I feel I should start at the end because this story is sorta about how everything ended for me at this years Catersource 2015 Conference in Vegas.
Dragging myself out of bed at The Mirage was painful.. I hurt all over!!! The black-out curtains held the noon day sun from shooting flaming arrows into my eyes.. yep it was noon (afternoon actually). There was one thing I wanted to do before I left Vegas. Meeting so many new friends had me feeling like I was at home.. we are all connected by this crazy business.
Did you know we are also a force to be reckoned with? Our foodservice industry contributes BILLIONS to our economy.. more than all vehicle sales alone! We are a huge industry and we should be very proud of the part we play in all of this. Wow.. who knew?
There was one person I needed to touch base with before I left. Brittney Melnick is a Las Vegas caterer that had invited anyone interested to meet for supper on Tuesday. I not only couldn’t make it but I also missed the meet and greet Catersource forum group as well, on Sunday night! I want to know how those four days flew by so fast and also.. why am I walking on stumps?
I gave Brittney a quick call and asked if she wanted to meet for lunch? Turns out she already had lunch with Meryl Snow and Jack Milan (ummm… how come I didn’t get an invite , Jack?). Anyway we arranged to meet for coffee and dessert (well I kinda wanted breakfast, but I digress). Brittany picked a nice place called Mundo and I kept her waiting while I proceeded to get lost even with help from my GPS.
This gorgeous tall blonde greets me (who is making all these beautiful people or am I just getting so old everyone looks young and beautiful to me)? There is one exception here.. and that is the huge screens in the opening and closing ceremonies! Those high definition cameras are painful to view on us older generation (read wrinkles here) types. Even the beautiful people were diminished somewhat by those hateful cameras!!!
So we chat about, what else.. catering.. her niche market, and what we have learned this time around. We discuss the conference and we compare notes. Now.. Brittney is a new generation coming up through the ranks, she attended, with her hubby, their first conference the year before Michael Roman left us to fend for ourselves.
They learned so much and were so enthused and inspired by everything they seen. Turns out her hubby was even ‘Romanized’ and we all can relate to that.. can’t we? He also bought Mikes book on the art of catering. Their business in in its sixth year and they ae now adding a venue.. scary stuff! I’ve always said this business is not for the faint of heart.
She seems to have a really good handle on everything and I make a mental note to tell my kids they need to meet her. A few years ago I tried to break into the funeral market (not easy.. but something that is recession proof) ok going for the punch line here, we are all dying to get into that right? Weddings are also a good market.. if you don’t mind wearing wide metal bands on your wrists.. to keep yourself from slitting them. (no explanation needed)
So it turns out that she is also a Mary Crafts scholarship winner along with her hubby and they actually got to train with the icon herself.. I am envious! I think that is a wonderful way to educate the up and coming chefs in our industry .. thanks to the ICA as well (we need to support these associations because they support us!).
ok note to self.. these institutions help educate and train us.. here is ‘proof’ with Brittney and her husband. Remember what I said .. we are contributing BILLIONS to the economy, more than all the vehicles sold in North America!! That’s a lot on Moola !
Here comes the most interesting part for me. The hubby (ok so if she said his name I forgot it.. but sounds like they make a good team). She loves to cook and prepare and design food and menus, he does the bookings and all the other hard stuff. Dealing with the people that book us is a fine art.. one that needs to be honed.
Seems like he has been having some difficulties with some of these consults. He was lamenting the fact that Mike (his new mentor) was gone.. Brittany suggested to get Mikes book out (even though it was written long ago and she had her doubts). Turns out he goes through the book and Mike has a solution to his dilemma! He uses it and everything turns out to the good.. can you believe it?
This is what I want you all to know.. he goes to that book often, when he opens it and finds the answers.. they both look up and say a thank you to Saint Mike !!! (and that is the Gods honest truth….. and Brittney said I could share that with you).
Thank you Brittney and I loved meeting you and good luck on your new venture .. we will meet again next year and I want to come and have a look at that new venue!