The Future of Food is Now: Food Lab Conference Returns to Stony Brook Southampton

You don’t need a crystal ball to predict the future of food, just a ticket to the second annual Food Lab Conference at Stony Brook Southampton.

The future of food is being written today. Don’t you think it’s time all of us—enthusiasts and experts alike—gather together and talk about it?

For that, from Friday, June 3, through Sunday, June 5, The Food Lab at Stony Brook Southampton will present the perfect opportunity: the 2nd annual Food Lab Conference.

Its focus will be The Future of Food — Trends, Tastes and Directions: Who’s Shaping Them and Where They’re Heading.”

This year’s conference will build on the success of last year’s inaugural event, and will feature chef Carla Hall (co-host of ABC television’s “The Chew” and a former competitor and fan-favorite on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and “Top Chef All-Stars”) as keynote speaker.

Other conference speakers will include major TV personalities, print journalists, authors, and influential bloggers representing millions of readers.

“I’m really excited about this year’s Food Lab Conference,” says Geoffrey Drummond, executive director of the Food Lab. “Its topics and speakers reflect the gigantic and deepening interest by what seems like everyone in all things food.”

Topics at the conference will range from TV and restaurant chefs’ setting the menu to future trends in food tech, food service and food selling. Edible’s own editor in chief Brian Halweil will lead a panel on food literacy.

“One of the things that people really loved about the first Food Lab Conference was the opportunity to make connections,” says Drummond. “People come to the Food Lab Conference get to meet and share who they are and what they’re doing. There’s a lot of inspiration that comes out of that.”

The Food Lab Conference, then, is an important exercise in community-building—at a time when all of our collective everyday choices are building the future of food.

“I like to quote Victor Hugo,” says Drummond. ” ‘No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.’ ”

And for the Food Lab and its 2nd annual Conference, the time—indisputably—is now.

“What we’re doing now is really going to shape what happens next,” says Drummond. “A lot of misinformation and confusion is out there. We can dispel that. And this is knowledge that needs to be widespread and democratized. It can’t just be for people who are instagramming their dinners.”

Though, of course, at the Food Lab Conference there will be plenty of beautiful things to Instagram. In addition to the conference’s many panels and speeches, there will be boat rides, tastings, samplings and luncheons. On Saturday, June 4, there will also be a gala dinner prepared by one of the East End’s most celebrated chefs, Colin Ambrose of Estia’s.

“It’s going to be an amazing weekend,” says Drummond.

And it promises, also, to be a weekend that won’t leave its attendees hungry—for either connection or food.

Early bird tickets to the Food Lab Conference are $150 until May 10. Regular admission is $200. Student and farmer tickets to the three-day conference are $75; gala dinner only tickets are also $75. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

For updates, follow the Food Lab on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for email updates at thefoodlab.org.

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Meghan Harlow

Meghan is the editor of Edible East End and Edible Long Island.