Join Me for Food, Beverages & Conversations in the San Juan Islands

The Lakedale Resort on San Juan Island invites you to join them for some culinary conversations. Over the course of the next month, there will be three different sessions at the resort. Each two-day session will feature a “thought leader,” who will guide the conversations, a renowned chef, a farmer or artisan food producer, and a beverage expert. Guess which of those categories I fall into? I will be the beverage expert for the first session (September 8 -10). Details about each of the three session can be found in the official press rean award-winning release below.

As for my session, I’ll be paired with Chef Robin Leventhal (who, among other things, appeared on Bravo TV’s Top Chef). Also, I’ll work with Kurt Timmermeister of Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island. Timmermeister is an author and an award-winning cheese maker. Along with other interesting and delicious conversations, we will be working with his cheese and talking about food and beer pairing. His cheeses are delicious, rich and present some challenges. But I’m sure beer is up to the task.

So join us in the San Juan Islands for a couple of days and learn about, talk about, and consume delicious food and beverages. Complete details below.


Three-day, Two-night Experience With Pacific Northwest’s Culinary Leaders on scenic San Juan Island Resort

FRIDAY HARBOR, WA – August 29, 2013 – Lakedale Resort announced today an expansion of its September programming aimed at those that love to talk about and enjoy food, 24/7. Whether you’re a food novice or a seasoned epicure, this is a weekend for everyone. Each installation of “Culinary Conversations” will feature a different culinary dream team for two nights and three days. Guests will taste, talk, learn, write, indulge, experiment, and most importantly, have fun interacting with some of the Northwest’s brightest culinary minds.

Each team will be led by a food writer and thought leader, who will be joined by a team made up of a renowned chef, a beverage expert, and a farmer or artisan. The sessions will all follow a unique theme inspired by the team leader.

Guests will arrive on Sunday afternoon for libations and light snacks in Lakedale Resort’s forested canopy, then indulge in a delicious dinner. Monday will include discussions with the team leaders and demonstrations by chefs and artisans including a cheesemonger and a farmer. A one-pot, gourmet dinner will be served and enhanced by input from a beer aficionado, a cider maker and a distiller. The evening will close with a fireside chat on current food-related hot topics and current events.

September 8-10, 2013: “Defining Sustainability: The Business of Farm To Table”

Sheri Wetherell, Co-Founder & CEO of Foodista will kick off the Culinary Conversations series with “Defining Sustainability: The Business of Farm To Table.”

Sustainability is more than vague ideas about the environment. It’s about the preservation of heirloom seeds and heritage breeds, water usage, building codes, animal welfare, pricing, taxation and markets.

Most of all, building a truly sustainable food system is about adaptability. What happens to our local producers of jam when drought in the Midwest leads to skyrocketing fruit prices in Washington? How does a co-op of lentil farmers reconnect directly with local consumers, and introduce a new chickpea variety? What goes into making our country’s best Camembert? If Washington’s hops have a crop failure, will it lead to the end of beer as we know it? So much goes on behind the scenes for every bit of food we put into our mouths.

As guests taste and discuss, they’ll focus on how maintaining a sustainable food system requires endless (and delicious) creativity from its participants.

Sheri Wetherell, co-founder and CEO at, grew up surrounded by food on both sides of her family. Her paternal grandmother owned a diner for many years, and her maternal grandmother (and mother of five daughters) was always found in the kitchen baking or whipping up garden-fresh tomato juice. Her mother instilled in her the importance of healthy, wholesome eating and fed the family homemade soups, breads, and fresh carrot juice. Through her grandmothers, mother, and numerous travels overseas, she developed her love of food. She honed her palate and taste for travel by hopping planes with her airline pilot father, spent nearly a year studying in Italy and traveling in Greece, and taught English in Tokyo for three years. Her professional background is in traditional and online marketing, where she worked for companies such as, Microsoft, Nordstrom, and eBay.

Wetherell will be joined by:

  • Chef Robin Leventhal, of Seattle’s Crave and cheftestant on season two of BRAVO TV’s “Top Chef”
  • Kendall Jones, author of Washington Beer Blog and freelance writer frequently featured in Seattle Magazine and Outdoors NW
  • Kurt Timmermeister, farmstead cheese maker at Kurtwood Farms, author of Growing a Farmer and soon to be released Growing a Feast (January 2014)

September 15-17, 2013: Food and Drink: A Question of Context

Author Cynthia Nims will welcome guests to the second weekend of Culinary Conversations with “Food and Drink: A Question of Context.”

Context is a powerful vehicle by which our eating and drinking experiences can be made much richer. Not just the basics of time and place, who we’re with and what we’re eating, but the history and culture surrounding the food’s production, who grew/made it, geography, economics, personality of the place where it thrives, a whole host of elements. Each team member—a writer, a chef, a farmer/fisher and a distiller—will reflect on how context plays out in our daily lives and encourage a dynamic conversation with guests about finding those layers of meaning and context in their own cooking, eating and drinking experiences.

A lifelong Northwesterner, Cynthia Nims holds the Grand Diplome d’Etudes Culinaires from La Varenne cooking school in France, where she worked on numerous cookbooks with owner Anne Willan. Previously editor of Simply Seafood magazine and food editor of Seattle Magazine, Cynthia is now a contributor to Cooking Light, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Sunset, and others. She is the author of 12 cookbooks and has contributed content on Northwest cuisine to Williams-Sonoma’s Savoring America and to Culinaria: The United States. Her most recent cookbooks are Salty Snacks (Ten Speed Press, 2012) and Gourmet Game Night (Ten Speed Press, 2010).

Nims will be joined by:

  • Chef Greg Atkinson, of Bainbridge Island’s Restaurant Marché
  • George and Eiko Vojkovich, owners and farmers of Skagit River Ranch
  • Nathan Kaiser, owner and distiller of 2Bar Spirits in Seattle’s SoDo district

September 22-24, 2013: Eat Write Weekend

Kim O’Donnel, journalist, cookbook author, and chef, will host the third installment of Culinary Conversations, “Eat Write Weekend.”

She and her team will explore the world of food writing which, while hardly new, is experiencing something of a renaissance. Guests will investigate what encompasses food writing and where it’s headed, with readings and conversation. Try a little hands on cooking — of words, that is — to explore the creative well within.

For more than a decade, O’Donnel has dispensed cooking advice at numerous publications, including the Washington Post, Culinate and USA Today. Kim is the author of The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook (2010) and most recently, The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations (2012). She’s a regular contributor to “Real Food Right Now,” a weekly seasonal produce series on Ecocentric and writes a monthly “Eating Down the Fridge” column for iVillage. She is the founder of Canning Across America, a collective dedicated to the revival of preserving food.

O’Donnel will be joined by:

  • Diane LaVonne, Diane’s Market Kitchen
  • Crystie Kisler, owner of Finn River Farm and Cidery
  • Riley Starks, owner of Nettles Farm on Lummi Island, principal in Poulet Bleu and former owner of Willows Inn

Complete daily itineraries and pricing can be found at

Each Culinary Conversations package includes a two-night stay in the lodge or canvas cabin, all meals, and activities for $450.00 (+ tax) per person. Additional guests may participate for $150 each. This offer is not valid with any other offers or promotions.

Space is limited. Packages can be reserved by calling 800-617-2267 or 360-378-2350.

Cheers to our sponsors, like...

One comment

  1. Hi Kendall!
    Good luck at this great event! I work for the SJI Visitors Bureau, so we are helping to promote it as well. Maybe I’ll see you up in the islands! Let me know if you have any island related questions!


Comments are closed.