As a full-time teacher, I’ve been to my fair share of meetings and conferences. However, none of those “professional,” career-oriented conferences have ever compared to Food Wine Conference 2017. No, I have NEVER been to a conference quite like this.
At most, if not all, of the conferences I’ve been to, attendees may know one or two others and some may attend as a group, but they aren’t “friends.” However, at Food Wine Conference, I felt like I walked into a class reunion.
As a new attendee in 2016, I felt like a fish out of water, knowing no one. However, that quickly changed as everyone introduces themselves and struck up conversation. As an alumni this year, walking into registration was a completely new experience. Gone was the uncertainty; gone was the timidness; gone was the social anxiety. After a year of Sunday Supper Twitter chats, and a couple glasses of wine courtesy of CK Mondavi and Family, I quickly and easily introduced myself, joined conversations, and made even more friends than the year before.
Granted, I am somewhat of an anomaly, a blogger with social anxiety; however, there was no better atmosphere and conference to meet and make friends.
Yes, Food Wine Conference should include food, and most would expect “good” food, but I don’t think anyone ever expects the sheer amount of decadent, over-the-top, phenomenal food.
From the welcome receptions and Idaho Potato’s latka bar with smoked salmon and the Intensity Academy’s gourmey sauces to the awards dinner of Certified Angus Beef short ribs and Duda Farms produce, the “food” part of Food Wine Conference puts all other conferences to shame. Over the course of the weekend, we were treated to the best of the best Rosen chefs, an Idaho Potato baked potato bar, Duda Farms snacks & smoothie bowls, a Florida Dairy cheese table, and strawberry treats from the Florida Strawberry Growers Association (FSGA). Given that we’re food bloggers, no one should complain about the food, but I think it’s safe to say, that we all gained a few extra pounds over the weekend and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Maybe other conferences should consider stepping up their food game, instead of stale coffee and mass produced boxed sandwiches.
None of the conferences I’ve been to could ever be described as fun. In fact, I’ll admit to falling asleep in a meeting or two, but not at Food Wine Conference.
From the entertaining antics of cow selfies to real-life humor from Ina Pinkney and in-your-face honesty of Dorthea Bozicolona-Volpe, no one could possibly sleep during Food Wine 2017. Then, when you add in the #Hashed competition of team cocktail mixing and a 50s themed sock hop with FSGA, most of us had to go home in order to get some sleep.
Maybe other conferences should take lessons from Food Wine Conference, and maybe I would attend more of their conferences. However, until then, I’ll stick to #FWCon.
As an alumni of many substandard conferences, I can honestly attest to Food Wine Conference 2017 being the most knowledge and social media focused weekend ever. A
As most bloggers understand, social media isn’t limited to one platform, and Food Wine Conference 2017 focused on nearly all of them. From understanding Facebook analytics and generating Instagram growth to getting a cookbook published and creating smartphone videos, the weekend focused on teaching and learning. As a relatively young blog, the information I received and the practical, tested strategies I learned were invaluable.
Maybe other conferences should poll their attendees from year to year to discover what they really want to know and then, tailor the conference to their needs rather than focusing on sales-pitches and theoretical discussions.
*** All in all, if the true test of a conference’s viability and longevity is its ability to meet the needs of the participants and make them hungry for more, while enticing and entertaining them every minute, then Food Wine Conference hosted by Sunday Supper is sure to last well beyond this year’s 5th birthday.
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