#catersource2018 is over.. we have all scattered our separate ways and to 30 different countries, no less! The knowledge we absorbed is throbbing in our heads and coursing through our veins.. we can hardly wait to get home and set our business on fire. I know only so well how exciting and overwhelming even, this all is.
We built our small family owned BBQ catering business from scratch .. in Canada where the temps can go to -40 overnight and nothing works, moves, or even turns sometimes (our rotisserie). Putting a fire under our propane tanks was necessary to thaw the gas to flow into the barbeques (I didn’t say it was smart, only necessary).
I could tell you stories, but that is not for this blog today. In all honesty, I keep expecting the other shoe to drop when I attend Catersource, especially since Mike Roman is no longer with us. How can this yearly conference that keeps me coming back .. create a renewed interest that absorbs and excites me beyond my expectations each and every year?
Our attendance at this yearly conference is directly responsible for our successful foray into a world we knew nothing about before blundering into it by mis-chance. How do a hairstylist and a welder build a million dollar catering business with-out any culinary smarts?
Pondering all this over the last few days (picking up that dam bug that everyone has, gives me lots of time to ponder).. I think I have an answer. We are all at various levels in this business and each of us have different needs, wants and desires that cover the whole gamut of the food event industry.
The one thing we all have in common is our thirst for knowledge, to elevate our game plan and to create more cash flow! Lets face it.. this crazy business we are in is much more fun when we are making money.. the ‘profit’ kind ; )
We are already winners when we signed up and paid to attend this conference in the first place. Each one of you are going back with new ideas and a renewed sense of commitment to your own companies, business or organizations (some spent valuable time gambling and are maybe not so fortunate), it happens.
The stuff I learned from Meryl Snow, Pauline Parry, Lynn Buono, Carl Franklin Jones (Catersource Forum) Mike Roman (of course Mike Roman) Roy Porter and Bill Pannhoff was invaluable. Jack Milan you are so special to me.. thank you my friend! and Roy Porter you are directly responsible for my foray into blogging, which is also my passion now.
These people are my idols and I did my best to learn from them and copy them and emulate what they taught me. Never did I dream that I would not only be eating supper with them but also interacting with all of them as a Catersource Ambassador! I am now a teacher on a much humbler level.. I share the joy of learning with all the newbies (and there are a lot) whenever I can.
I met Emily Ellyn, Retro Rad Chef.. by chance and we became fast friends .. her assistant Nettie Frank (whom I met this year) is also my friend now. I was able to connect Nettie with her idol, Mary Crafts Homer an amazing woman! I guess what I’m trying to say is that Catersource is so much more than classes and a tradeshow.
Mike Roman gave birth to Catersource as a vehicle to elevate and educate and connect all of us to each other. He accomplished that in spades! When I sat down to write this I realized it is not just Catersource but rather it is about what Mike wanted for all of us, to share, elevate, teach and make nice.. if you will.
This is about the people you meet, the friends you make and even your idols that you emulate. One gal said “I want to be up there like her” and that is not unrealistic at all. She will be up there and we will look to her and learn from her experiences. We share our mistakes too and ‘cater-slam’ had a few to share this year, I missed it.. 150 classes to choose from ..wow!
I have been craving doughnuts for over 2 weeks now because Nettie has a business ‘Beyond Glaze’ in Utah and makes the most decadent doughnuts, even wedding cake tower donuts! She is re-branding her business in May and I want to be there for her grand re-opening. I’m not sure if it is because we became fast friends or my craving for her donuts that just won’t go away… lol.
Nettie I love you as much as Emily.. Fausto and Rueben you are my rocks, Charlton and Kristen thank you so much for the drugs (for my bug). Amanda it was great meeting you and Joe Yantachka 111 and congratulations on winning the ACE AWARD. Vicky Crease.. you were serious about the invite to South Africa and I am serious when I say I am going to plan a trip.
I can’t mention everybody but I hope I conveyed the essence of what I wanted to share. This was another successful conference and that other shoe is never going to drop.. because of all of you! Now excuse me while I go search in vain for a donut and maybe check out flights to South Africa..