This April I had the opportunity to go to the IACP Conference (International Association of Culinary Professionals) with Kitchen PLAY. With complimentary ticket in hand, I flew cross-country for a jam-packed weekend of events. At the end I went home inspired to dream bigger, create more, and attend IACP 2017.
Clearly you aren’t going to be able to go to IACP 2016 since it is over, but if you are a food writer, blogger, aspiring cookbook author, or involved in the industry as a brand, you certainly can block out March 3rd-5th, 2017 on your calendar and attend IACP 2017 in Louisville, KY.
I am so excited! I have friends who lived near Louisville, KY and I’ve only driven AROUND the city, not visited it. I’m also excited that it’s almost in the same time zone as I am so I won’t be suffering from jet lag through a substantial amount of it.
Should You Attend IACP 2017?
Write about food?
If yes, then you most definitely need to be there. IACP conference is filled with networking opportunities, educational sessions geared for different levels of food writing and blogging, good food, industry tours, meet and greets with cookbook authors, and catching up with old friends and making new.
The opportunities for networking are plentiful – from evening networking events held poolside to breakfast, time between sessions, and dinner meetups, there is time to catch up with friends, connect with brands, and meet new friends.
Feel bewildered with SEO, social media, or video? There’s a session for that. Looking at how you can increase sales conversions, build traffic, or reach your audience? There’s sessions for those.
One of my favorite sessions was How Sexy is Your Sales Funnel with Casey Benedict. She built in time to put what she was teaching into action and I talked with a few people post conference who said it kicked them into gear and helped them get past the block they had created for themselves.
Several other sessions I enjoyed were Retail Revolution: How Technology and Consumer Demand for Clean Eating are Changing Business, and Brand-Blogger Partnerships: Craft a Culinary Win-Win.
From continental breakfasts with quality food options to evening tasting stations by local food trucks and restaurants, no one could walk away hungry. From ceviches to rice balls there was food for every palate…and wine (from Kendall-Jackson). We even had tea and smoothies during break time compliments of Cuisinart. Have you seen their new tea kettle? I want one so badly!
There were several industry tours on the first day and I had the opportunity to go on a tour of Melissa’s Produce. Learning more about the company, attending a cooking demo followed by lunch, and getting a tour of the facility offered great education and a scrumptious meal. I wanted to stash a case of ginger in my bag but I settled for the special Ojai pixie tangerines we learned about straight from the farmer’s mouth.
Meet and Greet with Authors
I have an obsession with cookbooks and there are so many good ones being released. I am so excited about the release of my friend Emily’s book, Food Swap (review and delicious recipe coming soon), Naturally Sweet Food in Jars by Philly’s own Marissa McClellan, Ferment Your Vegetables by Amanda Pfeiffer, Cooking Techniques with Olive Oil by Laura Bashar and Mary Platis, and The Gluten-Free Bread Machine Cookbook by Jane Bonacci and Shannon Kinsella. I am honored to say I know all these lovely ladies. I also discovered a new one, Crack the Code (Cook any Indian Meal with Confidence) by Nandita Godbole.
Meeting up with Friends Old and New
The digital world can be a very isolating place to work with many of us holed up behind computers. Conferences are a great place to connect with friends and meet new people who get the strange weird life where social media has a science beyond “what my kid did today” and the odd business that is blogging or obsession with all things food – you know, to the point we all write incessantly about it.
Sometimes the best “networking” is casual conversations and building friendships with other people. I need to give a shout out here to some more of those friends, both new and old, so you can go check out what they’re up to.
Chelsea – Someday I’ll Learn
Marly – Namely Marly
Ashlee – Ashlee Marie
(odds are you’ve seen one of her super hero cake videos on Facebook)
Laura Bashar – Family Spice
Kathy Hester – Healthy Slow Cooking
Christine Pittman – Cook the Story
Emily Paster – West of the Loop