World Food Travel Association names eleven advisors to new board

International industry professionals commit to advancing the world’s food tourism industry


PORTLAND, Ore. (March 27, 2017) – The World Food Travel Association (WFTA), the world’s leading authority on food and beverage tourism, is creating a new Board of Advisors to help advance the Association, as well the food and beverage tourism industry on a worldwide level.


So far, eleven professionals have joined the Board of Advisors. “We hope to eventually grow our advisory board to 40 professionals representing 20 industry sectors, and from all continents,” said Erik Wolf, the Association’s Executive Director.


The role of the advisors is to contribute their expertise to the Association’s leadership and to its work in three ways: 1) their industry sector (e.g. foodservice, government, manufacturing, etc.); 2) their geographic area of influence; and 3) a specialization like marketing or technology.  For example, they might advise the Association on how to better reach the food/beverage tourism trade in their own countries, or they might advise on topic suggestions for the new Masterclass series, among other things. All advisors also serve on one of the Association’s five committees.


The new Advisory Board members of the World Food Travel Association are:


Veruska Anconitano, Dublin, Ireland

Veruska is a freelance food and travel writer for various magazines from around the world. She left her native Italy to live in Ireland, but she is often on the road writing, snapping photos, and shooting video of how food and travel are interconnected. For the Board of Advisors, Veruska represents media and Ireland.


Maria Athanasopoulou, Thessaloniki, Greece

Maria first got involved with tourism in Greece by writing, and today she manages the Taksidi 2 Greece online magazine. She is a member of the International Association of tourism writers and photographers, and contributes articles to a variety of online magazines and travel networks. Most recently, she cofounded Top Tourism, which promotes gastronomy tourism to Greece. For the Board of Advisors, Maria represents the meetings/conventions market and northern Greece.


Kuvy Ax, Boulder, Colo., USA

Kuvy owns ROOT PR and has handled public relations and marketing for almost every type of food or beverage-related company, program, and event, including restaurant openings, TV appearances, and special events and festivals. She’s also led many national media tours, bringing the media to her clients, and taking her clients to deskside interviews in New York City. Kuvy has written features for regional publications, has also judged several food competitions. She’s also a board member of Les Dames D’Escoffier and the Flatirons Food Film Festival. For the Board of Advisors, Kuvy represents media relations and Colorado.


Lou Bank, Chicago, Ill., USA

Lou has sold more copies of a single comic book than anyone else in America. He helped bring Pokemon to the masses, Star Wars to the cereal aisle, and Morimoto to the beer geeks. He created a line of T-shirts featuring fictional businesses from beloved novels, popular music, and Shakespeare plays; led a team that brought a struggling non-profit back to solvency, and helped fund the building of a library, the replanting of agave, and the maintenance of a water reserve in rural Mexico. For the Board of Advisors, Lou represents branding, Chicago and rural Mexico.


Livio Colapinto, Puglia, Italy

Livio Colapinto, co-founder of food forward tour operator Zest of Italy, is considered a dot-connector by professionals in the trade. He has traveled and worked with Slow Food International President Carlo Petrini, and Eataly founder Oscar Farinetti. Today he is the preferred travel partner for everything relating to Italy and its food and wine, and highly regarded by Chef Michael Mina, JBF awarded Chef Paul Kahan, Restaurateur Donnie Madia, NY food icon Eli Zabar, to name a few. For the Board of Advisors, Livio represents tour operations and southern Italy.


Linda Dorman, Lyon, France

Linda Dorman is Founder & Principal Consultant of DSA Global Advisors, a global market exploration and innovation strategy firm that helps organizations grow their business. She is a Global Business Strategist for Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations, a chef-driven consulting company providing new product development, technical analyses and marketing support to food manufacturers, food tech start-ups and foodservice operators. She also serves as an Ambassador for ONLYLYON to raise awareness and promote Lyon as a leading regional business and tourism destination. Linda graduated from Le Cordon Bleu and is a Certified Culinary Travel Professional (CCTP).  For the Board of Advisors, Linda represents strategy and the Lyon area of France.


Gerrie du Rand, Pretoria, South Africa

Dr Gerrie du Rand is a senior lecturer in the Department of Consumer Science in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, and the Head of the Food and Nutrition Division of the Department of Consumer Science, at the University of Pretoria. She is recognized internationally as a researcher and expert in the field of Food and Hospitality related consumer behavior.  Her specialty area of interest is food tourism, and use of local foods in culinary mapping.  For the Board of Advisors, Gerrie represents academia and South Africa.


Roberta Garibaldi, Bergamo, Italy

Roberta is an Assistant Professor for Marketing and Economics for tourism at the University of Bergamo. She also serves as the Scientific Director of East Lombardy European Region of Gastronomy 2017. She is also active as a Certified Ambassador of the World Food Travel Association. For the Board of Advisors, Roberta represents academia and northern Italy.


Stephen Joyce, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Stephen is the CEO and Co-Founder of He has been working as a travel & tourism technology consultant since 1995. Stephen is active in fostering tourism technology and is a Past Chair of the OpenTravel Alliance. He is also a regular contributor for Tnooz, a leading travel technology media site, and speaks regularly at conferences around the Globe on travel & tourism technology, messaging standards, and industry trends.  For the Board of Advisors, Stephen represents technology and British Columbia.


Sally Krantz, Portland, Ore., USA

Sally serves as the CEO and Executive Chef of Saffron Group/British Overseas Restaurant Corporation, a restaurant that showcases inspiration from her own travels throughout the former British colonial empire.  Sally lived 20 years in Asia and ran the popular Saffron Bakery in Hong Kong.  For the Board of Advisors, Sally represents foodservice, Portland and Hong Kong.


Wojtek Osinski, Warsaw, Poland

Wojtek holds 20 years of marketing experience at one of world’s largest multinational food manufacturers. He has extensive experience with local and international branding and marketing. Lately, he’s proud to be promoting Poland’s hidden culinary treasures. He loves to inspire people to travel for food, especially in Poland. For the Board of Advisors, Wojtek represents marketing and Poland.



For more information or for high-resolution, professionally taken photographs, including headshots of the Board of Advisors, are available on request.  Find out more at,,, and  For interviews with WFTA Executive Director Erik Wolf, or anyone of the new members of the Board of Advisors, contact Kuvy Ax at 720.329.7327 or kuvy(at)rootpr(dot)com.



Food tourism is much more than dining out or visiting wineries. Examples of food tourism activities are wide-ranging and can include:


  • Visiting local or gourmet grocery stores to browse and purchase food souvenirs
  • Tours of breweries, distilleries or wineries and/or meeting the brewer/distiller/winemaker
  • Cooking classes featuring local cuisine
  • Visits to farms and food/drink factories
  • Attending food or drink-themed events
  • Walking or multi-day escorted tours of cities and regions featuring culinary highlights
  • Sharing pictures and videos of food-centric activities with friends and family
  • Using multiple dining smartphone apps and hard-to-find websites to dig deep to uncover locals-only foodie secrets



The World Food Travel Association (WFTA) is a non-profit and non-governmental organization (NGO) and the world’s leading authority on food tourism. The Association creates economic opportunities where food and drink meet travel and hospitality. The WFTA serves 48,000 professionals in 139 countries. The Association is managed by Executive Director Erik Wolf, under the guidance of the Board of Directors, who include Brian F. Lorge (Chairman), Carol Coren (Vice Chairman) and Harold Partain (Secretary-Treasurer).



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