Emeril – Chau Trinh
Taste of Emeril - Chau Trinh
Taste of Emeril – Chau Trinh’s dish
Taste of Emeril - David Ramirez
Taste of Emeril – David Ramirez
Taste of Emeril - David Ramirez's Panna Cotta
Taste of Emeril – David Ramirez’s Panna Cotta
Taste of Emeril - Hari Pulapa
Taste of Emeril – Hari Pulapaka
Taste of Emeril - Marty Blitz who made duck breasts
Taste of Emeril – Marty Blitz who made duck breasts
Taste of Emeril: Duck breast
Taste of Emeril: Duck breast
Taste of Emeril: Lamb
Taste of Emeril: Lamb
84,459FansLike
20,500FollowersFollow
14,100FollowersFollow
//The following lines allow infolinks to place their ads - Inserted 6/17/2022 // End infolinks tracing pixel