It’s sometimes hard to wrap my head around the fact that Food Fête is seven years old. Food Fête is the single longest “job” I’ve ever had, though I don’t look at it that way at all.
It’s more like a baby I’m still nurturing.
What started in 2005 as a curious idea about how to combine my PR background with a personal interest in food and the culinary arts, has grown into a mainstay event of the food PR industry. We’ve been fortunate to showcase products from many start-up brands alongside the major brands that occupy coveted supermarket shelf space. I’m also humbled by the level of national food media who continue to attend each year.
Yep, there have been some missteps. I’m still trying to forget the summer of 2007 when the venue’s air conditioning broke on a blistering July day, and all I did was apologize for two hours. Then there’s the wannabe media “party crashers” who apparently will do almost anything to get in just for free stuff. Ask me sometime about the guy we had to chase down the back stairs and onto the street after sneaking in and stealing a gift bag.
The good news is that lessons learned from these “incidents” have made the event better with each passing year, and I recognize there’s always more to learn.
In looking back at that first NY Food Fête event, we had 26 exhibitors. Today, that number has doubled, along with the media attendance. My challenges continue to be how to keep things fresh, which I believe we’ve accomplished this spring with our new health-focused events and the new all-chocolate Food Fête coming up this November.
I’ve also been working on some “back burner” ideas that I’m ready to bring to the front in 2012, and hope the industry continues to respond favorably to what we do.
With our big summer media event in New York City just three weeks away, we’re on track for another record event. This is the first year we’ve not framed Food Fête around the Summer Fancy Food Show, which has moved to Washington, D.C. for the next two years.
That connection has become less and less important for Food Fête, as food brands and PR agencies continue to find value in what we do, and keep coming back, regardless of whether they are participating in that industry show.
They say a 7-year itch is when people begin re-evaluating their relationship. My 7-year relationship with Food Fête is just fine, thank you, but that’s not to say I’m not itching to keep creating something new and different.