|Foodportunity networking = Wasabi needs a Jobby-job! - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
In general, I kinda suck at networking, mostly in the sense that I'm not good with talking to one person for ten minutes, then jump to the next person. I always feel like I'm being a rude bugger for not having a longer, quality chat. I realize no one's contemplating Proust at these events, but my innate Asian guilt makes me feel bad with the conversation-hopping. Which is why I'm thankful for the opportunity to shed the awkwardness and equally thankful for the event-organizing efforts of Keren "The Frantic Foodie" Brown. She is the founder who put "opportunity" and "foodie" together to make the pb and j sandwich of togetherness that is Foodportunity. This was the third in what I hope is a long line of equally busy and tasty events.
Foodportunity was a way to gather up hundreds of writers, photographers, restaurant and food industry folks together in a social atmosphere of wine and food, and just give everyone a chance to introduce themselves, aka, HIRE ME. Or maybe that was just me. Events of this nature means a lot, as everyone was commenting that in the world of social networking, so much of the communication is virtual -- we don't always know who we're talking with, not everyone puts their photos on Twitter or their blogs, so meetup events like this in the real world is crucial to making that final step towards a sincere connection. No matter how many photos one posts on Facebook or how many thousands of followers one collects on Twitter, nothing compares to shaking a person's hand, getting to know a little about what they do, what they love, and where they'd like to see themselves going in the near future. As human beings, we're sort of fascinated with the future, obsessing over what new modes of technology and gadgetry will facilitate communication, thereby making the world seem a little smaller and less daunting, but the most resonant thing beyond someone saying, "beam me up, Scotty," is that first contact with another living soul, and the surrounding context of understated stimuli that can only happen when you just talk with a person and find out what their story is.
|Delicious Food + Boozejuice = PARTY - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Even if it wasn't a foodie-themed event, it's still evil-science-genius to have food and cocktails at an event since it's what gets people talking and mingling. So many amazing Seattle restaurants were set up with delectable samples: Mistral Kitchen, Spring Hill, Wheatless in Seattle, Spinasse, Cicchetti, Dinette, Olivar, Urbane, Trophy Cupcakes, Il Fornaio, Palace Kitchen -- the list goes on, so believe me, there was beautiful culinary talent everywhere, along with foodie support by online cooking school, Rouxbe, and online recipe site, Foodista. The worst thing was, the multitasking was not strong with the Prime, as the ability to trade business cards, photograph, have a glass of wine and eat, was so totally not happening. Sadly, I only got a chance to try a few nibbles. I was lucky to pre-func with Linda of Salty Seattle at Palace Kitchen next door, where we saw Tom Douglas and "Chef in the Hat" Thierry Rautureau of Rover's. Bless all the chefs and restaurants of Seattle who came out and really cheered on the foodie culture of this wonderful city.
Another highlight of the evening was the speed networking event. This was a great way of focused mingling, getting a group of professionals together, you have a minute (ok, more like five, because no one wanted to move in a minute) to get the scoop about what people do, trade cards, and then move down the line of chairs to the next person. Seattle Weekly's Voracious writer, Julien Perry, was the hostess with the mostess, whistle in-hand to herd us along for the networking portion of the event. You can read her writeup about Foodportunity here on the Weekly and she was kind enough to say I was a hoot, which is a pretty nifty thing.
|Palace Kitchen, a delicious way to prefunc an event - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
I'm looking forward to future networking events like this, pulling bloggers and Tweeters away from their computers, leaving the backside-shaped indentation in office chairs to recompress for a few hours. Again, perhaps this is just a peek into my own bizarre mole-like existence, but I do welcome more opportunities to meet the people face-to-face and it's been really nice to see familiar faces at these events, because it starts to feel less like networking and more like building a community.
Much thanks to Keren Brown's Foodportunity, the many Seattle restaurants and vendors involved, and of course to all the attendees and the fabulous folks I got a chance to meet and talk with!