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2016 Culinary Nutrition Urban Retreat

3 days of inspiration, community and connection!


Join us in Toronto for the 2016 retreat!


Friday, September 23rd – Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Friday Evening: in the kitchen: 26 Noble Street
Saturday + Sunday Workshops: 92 Geary Avenue

It’s time to take our community offline and connect in person, in the school’s hometown of Toronto, Canada.

Current students and graduated culinary nutrition rockstars are invited to enjoy this weekend intensive packed with new, advanced level culinary nutrition classes, personal development and business inspiration!

This year, though we will be hosting the Friday mix and mingle soiree in the kitchen, we will be hosting our weekend classes offsite to better support our growing alumni-base. That being said, we have room for only 50 attendees.


The chance to meet Meghan and Josh and attend their live workshops was such a rewarding experience. They excel in teaching and showing you how to put it in to practice, while also making it a lot of fun. What a joy to share the camaraderie with a diverse but like minded group. I will be able to take what I’ve learned and apply in to my own business.
– Kat Mendenhall, Texas

This is a rare and really fun opportunity to join the Academy of Culinary Nutrition team, fellow CNEs and some of our favourite local food, nutrition, and awesome life heroes. I truly hope you can join us!


Meet Your Retreat Instructors

Meghan Telpner + Josh Gitalis

Workshop: Everyday Detox + Immune Support

The Focus: Join Meghan and Josh as they teach this important, informative and entertaining workshop together. You already know how much fun these two have in the kitchen together so please enjoy this opportunity to learn from both of them live and in person.  This workshop will explore:

  • Main channels of elimination
  • Key toxin exposures in our environment
  • Key considerations with any type of detoxification program
  • What it means to really detox (we’re talking beyond green juice and smoothies)
  • Simple everyday detoxification strategies
  • Cooking demo + sampling of a variety of Detox and Immune supportive goodies that may include:
    • Detox shooters
    • Detox herbal tea
    • Immune boost elixir
    • Detox enhanced veg falafel
    • Special dessert

You’ll have an opportunity to sample all of the delicious dishes that are prepped during the workshop and there will time for Q&A.

Christine Flynn

Workshop: Food Styling and Plating

The Focus: As a trained chef and Culinary Nutrition Expert alumni, Christine will share the intricate details that make for exceptional plating- whether it’s for a dinner part, instagram, your blog or beyond. She’ll also share her best tips and strategies for styling food for editorial, promotion and straight up fun.

About Christine: You may recognize Christine from Culinary Nutrition Basics, as your knife skills instructor. You may also recognize Christine for her recent fame as the acclaimed ‘faux’ Chef Jaques Lamerde who recently went viral on social media (and was featured on CNN and in Vogue) for a mock instagram account, styling up the best food your local gas station sells. Her creations, despite being Cheese Whiz and Doritos, are works of art! Christine is also Executive Chef and Partner of Toronto’s iQ Food Co, a hub of clean food eating in Toronto’s financial district.

Connect with Christine

Instagram: (personal account) @TheYamBurglar
Instagram: (Chef Jaques) @chefjacqueslamerde

Josh Gitalis

Presentation: Epigenetics: Why we are what we eat, think, breathe and do.

The Focus: Genes are not your destiny and in this inspiring talk Josh will share the evidence to support this, and offer strategies on how we can impact the expression of our genes through optimal lifestyle habits and practices.

Meet Josh: Josh Gitalis is a recognized expert in the fields of clinical detoxification, therapeutic supplementation and functional medicine. As a leader in his field, Josh teaches Clinical Nutrition for several natural health colleges, and is on faculty at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. He is the first nutritonist in Canada to be certified as a functional medicine practitioner.

Connect with Josh

Sondi Bruner

Presentation: How to Cultivate Your Writing Life

The Focus: Beyond the mechanics of writing lies the practice of cultivating a writing life – one that supports your creativity, keeps you on track, allows you to hone your craft and ensures you meet your deadlines (whether those deadlines are external or internal). Sondi will share her top tips for how you can cultivate your writing practice in a way that’s practical and attainable. Sondi will share her top tips for how you can cultivate your writing practice in a way that’s practical and attainable.

Meet Sondi: Sondi is a holistic nutritionist and our head program coach here at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. She’s also a journalist and food writer with extensive experience writing for mainstream media, as well as her own series of cookbooks. Sondi has a depth of knowledge around culinary nutrition writing that is unparalleled in the field.

Connect with Sondi

Dana Harrison and Joel MacCharles

Workshop: Batch Live – Everyday preserving

The Focus: Join Joel and Dana for an inspiring workshop on how to make the most out of your seasonal produce. Given that our retreat is happening during prime harvest season, Joel will be sharing his amazing depth of knowledge and skills in preserving the fall’s best produce.

About these rockstars: Joel and Dana are a super duo with Joel, a TedX Toronto speaker, doing the cooking and writing, and Dana, a brilliant designer, bringing her eye for detail and composition to every creation. Their newly released bestselling book Batch, is a must have resource in every culinary kitchen.

Connect with Joel and Dana
Well Preserved

Daniel Millar

Workshop: Superfoods From The Hive

The Focus: Daniel will share in-depth insight about bees, their role in our eco system/food system, basics on bee keeping and other culinary wonders the bees make, highlighting the benefits of the various bee products for our health.

