Keynote Speakers & Culinary Panel

Couple dressed in traditional Tunisian garb

How to Find Unique Story Angles and Photos

In a very difficult and competitive environment, how do you sell stories and photos? There is a way to break through the seemingly impenetrable wall of non-response and no, thank you. The secret is: pitch unique stories that no one can write but you. How do you go about finding those angles, and employing skills and interests you may already have? How do you develop a narrative voice that engages readers? This exciting keynote will tell you how.

"The secret is: pitch unique stories that no one can write but you."

Judith Fein’s inspirational, enlightening, just-released book is a case in point. In HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE DEAD and How It’s Done Around the World, Judith takes you along as you discover how she finds the story, tracks down an experience, and writes about it. And her award-winning photojournalist husband Paul Ross will give you insider tips on how to take unique, appealing photos.

When Judith and Paul speak there is always an interactive element that engages you in the subject. And afterwards there will be a personalized book signing in plenty of time for holiday gifts.

 We are honored to introduce our

Judith Fein, Author & Travel Writer

Judith Fein headshotJudith Fein specializes in deep culture by day and memorable accommodations at night. She’s given a TEDx talk about Deep Travel; blogs about Transformative Travel for PsychologyToday.com; reviews films and opera; blogs for the Santa Fe Opera; gave the keynote address for the Adventure Travel Trade Association; was a featured speaker at New Mexico Travel Tank and the Governor’s Conference on Tourism; and has authored two best-selling books and the libretto for a hit opera.

She’s contributed to 110 publications including Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler, Luxury Magazine, Afar, Hemispheres, Dallas Morning News, Four Seasons, AARP, ExploreDance.com and American Way and is the Senior Travel Correspondent for the San Diego Jewish Journal.

Judith has co-founded and is Executive Editor of the award-winning group travel blog Your Life is a Trip, which has more than 200 writers. She was a Hollywood screenwriter for 13 years, and ran a widely acclaimed experimental theatre company in Europe.

Judith has been interviewed as a travel expert for many radio shows, podcasts, Internet, and print publications. Her newest book, HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE DEAD…and How It’s Done Around The World, has just been released and will be available for signing at the conference. Available in e-book & paperback via Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Booksamillion, or order directly from her website, Global Adventure.

Paul Ross, Photojournalist

Paul Ross headshot

Paul Ross travels the world with camera, curiosity, and humor. He’s cooked exotic meals with chefs across the globe and written a popular column about it.

He has written about opera for Popular Mechanics; the first Native American Big Foot and UFO conference for the Fortean Times, and he recently had a nine-page article about Flamenco in New Mexico in Nexos, the American Airlines Spanish language magazine.

Paul has won writing and photography awards, and he teaches travel photography. His articles and photos have appeared in publications like Smithsonian, Santa Fe Monthly, The Dallas Morning News, Racked.com, Hemispheres, and ExploreDance.com.

He hasn’t cooked the same meal twice in 33 years of marriage, and recently trained with the Master of the Yamabushi monks in remote Japan.  Find his work on at Global Adventure, and Paul Ross Photography.


Various colorful Chiles spread on tabletop

The Cuisine of New Mexico: 
Lots More on the Plate than Green Chiles

Green and red chiles are on the menu in New Mexico but there is a lot more depth and richness to the area’s fare. Fresh, local ingredients adapted for any possible ethnic cuisine play an increasing role including the highly perishable squash blossoms. Influential flavors come from the heritage of American Indians and Mexico. The beauty and ambiance of Santa Fe, along with the vibrant arts community, have attracted talented chefs with national reputations to the area making it a true culinary destination. Our esteemed culinary panel of chefs, restaurateurs and farmers will share the story.

Please meet our distinguished

Katharine Kagel
Founder/owner and executive chef of Café Pasqual’s

Chef Katharine Kagel

Katharine Kagel is the founder/owner and executive chef of Café Pasqual’s which is currently celebrating its 40th year. Cafe Pasqual’s passionately serves organic foods and wines. Chef Kagel also curates Cafe Pasqual’s Gallery. Chef Kagel has authored two cookbooks; Cooking with Cafe Pasqual’s, Ten Speed Press and Spirited Recipes from Cafe Pasqual’s, Chronicle Books. Café Pasqual’s received the James Beard Foundation award for America’s Regional Classics. Chef Kagel has also been nominated by the James Beard Foundation as Best Chef: Southwest. 

Chef Kagel has been a guiding founder of Santa Fe’s response to food insecurity: Founder, The Food Brigade – perishable and prepared food rescue, Board Member, Food Chain national board, first vision, founder of The Food Depot, Advisory council member, Kitchen Angels, providing free hot meals delivered daily to Santa Fe’s medically challenged homebound. Cafe Pasqual’s Gallery features handmade mica cook pots in both the Jicarilla – Apache style and of the Northern New Mexico Pueblos. The gallery represents 24 artists in an array of media.

