We believe in pride in place.As experts in food tourism development, the Culinary Tourism Alliance seeks to ensure that authentic food experiences become a significant economic driver for communities across Ontario, and a primary way for travelers to enrich their experience.
Rebecca Mackenzie, President & CEO
Rebecca loves Canada, local edibles and, that her career enables her to explore Canada and the globe, connecting people across the agriculture and tourism industries to grow a “taste of place”. Passionate about the interrelation between food, agriculture, tourism, arts and culture, Rebecca has been instrumental in developing tourism products including Prince Edward County’s award-winning Taste Trail/Route Des Saveurs and the CTA’s Feast On® certification program. She and her team at the CTA are proud to be managing the annual Terroir Symposium and working with clients around the world to Grow Food Tourism.
Rebecca manages highly participatory and asset-based community development projects at the local, provincial, and national levels. She oversees all program and partnership development for the Terroir Symposium and develops comprehensive marketing partnerships to increase awareness of Canada’s food tourism experiences.
Rebecca contributes her expertise to a variety of industry Boards including Destination Ontario and the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Gastronomic Tourism Network. Rebecca has written curriculum for Centennial College’s Food Tourism Post Graduate Program and contributed chapters the 2nd UNWTO Global Report on Gastronomic Tourism and a chapter on Transforming the Terroir into a Tourist Destination to the Routledge Handbook of Gastronomic Tourism (release date of fall 2019).
Agatha Podgorski, Director of Community Engagement
Agatha believes in local food, responsible purchasing practices and the health benefits of a glass of good pinot.
She once considered law school, but realized she would much rather eat than be eaten. She has a Honours BA in Political Science from the University of Toronto and a diploma in Culinary Management from George Brown College.
As Director of Community Engagement, Agatha works to build lasting relationships between destinations, chefs and farmers through education, storytelling and knowledge sharing. She manages member relations, consumer communications and helps to create delicious events across Ontario. She’s also our brand manager, social media maven and content curator. Over the last decade, she was instrumental in developing the Experience Assessment Tool (EAT) and Ontario’s foodservice certification program, Feast On. She manages media relations for the Terroir Hospitality Symposium.
She has contributed to numerous food and drink publications including The Huffington Post, The Globe & Mail, Westjet Magazine and The Toronto Star. She was the managing editor of The Ontario Culinary Adventure Guide and has taught countless workshops on food, storytelling and working with media.
In 2011, she was recognized by the OHI as one of Ontario’s Top 30 Under 30 in the hospitality industry.
Landon Logie, Event Manager
Landon is a passionate individual who approaches every project with gusto, and from whom you will never get less than 110%. She is always looking for challenges and new experiences that will provide her the opportunity to learn and grow – if food is involved, even better!
At 14 Landon had the opportunity to travel North-America while participating as a contestant on a reality TV show. Throughout her travels Landon saw first-hand how powerful the connection is between a city, their food and their culture. This built the foundation to what is now a strong belief in the importance of the farm-to-table movement, and a love for culinary experiences that highlight this.
Landon has a Special Event Management Diploma and is currently completing her Honours BA in Business Administration – Hospitality, with the dream of one day opening her own consulting firm. In her spare time you can find Landon in the kitchen whipping up her famous cheesecake, out for a run on the Lakeshore promenade, or sipping an Old-Fashioned on a rooftop patio.
Landon spearheads planning and logistics for the Terroir Symposium in Toronto, as well as numerous Feast On events across the province.
Megan Wollenberg, Sales Associate
Megan is an advocate for championing local food as a tool to building healthier food systems, and believes food experiences are a catalyst for connection and an expression of place.
Megan has a degree in English partnered with ethnogeographic travel studies throughout South East Asia and Eastern and Western Europe. Her travels influenced her to return to school for holistic nutrition. This launched her into an eight-year career in nutrition. She has developed and managed her own practice; worked with leading brands in the nutrition industry; worked in research; and has volunteered for several organizations as an educator and connector between real food, food systems and health.
Health aside, the fastest way to Megan’s heart is sharing your favourite food stories. Like a true New Brunswicker, get-togethers involving food and hearty conversation is a tradition that runs deep. It is a privilege and delight to share a meal with a group of people and if one gets the chance to learn about someone else, even better.
Megan’s favourite foods tend to be seasonal, but she’ll never turn down a beautifully curated plate of umami goodness. Barbeque, shiitake mushrooms, and baked cherry tomatoes with olive oil and harissa are the closest things to magic.
