The anticipation leading up to Catersource 2016 was almost like Christmas, sans gifts. Meeting up with old friends.. hmmm some of us are aging faster (not naming names) but then, so am I. New friends made is a bonus.
Being chosen to be an Ambassador was an honour and a thrill. I have been a champion of Catersource since way back when. This is such an opportunity, as caterers and chefs, to upgrade and elevate our skills, education is key to all that we do.
Mike Roman seen a need in our industry and gave birth to Catersource, no mean feat.. him being a man and all. His vision was to bring us all together and share our knowledge with each other.. and this is why I keep coming back. By attending this conference I also feel that I am paying homage to him and keeping his dream alive.
What is most exciting for me is seeing all the new faces that have nothing to do with Mike.. well.. he is the man that made all this possible.. and just look at us now! I am happy about this and so proud of Catersource and all of us, for carrying on his dream. I am but one person, but there are hundreds no.. make that thousands of us that feel this way.
Being a caterer is the hardest job I have ever done in my life. Making a living at it is even harder.. what other job requires that you be all things to everybody? We are only as good as our last event.. Mike was fond of saying. We need to keep re-inventing ourselves all the time!
Anyone can cook food and I would venture to say we all cook food.. so what makes me so special? Well.. share your vision with me and I’ll make it my mission to give life to your dream, be it a wedding.. a social event.. grand opening or your first baby shower.
We give life to dreams .. and this conference continues to ignite.. excite and inspire those that attend and are seeking to elevate these skills. I met a lone gal from Zimbabwe, given information about this conference from a vendor from China, no less!
Now I would never have seen that coming. I helped her choose her classes and recommended some books for her. She was thrilled to be at the conference and making connections with other like minded professionals, and she will be back next year.
Ken Barret and I shared a moment over drinks reminiscing about Mikes influence on us. Gregg Hicks, another Ambassador, came and sat with me at a reception and we exchanged stories. Yves from Montreal showed up and I am still kicking myself that I didn’t get a picture with him .. he is sooo handsome! (I know.. I am shallow)
Fausto Pifferrer, whom we dubbed ‘Faberge’ made sure we got back safely to our hotel after we had a few more drinks than anticipated (that wine in baby bottles at Pigalle kept me entertained). He is originally from Cuba and his story is fascinating. Oh .. and he has over three thousand pictures from the conference!!
Bill Phannoff, a Catersource staple, inspired my daughter-in-law to attend more of his classes. We had over 95 classes to chose from and another 40 at the tradeshow on the stages there! We also had 102 speakers .. no less.
I met the head chef from a huge venue in Las Vegas. He was interested in ordering ten thousand edible spoons from Jack Milan. I was helping in his booth www.ediblesbyjack.com while he and retro rad chef Emily Ellyn presented a class on ‘My Favorite Things’.
Another person I connected with on the tradeshow floor was originally from Canada (as am I), the huge resort he oversees does 45 million a year in sales! Do you think I could learn something from him.. well I have his business card and I would feel comfortable calling him.
I suppose I could tell you more about the classes.. I do plan to write about one of them that caught my attention. I could tell you it is the speakers.. it is the movers and the shakers .. reconnecting with friends, old and new, that brings me back year after year.
Catersource is all that for sure.. but for me.. it was that lone gal that travelled all the way from Zimbabwe Africa hoping to learn how to increase her wedding venue sales. I was able to help her.. while making a new friend.. and that is what inspires and lights a fire inside of me!
Giving birth to dreams.. it is what we do.