Nation’s First Culinary Tourism Conference Coming To Providence

Friday, March 01, 2013


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A brand-new culinary tourism conference will launch in Providence this September, thanks to the vision of a Brown University alum.

Providence will play host to the nation's first Culinary Tourism Conference this September, thanks to the creative vision of Brown University graduate Seth Resler.

To those of us who love to eat, and love it even more when we're on vacation, it may come as no surprise to learn that culinary tourism is the fastest-growing segment of the travel and tourism market. Loosely defined, "culinary tourism" describes those of us who travel with the intention of having experiences foodies would love and appreciate.

Food bloggers, writers, + more

Seth Resler knows this stat and this sort-of native Rhode Islander (California by way of Brown University) has picked Providence to host Taste Trekkers, the first-ever Culinary Tourism Conference. It's a huge honor as Resler hopes to bring together up to 300 food bloggers, writers and lovers from all corners of the country. They will converge on Providence for the weekend of September 20th through the 22nd. The conference will be based at the Biltmore Hotel but will feature events that show off all Providence has to offer.

During his years at Brown, Resler was an on-air personality at WBRU and it was during this period that he fell in love with Providence -- its foodie culture in particular. "You start with the classics like hot weiners and Del's and move on to the best restaurants and you begin to put together a story for a city." said Ressler. "This is what I love: finding all the cool local reasons to love a city." The desire to be close to growing family prompted a move back to California, but Rhode Island remains close to his heart. He returned to be the Station Manager at 'BRU and also began planning and executing large scale food events.

Providence was the perfect place

The seed was planted for a conference that would bring food experts together to exchange ideas and passions. One night a particularly passionate woman was speaking on a podcast about Providence. That woman was Providence/Warwick Convention and Visitor's Bureau whirlwind Kristen Adamo. As Ressler listened, it was becoming more and more apparent that Providence was that city he was looking for all along.

Ressler is just beginning a Kickstarter campaign to help finance the event. He has some very cool gifts for those who donate that highlight the amazing culinary talent in Providence. The idea behind the conference is to capture the passion and energy of this food community and use it to see where culinary tourism can go in the coming years. "It seems like we are at the beginning of something here. The incredible energy reminds me of the music revolution in Seattle in the '90's," he said. "These bands came along and changed music and food is now changing travel." As people plan vacations around food tours, celebrity chefs and food and wine events, it's become clear that Providence can capitalize on the incredible food talent here to grow tourism.

Ressler hopes his first year will produce a well-run event that offers a good time and a chance for coming back for a second year. Chef Matt Jennings of Farmstead and La Laiterie would be the Keynote speaker at this year's conference. So far, so good. For more information go to


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