Stefanie Farnsworth Salem is the Founder & CEO of the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival. Salem takes her entrepreneurial and international business background combined with her insatiable love for all things food, wine and cooking to curate and lead all programming for each year’s event. Her 25 years of business experience, which includes living and working in foreign countries, collaborating with political leaders and leading projects with economic corporations, has played a key role in helping her secure high-profile sponsors, participants and partners to make the Festival a true world-class event.
Salem’s impressive career accomplishments have included: promoting foreign investment in emerging markets by working with Heads of State, Ministers and CEO’s of multinational and local corporations in the countries of Greece, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Nigeria. Salem also led editorial advertising in US News and World Report, Sunday Telegraph (UK) and USA Today. Subsequently, she was Founder and President of Hampton Court Publishing, London, which published “In God’s Time, the Building of a Democratic Nation”, focusing on the cultural, historical and political independence of Nigeria where she worked with President Obasanjo, Vice President Abubakar, all 36 Governors and Ministers. After founding the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival in 2014, Salem was honored as one of the “Most Influential People of 2015” by Newport Beach Magazine. In that same year, the Festival was also touted as the “Top 5 Places to Travel to in October (World-wide)” by Forbes Travel.
Salem considers herself a “taste-bud traveler”, gaining much of her inspiration for the Festival by experiencing cultural cuisine throughout her international business travels, and today, traveling the world with her two sons and closest friends. Salem also enjoys frequenting restaurants around Orange County, wining and dining with her chef and master sommelier pals, cooking gourmet meals at home and never missing an episode of “Top Chef.”
Salem was born and raised in Southern California and earned her BA in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara in 1992.