We'd like to introduce you to Wojtek Osinski, a gold member of the World Food Travel Association. He manages TastePoland, a blog dedicated to unique food and beverage in Poland. Use his website as a resource when planning a trip to Poland.
How did you become interested in food tourism?
I came to the Association through my own love of food. I had traveled extensively around the world, and no matter where I went, the food and drink I tasted (like authentic pad thai from the streets of Bangkok or a real mojito in Havana) created indelible memories. Then when my daughter was born, travel became increasingly difficult. I decided to change my focus to my own country, Poland. All of Poland is accessible 3-4 hours in any direction from Warsaw, which lies roughly in the center. This allowed me to take more area trips with my family.
In journeying around my own country, I discovered untold wonders like ”oscypek” (sheep cheese typical of the mountain areas) produced moments before our arrival by shepherds in their hut, a Jewish restaurant in a small town in eastern Poland, a gourmet snail farm, and even wineries! During these trips, I realized that it is usually quite difficult to find such places. That’s when Taste Poland was born.
How did you first hear about the WFTA?
I was familiar with the World Food Travel Association (WFTA) because I had met its Executive Director Erik Wolf in Poland two years ago. He was invited by Kasia Janiszewska, the Association’s Ambassador in Poland, who arranged for him to be a guest speaker at a meeting of the Poland Culinary Tourism Association. We went out to dinner, drank wine and vodka, and I introduced Erik to many typical Polish foods. Then I began to do more with Taste Poland, and I found myself back on the WFTA website, where I learned about the Certified Culinary Travel Professional program. I enrolled in the program, which was helpful because it filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge about food tourism. I’m using the CCTP logo customized with my name on my Taste Poland website – it gives additional value for me to be seen as an expert in the field of food tourism. I also got the Have Fork Will Travel book – I’ve never found more information about food and beverage tourism in one place.
What do you like about the World Food Travel Association?
I appreciate the WFTA for the learning resources that it brings to our industry, the contacts I’ve met through the Association, and also how the WFTA has helped to spread the word about what I do. There’s no other organization in the world that does what the WFTA does.
What’s next for you and your company?
I have a couple of ideas for summer trips and hopefully will have more time to write about places, and try some new ones. I’d like to attract true foodies from outside Poland, so that is my next focus. To do that, I’ll need to have an English language version of my website. It will be worth it to give inspiration to foreign and local tourists alike to discover the wonders of Poland through our food and drink.
What advice do you have for prospective members of the Association?
Nowadays WFTA is changing. It listened to the needs of its community. Just a month ago, it launched a new community networking platform to encourage more direct contact among Association members. You can promote your own events in the event calendar, post jobs, and more. The cost is extremely small so you can afford to test it out without a big risk. The new WFTA is worth checking out. And just like the Association has evolved, so has its education. I am planning to take new Masterclass course called “Designing the Perfect Food or Beverage Tour & Tour Business”, which is delivered on the state-of-the-art Udemy learning platform. Being a member gets you a discount to training like this.
How can readers get in touch with you?