Wednesday, April 17, 2013

IACP CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO Part I

JUST THE BEGINNING…


Lights ! Camera ! Action !

I stared into the camera like a deer in the headlights, frozen and stunned yet knowing that I had to move. I tried to hold my gaze, stay focused, not squint into the blinding blaze of the bulbs, not stumble over my fear of being on the spot. Interviewed! Live! Well, okay, yes it was simply an ipod and the lights were from the ceiling above; this was no television or film set but a vast ballroom in some hotel (okay, so not just any hotel, but that comes later) but I was impressed nonetheless. Think quick, think on one’s feet, something I have not been necessarily good at. But here I was, Denise Vivaldo pressed up against my right shoulder, moral support, whispering encouragement and funny, irreverent things into my ear as I try to channel even a tad of her confidence.


And roll camera “What does IACP mean to you?

And the words tumbled out. This one needed no thought, no practice.




It all starts with people.

The gathering of friends made on social media, through blogs and emails. The chance for face time, up close and personal; real and intensive time to chat and exchange; time to share meals, ideas and projects. Reinforcing bonds, intensifying friendships, creating new chances to mentor and be mentored.

Connecting, networking, oh-so obvious yet never taken for granted. Always surprising and often unexpected. Meetings with editors, authors, respected and knowledgeable, willing to reach out and advise, offer guidance and brainstorm ideas. And those heavenly, magical offers of help. Yes, those were spilled into my upturned palms generously, sweet sugarplums gratefully and graciously accepted with excitement and wonder.



IT'S ALL ABOUT LEARNING!

IACP conferences are a wealth of information. Sessions and workshops on so many topics, pick and choose. Splendid writing workshops with the startling Crescent Dragonwagon and the beautiful Kathleen Flinn, both workshops were – fun - and invigorating and inspirational. Kathleen and Crescent’s words and the workshop exercises have had a profound effect on me both as a writer and a writing instructor, teaching me new ways to look at my work and move forward as well as giving me knew ideas for my own workshops. There is always something to learn, somewhere to go.

Pitch Perfect and Freelance Mix Master with Dana Bowen formerly of Saveur and presently Everyday With Rachel Ray, Nancy Wall Hopkins of Better Homes & Gardens, Joe Yonan of the Washington Post, Faith Durand of The Kitchn. A Late-Night Finance Bootcamp for Freelancers with my friend Renee Schettler Rossi of Leite’s (and freelancer) and Jess Thomson. Is there a freelancer who doesn’t need this? Understanding one’s worth, knowing how to ask and negotiate?

IT'S ALL ABOUT PUTTING ONESELF FORWARD!

And I speak! Ilva and I hosted our own Experts Are In session (joined by Cameron Stauch). Strategies For Expats drew more than just expats and stimulated a great follow-up discussion. We learn from each other.

Jamie and Ilva

IT'S ALL ABOUT CONNECTING!

We ate and drank and partied and talked: wine, oysters and clams with Nancy Baggett, Robin Ove and Ilva; brunch at an all-American diner with Denise Woodward and Ilva!!; a beautiful street tour followed by dinner with Sean Timberlake (and Ilva, of course) and Sean’s delightful husband, Paul; a perfect morning and lunch at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market with Dianne Jacob (photos to come); party at the Ferry Building with Denise Vivaldo (the girl to party with!) and Heather Gill; breakfast with Grace Young, Nancie McDermott, Jill O’Conner and Ilva as well as a decadent brunch at Craftsman and Wolves with Nancie, Jill and Liz Tarpy; lunch and a “talk” with marvelous Kathleen Flinn; girltime and chatting (never enough time) with Jeanne Ambrose, Renee Schettler, Sarah James; dinner with Ilva, Kate, Robin, fab Judith Klinger (mini P2P reunion), Jeff and Monika; luxury breakfast every morning in the Regency Club and an ongoing slumber party with Ilva, Robin and wild Kate McDermott (with a hug every day from Jeff Albucher). And wonderful chats with generous Bill Leblond, Dana Bowen and Nancy Wall Hopkins. Not to forget a fabulous surprise visit with Hilda Saffari and newborn Timojin! And getting to know Shauna Ahern and Elise Bauer just a little bit better. A heartfelt thank you to each and every one; you each made my conference an incredible and fruitful experience.

Ilva, Jamie and Denise

Jill, Nancie, Jamie, Ilva and Grace

Jamie and Denise

Renee, Jeanne, Sarah and Jamie

Jamie, Robin and Jeff

Jill, Jamie and Nancie

And a truly unexpected meeting with Lionel Clement, the incredible chocolate chef of Nuubia Chocolat whom I met at the IACP Culinary Expo who actually comes from Nantes! A long discussion ensued and hopefully a future collaboration and article.


