Everything I Need to Know, I Learned at #FWCon 2016

final-fwcon-header-e1453829648311After attending a weekend conference as jam packed as Food Wine Conference was, one should take time to carefully digest all that was learned, organize business card collections, sort swag bag hauls, and reflect on the overall experience. Attendees should examine and contemplate the true beauty of photography, the universal importance of Tweets and Likes, the art of influencing, and the skill of making money.

However, for foodies, a weekend conference like Food Wine isn’t so textbook and pedantic. No, for foodies, it’s much more real. We’re hand on; we etch every taste and flavor into our memory. We describe each bite and notice every layer of flavor. We understand textures and pairing because we’ve chewed and sipped and slurped and paused to enjoy every last moment. We understand food (and drinks) like no one else.

As a teacher, I tend to relate things to school and education, and this experience has been no different.  The opening session was our morning announcements, and the key note speaker was the best motivational speakers imaginable.  However, what comes to mind again and again when I think about the conference is a poster I saw in our Guidance Department, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

Share Everything

Tweet, Post, Like, Photograph, Tag…EVERYTHING. The only way to increase your business is to increase your presence.

IMG_20160515_124848Know Where Your Food Comes From

Meeting the farmers and ranchers from Cabot, Florida Strawberry Growers, Wish Farms, and Certified Angus reminded us that behind every quality product there is a farmer dedicating his/her life to the land.

Your First Path In Life Will Not Be Your Last

Donatella Arpaia may have a law degree, but it was her innate understanding of the restaurant industry and food that has defined her success in life. We may have begun as teachers, social workers, stay-at-home moms, and accountants, but our passions will take our careers in completely different directions.

Everyone Gets Nervous In Social Situations

As Patricia Rossi, our personal etiquette coach, advised, introduce yourself, stand up, shake hands correctly, and always remember little “b” and little “d” at your place setting, and a fabulous Southern accent never hurts either!

Potatoes Aren’t Just For French Fries Anymore

The folks with Idaho Potatoes treated us to a culinary adventure around the world with the humble potato.  From curry to croquettes, the versatility of the potato was on display.

Clean Up Your Own Mess

As Lorraine C. Ladish exemplifies, life may become more than unbearable, but each of us has it within ourselves to create a web-based business and to go from “welfare mom to digital entrepreneur.”

IMG_20160514_192916Don’t Touch Dinner Until Photographs Have Been Taken

When Certified Angus Beef brings out a cutting board full of the biggest Cowgirl Cut Ribeyes you’ve ever seen, don’t think about eating or touching until everyone with a camera or cellphone climbs on chairs to photograph every cut, every side, every angle.

Say You’re Sorry

When you’ve made a mistake in a post, admit it.  Post a retraction or apologize; it makes you more authentic.

Wash Your Hands Before You EatIMG_20160515_102048

And boy did we eat! Thankfully the Fields Auto Group gave away mini bottles of hand sanitizer, because there was ALWAYS something yummy to snack on.  From Stoneridge Orchards’ Dried Cherry packets to Cabot Cheese’s Mac ‘n Cheese bar, breaks became serious snack times.


After a weekend of plentiful wine and decadent food, you will need to flush your entire digestive system.  And DO NOT GET ON THE SCALE!!!

IMG_20160513_162558Warm Cookies & Cold Milk Are Good For You

Milk is also not just for drinking.  The Florida Dairy Farmers Milk Spa taught us that milk can be a relaxing bath soak and facial.

Live a Balanced Life

Mondavi Wine for breakfast is completely acceptable, especially when paired with Cabot Cheese. For that matter,  one could argue that wine is part of a well-balanced meal. After all, it is made from grapes.  Therefore, wine is in the fruit & vegetable category!

Take a Nap Every Afternoon

Good grief! Ain’t that the truth.  Wine, cheese, mac & cheese…ahhhh…nap.

When You Go Out Into the World, Watch Out for Traffic, Hold Hands & Stick TogetherIMG_20160515_091248

And when you have an after dinner party on the pool deck,  find your friends, make some new ones,  and enjoy drinks & desserts  designed by Dandy Produce.

Be Aware of Wonder (and Denise Vivaldo)

One of the most candid and entertaining presenters of the weekend came at the end in a food styling session-stand up comedy show. Between the hilarious one-liners and behind the scenes insight,  Denise wowed and captivated everyone.

Remember The Dick-and-Jane Books and The First Word You Learned–LOOK

“Looking” is the one thing you couldn’t help but do all weekend. Between the food and displays and photo opportunities, there was so much to see and learn and taste and photograph and sip and Tweet and…

Whew!  The list could go on and on, and most of us would agree that Food Wine Conference 2016 exceeded every expectation and dwarfed any other conference I’ve ever attended.


3 responses to “Everything I Need to Know, I Learned at #FWCon 2016”

  1. Fabulous recap of the event!!

  2. I had that poster on my wall in college and I used it as one of the readings in my wedding! Absolutely love “Everything I need to know I Learned in Kindergarten”, this post and all your observations. Thank you for a fabulous recap. I look forward to following along your journey and seeing you next year FWCon! Cheers!

  3. Yep, I had the pleasure of attending Denise’s session last year too. She’s a riot but she’s also a great resource for food styling too!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: