Austin is crazy good for IACP people to gather. Austin-ites love their town and their food. And it’s no wonder. It’s an easy going, BBQ scented kinda place. The higher the heels, the shorter the skirt. That appears to be the mantra for anyone under 20. And I believe the entire town is under 20. The Hilton Hotel lobby was mobbed at 2:30 in the morning..who mobs a Hilton? Apparently everywhere Austin-ites gather, it’s a party.
Going to an IACP Conference is a amazing, hard-to-describe experience. It’s a huge shot of adrenalin, it’s addicitive. Culinary heroes like Martin Yan are walking around, Shirley Corriher is chatting with Dorie Greenspan, and Jacques Pepin boldly sips a Starbuck’s latte.
I used to spend a lot of time in Hong Kong and the hinterlands of China, and no matter how bad the day was, there was always “Yan Can Cook” to watch on TV. I depended on him to entertain me. Even though Galloping Gourmet was the first cooking TV show I watched; Yan Can Cook literally saved me from certain death by boredom. Being in a hotel room, alone, night after night, with most choices in Chinese, and not really wanting to hang at the bar...you get the picture. Yan and I bonded. And there he was, at the IACP Gala, receiving the award for Lifetime Achievement, and assuring us that he was only half way through his life, so he would be back for a second Lifetime Achievement. I shook his hand, I told him he saved me; he clearly thought I was nuts. I don’t care, he is without a doubt one of my heroes. All I could think of was telling one of my Hong Kong buddies, Sirius Au, that I shook Martin Yan’s hand.
Ellie Krieger is tall, slim, beautiful, and talented. I should hate her, but you can’t, she just shared her human-ness with 100 people. She gave a talk about cooking on camera and shared some of her most awkward moments with us. Note: Don’t go on a cooking show with Al Roker.
The legendary Jacques Pepin in his cooking demo with Amanda Hesser does a dead on Julia Child imitation...his French accent drops away as he squawks, “I have Crisco!” in Julia’s voice, while he licks his fingers doing a cooking demo. It’s an intimate moment.
"It's Better to be Bitter" session, hosted by Kathy Casey was one on of my favorites. How can you not love a session host who cries out, "Who wrecked their bourbon? Who needs more bourbon?" We are absolutely making bitters this summer; thanks to Kathy's inspiration.
Star power is one thing, but community power is lasting power. The IACP community is incredibly strong and supportive. I am truly humbled to be part of a community that shares so generously. Simply Recipe's Elise Bauer, along with Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen are two reasons why the food blogging community is so vibrant and vital.
I am lucky beyond belief to be in the company of these people. I am lucky beyond belief that IACP is coming to NYC next year. We are going to have one helluva party!