Karen Anderson | Calgary’s Food & Hospitality Game-Changers 2024

For nearly two decades, the founder of the award-winning Alberta Food Tours has been sharing Alberta food stories with locals and visitors, alike.

Photo by Dana Pugh.

Karen Anderson wears many hats as a cookbook author, food journalist and Alberta food aficionado. She’s also an advocate for Alberta’s local ingredients and producers through her award-winning tour company, Alberta Food Tours (AFT), and uses her platform to share that passion with others.

Established in 2006, AFT offers guided and self-guided food tours in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff and Canmore, teaching Alberta’s food story through local restaurants and food purveyors. The company works with more than 100 Alberta farmers, producers and chefs. AFT’s impact can be felt both locally and beyond the province. In 2023, it was the only Canadian company to win a World Food Travel Association Global Culinary Travel Award, taking top spot in the Best Program to Promote Culinary Culture to Visitors category.

For Anderson, sharing Alberta’s food story is a point of pride, as she explores its local ingredients through projects like her latest cookbook, Eat Alberta First, and in AFT’s programming.

“To me, being a game-changer is changing stereotypes about Alberta’s food,” Anderson says. “[Alberta] has incredible soil, we have water and we grow a lot of the world’s foods — and all within an hour from Calgary you can find these ingredients. People don’t realize that your Italian imported pasta was probably made with Alberta durum wheat. Visitors who take our tours go away saying, ‘Wow, there’s great food in Alberta,’ and, if they’re local, they take more pride in it.”­­

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This article appears in the March 2024 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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