2014 Food and Wine Conference Brilliance and Giving Back

July 29, 2014

Rosen College of Hospitality Entrance

Rosen College of Hospitality Entrance


I attended the fabulous Food and Wine Conference this past weekend at the gorgeous Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando Florida courtesy of  the Datz Restaurant Group  based in Tampa Florida and  Isabel Reis Laessig.   Isabel is the driving force and founder of the Sunday Supper Movement and The Food and Wine Conference.   She is an incredibly dynamic, warm, down-to-earth and altogether brilliant human being.   Isabel has organized this event for two years, doubling attendance and putting together an event that showcases classes, demonstrations, contests, sponsors, incredible food and wine and the perfect mix of leisure time for networking!   You can find Isabel right here at Family Foodie .

Before  the start of the conference (after my delicious  hug-fest in reception with Jamie Schler, Jackie Gordon, Jenni Field and Lora the famed Cake Duchess)   I was able to meet with both Deborah Silverman Bowen, the bright, sharp wit behind Datz, and the communications and voice behind their Facebook, Twitter, and all of their Restaurant Review Responses, along with the amazing Lorraine Ladish the founder of  VivaFifty, a bi-lingual lifestyle website devoted to celebrating life after 50.  Dr. Deb is both the Communications Manager and Digital Storyteller for Datz which is a Tampa Gastropub and Gourmet Market featuring “comfort food with a flair”.   Datz is owned by Suzanne and Roger Perry and a huge part of their business plan is transparency and giving back to the community which I truly admire.    My family is looking forwarding to traveling west to get a taste of their signature when pigs fly appetizer flight of bacon, and their datchos, a platter of  handcrafted potato chips,with chili, cheese, jalapenos, sour cream, blue cheese drizzle and scallions. topped again  with either pulled pork, chicken or brisket.    For a sweet at their bakery, or  if you need to cater your next party, Datz  Dough and, Dazzle are at the ready!  And lastly, the newest restaurant under the Datz banner is called Roux ( New Orleans Inspired Menu) and is  scheduled to open any minute.   We are going to dine there with the generous gift cards that were planted in my swag bag.

Datz Swag Gift Cards

Datz Swag Gift Cards

As with most of us, my real work happens in the quietness of my private workspace and behind large jampots at the stove, and what a joy it is when I can connect with kindred spirits that know and understand this and are willing to share themselves with abandon. I am not sure if I have ever been at a conference with so many talented men and women (of all different ages) who shared their knowledge and expertise in a way that was so educational, inspirational and energizing.

I wanted to begin with one  simple but  huge takeaway quote  from  Monica Bhide’s  presentation, and that is:

“Tenacity trumps Talent”

So powerful these three words are and they hit me so hard at the conference, so very wise.  You can see Monica below on the left with her  Tiara, Jamie Schler in the center and Jenni Fields on the right.

Monica, Jamie and Jenni

Monica, Jamie and Jenni

In terms of the agenda, it was one module after the other both Saturday and Sunday each jam-packed with information, fabulous and knowledgeable speakers and lots of fun too.  I just wanted to touch upon some of my absolute favorites here.  The SEO recipe with Don Cristo ( the cofounder of Triberr) bowled me over, I would love to spend a few hours with him (really a few days).  He took a live blog from one of our attendees and went line by line to analyze and give suggestions for placement and SEO.

The out of the box ideas from Blog to Business, oh my goodness, such inspirational stories from Michelle Northrup of Intensity Academy Gourmet Hot Sauce and Erika Kerkes of  Not Ketchup.  So interesting for me to see the different business approaches and to take inspiration from these  two women that are so successful.  So much to learn about WordPress, learned about lots of different plug-ins, but never knew that I could find a local word camp meet up group!  Writing Wisdom along with Blogger to Professional Writer  with  Monica Bhide and  Jamie Schler and Janet Keeler  – both modules were just outstanding.

The Branding bytes session with  Jackie Gordon and Coryanne Etienne asked, what are your four words?  Describe you in just four words….what do you want, what is your passion, refine your elevator pitch, define your audience, make your brand reflect your passion, think about how you can develop more revenue streams.  Sponsorships, video, Ads, Public Speaking, Affiliate links/Sales, Amazon Links, Ebooks, Products, Classes, Working with the community.  So much to think about.

Media Kit – Such great information provided by both Monica Bhide and Wendy Wallford Garcia .  Great ideas, beautiful graphics, so excited to get started.  The Picture Perfect Story with Janet and Scott Keeler she is the food and travel editor and he is a photojournalist for the Tampa Bay Times  and it is a match made in heaven!  Amazing  photographs and behind the scenes stories, what a fabulous couple!  Would love to join their Cookclub.    I managed to take a snap of the working with brands panel which was another great one!   Dr. Deb from Datz is the second one in from the left.

Working with Brands

Working with Brands

Another highlight for me was getting to watch the Giuliano Hazan Cooking Demo.  I  loved watching him make his  Spaghetti Alla Carbonara while all along having the pleasure of sitting next to his wife Lael.


Giuliano Hazan preparing Spaghetti Alla Carbonara with Zucchini

Giuliano Hazan preparing Spaghetti Alla Carbonara with Zucchini

And I got to meet Maggie Battista and Marisa McClellan!   Marisa did a fabulous presentation on writing her cookbook and spoke about her book tours and time on the road, she is a delight in person.  Marisa is the author of the blog Food in Jars  and has written a book with the same title, Food in Jars and a second book called Preserving by the Pint and there are hints of a third!   Her tours and demos are wonderful, you can check her website for her schedule.

Maggie Battista & Marisa McClellan

Maggie Battista & Marisa McClellan

What made this conference different was the people, from the welcoming speech from Harris Rosen with his message that being successful affords you the opportunity to help others, to Isabel’s opening words, so heartfelt,  that for her the conference was a dream come true…it is this type of passion and generosity that made this conference so unique and wonderful.



  1. I feel your energy and passion – inspired! So glad you attended.

    Comment by Lizthechef — July 29, 2014

  2. Me too Liz!! I am looking forward to another one where we get to go together! XO

    Comment by wendyread — July 29, 2014

  3. Great review of #FWCON! So many inspiring speakers and caring brands!

    Comment by Cindys Recipes and Writings — July 30, 2014

  4. Thanks so much Cindy! I just loved it 🙂

    Comment by wendyread — July 30, 2014

  5. What a great review, sounds very inspirational! Enjoy your meal at Roux!

    Comment by Jayne — July 30, 2014

  6. Thanks Jayne! Wish you could have been here 🙂

    Comment by wendyread — July 30, 2014

  7. Every word rings true! So glad to connect with you here!

    Comment by Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious — July 30, 2014

  8. So glad you agree and fabulous to see you again!

    Comment by wendyread — July 30, 2014

  9. Love you bunches, and I cannot even tell you how wonderful it was to meet you, hug you, laugh with you and enjoy your tremendous jams! xoxo

    Comment by Jenni — July 30, 2014

  10. I feel just the same Jenni, a complete joy, you are such a kindred spirit. XO

    Comment by wendyread — August 2, 2014

  11. I am so so happy you could come to the conference and I loved spending time with you! It was a great time and experience!

    Comment by Jamie — August 4, 2014

  12. What a great recap and I LOVED meeting you. HUGS

    Comment by Lorraine C. Ladish — August 4, 2014

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