DATE:       February 16, 2017

FROM:      Antonia Allegra, Founder, SPFW

TO:            Writers, editors, publishers, agents, photographers, coaches, stylists, scholarship donors, and all others who know the magic of SPFW

Despite ups and downs, life’s cycles bring us eventual joy. I write you this note of closure for our beloved Symposium for Professional Food Writers 28 years after its inception. With it, I share joyful news: Our vibrant conferences held from 1989 through 2011, and our two webinars last year, will be long remembered, and their impact will live on through your work writing and publishing about food.

Our three conference venues over the years bring flash recollections: Learning in a tent at Beringer Vineyards; the San Francisco Stanford Court, where Julia Child joined us and then continued with us annually, posing tough questions until she passed on in 2004; and 17 dearly-held years at the elegant Greenbrier, ushered in by Anne Willan and Rod Stoner. In 2016, our top-notch webinars drew an international audience numbering in the hundreds.

I gladly share pride in the recognition brought to so many writers, novice and seasoned, whose 200-plus books were encouraged through SPFW. And consider the myriad joyful memories and friendships!

How can we thank our hundreds of speakers and scholarship donors who shared their experience, secrets, and direction over the years? Their honesty and encouragement made them coaches and mentors to us all, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for their time, friendship, and sharing.

In the most recent iteration of the SPFW as a non-profit corporation, we were served by board President Andy Schloss (, Secretary Kristine Kidd (, and Treasurer Jennie Schacht (, and by Executive Director Julia Allenby ( and Creative Director Andrea Collier ( Without their dedication, hope, and brilliant ideas, I fear this closure would have come sooner. Great KUDOS to each of them!

Times have changed since 1989, when our Symposium was the first of its kind in the U.S. The level of excellence offered at past conferences now comes at a prohibitive cost. At the same time, fees for authors, writers, stylists, and editors have tightened. In light of the many other food-writing conferences now available, and with my goal to retain these editorial conferences unaffected by sponsorship, we have reached a quiet impasse leading to closure of the SPFW.

We will continue to gather and advocate for food writers through our SPFW Facebook page. Share news with your food writing colleagues! Tell us about your book just published! Let us know you’ve signed with an agent or publisher! We want to know what you’re reading, writing, cooking, so do stay in touch. Feel free to post questions or thoughts about our closure, or send them to me directly.

Sincerely, we are your constant colleagues in the world of written publications regarding food and its universal appeal to all who join at the table. I will be watching your careers over the years to come! The magical experience of participating in SPFW will be with us always, and is part of our very fabric.

With deep love, I wish you great success in your writing and in your life.

Antonia Allegra
SPFW Facebook page
P.O. Box 663, St. Helena, CA 94574