With more planned than ever before—including an app, livestream and popup dining event—here are some of our editor’s best tips for getting the most out of the 2019 Chef to Chef Conference in New Orleans.
Technology has made it easier than ever for you to connect with colleagues, surf for ideas and find products just about anywhere in the world. Still, physically going to a conference, and specifically, the 11th annual Chef to Chef Conference in March in New Orleans, is more relevant than ever—not in spite of technology, but because of it.
But just going to the Conference isn’t enough; you also have to have a solid game plan for what you’ll do while there. Here’s my five-point prescription for getting the most out of every minute:
1. What’s your why?
One of my favorite spin instructors likes to shout out this question during hard climbs on the bike. She wants us to use the answer as inspiration to push through and work harder. The same applies to you: What’s your why? What are you hoping to get out of Chef to Chef?
Figure that out before you get there. Effective networking requires purpose and preparation. Think about your biggest challenges at your club and what you hope to find answers to. Think about your biggest successes, too—and don’t be shy about sharing them. You could even share them with us here.
Set some goals for yourself, and be clear about them. Maybe you hope to meet X number of new chefs, learn about sous vide, or connect with a specific sponsor.
2. Show up.
I know the days start early and the nights run late. But there will be coffee in the back of the room and you’re strong enough to power through. Don’t just RSVP; actively RSVP. Show up to every session. Talk to the sponsors at every break. Be there for the cocktail hour. Come to the Pythian Market for the Monday night reception (trust me, it will be a unique and memorable experience).
3. Use the Tools We’re Giving You
We have built a Chef to Chef Conference app that will help you further connect with the presenters, material, us and one another. Use it.
4. Leverage Your Time by Being Social
My goal at Chef to Chef is probably much different than yours. My main driver is to connect you with one another. So, during breaks and cocktail hours, I like to bounce around the room and find chefs who haven’t quite been welcomed into the fold. I’ve made some of the best connections by walking up to someone I’ve never met before and shaking their hand.
Try it. And after you’ve made that connection in person, back it up on LinkedIn or Facebook.
5. Maintain the Momentum.
Networking only works if you follow up—and not just with people you met at Chef to Chef, but also with colleagues who may not have been there. (Did you know we’ll be livestreaming the keynote presentation on Facebook? Get your team members to tune in!) You can find a few ways to share your experience and insights with your team. Walk them through some of the most impactful messages. Connect them with your new connections.