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Mara Jernigan

Chef, manager and cooking instructor

Mara Jernigan is a Canadian born chef, manager and cooking instructor specializing in sustainable tourism and local food systems..

Her 30 year career includes an apprenticeship in Europe and Toronto and the opening of Western Canada’s first farm to table cooking school and playing a key role developing and promoting Vancouver Island as a culinary destination by establishing the B.C.’s Feast of Fields and one of Canada’s first Slow Food chapters. For 10 years she was the Canadian representative to the International Slow Food Ark of Taste, she established the first Citta Slow in North America in Cowichan Bay and was the first elected President of Slow Food Canada. In 2011, Mara left the west coast of Canada for the remote jungle of Central America, where she developed and managed Belcampo Belize, a 1,000 acre organic farm and luxury lodge until 2014. She currently works as a chef and management consultant for several properties in Belize, helping luxury resorts become both more profitable and sustainable while elevating opportunities for local Belizeans. Last year, while working for Itz’ana Belize, Mara created a beachside pop up, cooking over fire in the seaside town of Placencia with her son Julian. Since then, they have also held pop up dinners together on Vancouver Island and Budapest.  Each fall, Mara also hosts off the beaten path culinary tours of Italy.

Twitter: @chefinthejungle

Instagram: @marajernigan