Our non-profit organization is governed by an elected, volunteer board of directors comprised of leaders in culinary, agricultural and tourism circles throughout the province. The board is supported by advisory committees that tend to special interests, a small staff and a host of supporting partner organizations. Click here if you are interested in joining our board.
Mary Bailey, Co-Chair
Food, wine and travel writer Mary Bailey is the publisher of The Tomato food & drink. A former wine merchant, Mary holds the Wines and Spirits Trust (WSET) Diploma; is a certified sommelier (International Sommelier Guild Diploma); a French Wine Scholar (French Wine Society) and possesses the Spanish Wine Educator’s Certificate. She is proud to be included in the Unione Italian Vini Editrice (International Italian Wine Journalists). She is also known to make a stellar martini, with Eau Claire gin of course. Mary is a national Gold Medal Plates/Canadian Culinary Championships judge. She is the creator of the Relish Food on Film Festival, called one of Alberta’s Top 10 Food Festivals by Alberta Culture. She co-authored two best-selling books on Alberta food: The Food Lover’s Trail Guide to Alberta,Volumes I & II and is past co-chair of the Edmonton Food Council. She founded Edmonton’s Slow Food convivia in 2002 and co-founded the local food event Indulgence, a Canadian epic of Food and Wine now in its 15th year. The event has raised over $100,000 for the Junior League of Edmonton and funds the Indulgence Bursary for NAIT culinary students. Mary appears regularly on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon and is a monthly guest on Edmonton’s top-rated Global TV Morning News. Her work has appeared in various regional and national publications including the National Post. Mary is a 2015 Global Woman of Vision and was honoured with the GALA (Growing Alberta Leadership Award) for community spirit in 2007.
Jennifer Fisk, Co-Chair
Jennifer is the founder and owner of Freestone Integrated Communications, an Edmonton-based communications and marketing firm that supports many different sectors, including Alberta’s food and agriculture industry. She is a communications and marketing professional with 22 years of experience focused on understanding, managing and influencing the perceptions and expectations of the public, media, government and donors. Giving back to the community is important to Jennifer. She currently is a Board Director for the 4-H Foundation of Alberta, and recently completed her term as one of the Co-Chairs of the inaugural Edmonton Food Council. Jennifer was a Board Director for Northlands, Valour Place, the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, Live Local, the Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market Association (City Market Downtown) and Credit Counselling Services of Alberta (now Money Mentors). For her professional and community efforts, Jennifer was recognized as one of Avenue Magazine Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2011.
Lori Schmaltz, Treasurer
Lori Schmaltz is a founding member and treasurer of the Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance. From operating a cattle ranch in Central Alberta with her husband to her career as partner in Private Enterprise Services in Calgary to specializing in Food and Ag Manufacturing, Lori’s agriculture roots run deep and stand proud. As Partner at Meyers Norris Penny, Lori shares business, accounting, and taxation advice including SRED and performance measurement expertise with clients in a wide range of industries, including agriculture, food processors, not-for-profit and oil and gas services. Lori also sits on the board of directors for Alberta Food Processor Association and Agriculture and Food Council of Alberta. Lori is passionate about Alberta’s food future and agricultural manufacturing industry and she’s excited to contribute to the future success of this prairie province.
Fraser Abbott, Immediate Past Chair
According to peers, industry professionals, and anyone who has had the opportunity to work alongside him, Fraser is a rare hotelier and hospitality professional; a mad-scientist of marketing initiatives; and a big picture thinker. But, ask him, and he would say he’s just doing what he loves. More than putting heads in beds at Hotel Arts and Kensington Riverside Inn, Fraser is transforming Calgary’s tourism industry one business development at a time. Armed with over two decades of tourism experience, unrivalled passion for the industry and an ambitious and original outlook to any challenge, Fraser joins forces with Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance as its Chairperson to support the future of Alberta’s tourism industry.
Kevin Kisilevich, Director
For more than a decade, Kevin Kisilevich has been actively involved in Agriculture and Culinary tourism in Alberta. In his early twenties, Kevin and his wife operated a market garden and berry farm where they hosted farm tours and sold produce. Since then Kevin has worked closely with Alberta Agriculture and Explore Local on Ag cluster and local food development. His experience has helped to coordinate and present best practices at numerous workshops. Today, Kevin’s work as the Publisher and Tourism Marketing and Development Manager for Go East of Edmonton Travel Guide and Tourism Solutions, has established a number of driving route events, including Experience the Bounty in Beaver County and other premier local food events. As a Director of Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance, Kevin dedicates his time and expertise to help culinary tourism grow into a thriving industry in Alberta.
