I’m happy and tired, just back from attending this conference. I’ve been going to International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) conferences for around 10 years. Every year I know more people, and much hugging and kissing and laughter ensues.
There are the people I only seem to see at this event. There are the people I want to get to know better, including book editors, magazine editors, and authors. There are the new friends I’m thrilled to see again. There’s the Bay Area contingency, always large. And for the first time, there are the people I’ve got to know here on the blog and on social media. Put them all together and it’s an ever-expanding party, with tons of networking. And I get to learn more about our profession of food writing, in sessions ranging from book proposals to magazine pitching to new media.
And eating? Did I mention eating? This year’s conference was held in a total foodie town filled with food carts and artisan foods, an almost religious preoccupation with the new, the trendy, and the sustainable. Particularly, I can’t stop thinking about the sustainable pastrami sandwich at Kenny & Zuke’s, an ice-cold foie gras pop at a reception, and a maple bacon bar from Voodoo Donuts, shared in a Prius on a rainy early evening.
My job was to conduct two “Experts are In” sessions on “Staying Ahead of the Curve” and two “Night Owl” sessions for food writers on the topic of reinvention. I love coaching and facilitating discussions, so I hope the attendees got as much out of the sessions as I did.
I’m missing the buzz and the energy from being around so many talented people. Some of the highlights:
- A keynote address by former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl, the “most famous unemployed food writer in America” according to New York Times food reporter Kim Severesen. Reichl described why the magazine closed and what she took away from being the editor there for 10 years.
- The annual awards gala, held in an Art Deco auditorium with a live band, and hosted by Reichl and Seversen, friends with a “butch/femme prom-queen kind of vibe” according to a tweet by Joe Yonan, the Washington Post’s food editor. See the list of winners here. I was honored to accept my friend David Leite‘s award for best first book, The New Portuguese Table.
- A long social media session with a panel that included my new pals from Club Med, the super-accomplished Jaden Hair (almost 50,000 followers on Twitter!) and Elise Bauer (8 million page views per month on Simply Recipes!).
- A gorgeous reception on opening night, featuring the best food and spirits providers in Portland.
If you’re a food writer or blogger, plan to join us in Austin next year, June 1-4.
Were you there? Drop me a line and tell me what you enjoyed best.