As many of you already know, I was invited to attend the Research Chefs Association’s Annual Conference and Culinology Expo this past week. The conference is held in a different city each year, and luckily they decided to pay Portland a visit this year.
I was honored to be one of the first few bloggers to be invited to attend the conference and was encouraged to participate in any portion of the events which were spread over the course of four days. I, having no food background other than my experimental baking as a child and simply family meals that I now prepare as an adult, didn’t know what to expect. In fact, I had to Google the word Culinology to understand the meaning behind the word!
I was slightly intimidated, but my desire to learn more about this industry was stronger. I signed up for classes that I felt I could walk away from with knowledge that I could share with you.
And that I did.
My first class of the day was entitled; “For the Love of Cheese” and pretty much covered the entire history of cheese in just over an hour, along with tips on creating your own cheeses. We then sampled 18 different varieties. I was in cheese heaven!
After the first breakout session we were greeted with blueberry muffins, croissants, and coffee in the foyer to network, and then continued to our next session.
Before I knew it, it was lunch time, and it was nothing less than amazing. I mean, you have to have exceptional food when you are feeding chefs, research chefs, students, Culinologists, product developers, and a small handful of much-appreciative bloggers, right? 🙂
After lunch there was a great session held by: Marshall Scarborough (Manager of Global Product Development at Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen), Bethany Hall (Senior Culinologist at Ingedion), and Jacquy Pfeiffer, who is the infamous Founder, Chef, and Dean of Student Affairs at the French Pastry School.
I learned about the process to make sourdough bread, and many tips that I never would have thought about on my own, and of course there was fresh sourdough with homemade jam for us all to sample.
Then Jacquy Pfeiffer demoed how he created jaw dropping works of art – with sugar. His candy making abilities and surprising sense of humor kept me thoroughly entertained even though some of the terminology went way over my head. 🙂
I then met up with other local bloggers Sarah from Killer Pickles and Fabiola from Not Just Baked and decided to all drive over to the Hilton where the New Member & First Time Attendee Reception was held. It was a beautiful networking session held on the 23rd floor overlooking our beautiful city, and the room was filled with delicious foods and drinks to match.
Following the reception was another reception! This was the Opening Reception and was held a few blocks over at the Portland Art Museum, which was a larger networking event with local restaurants providing bites of their best cuisines for us to try.
I drove home that evening (it’s about an hour commute one way) refreshed, rejuvenated, excited. Although I’ll never be in the food industry other than blogging my little creations, I admire and am inspired from all of these individuals in the industry!