Eat Retreat Midwest 2016

In September 2016, after five years of bouncing Eat Retreat from coast to coast, we held the sixth annual Eat Retreat on scenic Lake Delevan in southern Wisconsin.

For four days a diverse group of food leaders gathered from places as far away as Atlanta, Portland, Houston and Montreal. Attendees, who are experts and influencers in their individual spaces in the food world, led each other in hands-on workshops, panels and lectures, and intimate round table conversations.


Highlights included workshops on pies, sourdough breads, fish smoking and preservation, fermentation, bitters and cocktails, and a Kentucky bourbon and ham tasting. Eat Retreaters ate their way across a domestic cheese board, considered Midwestern Foodways and the future of our national food culture. Media discussions included food styling, pitching and recipe writing, and leveraging social media in food businesses.

The group visited a local trout fishery to learn about aquaculture and catch dinner. Meals prepared in collaboration and enjoyed around communal tables incorporated local ingredients, Midwestern themes and food treasures attendees brought to share.

Gathering sets the stage for the countless future projects, ideas, and collaborations that will come from the relationships formed in a particular place and time when we meet, eat, drink, and depart as changed people.Cortney Ahern, Eat Retreat Alum

Read Cortney’s account of Eat Retreat Midwest on the Slow Food Blog.

The Midwest Team

Kathryn Tomajan 2011 new

founder & director

Kathryn Tomajan

Kathryn Tomajan is an olive miller who has made award-winning olive oil in California and Australia. She is a certified olive oil taster and serves on the Board of Directors for the  California Olive Oil Council. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy.



Heather Marold Thomason

Heather Marold Thomason is a whole-animal butcher dedicated to sustainable meat production. She has raised pastured livestock, established local supply chains and developed retail and wholesale programs to improve market access. In 2016 she founded Primal Supply Meats in Philadelphia, PA.

Lesley Stockton 2014

culinary coordinator

Lesley Stockton

Lesley Stockton is a freelance writer, recipe developer and food stylist. She is a former food editor at Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food, and is currently the kitchen manager and staff writer at The Sweethome.