Featuring tourism thought leaders, industry innovators, and experts from across the food tourism value chain.

From entrepreneurial trailblazers to visionary thinkers, this carefully curated roster promises insights that will elevate your understanding of how and why to build your destination’s tastes of place. Your ticket to a transformative experience in culinary tourism awaits!

More speaker announcements to come.

Nikos Mantis

Nikos, born in Rural Northern Ontario and raised on a family farm, developed a unique connection to Northern foods through farming, livestock, hunting, and fishing. A graduate of Confederation College’s Culinary Management program, Nikos further honed his skills with an apprenticeship in Southern Ontario. After working at renowned establishments like Aberfoyle Mill and Langdon Hall, he reshaped institutional food services towards a “cook from scratch” approach, emphasizing local ingredients. In 2013, he founded Pinetree Catering, followed by Nomad in 2018—a Bake Shop and Gourmet Sandwich Bar. Nikos, now president of both, oversees one of Canada’s first locally-owned International Airport Food Service operations. His vision is to create a distinct “Taste of Place” for Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario, positioning the brands as industry leaders.

ERIC Pateman

Eric Pateman, a global culinary tourism and aviation consultant, uniquely blends a chef background with an MBA in Finance, boasting international experience in 100+ countries. Founder of ESP Culinary Consulting, Edible Canada Bistro, and Sea to Sky Seasonings, he’s worked on diverse projects worldwide. A passionate Canadian cuisine advocate, he supports artisan food businesses, serving as a judge for enRoute Canada’s best new restaurants. In 2022, Eric became the Director of Culinary Experience at the Vancouver Airport Authority, later assuming the role of Chief Experience Officer & VP, Passenger Experience, overseeing YVR’s end-to-end passenger experience, including retail, F&B, and commercial services.

Barb Stefanyshyn-Coté, MSc, NSch, P.Ag.

Barb, Co-founder, co-owner, and CEO of Black Fox Farm and Distillery, tends to grains, fruits, and flowers with her husband John, crafting award-winning gin and whisky. Their spirits reach global markets, from Saskatchewan to China and the distillery invites visitors for tastings, tours, and flower-picking in the acres of blooms. Barb, a University of Saskatchewan College of Agriculture graduate, previously managed Lumec Farms and co-owned North Sask Agro. A Nuffield Scholar, recognized as the Outstanding Young Agrologist of Saskatchewan and Canada, Barb has been awarded an honorary life membership from the Saskatchewan Ag Grads Association and the Queens Platinum Jubilee medal. Barb’s extensive board service spans organizations like Nuffield Canada, Ag West Bio, and Civil Aviation Search and Rescue.

Émilie Gaudreault

Émilie Gaudreault is a diversified entrepreneur and owner of the ÉCONOMUSÉE Délices du Lac-Saint-Jean located in Nord-du-Québec. At 35, she plays an important role in inter-entrepreneurial collaboration and inspires many companies in the agritourism sector, known for her innovative approaches and positive leadership. Émilie has been growing wild blueberries since the age of 14 and her contribution to the culinary identity of this fruit in Lac-Saint-Jean is considerable and palpable. Her passion has kept her highly involved in her business community and she currently serves as president of the Société du réseau ÉCONOMUSÉE board of directors, as a director at the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec (AITQ) and as a director with the Centre québécois de développement durable.

Lisa Olie, General Manager, Liquid Assets NS

Lisa Olie is the General Manager of Liquid Assets NS, a unique retail concept at Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Since opening in 2016, Lisa has led Liquid Assets to have the highest sales of locally produced beverage alcohol at any single store in Nova Scotia. Lisa has built individual relationships with over 65 local producers to source the best Nova Scotia has to offer. With an education and background in horticulture and tourism and over 30 years of retail management experience, Lisa has become a leader in the Nova Scotia beverage alcohol scene and its’ tourism outflow. Lisa’s experience as an instructor for Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia and previous management positions in local farm markets, premium handcraft retail, and horticulture operations have qualified her to uniquely understand the grain-to-glass and farm-to-bottle experiences tourists seek in her home province. Liquid Assets NS welcomes 50,000 customers a year to its space after security in Halifax Stanfield. Lisa has developed the store as a key tourism component at the airport, for people arriving who want suggestions for a great visit to the province, and those leaving who want to take a slice of their Nova Scotia visit home with them.

