Looking Ahead to The Terroir Symposium (Terroir VIII)


Dana and I celebrated milestone birthdays last year.  We celebrated by taking the vacation of a lifetime; 17 days of eating and drinking our way through Spain.  It was unbeleivable.  We enjoyed every moment; though I remember sitting on a sun-drenched patio and slightly longing for home.  I turned to her and said,

Terroir is today.  It’s our first time missing it in 4 years.

By the look in the face I knew that a small part of her longed to be there too.

I have no shame in admitting that, in the middle of the vacation of a lifetime, that a small part of me wished I was attending an industry conference.  Even if it was for an industry I didn’t work in.

Looking Ahead to The Terroir Symposium (Terroir VIII)

Terroir is an annual conference that celebrates the vibrant hospitality world around us.  The one-day event brings a large crowd of Toronto Chefs, Restrauteurs, Suppliers, Farmers, Mixologists, Servers, Food Writers and other industry people together for an intense day of lectures and inspiration.  It features many speakers from Toronto (and lots of opportunities to network together) as well as bringing in some of the top culinary talent from around the world.

When we first attended Terroir, we werent’ sure how we’d fit in.  This is an industry conference (not focused on Consumers; the topics are often more about the business of food than ‘just’ the food itself) and we were largely ‘strangers in a strange land.’  We don’t often write restaurant reviews (it turns out that was a good thing, from this perspective), didn’t know many people and we’re uncertain what the event was about.

I should mention that I’ve attended a considerable amount of conferences in my lifetime.  My corporate job has seen me attend many conferences over the last 15 years.  And, while many conferences are very different from one another, there’s two things I’ve learned that apply to all conferences (including Terroir):

  1. I dislike most of them.  I find a lot of conferences are less than inspiring and aren’t intense enough for my liking.  If I’m going to travel a long way (or take a day off) to attend a conference, I hope that day is action packed.  Most fail in this regard (I’ve flown across the country for conferences that had less than 4 hours of content and found very little value in them).
  2. Conferences are incrementally better over time.  I don’t go to as many conferences as I used to (and travel less) but I have one specific work conference that I attend every year.  I’ve been attending it for 6 or 7 years and that persistence pays off.  I only met a handful of people in my first year, a few more on the second – but the third I knew more than half (or was introduced to them by the people I knew previously) and I now either know or can br introduced to almost any of the 2,000 attenddees who travel to it every year.

Terroir is a conference that doesn’t fit the norms – I like it.  A lot.  And, while it has improved incrementally over time (as we’ve gotten to know a lot more people), the people we met in our first year were friendly and remain friends to this day.

There are more than 30 presenters from around the world packed into the agenda for the day.  Some of the Torontonians include our friends Krystina Roman (Rosewood Wine), Chef Scott Vivian (Beast Restaurant), Chef Bertand Alepee (Tempered Chef), Chef Matty Matheson (Parts and Labour), Chef Chris Brown (Citzen Catering), Jill McAbe (Restaurant Management Company) and more.

‘Imported talents’ include Chef Daniel Boulud (Daniel),  Allessandro Porcelli (Cook It Raw), Chef David Chiang (Momofuku), Albert Adria (Tickets and 41 Degrees), Writer Peter Meehan and more.

All-in-all, people from the following places are presenting, sharing food or are somehow involved:

  • Italy
  • Spain
  • New York City
  • Montreal
  • Indiana
  • Sweeden
  • Newfoundland
  • Belize
  • Pitsburg
  • Boston
  • Minneapolis
  • London
  • Gaspe
  • Alberta

To see the full line-up, click here.

Terrpor was allowed me to meet some of the most amazing and passionate people in Toronto’s food industry.  It’s also allowed me to be inspired and to meet others from around the world.  You can buy tickets here.

If you’re still unsure, check out these posts from previous years:

If you’re coming, send us a note or leave a comment and make sure to say hi!



  1. Oh no! I was debating about Terroir this morning and now you’ve convinced me and it’s sold out! I hope they’ll open it up for more. Either way I’ll have to make it out to some upcoming event and finally meet you and Dana.

    • Avery – too bad!

      I sent a message to a friend who had an extra – but sold it before I got to her! You may be able to find one by tweeting to the hashtag (#Terroir2014) and seeing if anyone has one. It’s truly an amazing day.

      I, as well, look forward to meeting!


  2. Rebekka says:

    I’ll see you there Joel, look for us in the Hospitality Lounge!

  3. I’m so glad I found your post on Twitter today. I will be attending the Terroir Symposium for the first time on Monday, and I’m feeling a bit nervous. I hope I get to meet you and Dana there!

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