If you've never heard of Foodportunity, it's a networking event for Seattle food professionals and those who want to meet them. It's a nice mix of bloggers, food writers, food producers and PR professionals using food as an opportunity to meet each other.
The latest Foodportunity happened last night at Palace Ballroom. The three hour, sold-out event featured food from Spring Hill, Fresh Bistro, Tom Douglas Restaurants, Mistral Kitchen, Spinasse, and Cicchetti, to name just a few.
I was there not so much to mingle, but to host the speed networking round, which is basically like speed dating, except nobody gets laid at the end. You laugh, but this is the second time I've done it -- AND I got to use a whistle and a microphone. "You can report fires! Or street-side attackers!" my friend reminded me. But I knew the real drill: I'd blow my whistle every minute and people would ignore me. Instead of getting up and moving to the seat on their right, they'd sit there and continue to chat with the person in front of them. After about 10 minutes, I would give up, set down the mic and cash in one of my drink tickets ("two drink tickets and a microphone"). Actually, there were no drink tickets this year, but I did splurge on a seven dollar glass of pretty decent Cabernet. The good news? One less drink ticket meant I was sober. The even better news? I got to fill in for a no-show and take part in the actual networking, which was a blast.
Elissa Bernstein Spring Hill's Dinah's cheese on a whole wheat cracker with muscat jelly and long pepper
During the session I met Yashar Shayan, the sommelier at Seastar Bellevue; Elissa Bernstein, a spunky 17-year-old who writes the blog 17 and Baking (and the one I talked into taking these awesome pictures for me); the hilarious Denise Sakaki, a graphic designer and writer of Wasabi Prime; Melody Biringer of Crave; and Lacey Lybecker, the lovely woman behind the blog Loving Local Food who quit her job last week to start a new eco-friendly venture, A Greener Kitchen.
Also doing a lot of talking that night was a string of chefs who made themselves available for a Q&A session across the street at Palace Kitchen. Tom Douglas, Brian Canlis, Ron Zimmerman and Carrie Van Dyck of The Herbfarm, and Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi of Joule spent a good hour chatting it up with total strangers in the lounge out of the pure kindness of their hearts. God bless them.
If you have the chance to attend one of these Foodportunity events, I highly recommend going for it. You'll be surprised how many people you meet and the food is freaking fantastic. And for less than $30 a ticket, it's really a stellar deal. Frantic Foodie Keren Brown is the mastermind behind this event which is held about every four months or so. Of course, not everyone gets to take home a rape whistle like I do.
Elissa Bernstein Cicchetti's 8 minute egg w/truffle salt and oil