OUR TEAM

Rebecca

Rebecca Mackenzie

President & CEO
rebecca@ontarioculinary.com
@CanadaCulinary

Rebecca tirelessly shares a lifetime passion for food and travel across Canada and around the world. As a result she’s built an unparalleled collection of expertise and relationships that make her one of the most popular and sought-after tourism speakers and experience developers.

Over the past two decades, Rebecca has developed tourism products and destinations for a broad range of government, educational, Not-For-Profit and corporate clients. Widely regarded projects include Prince Edward County’s award winning Taste Trail and Arts Trail, the 2005-2015 Ontario Culinary Tourism Strategy, the Culinary Tourism Alliance’s innovative Feast On™ certification program and the ground-breaking food tourism software – the Experience Assessment Tool (EAT™). Rebecca contributes her expertise to a variety of industry Boards including the Terroir Symposium, the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation Sector Committee, the OceanWise Advisory Group, and the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Gastronomic Tourism Network. Rebecca spent her final year of high-school on a 156-foot tall ship sailing to 20 countries in Europe and Africa – an experience that rooted her passion for travel and adventure.

She splits her time between Toronto and Prince Edward County, and practices her craft with a personal project – the Terroir Run. For food travel inspiration follow Rebecca @CanadaCulinary.


 

Director of Food Tourism Development & Innovation

Trevor Jonas Benson

Director, Food Tourism Development & Innovation
trevor@ontarioculinary.com

Trevor is a socially-minded systems thinker, progressive project manager, and enthusiastic enterpriser, who is as passionate about collaborating with others to create meaningful change in the way we experience and value not only food but also the people and places that make it taste so great.

For the past 10 years, Trevor has been working to support the development of short value changes and local sustainable food systems, and he loves only one thing more than cooking and eating food with others, and that’s travel. Trevor feels privileged to have worked for a couple of years in London’s 1,000-year-old food market (Borough Market) and counts himself among the blessed to call the culinary capital of the Caribbean (Barbados) his second home. Trevor brings vast experience in community-based and market research, evaluation and impact assessment, marketing and sales, and social enterprise development and capacity building.

He has a background in Sustainable Local Food as well as Law and Human Rights, and sits on the Advisory Committee of FoodShare Toronto’s Cross-Cultural Food Access Innovation Hub. By working in cross-functional teams and on diverse projects, Trevor has learned how to turn challenges into opportunities, plan strategically, growing sustainably, partner wisely, and measuring accurately.


 

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Nalisha Sankreacha

Research Associate
nalisha@ontarioculinary.com

Nalisha is a strong advocate for local food system development. She believes in the promotion of a sustainable and collaborative food networks that work to enhance the environment and economy while stimulating tourism. She has graduated with Distinction with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English and History from the University of Toronto and has a Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management from George Brown College. Nalisha has worked in hospitality and tourism for over five years, on the frontline and in supervisory positions.

Nalisha is currently supporting the CTA in developing four food tourism strategies, including one provincial and three regional strategies. Nalisha has extensive experience with research, critical thinking and analysis, including developing research methodologies, designing data collection tools, and performing both qualitative and quantitative analysis. She also keeps thorough documentation of reports, data, and best practices to ensure the CTA has current knowledge about food tourism.


 

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Caroline Morrow

Project Coordinator
caroline@ontarioculinary.com

Caroline is a professional that thrives on project-based work. She is always on the lookout for local food experiences and she is passionate about promoting economic development through sustainable food systems. With a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and a Bachelor’s of Art, Caroline has a strong research background. Her studies have focused on international development, economics, food systems, environmental studies and land management.

Alongside non-profit organizations, academic institutions and municipal governments, Caroline has worked on international participatory research and engagement projects. In Panama, she worked with organic coffee farmers to investigate links between agro-tourism, biodiversity and economic development. In Mexico, she studied communal land management and food sovereignty. In India, she led a team of researchers through the development of a community engagement framework using interactive research methods.

