Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time in the land of food, wine, all things artisan-made, all things handcrafted and all things delectable and grown in its glorious and bountiful backyard, the city dubbed the one of roses opened its arms and invited in those from all walks of life with one common goal: to listen, mingle and explore endless possibilities with like-minded individuals all in the name of food. The city was Portland, Oregon. And those gathered from the walks off life made up a group appropriately named the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). 

The New Culinary Order

This enchanted story of once upon a time, actually didn't happen that long ago. Last week from April 21 to April 24, The New Culinary Order descended upon Portland and created what many heavily involved in the world of food and drink may look back on as a fairytale. What began its first night with an unforgettable host city reception at Portland's The Nines hotel transcended itself into four days of seminars focusing on all aspects of the culinary world; which began in the wee hours of the morning, and led to late-night rendezvous that included intimate sessions with food industry stars and hush, hush dinner parties throughout the entire city. 

Our Days and Nights

Daytime workshops held throughout the Oregon Convention Center, The Portland Art Museum, The Art Institute and many more delicious Portland venues took hungry attendees through sessions and workshops on topics such as: Hands-On Digital Food Photography with famed food photographer and blogger Matt Armendariz; Oregon Truffles with author and founder of Oregon White Truffle Oil Jack Czarnecki; Guerilla Marketing for Culinary Professionals with Virginia Willis; and Recipe Development with blogger and recipe developer Amy Sherman. Those wanting to learn lessons and sit in with experts partook in Night Owl sessions held nightly including: Reinventing Your Food Writing Career with Dianne Jacobs; Self-Publishing: A Story from the Front Lines with Jean Duane; A Culinary Conversation with Anne Willan and Virginia Willis; and Culinary Hustling with culinary entrepreneur  and mogul Andrew Schloss

Warning: Star Sightings Ahead

Like any lover of the food world, or one who is looking to find their spot within this incredible industry, I was, of course, star-struck throughout the entire week. There is something magical about meeting those whose books you've read and adored or have given you inspiration, or those whose recipes have delivered to you unforgettable eats, or thoughts have caused you to view food in a different way. The stars at this show proved no different. A list of A-listers who set foot in Portland last week (Off the top of my head. It's entirely possible that I'm missing a few): Ruth Reichl, Judith Jones, Madhur Jaffrey, Michael Ruhlman, Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Virginia Willis, Anne Willan, Andrew Schloss, Kim Severson, Dianne Jacob, Jaden Hair, Brad Farmerie, and many more. I remember attempting to take about a million pictures of Ruth, or which none came out. The iPhone cannot be depended upon for everything.

Job Well Done

And I'm definitely not speaking about a filet. Congratulations to Portland's host committee, led by Mike Thelin. The conference was one that's conversations was off the charts on Twitter chatter (check out conversations at hashtag #iacp), and one that had many who could not attend in complete envy. It was one that raised the bar for future IACP conferences. I was happy to be here, happy to be involved with coordinating some of the events and as a volunteer, and so proud that it was in my home city. Honestly, there was no better place to be. 

For my 'Some other things I just loved this week' section, I've picked out top highlights for me from IACP:
  • Some one-on-one time with the woman whose book, Will Write for Food, was the first guide I picked up on food writing, Dianne Jacob. I chauffeured Dianne to an event she needed to attend after one of her Night Owl Sessions. When I first picked up her book a few years ago, I can honestly say I didn't think I would ever be giving her a lift in the Jetta. Life is so fascinating that way. 
  • Finally seeing Ruth. Murmurs began at the host city reception that 'someone just saw Ruth', but my eyes didn't make that a reality until Friday at the conference. I attended an intimate session where Ruth discussed her PBS series "Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth." It was so fantastic to listen to her discuss details of an episode we watched in the room with her, the trials and tribulations of filming, and her thoughts on bringing the series back post-Gourmet. One thing that stuck with me - aside from what a fantastic writer and editor Ruth is - is a) she has great hair, and b) she has a unmistakeable, deep voice. I loved listening to her talk. The series is still available and can be streamed online at www.gourment.com/adventureswithruth
  • After four days of hearing about sightings of Michael Ruhlman sipping on cups of Starbucks, learning that the amazingly intelligent IACP host committee sent Ruhlman home with a bag of Stumptown. THANK the Lord for that one.
  • Being face-to-face with Judith Jones as she signed a bookplate for my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Judith Jones. Being so close to that kind of history caused my eyes to well up a bit. Wow, what a figure of culinary food writing history. 
IACP 2011 will be held in Austin, Texas June 1-4. will you be part of the memories?

Some pictures from the week:
My best shot of Ruth 

I left of Thomas Keller. Keller at the Awards Gala accepting an award for 
best cookbook by a chef/restaurant: Ad Hoc

Ruhlman, Page and Dornenberg discussing the "Death of Recipes"

I'm a sucker for getting books signed



Kristin said...

Would you tell us more about the Death of Recipes panel? So intrigued...

Jennifer said...

Hi Kristin,

The Death of Recipes panel turned into what was mainly Michael Ruhlman insisting that there was no need for recipes anymore, and Karen and Andrew insisting that there was.

The three made a good point that many recipes today are no good or aren't even tested.

I understand Ruhlman's point; he wants people to learn the fundamentals of basic cooking techniques so they're not relying solely on a recipe. That's a good point, but even I believe that's part fantasy. Not everyone is as interested in learning how to truly as some of us in the food world. Some people just want to get food on the table and get on with other important aspects of their lives.

Page and Dornenberg focused understanding how flavors work in cooking, and how that can allow home cooks to branch out on their own instead of being bound to a recipe or cookbook. They also heavily promoted their new book, The Flavor Bible. :)

Here's a YouTube clip of part of the discussion. Michael Ruhlman wants everyone to shut the TV off and cook with their families. Page, surprisingly, was on the side of the busy person who doesn't have time to cook. Here was Ruhlman's reaction. :)


And I believe if you go to YouTube and look up "IACP Death of Recipes" you'll see more video of the panel.


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