Saturday, July 6, 2019

TurinEpi19 talk-show 2

On Thursday, June 27th at 11am took place the 2nd talk-show of the 6th edition of Turin Epicurean Capital. Dr Reine Bouton moderated Christina Conte, Cynthia McCloud Woodman and Annette Joseph in a quite lively chat where personal experiences and points of view were often similar but conveyed in different ways.

*Left to right: Cynthia McCloud Woodman, Reine Bouton, Lucia Hannau, Christina Conte and Annette Joseph

Christina said she feels very privileged to be doing what she loves: traveling, writing, taking pictures, cooking AND eating! She particularly loves reading her readers' comments and surely, this is how she happened to be invited to Turin Epicurean Capital in 2017 for the first time.
The thing she hates about working on Social Media is falling behind with her posts and stories and this last edition of TurinEpi was especially a problem because during the heat wave, many areas of Turin were out of power and also, Italy is notorious for her skimpy wi-fi service, particularly on the hills and in the mountains...

Annette said she loves every single aspect of what she does, from cooking to styling, from hosting her retreats in Tuscany to teaching Social Media. She is a producer, an organizer, a stylist and, what she loves the most is the working process, like writing books, not just the final result.

As for Cynthia food cooking WAS a huge part of her younger years. As opposed to other families whose parents didn't cook, my mom was an excellent cook. She introduced us to gourmet meals. Her father, my grandfather was also a gourmet cook. My dad made us Beef Steak Tartare and sardine sandwiches, but also introduced us to ethnic foods. Blogging was a turning point in her career but also a new branch of the same tree, as she started blogging to show her friends how cooking is quicker and healthier than eating out.

Asked about Italy, Annette said that she always encourages people to visit less touristy places like Turin and Genoa because they are more authentic. Christina agreed and added that in the top touristy destinations, she has been finding more and more American food than Italian specialties, but in Turin and during the TurinEpi wine tour she found a genuine food appreciation, unique products, like vermouth and the aperitif rite. This is why she believes authentic flavors and stories need to be told more and shared with the world.
After taking part to TurinEpi17 she wrote her 12 top reasons to visit Turin and it is now the top post about Turin listed by Google in the US; however those 12 reasons are just the tip of the iceberg!

During the TurinEpi wine tour, Cynthia was impressed by the direct connection between producer and consumer. While the average American isn't aware at all of what they eat and they just care about price over quality, in Piedmont and by extension in Italy, food nourishes body and soul.
Christina added that in the US, people eat in front of the TV or in the car because food and eating as a moment are not valued as much as in Italy where people do care about who they eat with, when and what.
Annette remarked that that's because in the US people work around the clock and often times have no time for their lunch break, or even cooking, much less eating healthy. In Italy, on the other hand, the whole system encourages the 2 or 3 hour lunch break also because the economy is terrible. The Italian life style is slower and despite the fact Italians are very friendly, families are very closed*1.
She also said that American food is highly processed and the body has inflammatory reactions and she sees it each time she flies over to Italy and she loses weight.

*the 19th century history theater San Giuseppe of the De La Salle school in Turin

Reine then asked about what Italian food they normally miss back home. As for herself, she always misses espresso, Coca Cola Light and gelato.
Cynthia shared she misses risotto and the whole Italian experience of eating: cooking for and eating with the people you love.
Thanks to her love for pork based products, without any doubt, Christina said she misses dry cured salsiccia (sausage) and all the vegetables from her Italian family vegetable garden. Everything in Italy is different: the soil, the water, even the sun and the products of nature just taste better.
Annette misses parmigiano and pesto on top, and then, the focaccia from the bakery she buys it from in Liguria.

The final questions was about the advices about their job.
According to Cynthia, if you are passionate about what you do, you'll make it. On the road to success though, you have to select and choose if you want to sell easily, or stick to your own mission.
For Christina being a professional blogger is A LOT of work!! People never realize how much time you put into a photo and even writing. Creating original materials at a professional level, growing online followers and exposure, and keeping all the online accounts active and constantly striving is a lot more than a full time job.
Annette said that before jumping into food blogging, people should learn about how to cook, so go to cooking school to know what you are writing about and taking pictures of. Today, many cooking schools also teach how to style because photographers don't usually know anything about food.
Photographers need to thoroughly know their technical equipment. Basically, study to best deliver!

One thing that was also mentioned was how nowadays anyone gets hired for jobs they are not qualified to do simply thanks to their huge numbers of followers online and this is increasingly lowering the overall quality of posts and online materials we find online. Trends sprout like mushrooms every week. Speaking of this, Annette shared she lost many many jobs due to these market mechanisms and she had to reinvent her own career at 50.


Luckily though, working online is much more than a two way street, and its ever evolving challenge pushes you and the system we live in to keep constantly updated. This is why at the end of this second talk-show, Lucia asked Reine if she integrates Social Media into her university classes. As Reine teaches English literature and creative writing, she said she incorporates mixed media but not Social Media per se.

look who's happy about her huge calzone!! Photo by Lucia 

As the talk-show finished, we all hopped under the shaded arches in front of the nearby conservatory. 
Despite the scorching temps of the Europe heat wave the TurinEpi bunch was happily seated in a spot where we could catch some breeze too.
Wood oven pizza, calzone and bread, salads and all sorts of delicacies - desserts included, were on the menu.
After the customary photo shootings, we all dag in, chatted and laughed out loud before taking our well-deserved siesta.

* Photos by Alberto Bonis

1*in intercultural communication, the nature of those countries and cultures with a majority of Roman Catholics, like the Mediterranean area, Central and South America is usually compared to a pineapple. As much as the pineapple outer skin is hard to penetrate, its core is soft, so it is quite hard to really make a good friend with an Italian or a Costa Rican, but once you gain their friendship, you have it for life.


  1. Thank you Lucia! What a lovely experience!

    1. Thank you, Cynthia!! it is always nice to share our city with the guests!

  2. This is a great recap of the event! And oh, that calzone!! haha! Yes, I was very happy with it! Thanks for all your hard work in putting together Turin Epicurean each year, Lucia. Wonderful times in Turin!

    1. ho that lunch!! it was great, they do know what they do and great location too, yet... one year... they didn't want my rez, then they called again saying it was ok, then they called again to cancel it...

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