Caroline is passionate about involving the public in plan development and has extensive experience designing collaborative research activities, facilitating engagement sessions and liaising with different organizations. Through various national and international projects, Caroline has worked closely with the public, community groups, developers, First Nations governments, municipalities and consulting teams. Caroline is enthusiastic about showcasing unique food experiences, shaping how people experience places through food, and helping regions identify their unique “taste of place”.


 

Agatha

Agatha Podgorski

Community Manager
agatha@ontarioculinary.com

Agatha believes in local food, responsible purchasing practices and the health benefits of a glass of good pinot.

She once considered law school, but after completing a degree in Political Science at the University of Toronto, she realized she would much rather eat than be eaten. Agatha then achieved a diploma in Culinary Management from George Brown College after which she spent time in Toronto kitchens. She’s since traded in her spoons to spread the word about Ontario’s amazing food experiences and help develop our rich and varied food culture. In 2011, she was recognized by the OHI as one of Ontario’s Top 30 Under 30 in the hospitality industry.

Agatha has had many roles since joining CTA in 2011, but can now be found managing communications and media. She is the CTA’s brand manager, social media maven and content curator. She was instrumental in developing the Experience Assessment Tool (EAT™) and Ontario’s foodservice designation program, Feast On. She has contributed to numerous food publications including The Huffington Post, The Globe & Mail, Westjet Magazine and The Toronto Star. She was also the managing editor of The Ontario Culinary Adventure Guide.


 

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Barb Shopland

Senior Food Tourism Developer

Barb is the founder and principal of 2gener8 solutions inc., a results-based consulting practice in the food and agri-food sectors. Her work with clients includes strategic design, partnership development, community engagement, curriculum development and training, and project management. Barb’s training and passion in the food and beverage sector and experience as an entrepreneur have been instrumental in the scope of work and results generated in the private and public sectors including the development of the food and entrepreneurship strategy for Georgian College, the strategic growth plan including the facilities’ upgrade and expansion of the George Brown Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts, and the 10-year Ontario Culinary Tourism Strategy and Action Plan for the Ministry of Tourism.

She was one of the founders of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA) and served on the board from 2008 – 2009. Barb has also worked with the food and farming community assisting food business entrepreneurs in proof of concept and strategic business planning and has worked with regional economic development organizations in North America to develop food cluster concepts to improve economic development. Barb is the Executive Officer of the Essa District Agricultural Society, Past Chair of the Toronto Food Business Incubator (now called Foodstarter), Past Vice Chair of the Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee (GTA AAC), Past Chair of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA), and Past Director of Cuisine Canada. In 2006 Barb received the University of Toronto Arbor Award and in 2008 she was inducted as a Fellow in the Ontario Hostelry Institute (OHI).


 

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Danielle Brodhagen-Amos

Senior Product Developer

Danielle lives to travel and loves to eat. Her passion for food led to a 15-year career in hospitality. Danielle worked with the Culinary Tourism Alliance as the Director of Product Development for two years supporting food tourism development projects in the Haliburton Highlands, Windsor Essex & Pelee Island and Central counties to name a few. Danielle has returned to the CTA as a Senior Food Tourism Developer on a project basis. Prior to joining the CTA, she spent five years developing Stratford’s Culinary Tourism Program and was the founder and the force behind the award winning Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival and past co-chair of Slow Food Perth County.

After graduating from Queen’s University, Danielle traveled to India and Nepal, searching for spice markets, fish markets and night food markets. In Southeast Asia, she used Anthony Bourdain ‘A Cook’s Tour’ as her guidebook to join the locals at off the beaten path restaurants and street food stalls. Danielle lived in Japan for three years as an English teacher, followed by a year in Australia before moving back to her hometown of Stratford. It was in Australia that she was introduced to farm to table cuisine and the slow food movement. Danielle and her husband, Paul and 6-year old daughter, Elloise believe in eating seasonally and enjoy spending weekends visiting with farmers at local markets. Their family spent six weeks eating their way through Japan, Thailand and the UK and return to Asia to travel to Taiwan in December. Since Paul loves to cook, Danielle and Elloise live a good life! Their biggest challenge moving to the big city is leaving their deep freeze full of the eighth of a cow and half a heritage pig they just purchased from their farmer friends…and their wine cellar full of Danielle’s favourite Ontario pinot noir!