Best-Selling Author Michael Pollan to Speak at 20th Annual Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference

Michael Pollan

AMHERST, Mass. – Michael Pollan, best-selling author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation,” will be the featured speaker as UMass Dining hosts the Tastes of the World: Chef Culinary Conference from June 15-20 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Inspired by environmental issues, ever-changing food trends, and the will to support regional food systems, the theme for this year’s conference will revolve around the many reasons why “Food Matters.”

“The theme will give attendees the tools and the inspiration to create dishes that will entice a generation of diners in search of cuisine that is healthy and rich with flavor, but also embraces environmental responsibility,”says Ken Toong, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises at UMass Amherst.

The conference will feature an on-stage conversation and book signing with Michael Pollan on Tuesday, June 17 at noon in the Campus Center Auditorium. Moderated by Arlin Wasserman, founder of Changing Tastes, the event is open to the public. Tickets are available online for $20 at or $25 at the door on the day of the event.

A range of industry experts will deliver talks at the conference including August Schumacher Jr., former undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Dave Carroll, an award-winning singer-songwriter, social media innovator, author and speaker, and faculty from the Culinary Institute of America and Johnson and Wales University. A total of 38 speakers will share their expertise and oversee a variety of workshop demonstrations and sessions.

“This year’s conference will be the largest yet, bringing in food service operators and campus chefs from around the world,” says Toong. “The conference will not only showcase the gold standards of college cuisine, but the culinary skills of its attendees as well.”         

The conference will culminate with the popular ACF-sanctioned team competition that will take place on Friday, June 20.