Meet Daniel: Daniel is the co-founder of Beekeeper’s Naturals, which makes innovative and sustainable natural health products with bee-made ingredients to provide effective natural solutions to modern health problems and to maximize performance. Beekeeper’s Naturals is a company with a cause dedicated to raising awareness and funding to help save the bees. Daniel is devoted to using it as a platform to generate awareness for the diminishing bee population and the associated profound impact it would have on our environment and food supply.

Connect with Daniel

Beekeeper’s Naturals

Catherine Farquharson

Workshop: Going To The Next Level with NLP

The Focus: NLP or neuro-linguistic programming is a practice that explores our perception of the world and how we can release self limiting beliefs and as a result, achieve greater levels of success and fulfillment. In this workshop, Catherine will review the technique and invite you to take part in a variety of exercises to break down barriers and open up to new potential.

Meet Catherine: Catherine is a leading lifestyle photographer, who also happened to photograph both of Meghan’s books, and all of her professional (and personal!) photo needs since 2008. Her ability to connect with her subjects is unparalleled. Catherine has been trained in NLP and is now a coach specifically for photographers to help them achieve greater engagement with clients through the lens and beyond in their businesses. She is truly a one-of-a-kind talent!

Connect with Catherine


Meghan Telpner

Workshop: Power Motivation and Being Your Own Coach

The Focus: 

You are needed in the world.

Our unique gifts need to be shared but often we find ourselves stopping short because we simply don’t know what the next move is, or how we can be of greatest service. We fear the wrong move could take us down a path we later decide isn’t right. So, how do you know? How do you keep moving forward, and find the motivation to continue when you want to stop? How do you undue wrong decisions to fix it with right ones?

Open up to the possibility of what you can achieve, what you are capable of and then gain the skills and strategies to ultimately make everything you dream up go from being possible, to being real.


Topics and guests are as solid as we can ever hope. Please note, however, that they are subject to change pending reasons beyond our control.

The Weekend Itinerary


  • Click To View Full Schedule

The Rest Of Your Time In Toronto

There is so much I love about Toronto and how the city invites me to truly live the UnDiet lifestyle. Here are some of my favourite weekend things to do that will work with the schedule of the weekend program:

  • Thursdays from 3-7pm, Dufferin Grove Market
  • If you are here for the day on Friday, take a trip to Body Blitz — a delicious rejuvenating water therapy experience.
  • If you want to check out some yoga, my favourite studios include Misfit Studio, Octopus Garden, Yoga Space,
  • If you want to shop, the independent boutiques of Queen West (from Bathurst to Dovercourt) are where I like to kick. There are more mainstream shops on Queen Street West between University and Spadina, or head to the Eaton Centre at Yonge and Queen if you dig malls.
  • Where to eat? My faves include Bare Burger (vegan + paleo options, all organic), Harvest Kitchen (organic, omnivore), Belmonte Raw (vegan/organic), Live (vegan/organic).

See more in the ACN-Approved Toronto City Guide

Where to stay?

There are several chain hotels in Toronto and a few sweet options near the kitchen. The kitchen is located in Parkdale, on the west-side of downtown Toronto. It was named the 2nd coolest neighbourhood in the world by Vogue. That being said, it also has it’s share of colourful characters. If you’re not used to large urban centers, you may be more comfortable staying in some of the neighbourhoods listed below for AirBnB

  • Dunn House B&B is the closest to the kitchen (a quick walk) and offers beautiful accommodations in an old Victorian house. Though we used to have a graduate running the show, she is no longer there so please check on the type of food being served.
  • The Gladstone Hotel , a super cool artist-created spot.
  • AirBnb is a popular option (fave neighbourhoods- Roncesvalles (where I live!), Liberty Village, Little Italy, The Annex
  • VRBO, and Homeaway as great online resources
  • And if you are more comfortable in bigger hotels- we have a Sheraton and Hotel Le Germain nearby

*If you are a Toronto-based CNE, who will be attending and would be interesting in hosting a fellow CNE in your home, please let us know.

We will send more detailed information and a suggested itinerary once we have our registrant list ready and set.

The kitchen is located at the west end of downtown Toronto and is easily accessible via streetcar, taxi or Uber (my fave) if you chose to stay at a more centrally located downtown hotel.

When to leave…

If you are flying in and are wondering when to book your return flight, as we will be going until about 5:00pm on Sunday, I would recommend booking domestic flights (within Canada) for 8pm onwards and for international flights from 9:00pm onwards. The kitchen is 30 minutes to Pearson airport by taxi, 20 minutes by Union Pearson Express, and about 15-20 minutes to the downtown Billy Bishop airport.


Meet Our Retreat Sponsors

Appetite Random House Cropped

Genuine HealthBeekeepersFresh City


Giddy Yoyo

Green Beaver Made GoodSweets from the Earth




Neil BrothersNudTonica KombuchaGraydonAlmond ButterflyVillage JuiceryYes Peas

Raw Elements

Lemon LilyHealthy Crunch













By registering for the retreat, you are in acceptance of the following: Topics and guests are as solid as we can ever hope. Please note, however, that they are subject to change pending reasons beyond our control. Retreat registration is non-refundable but is transferrable to another guest. If you have registered and are unable to attend, you are welcome to have someone come in your place. Any transfer of registration must be confirmed at within one week of the event start date.