Emily Haynes

Emily Haynes, born and raised in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley with a family history of farming dating back to the late 1800s, first found her love for food on her grandparent’s farm in Waterville. As the Executive Director of Taste of Nova Scotia, she manages over 200 members from diverse sectors like restaurants, farmers, and artisans. Her role involves advancing industry awareness, member development, marketing, events, export, culinary tourism, and promoting local products. Active in various boards and committees, Emily contributes to culinary tourism, export development, and economic growth. She is a part of the Culinary Tourism Alliance Board of Directors, the Discover Halifax Board of Directors, and export teams for both the Atlantic Canada Seafood Sector and the Food and Beverage Sector. Beyond her professional pursuits, Emily enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, engaging in activities such as camping, paddling, gardening, cooking, and travelling. They explore and enjoy the rich culinary offerings of Nova Scotia, Canada, and the wider world. Discover more at www.tasteofnovascotia.com and follow @TasteofNS.

Jean-Martin Fortier

Jean-Martin (JM) Fortier is an organic farmer, author, educator and internationally recognized advocate for regenerative, human-scale and profitable agriculture. His life’s work has been to share his vision and expertise to promote the growth of small ecological farms and a global transition toward food systems rooted in nature and the community.


Erin Crane is the CEO of Tourism Lethbridge, a beautiful city located in southern Alberta. She recently became a Canadian Citizen and loves sharing her passion for tourism and Canada with others. For the last 30 years, she’s worked in many aspects of tourism, from coordinating world championship boxing events to working in a spaceship on the Canadian prairies. Erin loves talking about food and how important it is to understanding place and culture. Tourism Lethbridge was the first recipient for the Culinary Tourism Award at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s Tourism Awards and Erin looks forward to sharing their journey and future goals.


Chef Fatmata Binta

Chef Fatmata Binta, born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to first-generation Fulani of Guinean descent, is a renowned nomadic chef deeply rooted in Fulani culture and cuisine. Growing up in a Fulani community, her culinary journey has gained international recognition. Her approach to gastronomy invites exploration of Fulani flavours and highlights undervalued African ingredients. Chef Binta has travelled globally, collaborating with top chefs and refining her cooking techniques.

She has received several accolades, including the 2022 Basque Nobel Culinary World Prize and the 2021 Best Chef Rising Star Award. Additionally, she serves as a United Nations Ambassador for Responsible Tourism. In 2020, she founded the Fulani Kitchen Foundation, focusing on promoting millets and fonio for food security. Her efforts, amplified by a Bloomberg video, also aim to support Northern Ghanaian women in harvesting fonio, boosted by the support from the Basque World Prize.

Carl-Éric Guertin

Since 2013, Carl-Éric Guertin has been the Executive Director of the ÉCONOMUSÉE Network Society (ENS) overseeing the Canadian and International development of the organization.  Established in 1992, the ENS, a not-for-profit organisation, is the founder, owner and promoter of the ÉCONOMUSÉE® concept. Now grown into an international organization with its head office in Québec City, Canada, the network of partners shares the same goals – the continuation, protection and promotion of traditional trades and know-how in the craft and agri-food sectors. 

Carl-Éric Guertin has twenty-five years of experience in management positions within business associations. A recognized developer and visionary, a change agent, a leader with a collaborative approach, passionate about strategic planning and implementation, motivated by economic, regional and sustainable development, he has great ease in public speaking, persuasive communication and creating mobilizing partnerships.