The Food Wine Conference 2017 ended on May 21 and I find myself still thinking about it and going over bits and pieces of it in my mind. There is no way I can say that I’ve processed all of the information – hellfire and pink sparkly brimstone, I haven’t even processed all of the calories. Grab a glass of wine (CK Mondavi & Family Scarlet 5 in my glass at the moment) and let’s talk about it, because whether you’re a food blogger or a food lover there’s a takeaway for you here.
Disclosure: I was chosen to be a brand ambassador for the Food Wine Conference 2017. For a discounted ticket to the conference I agreed to share on social media on behalf of Sunday Supper and CK Mondavi & Family as well as write a preliminary post and a follow up. All opinions are my own.
I’ve been to conferences. Quite a few actually. This was different. This was the Facebook Live I did when I first got there.
Some of them have been awesome and some have been disappointing (dang it – I could have put that money toward a new bedroom set!) but they’re generally pretty predictable. So, when I found out I’d been accepted to be a brand ambassador to the Food Wine Conference in Orlando I was pretty confident about how it would all go down. My only concern was the, as yet unknown, brand that I would be representing. What if it was something I didn’t like or didn’t fit with me?
I had a lot of questions when I wrote about the Food Wine Conference in April.
Keep in mind that 35 years ago, when I found out I was going to be a mom for the first time, I was pretty confident about how that was going to go down, too — which should tell you that I have a tendency to make assumptions.
Anyway, a few days before the conference I found out that the brand that I would be representing was CK Mondavi & Family Wines. I felt like I had won the lottery or been chosen to have a date with Ryan Gosling or asked to cook with Gordon Ramsay. CK Mondavi & Family Wines are some of my favorites and the brand itself, the mission and the philosophy, are so very in tune with what I believe that it was a match made in Heaven as far as I was concerned.
CK Mondavi & Family
CK Mondavi & Family clearly states what it’s about right in the name – the & Family isn’t just tacked on to look good. One of the things that really impacted me was the complete commitment to family that they have. I was honored to have dinner with Janice Mondavi on the first night and we talked well into the… well let me say I think we closed the restaurant down talking about our husbands (who actually have a lot in common), our children, and finding so many similarities in our lives.
I am concerned about vast corporations taking over, pushing out small, independent businesses, and turning the country into one big chunk of boring. I learned that CK Mondavi & Family has been a family owned business for over 70 years and uses only California fruit, mainly from locally sourced fruit grown in family owned vineyards in Yolo Country, California. So, not only are they providing for the CK Mondavi family but they’re creating an income for other families in their area.
That’s a company I can get behind and promote because not only do I love their wines but now I love them.
…And the Rosen Shingle Creek
So wow. I don’t know if you follow me on social media but while I was at Food Wine Conference 2017 I made two videos about the Rosen Shingle Creek, the resort that hosted the conference.
It is huge. It is beautiful. It is huge and beautiful.
Seriously – I felt like changing my name to Zelda, taking up smoking with a cigarette holder, and saying “darling” while flipping my white fur collar over my shoulder. If anyone plans to film a movies based on an F Scott Fitzgerald book this would be the place to do it.
Very Art Deco in a tropical way with pillars and palm trees and staff that treats you like royalty even when it’s obvious that you’re not. The rooms are spacious and sunny – mine looked out over the golf course and pools. The bed was super comfortable and there was a bathtub.
Now, a bathtub may not be an important thing to you but to me it’s gold. This is literally the first conference that I’ve been to that has blessed me with a room with a tub… which means that I got to use the LUSH bath bomb that’s been in my suitcase for the last three conferences I’ve attended. I don’t like showers but I love to have a nice soak in the tub at the end of the day – preferably with sparkly pink water and a mountain of scented bubbles.
Food Wine Conference 2017 Take Aways
I can’t recap the entire thing for you – I wish I could.
I am an introvert, y’all know that. I’m super shy — sometimes it comes across as being stuck up and sometimes it comes across as being super awkward. One of the reason I’ve been going to conferences more is to help myself get beyond it. It’s really tough, though, when you go to a conference where everyone knows everyone and you are too shy to break into the cliques.
And… don’t get me wrong, food bloggers are a friendly bunch, but… there are cliques.
Well, I didn’t find that at all at Food Wine 2017. It was friendly and I, the introvert queen, had no problem striking up conversations and meeting new people. It’s a very open group so there’s literally no reason not to be having fun with someone.
It was amazing. From the Taste of the Rosen on the first night to the incredible short rib dinner put on by Certified Angus Beef on Saturday night the food was outstanding. The make your own taco bar that was available for lunch was sponsored by Mann’s Fresh Vegetables and the colors, textures, and flavor possibilities were almost beyond counting. I didn’t go hungry and you won’t either.
So yeah, Food Wine Conference 2017 was a big party but the 1950’s sock hop sponsored by Florida Strawberry Growers Association was over and beyond any stodgy conference party you’ve ever been to. There was a hula hoop contest, y’all. Hula hoops and strawberry gin fizzes are a fun, fun, fun combination.
The classes were on pretty much anything you needed to know for successful food blogging whether you had 10 years experience or were brand new to the business. As I said earlier, I haven’t processed all of the information so I can’t tell you if it has been extremely profitable or not. I can tell you that I was challenged in my thinking over and over again.
Food Wine Conference 2017 – My Personal Take Away
So, I contemplated not sharing this part because it’s extremely personal but that’s exactly why I am sharing it. Y’all, I have shared stuff that’s extremely personal with y’all the entire time I’ve written Restless Chipotle and for some of y’all, you’ll remember Baking Delights. We’ve squirmed through my divorce together, celebrated through my remarriage together and we’ve talked about stuff that had nothing to do with food at all. So, y’all are family and I’m just going to share my heart.
I grew up with a mom who had been raised by an abusive alcoholic father. She lived through the Depression as an adult married to an abusive alcoholic husband. She divorced him and ended up with my father, who was an amazingly supportive and loving father but not much in the husband department. She saw me as competition for my father’s attention. She also wasn’t one to give any sort of affirmation. When people would tell her how pretty I was she would answer with, “Oh, she’s just like everyone else.”
I learned from her that no matter what I did it was never quite good enough for accolades from my mom. No matter how hard I worked or how much other people complimented me Mom rarely felt that my accomplishments were worth a mention. My ex-husband followed in her footsteps.
Have you heard of the 5 Love Languages?
Well, mine is affirmation. I’d do about anything for someone to tell me I did something well, you know? I grew up without it. I lived for 30 years without it. It left me feeling very below average in everything, including my blogs.
So I struggle. I struggle every day to feel good enough, to feel like I am an adult, to feel like I may be just a little bit successful. I see other blogs and I feel like I have such a long way to go to “make it”. My mom has been dead since 2002 and I still have her voice in my head telling me it could have been better.
At the Food Wine Conference 2017 I felt like maybe I had been devaluing myself. Maybe, just maybe, I’m better than I think I am. Maybe I’ve not measured my accomplishments with the same unit of measurement that I measure others by. I came home thinking that maybe I am better at this than I’ve given myself credit for.
Talk about breakthroughs! If I never take anything else away from a conference again the idea that I’m not a failure, a messup, a waste of oxygen is everything to me. I’m not sure what made me realize I’d been undervaluing myself but it happened and that one thing makes Food Wine Conference 2017 a life changing conference for me.
Should you go? Yeah. Yeah you should.
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