John Jackson, Director
Young, funny and deliriously hard working, John Jackson has made Calgary a better place to eat, live and love. He brought San Francisco-style collaboration to the chef community in Calgary. He pulls the profession and city ahead through informal gatherings. He is a powerful voice with tourism and civic organizations advocating for community through food. And he welcomes other chefs into his kitchen for shared creative dinners that surprise as well as satiate with flair. CHARCUT’s commitment to locality and community have initiated a number of collective events that bring the city’s culinary leaders together to inspire one another and help put Calgary and Alberta on Canada’s culinary map for keeps. As a local food advocate, well-respected chef and community leader, Jackson brings expertise, passion and industry insight as a board member for Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance.
Renee Williams, Director
Renée Williams has over 10 years of communications and media experience supporting the corporate, municipal government and tourism sectors. In her current role as Director of Communications and Distribution at Edmonton Tourism, Renée provides leadership to Tourism Development, Visitor Experience and the leisure sales teams —Travel Trade and Travel Media — with the objective of increasing awareness and selling Edmonton as a destination to international markets. She graduated from Mount Royal University where she studied Public Relations. Renée’s PR career began in Calgary at the Missing Children’s Society of Canada and progressed to include roles with Calgary Police Service, the City of Leduc, and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation – Edmonton Tourism.
Scott Pohorelic, Director
Passion and love for the culinary arts came at an early age for Scott Pohorelic and he began working professionally in the industry at age sixteen, taking over his first kitchen at age nineteen. After many years of hands on experience, and recognizing the need to further his formal education Scott completed the highly regarded culinary apprentice program at S.A.I.T. Polytechnic in Calgary. From 2004 to 2010, Scott commanded the kitchen at the acclaimed River Café where he helped shape a cuisine focused on regional and sustainable ingredients. He was named Calgary’s Top Chef by Where Magazine in 2010 and was featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Chef’s Domain”. Scott now works as a culinary instructor at S.A.I.T., helping to shape the next generation of cooks. He is a strong advocate for local growers. Twice he was a delegate to Terra Madre, the Slow Food international conference in Torino Italy. Scott represented Alberta at the first Canadian Chef’s Congress on Michael Stadtlander’s Eigensinn Farm in Ontario and he represented Alberta at the Smithsonian’s Folk Life Festival in Washington DC. Scott understands that great cuisine always demonstrates a sense of place. Direct relationships with farmers provide the opportunity to use the best ingredients grown or raised in the most responsible ways.
Terry Andryo, Director
Terry Andryo is the Senior Marketing Manager of Agriculture for ATB Financial,a born and bred country boy who understands the benefit of knowing where our food comes from. He spends most of his day connecting urbanites to ruralites (and vice versa), getting these two groups around a table to collaborate in conversation rather than debate, and he’s slowly seeing the rewards paying off. You can connect easily with Terry on Twitter, Instagram or via LinkedIn under Terry Andryo.
Vanessa Gagnon, Director
Vanessa has accumulated a breadth of experience during her seven years in the tourism industry, from roles with Rockies Heli Tours and Calgary Stampede to Global Fest and Anderson
Vacations. An honour’s graduate of SAIT’s Travel and Tourism program, Vanessa is a wealth of knowledge and experience, but it’s her unparalleled passion for Calgary and compelling storytelling that drive her as the Brand Manager at Tourism Calgary. Her collaborative energy has
provided valuable brand awareness to the destination through innovative partnerships with JunoTV/CARAS, NBC’s Golf Channel, Cook It Raw, Food Network Canada and fashion designer Paul Hardy. In the wake of the 2013 Calgary flood, Vanessa provided creative support and
project managed video and photography shoots for the ‘Calgary, Our Doors are Open’ flood recovery campaign. That year the campaign received the Alberta Tourism Award for Marketing Excellence, as well as the Tourism Industry Association of Canada award for Marketing
Campaign of the Year.
Brenda Hanson, Ex Officio
Brenda Hanson has over 10 years’ industry experience ranging from key development initiatives in agriculture, and leading the agri-tourism development as a tourism development officer for AB Government. Brenda’s’ initiatives have created and supported notable programs such as Open Farm Days, Growing Rural Tourism and the delivery of AgTourism workshops. Brenda works closely with agtourism stakeholders, destination marketing organizations, Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, Alberta Agriculture and Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance.
Donald House, Advisory Council Chair
Donald House is the Managing Director of IDMG Culinary Marketing Strategies where he provides marketing, communication, event and social media platforms for such companies as Visa, American Express, Fairmont Hotels, Destination BC, The Globe & Mail and Wines of British Columbia. Donald is a broadly experienced corporate marketing and media executive with over 29 years of experience in planning and directing national projects in corporate, government and academic environments. His foremost client is Visa Canada, and since 2008 he has provided Visa with extensive culinary marketing and tourism services conducting over 300 event activations with national and international reach. Donald has more than 20 years of governance experience and is past Chair of Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance, Art Gallery of Calgary and Alberta Publishers Association.