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Jenn Elliott Blake is an event curator, prop stylist and blogger based in the rainy city of Seattle, WA. She aims for her work to envelop a certain degree of eclectic whimsy, while inspiring the onlooker to appreciate the simple moments and beauty within life's important milestones and celebrations. She's happiest while being on-set collaborating with folks who are also passionate about their work, or while sharing a meal over laughs and life stories.

The three loves of her life include her English Bulldog Bailie-Bug, her husband Adam and the city of lights : Paris, France. You will often find her scouring a local vintage shop or traveling the globe excessively.

Jenn will co-host an exciting session with author/blogger Andie Mitchell and food photographer/blogger Aran Goyoaga at IFBC this year.

Katie Ayoub is managing editor of Flavor & The Menu, a national foodservice publication that specializes in flavor trends. The magazine's annual Top 10 Trends issue gives chefs a primer on emerging trends and how to leverage them, aiming to inspire recipe innovation. Flavor & The Menu focuses on flavor because that's what drives menus and entices diners. The magazine is a trusted authority on flavor trends. 


Previously, Katie was editor in chief of Sizzle magazine, contributing editor to The National Culinary Review and managing editor of Chef magazine. She has also written for Culinology, Foodservice Director, Restaurant Business and Pizza Today. Katie has been avidly following and reporting on food trends for 15 years. Growing up, she was lucky enough to be immersed in Latin culture, living in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Panama.  A graduate of Northwestern University, she and her husband made their home in Chicago for 10 years. After her son was born, her family moved up to Toronto for eight years. Now, she and her husband Mischa, as well as her two pretty wonderful kids, call the Chicago suburbs home.

Katie will co-host a session on Food Trends at this year's IFBC.

Jess Thomson is a food writer and recipe developer whose work appears in magazines nationwide. She is the author of seven cookbooks, including Pike Place Market Recipes and A Boat, a Whale, and a Walrus, written with Seattle chef Renee Erickson, and is currently working on her first essay collection, called A Year Right Here: Essays on Food and Life in the Pacific Northwest. Find out more about her experiences blending food and life at her blog, hogwash, at JessThomson.com.

Jess will be leading the Honing the Craft writing session at IFBC.

 

Photo by Clare Barboza

Tara Austen Weaver is a writer and editor who focuses on the topics of travel, food, culture, and the environment. She is editor of Edible Seattle magazine and author of The Butcher & The Vegetarian, Tales from High Mountain, and the recently released memoir Orchard House: How a Neglected Garden Taught One Family How to Grow. She also writes the award-winning blog Tea & Cookies.

Tara will lead The Plan & The Pitch session at IFBC this year.

We are super excited to announce another business coming to our Friday night Welcome Reception! Marx Foods is a small, retail show on lower Queen Anne in Seattle, that offers specialty food items ranging from wild game meat to syrup. While they’re based in Seattle, they actually services restaurants and foodies across the country with an awesome online store.

Up until 2007, the Marx family serviced private customers from about 400 of the top restaurant chefs in the country - traditionally, they were set up as a boutique high-end restaurant distributor. Run by Justin Marx, Marx Foods is a new addition to this 5th generation family business (based on the east coast) that has long catered exclusively to chefs. With the launch of Marx Foods, they opted to make specialty food products available to individual consumers. Lucky us! Now, home chefs can buy the finest and freshest foods just like the pro chefs who are driving food trends.

We invited them to the Welcome Ceremony on Friday for their keen ability to foresee food trends, their vast selection of curated food goods and their deep knowledge of both Pacific NW food producers and global players.

Marx Foods is one of the few food retailers that actually taste tests all the products on the shelves. They stock things that are hard to find, even in Seattle’s abundant specialty food scene – game meats, a huge range of exotic chilies, molecular gastronomy ingredients…plus items you’ve probably never seen before (pinecone bud syrup or buzz buttons, anyone?). The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and endearingly nerdy about food and they’re coming to show off some of their favorite products to us!

 

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