July 29, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.