Guest post by Adele Buettner and Dorothy Long
The International Association of Culinary Professionals held their conference last week in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We attended the conference on behalf of Saskatchewan mustard farmers and our client, Spread the Mustard. And #spreadthemustard we did with an exhibit, conversations about mustard and how it gets from farm to table, and of course networking for which IACP is famous.
We also explored the local restaurant scene for mustard menu items and discovered two new-to-us mustard producers at the local farmers market. The Urban Rebel Farms grow a number of micro greens including several mustard varieties and Old Pecos Foods produces five types of prepared mustards using local ingredients, including a red and a green chile flavor. We tried them all and brought some home to experiment with! Because…one can never have too many mustards.
Although attendance was down slightly, the conference agenda was robust and the smaller venue and city made it easy to connect and spend quality time with attendees. IACP offered some great professional development opportunities but it is always the quality of connections that makes the conference so worthwhile.
Each year we are amazed by the diverse membership and IACP’s ability to serve such varied interests – from food media, recipe developers, food photographers, chef’s, authors, editors and the list goes on. Year after year this unique membership, from across North America, continues to support and attend IACP events as we all have food in common, hence we are all connected.
We each attended different sessions ranging from social media tips to mastering SEO, the future of cannabis in food, dealing with anxiety, or the imposter syndrome. It was especially helpful to hear that even those people in our field we think have ‘made it’ and look like they have it together, sometimes feel insecure as professionals. Their advice was to push through your insecurities and find someone in your field to bounce things off, that can offer support, and build you up.
IACP also featured several a series of global food visionaries with whom the group held hour long conversations. Culinary thinkers like Nathan Myhrvold, Danny Meyer, Jessica Harris and Deborah Madison shared their food journey with everyone which was definitely memorable. Those conversations were inspiring and really brought home that although food is multifaceted and that whether we come to it as a historian, cook, restaurateur, modernist, or simply as an eater it is our common language and what brings us together.
Our Quick Takeaways:
IACP used the Whova app to connect attendees – it worked great and allowed for a paperless conference. Also an excellent way to showcase and connect with attendees.
Create and ecosystem in your blog around topics your reader is interested in so when they enter your site on one topic they are served up related information to keep them engaged.
If you are thinking of starting a food business whereby you will need to secure investors, begin securing money asap, as that generally takes the longest. Other elements of putting your business together happens more quickly.
It was our first visit to Santa Fe and we loved it. History, culture, art and great food easily accessible. A great city for an event or conference.
Finally, we found many of the attendees love mustard and eager to learn more. What fields look like, how it is harvested, the nutritional properties, how to use seed, powder and prepared in creative ways. Yes, mustard is a must!!
We were pleased to be part of this year’s event and look forward to what next year may bring.
About Adele Buettner
Adele Buettner is president and owner of AgriBiz Communications in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where she’s spent more than 25 years providing marketing expertise and telling stories about food for the company’s clients. Learn more about Adele in our Foodie Friday feature.
About Dorothy Long
Dorothy Long is a home economist who owns her own boutique PR company, blue sky ideas. She specializes in working with farm organizations to help them communicate their stories and messages. For more information check out her website www.blueskyideas.ca.