And at the end of the conference, I found myself at the San Francisco airport waiting for my plane to Florida after an adventurous ride on the BART with Ilva followed by hangout time, ticking off all of the astonishing events and memorable connections from a much-too brief conference. But news of freelance gigs and book projects will be left for a later blog post.

Robin, Ilva, Kate and Jamie in California!

You can also read about last year’s IACP Conference New York City with my tips on how to turn an overwhelming event such as this into a success!

Thank you, Ilva. Xo

BONUS QUESTION:

Look at these two photos:



What film was shot in the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Hotel where the IACP conference was held? (Ilva and I noticed right away and were very excited!). Hint: we almost ended up at the Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous.

25 comments:

Junglefrog said...

I love all the smily faces Jamie!! Looks like you had a wonderful time over there...:) I wish I was able to tell you which movie it was but sadly... I have no clue!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Thanks for the marvelous repost! It sounds and looks like you had a wonderful time in San Francisco. The IACP conference was surely very interesting...

Cheers,

Rosa

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That's what friends are for! Wish I could have been there.

Kalyn Denny said...

Love the photos. And how I wish I had been there to meet both you and Ilva.

Lisa said...

What fun you had and I love the photos of you with everyone..such pretty ladies! That said, we watched a lot of movies from the 60's and 70's when we were growing up due to my father's expansive VHS tape collection. Might that movie be Toweing Inferno?

David @ Frenchie and the Yankee said...

Sounds and looks like you had a wonderful time!
Thanks for the photos and repost.

Jamie said...

@Lisa..... nope. Think again!

Amanda said...

Sounds like you all had a wonderful time in a fabulous city!

Jill Colonna @ MadAboutMacarons said...

Oh, I can see a horse in that lift with Schwartzie - what is it, True Lies? Is it?

I love how you open up about the deer in the headlights, Jamie. I can totally identify with you on these kind of situations. Looked like an amazing brainstorming of connections and ideas - and the chocolatier from Nantes? Petit monde! Looked all so civilised, too, with the pink bubbles. Bravo.

Jamie said...

@Jill: Ha! I could see a film like that but nope, not that one! And a very small world! We were both amazed. I saw his name embroidered on his chef coat and noticed it was French so I said "I'm from Nantes" and his eyes got wide and he said "me too!" yay!

Shulie Foodwanderings said...

Lovely recap of of your IACP time, Jamie. SF is the perfect set up and backdrop. I should head over there soon. Looking forward to reading more.

Dianne Jacob said...

This is what I love about conferences, especially IACP: the chance to meet up with people I adore. You were high on the list. Sorry there was no great photo of the two of us to include.

XO

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

What a wonderful opportunity to network and learn. The most difficult thing for me to do is to choose which of the presentations to attend. I want to go to them all. I can't wait to meet up for a proper chinwag.

Sarah said...

Woohoo! What an exciting recap! Love your energy and the smiling people! Only problem now-bit jealous I wasn't there.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I love those photos of all of you having lots of fun! Aren't food bloggers incredible? I have a small group of fabulous ones near me that I adore :)

Liz Berg said...

I am going to 3 blog conferences this year (after attending my first last fall). You've made me even more excited about the upcoming events...and hoping we will cross paths one day :)

PS...I know I've seen that movie, but I stink at remembering names...In the Line of Fire????

Gabi said...

High Anxiety! Wow what a great trip you had, so happy for you!
xox

Jamie said...

@Gabi!!! Yes! High Anxiety! Fabulous yay!

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Wow - this reminds me of FBC 2009. What 'awesomeness' to meet friends, make new friends and learn even more!

Jamie said...

@Kitchen Butterfly! Oh I love seeing you here and we have really lost touch. I think about you often... I love meeting up with friends at conferences!

Mardi Michels said...

Jamie I loved your recap of IACP. Was sad not to be able to attend but, um, I had my own blogging conference to organise the following weekend so it simply was not an option. I loved living ICAP vicatiously through you and I can totally feel the joy you feel when you are there!

Rambling Tart said...

So much fun, Jamie! :-) I love your misty shot of San Francisco. I have so many happy memories of that city. How lovely to meet so many fantastic people. :-)

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Looks like a whole lot of fun. I just knew this would be a success and cannot wait to hear all your stories about meeting with some awesome people.

Lora CakeDuchess said...

Sounds like an incredible time and the photos are all so lovely to see. I am a wee bit envious of you getting to hang out again with sweet Sarah and Nancie (sigh...)one day we'll all meet again:)

Mairi @ Toast said...

What a wonderful trip....good times :)

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