IACP 2010 Portland, Kids in the Kitchen

Picnics are a wonderful way to uncork your mind when it feels bottled and buried in dust. Just this past Thursday I found myself called to revolt from my desk chair and join in a celebration of the last nice day of summery weather in Brooklyn. Kristen rallied the troops and planned an outdoor lunch at Fort Greene Park; those of us on the list fell into line with tasty provisions at our sides.

I needed the break. I’ve been spending obscene amounts of time in front of my computer lately, mostly in the pursuit of finely edited video files. I’ve got a new video today that has long been in the pipeline. You may have seen the Citrus, ginger, soy and some chili paste-click here for a sauce that will make a fiery marinade for chicken and a smashing simmering sauce for rice noodles.


IACP 2010, Portland Day 2 Video

Hopefully you watched the Day 1 IACP video.

If not, take a few minutes and catch up.
I don’t want to spoil anything.

As far as I’m concerned, day two officially started with the opening night ceremony on day one. Everyone had a chance to get their glam on, eat some food and sample some incredible LOCAL spirits. As a non-Portlander, I was wowed by the mashup of high end restaurants and out-of-control food trucks. The competition was fierce between the two, and I am not about to call a winner in that battle. If you made your way to the absinthe room, consider yourself lucky. Bathed in low light, it was the official IACP red light district of the night. Two great distillers, Marteau and Pacifique. Rock it out.

Of course, then there were all the events of day two. It started with a call to arms from Captain Reichl, asking us to vote with our dollars and change the food industry from the ground. More classes followed and of course, there was Ruhlman. You’ll have to wait for the next video to catch a glimpse of him. I’m a tease.


IACP 2010, Portland Day 1 Video

Ladies and Chickens, this is what you’ve been waiting for. At the end of April, Renegade Kitchen hit the road and took the show to IACP 2010. I spent a week in Portland with some of the hungriest culinary minds eating, drinking, laughing and learning. In between the edification I boogied around and filmed interviews with attendees, vendors, speakers and volunteers. Many thanks to everyone who spoke into my camera during the conference-your bravery is to be commended.

Here’s the first film (yes, this will be a series). Day 1 of IACP 2010-checking in, making some friends, celebrity sightings, the usual. It was a brilliantly full day of classes and handshaking. We left lunch with a charming little ceramic crock from Le Creuset (who didn’t covet another?). The first day was superb, everything kept in check by the IACP volunteers. If you were clothed in orange during the week, you have my heartfelt thanks. Music in this clip is courtesy of Purse Candy over at TheSixtyOne.com. Rock out.

IACP 2010, Portland

It’s a good sign that I’m exhausted.

I wasn’t sure what to expect of IACP 2010, mellow or wild? Attending one class last year in Denver gave me a teasing taste-enough to make sure I’d attend Portland top to bottom, but hardly the bite necessary to know the full flavor of the conference.

Let me say now that I’m in awe of Portland, excited about the future of IACP and anxious to get to Austin. I ate fresh fresh food (from line out the door bistro to parking lot food cart) and got some great R&R (Reichl and Ruhlman), but it was the hallway handshaking and late night babbling that proved IACP’s wealth and worth. On the first day Kat Flinn pointed out the importance of introducing yourself and meeting the other attendees, and during my last session Derek Richmond highlighted what draws us together: we are all entrepreneurs. Regardless of our focus, whether we write books or raise hens, what unites us at IACP is out commitment to change. I like my ideas to be as fresh as my food. IACP 2010 was the place to kick the processed and prepackaged habits and get back to truly creative thinking and eating.

It isn’t a new concept, but Captain Reichl’s call to “vote with our dollars” still has me thinking about my individual influence on the US food market. We all know that the bureaucratic roadblocks are high and wide when it comes to FDA reform, but I have the opportunity everyday to skirt those barriers with my wallet. I don’t have to wait for the laws to come down from the top to change Big Agro, let’s force the issue from the bottom-up. Sir Ruhlman’s exclamation that “it might be fundamental to our humanity that we take an hour and spend it with our family in the kitchen” could not be closer to my heart. We vote with our money and time, I choose fresh food and home cooking. You?

Not that eating out has to be a federal offense. With its spectacular farm-to-table restaurants, Portland was an AbFab host for IACP 2010. A late night dinner at Higgins showcased the excellence happening all over this city. Outstanding flavors, giant portions, reasonable prices and ethical eating. From the coffee shops (Coffee Plant, all gluten free!) to the hip restaurants (Pok Pok was a twitter darling this week), more than impressed I was proud. Proud to be a diner, proud to be voting with my dollars for local candidates.

And now that the conference is over, I’m already thinking about next year. One of the most rewarding sessions I attended was Kids in the Kitchen’s workshop directed by Michelle Stern on the last day of the conference. We spent the morning teaching kids to cook and then served the food to those in Portland who needed it most. During the conference we live a week of lavish eating and drinking, and it was this last workshop that really put my consumption into perspective. What better way to thank the host city that welcomed us so opulently than to give back to its most needy residents?

I challenge IACP to promote more socially engaged events like this next year in Austin. And while we’re on the topic of challenges, here are a few more: Let’s make the conference more tech savvy. Let’s add digital check-ins for the events to cut down on line-waiting. Let’s get an official IACP twitter account posting schedules and class locations. Let’s make the social media classes as useful for those who overtly use Twitter and Facebook as we’ve made it for those who are new to the tech scene. Let’s take IACP to the next level.

My thanks to all who organized the conference, it far outshone my expectations and I cannot wait to see what we can do together in Austin. It is with a lush green heart and a belly full of food and laughs that I’m leaving Portland. See y’all online, cheers!

Check back for the edited video of the conference, and thanks to everyone who let me shove a camera in their face.

Rock. Out.