Robert Elliot, Communications Coordinator
Rob is a multimedia storyteller with a passion for travel, nature and local food. His wide range of experience with technology startups, environmental organizations, and photo assignments have led him to pursue a career that combines what he loves to do.
As Communications Coordinator, Rob tells local farm to table food stories that inspire exploration and encourage curiosity. For Rob, content is king – he is all about creating engaging content for our blog, social media feeds, and newsletters. With experience as a freelance photographer and videographer for organizations like Canadian Geographic, Globe & Mail and TIFF, Rob has a keen eye for thought evoking visuals. He is a goal-oriented brand builder and is always finding new ways to become more efficient using the latest software and gadgets. It’s rare to see Rob without his camera, capturing moments everywhere he goes.In his spare time, Rob can be found cycling on the Toronto Islands, checking out the hot new restaurants and craft breweries, or lugging his camera gear down the streets of his favourite boroughs. He is always up for an adventure and believes inclusivity, positivity, and openness are the keys to happiness and success.
Trevor Jonas Benson, VP, Destination Development
Trevor is a socially-minded systems thinker, progressive project manager, and enthusiastic enterpriser, who is as passionate about collaborating with others to create meaningful change in the way we experience and value not only food but also the people and places that make it taste so great.
For the past 10 years, Trevor has been working to support the development of short value changes and local sustainable food systems, and he loves only one thing more than cooking and eating food with others, and that’s travel. Trevor feels privileged to have worked for a couple of years in London’s 1,000-year-old food market (Borough Market) and counts himself among the blessed to call the culinary capital of the Caribbean (Barbados) his second home.
Trevor brings vast experience in community-based and market research, evaluation and impact assessment, marketing and sales, and social enterprise development and capacity building. He has a background in Sustainable Local Food as well as Law and Human Rights, and sits on the Advisory Committee of FoodShare Toronto’s Cross-Cultural Food Access Innovation Hub.
By working in cross-functional teams and on diverse projects, Trevor has learned how to turn challenges into opportunities, plan strategically, growing sustainably, partner wisely, and measuring accurately.
Caroline Morrow, Destination Development Officer
The relationship between people and food has been a recurring theme in Caroline’s academic, professional, and personal life. At home and abroad, Caroline is always on the lookout for unique, local food experiences and she is passionate about promoting economic development through sustainable food systems. Through her Master’s in Urban Planning and Bachelor’s in International Development, Caroline has delved deeply into the worlds of economic development, sustainable food systems, cultural tourism, environmental studies, and land management.
Alongside non-profit organizations, academic institutions and municipal governments, Caroline has worked on international participatory research and engagement projects in destinations including, Panama, Mexico, India, and Scotland. Caroline has extensive experience designing collaborative research activities and facilitating engagement sessions. Through various national and international projects, Caroline has worked closely with the public, community groups, developers, First Nations governments, municipalities and consulting teams. Caroline is enthusiastic about showcasing local food experiences and tying food tourism into broader food security and economic development goals.
Camilo Montoya-Guevara, Research & Evaluation Officer
Camilo is passionate about supporting the development of engaging, enriching, and meaningful cultural tourism experiences. He believes that culinary tourism provides some of the most immersive ways for visitors to engage with different cultures and explored this notion through his masters of cultural heritage policy and management. In fact, he continues to share his passion for culinary travel as tour guide for Savour Toronto, where he expands the many ways Toronto’s food scene balances international cuisine and local ingredients.
With his background in cultural studies as well as French, Spanish, Italian and German language skills, Camilo has a keen eye for creative investigation and he brings this to all projects. He has extensive experience carrying out participatory research projects with a variety of partners, including community representatives, cultural governing bodies, and academic institutions in Canada, Colombia, Germany, and Hungary. He has strong skills working with a range of academic and policy documents to carry out in-depth primary and secondary research and provide accurate and insightful results. Camilo has a particular interest in researching, shaping, and promoting cultural developments that foster community participation and stimulate sustainable economic development. He is always excited to apply his people and language skills to make research processes richer and more inclusive.
2019 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Michael Steinberg, Independent Media Professional
- Ballu Thakur, Professor, George Brown College
- Lynn Sullivan, Co-Founder + Co-Owner, Rosehall Run Vineyards
- Amanda Virtanen, Director of Tourism, County of Haliburton
- Nick Sutcliffe, Co-Owner, Southern Cliff Brands and Pommies Cider
- Lynnette Bain, Vice President of Tourism Programs & Development, Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island
- Allison Yundt, Business Development Manager, Flanagan Food Service