homeless in New Orleans .. #CS2017

My own fault, I know, I needed one more night here. I thought I could just add on another night at the end of my stay. Sorry m’am the hotel is fully booked! Oh crap, what the heck was I thinking? This place is fully booked all the time.. everywhere!!! The ‘French Quarter’ eateries even take your phone number upon entering, they text you when they have a table available! Get your butt back though.. they will only keep it open for minutes!

I realize I am starting this blog from the end of my stay.. don’t worry, I have lots of stories and I will get to them eventually. This starting at the end is really what my whole experience here has taught me. Don’t wait to book last minute.. ok just kidding!

An offer from two fellow caterers I met last year “we have an extra bed, if you need it” was so unexpected, I was truly touched. Little did I know I would end up using that bed! That heartfelt gesture is where I want to start my story.

I believe most people are good, honest and respectful. We all strive for the same basic needs in our lives.. food , shelter and happiness. We all possess a humour gene, some need to use it more often, that’s all. We work to make a better life for ourselves and our children. Hopefully we’re not pissing off too many people along the way. I just threw that in, ok.. so I did have a little incident.. and I’m still a little pissy, but I digress.

Attending this conference is on my wish list every year and this time its in N’awleans. The Catersource 2017 gathering, is celebrating 25 Years, back in the city where it began. Taking part in this educational experience for caterers, restaurents, commissaries, chefs and all things relating to food.. is an essential part of why our family based catering business is still thriving.

We all need continuing education if we want to be successful, when we stop learning we cease to grow. My first life as a hairdresser (that’s what we called ourselves back then) had me attending hair shows and educational training seminars. How else to go from rollers and backcombing to precision cutting and blow drying? Lord am I glad I don’t have to learn how to do hair extensions… whew.

How does a hairstylist (that’s what we’re called today) with four salons, end up feeding whole hogs to hoards of hungry clients? Well life has this way of throwing you curve balls.. just when you think you’ve got it all figured out.. DUCK.. if you didn’t duck that curve ball smacked you good! Enter.. my second life as a self taught caterer.

Blogging is part of my third life btw.. (a dear friend, Roy Porter, encouraged me to go for it) little did he know he helped create a monster… lol. I mention him because he is a part of what this whole blog is about. Education is key, I know, but it is the people and friends you make at these shows that is the lifeblood.. feeding our catering souls..

When the founder of this great organization (Catersource) Mike Roman, passed away, we all felt this loss. Some decided to stay away, others wandered elsewhere. I wish for you to all come back.. Mike may have left the building, but his dream lives on! This conference is an example of that! So many new people keeps this conference alive and fresh.

Over the four days here, we have over a hundred classes .. training seminars, hands on stages and a tradeshow second to none. We have food network stars.. motivational speakers, chefs and authors of cookbooks AND million dollar caterers rubbing shoulders with the food truck operators!

I was fortunate enough to help two young men find their way around this conference, I introduced them to some of my friends. These caterers were here to learn and explore new ideas, they will return home to elevate their catering business to a whole new level.. in Ethiopia!

Greg Hicks, speaker and fellow Ambassador (ya.. they couldn’t get rid of me so they made me an ambassador) asked “what was our biggest take-away from this conference?” I thought about that and I do have some great ideas and a HUGE find on the tradeshow floor! (a future blog)

This is what I know for sure (thank you Ophra) MY BIGGEST take-away has always been the connections and friends I make while at the conference. Those two young men from Ethiopia.. how inspiring is that? The five gals from Columbia, Sue from New Zealand, the gal from Costa Rica and the couple from Utah.. we shared such laughter.

All this renews and rejuvenates my soul. Fausto Pifferrer and Reuben Bell.. you gave me a bed when I was homeless.. my god, you even fed me.. at Trenasse’ (no less!) I love you guys.. and thank you lord for Reuben, my fellow snorer zzzzzzzzzzzzz

I throw this out for your consideration. We get inspired by people.. not things.. who did you inspire today… ?

stay tuned for more tales from N’awleans..