I have no idea why I am writing this , I am not affiliated with Catersource in any way, nor am I anyone close to being important in any way. I was just a small caterer that struggled with this business of serving food to people and trying to make a living.
I was a business woman in my first life owning four successful hair salons. I stumbled into the food business quite by chance (how many of you started that way?). I wrote a few stories about this and plan to put into a book eventually. The stories are on my blog.. under ‘business’..
The saving grace of our struggling little catering business was a Catersource conference in Las Vegas many years ago when Catersource was just a baby as well. It was Mike Romans baby and Pauline Hoogmoed was his ‘baby sitter’ .. well not really, but he said she was his right hand. Maybe he was the blood and she was the pulse .. but you get the drift.
Pauline was visible to all of us and guided us along the way at the shows.A lot of us were struggling and it was energizing to be among peers doing and going through the same things we were.
Although there are many different levels in this catering business, Mike Roman wanted to unite us all into doing the best we could be.. and he was tireless in his encouragement of our efforts. He sought to educate and inform and most of all inspire us to be not only competent.. but great!
Yes he is gone but I think he accomplished what he set out to do, and that was to unite and educate us! I wonder how many of us prospered and grew and made more money directly because of attending a Catersource conference? How many of us owe our still being in business to a conference attended ?and how about the follow-up ‘encouragement’ and friends made at this same conference?
Meeting and learning from our peers was not only educational .. but it was exciting too! I have met so many new friends at this conference that I think I went through withdrawal when I missed one because of a family wedding.
The caterbuzz site is also very valuable and informative.. where else can we put our fingers on the pulse of the industry? Find a recipe ? Ask for advice and receive it.. IN SPADES! Lisa Teiger deserves our thanks as well .. she does this FOR FREE ! it is a labor of love I think .. why else would she do it ? She is tireless in her efforts to keep everything we post recipes or pictures available to us… and even helps us on posting and retrieving info.
The pictures drive me crazy .. they make me hungry.. they make me feel incompetent (I will never be able to do 90% of the beautiful works of art shown in them)… ahhhhhhhhhhh… but that other 10% I THINK I CAN DO THAT !
We put our whole being into this business and it eats us up sometimes and spits us out… we then need to recoup and to regroup and a Catersource Conference is one place that did it for me! The caterbuzz site has taken over where the Catersouce Forum left off (it is still there btw and has recognized caterers and experts to help us with running our business and airing our questions).
The magazine has also inspired and helped soooooooo many . I looked forward to what was in the next edition.. the whole kitchen did. Some of you collected all the early editions and put them in binders (they were thinner and had three holes punched in them I think) for repeated references. It was like the bible and no advertising.
It goes without saying that we all miss Mike and I am going to miss Pauline .. darn…! But I am not going to miss a Catersource Conference in Vegas .. I can honestly say that there is not one conference that I did not learn something new and take it back home and made money from it!!
Meryl Snow alone helped me double my business one year by attending her classes! Jack Milan also inspires me with his humor and his creativity. I miss Carl Jones .. but Roy Porter is a force to be reckoned with! Wow.. is he a font of knowledge or what!
There are so many others that made an impression on this small struggling BBQ caterer from Canada .. you all helped us take that business that only made 6000 dollars the first year and turn it into a million dollar business. I can’t name all of you but I am grateful.
Catersource brought me all of you and We NEED to help each other .. that is what Mike Roman wanted and.. we are doing that!