Sllin Cruz
Executive Chef at Geronimo Restaurant 

Chef Sllin Cruz

In April of 2016 Chef Sllin Cruz was appointed as the executive chef of award-winning, fine dining restaurant Geronimo in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After almost two years running the Geronimo kitchen as chef de cuisine and being awarded Open Table’s Top 100 Restaurants in America through his culinary talent, Cruz took over from acclaimed Chef Eric DiStefano, who sadly passed away in February 2016. Geronimo restaurant, located on historic Canyon Road, presents an exquisite ‘Global Eclectic with a French base’-inspired menu focusing on comfort delicacies from all over the world.

Chef Cruz has an impressive pedigree working with the top chefs and restaurants in Santa Fe including; The Compound, opening Bouche Bistro, and Las Campanas. “Chef DiStefano found Sllin”, noted Chris Harvey, Geronimo partner and general manager. “He knew immediately who he wanted when the previous chef de cuisine left a couple of years ago”.

Nina Yozell-Epstein
Founder of Squash Blossom Local Food Inc.

Nina Yozell-EpsteinNina Yozell-Epstein is the founder of Squash Blossom Local Food, a social enterprise serving farmers of, and around, Northern New Mexico by distributing their produce to restaurants and to the general public in Santa Fe. Nina has worked in food and farming both in her home state of New Mexico, and around the globe. Her experience in small-scale agriculture ranges from growing, to distribution, managing and vending at farmers' markets, and years in the non-profit sector.

Squash Blossom was the City of Santa Fe’s Small Business of the year, 2018. She and her partner, Mathew Ladegaard, also own and operate Ground Stone Farm in Pojoaque, New Mexico. Using organic practices, they grow a variety of crops ranging from greens, herbs, fruits, flowers, and seeds. Ground Stone Farm produce is available through Squash Blossom and at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market.

Nancy Ranney
Manager at Ranney Ranch

Nancy Ranney with her horseNancy Ranney manages the Ranney Ranch in the high mesa country of central New Mexico, owned by her family since 1968. The ranch is proud of its Grassfed/Grassfinished Beef program, its regenerative land management practices and its certification by the American Grassfed Association (AGA), A Greener World/Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) and the Audubon Conservation Ranching Program (Certified Grazed on Bird-Friendly Land).

Nancy has a graduate degree in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning (MLA/Harvard University Graduate School of Design) and is a board member of the Quivira Coalition, the Southwest Grassfed Livestock Alliance and a member of the New Mexico Cattle Growers.

Danielle Leoni
Executive Chef / Owner of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar

Danielle Leoni, Executive Chef & Owner of The Breadfruit & Rum BarDanielle Leoni, Executive Chef / Owner, The Breadfruit & Rum Bar. Hailed as a champion of sustainability and green restaurant innovation, Chef Danielle Leoni has distinguished herself with an avant-garde approach to blending the best of the southwest with the tropical traditions of Jamaica.

Chef Leoni has spent over a decade exploring the islands of the Caribbean and immersing herself in seaside food cultures with a keen eye on responsible fishing practices.

Under her stewardship, The Breadfruit and Rum Bar has introduced an entirely new cuisine to Arizona while redefining perceptions of tropical and green dining.

Andrew Harris -- Moderator
Executive Producer & Co-Host of The SoCal Restaurant Show

Andrew HarrisAndrew Harris, the show runner, executive producer and co-host for “The SoCal Restaurant Show” heard on Saturday mornings in Southern California, is a veteran specialty radio show producer.

Harris is an accredited food, wine & travel journalist. Before rejoining the 50,000 watt AM 830 KLAA in late 2012 he produced (starting in 1998) popular, and long running, food radio shows previously heard on KFI-AM 640, TalkRadio 790 KABC, and KFWB News 980.

Andrew Harris is a recognized authority on the dining scene in Southern California. For 17 years (concluding in 2008) he wrote the “Dateline” Los Angeles column covering area restaurant and chef happenings in Los Angeles and Orange Counties for “Beard Bites” now published bi-weekly as an e-newsletter by the prestigious James Beard Foundation (the producers of the annual James Beard Foundation Awards, the recognized Oscars of the food world.)

Harris’ earlier background was as a respected, hands-on food and beverage professional. His career highlight then was orchestrating in 1983 and 1984 the completion of the food service plan for feeding the public at all of the twenty-three ticketed venues hosting competitions for the 1984 Olympics as an employee of The Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. Food and beverage revenue alone from the spectators totaled over $11 million and 5.8 million guests were served.

 Thank you for participating in our 2019 Conference.