Antonia “Toni” (Lastreto) Allegra ’67 established the Symposium for Professional Food Writers in 1989, and the annual conference has become a hub for culinary writers from novice to well seasoned over the past years. The list of faculty speakers is a Who’s Who of leaders in food writing, editing, blogging, podcasting, and photo-videography. Numerous food writers have found the conference to be a springboard for their careers. The 2016 Symposium (www.spfw.org) will take place September 26-30 at the Culinary Vegetable Institute (www.culinaryvegetableinstitute.com) in rolling farmland outside Cleveland. Included among the faculty: Rick Bayless, Molly O’Neill, Russ Parsons, Joe Yonan, Hannah Rahill, Kristine Kidd, Molly Wizenberg, Andrea King Collier, Andrew Schloss, Holly Hughes, and more.
Toni, who lives in a “treehouse” in St. Helena, CA, is an author and launcher/editor of magazines and a poet. She is an advocate for writers and excellence in food/wine writing. In 2004, she also launched the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, which takes place annually at Meadowood Napa Valley (www.winewriterssymposium.org), as well as the School for American Chefs at Beringer Vineyards in 1988. Toni was on the launch team for the Culinary Institute of America/Greystone from 1991-1995. Three magazines about Napa Valley were launched under her editorship: Napa Valley Tables, Appellation, and Vine Napa Valley.