After spending a much-needed week off from work—during which time I still managed to log in a couple of hours of work each day—I returned to our lower Manhattan offices to begin the full-court press to wrap up all the details on our ninth MenuDirections conference, which will take place Feb. 27-March 1 in New Orleans.
Each time we plan a MenuDirections conference, I gain more respect for the teams of people who organize the conferences for such organizations as NACUFS, AHF, SFM and SNA. We are handling two and a half days of activities for roughly 150 attendees and a couple dozen sponsors. The last NACUFS conference, held in San Jose, had over 500 operator attendees and well over 100 exhibitors, and spanned four days. Considering that many of the conference planners for each of these organizations are members who have volunteered their time, that truly is a labor of love.
I spent my morning reviewing the dozens of entries we’ve received for our newest awards program, The Goldies. I’m impressed with what I’ve seen thus far, and the judges at the Culinary Institute of America, which is co-sponsoring this program, will be challenged. Our thanks to all those institutions that submitted programs for review. Our first batch of honorees will be announced as the closing event of the MenuDirections conference.
We also wrapped up plans for a fun feature scheduled in the February issue, to be called The Best. Readers will weigh in on what they consider to be “the best” in a variety of categories, both typical and offbeat. We hope you will be enlightened, intrigued and amused by what your colleagues have to share.
As the snow that bombarded New Yorkers right after Christmas slowly melts from the landscape, I plan to escape the region for a city with perhaps the most perfect climate in the continental U.S.: San Diego. I’ll be attending the first Foodservice Ashore Solutions next week, being sponsored by IFMA. The week-long event aims to bring together military foodservice personnel and food and equipment manufacturers who may not realize how much military foodservice has changed in recent years. I’ll be blogging and tweeting from the Admiral Kidd Catering and Conference Center.
For us, the New Year already promises to be busy and, we hope, productive. May yours be the same.