It’s been two weeks and I’m still on a post Food Wine Conference high. If you missed my last post, I got to attend this year’s Food Wine Conference in Orlando as a Brand Ambassador. I’ve had my eye on this conference for the past few years and was thrilled to finally be able to go this year.
First off, Rosen Shingle Creek is an AMAZING place. Having worked for a hotel before, I tend to be picky when it comes to hotels. Rosen has it down. The property is gorgeous and extremely well maintained. The rooms are spacious and well decorated. In terms of our conference, everything ran smoothly (at least from my outside perspective). And the service by the employees was some of the best I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t meet one employee who didn’t smile and say hello, or who wasn’t jumping to help people if they needed it.
And the FOOD…so so so delicious. The first night of the conference there was a Taste of Rosen Shingle Creek event, where the chefs at Rosen presented dishes from all of Rosen’s restaurants. I could not eat fast enough at this event…I wanted to try everything! Unfortunately, I don’t think I was able to try everything, but what I did have was simply amazing.
Each bite was incredibly flavorful and unique. I loved certain twists on favorite dishes as well, such as Fried Lasagna (yes, you read that right) and Strawberry Shortcake Beignets (yes, you also read that right).
The first full day of the conference got kicked off by keynote speaker, Ina Pinkey. This woman…I wish I could hang out with her on a regular basis. Ina showed a documentary, Breakfast at Ina’s, that was about the closing of her restaurant. It intertwined Ina’s life story and how she got to where she is today. Let’s just say Ina has led an amazing and brave life and many tears were shed while watching this documentary.
The sessions during the first day highlighted everything from social media and branding to book publishing to sustainability. One of my favorite sessions of the day was a panel of farmers, who spoke about their jobs and sustainability with such passion. Being a foodie, it was so interesting to hear about the other side of the plate and how much work goes into us getting our food.
Speaking of food, I was incredibly impressed with, not only how yummy the food at Rosen was, but how healthy it was too. Conference sponsors like Duda and Mann’s helped provide the food, which was all so fresh and so tasty. For a snack we had smoothie bowls and we had a make your own taco bar for lunch that had tons of fresh veggies, including cauliflower rice!
And of course, it wouldn’t be a food and wine conference without some celebrating! Each year the conference has a special family style dinner followed by a fun, themed after party. This year’s theme was the ’50s and it was so fun to see everyone in their poodle skirts and Greaser outfits.
Dinner was hosted by Certified Angus Beef and was BEYOND amazing. Everything from the beef to the collared greens to the cornbread was absolutely delicious. And our meal was paired with CK Mondavi wines, which made the experience all the more enjoyable.
The after party was one of the cutest things I have ever seen. They really went all out in giving the room a sock hop feel. Including fun contests like a twist contest (which I lost), hula hoop contest and bubble gum blowing contest. So fun!
I think I enjoyed the second day of the conference even more than the first. It was packed full of informative sessions on how to improve your Instagram, how to make cool videos on your phone, food styling, etc. I’ve been to a lot of marketing and social media workshops in my day and these sessions were by far some of the most informative. It was quite impressive! My two favorite sessions of the day were Sandi McKenna and Jeff Houck’s Fingertip Film Festival and Stefani Polluck’s session on Instagram.
It was a long, fun filled weekend and I was so happy that I finally got to attend. I can’t wait until next year!