Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Grand New Adventures: National TV, Food Judging, and Food Expos

 I realize that it has been a whirlwind 6 months. Rapid changes, I dare say..."explosive" changes have been happening in my life and I'm a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of the blessings! For those who have been with me through some of the tearful challenges of the last few years and sent so much love, prayers and support, I cannot even express how much that has meant to me and my little family.

 In March, Panhandle Milling had a booth at the Pizza Expo in Las Vegas.  I was able to do a few segments with  Culinary TV 's Host Bill Rogers. Culinary TV is on cable with 48 Million viewers nationwide (see channel guide here  ). The pizza expo was bustling with thousands of exited pizza enthusiast, business owners, and Bill is dear friends with my boss Tim Devey. It was an honor to be part of the show.

Shortly following that event, Bill connected me with the owner of Fire Within Woodfire Ovens who runs the only Wood Fire University in the country in Denver, Colorado. They invited me to attend their Wood Fired University in July as an instructor.

Shortly following the Pizza Expo, I spent a much needed week with my Dad fishing in Utah. It is probably one of my favorite ways to renew my soul and get back to nature. Mostly because I get to be with my dad.

Then, I was off to Lockhart, Texas to judge their regional baking contest.

People think it's really fun to be a baking contest judge. Most of the time, I would agree, but after about 5 different kinds of cookies you start to do a  little of this...

A few days later I was able to go to Atlanta, Georgia for the first time and be a judge for the National Culinary Competition for the FCCLA teams. This was especially epic for me because I was going to be there with the President of American Culinary Federation and Industry Leaders from all over the country. The Leadership Conference for FCCLA was 3 days long and I got to spend time with the Home Baking Association teaching about baking as well.

For those who are not familiar with the FCCLA "family, Career and Community Leaders of America is a nonprofit national career and technical student organization for young men and women in Family and Consumer Sciences education in public and private school through grade 12. Everyone is part of a family, and FCCLA is the only national Career and Technical Student Organization with the family as its central focus. Since 1945, FCCLA members have been making a difference in their families, careers, and communities by addressing important personal, work, and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences education.
Today over 160,000 members in more than 5,300 chapters are active in a network of associations in 49 states, in addition to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico."

Seriously. Judging people is cool.

A quick trip back from Atlanta to Denver to bake a few hundred organic cookies for the Slow Foods Nations Expo turned out to be a  lot more work than it sounds.  I love Denver. The people are super friendly...and let's face it, my brother lives there, so when he brought his family to the festival, it was sweeeeeeet!

Straight from Denver, I flew to The Institute of Food Technology Expo in Chicago. This was another dream come true. I've thought about this event since I was a Senior in High School!  Being in a booth and talking with some of the most innovative minds in the food industry today was one of the most incredible experiences of my life!

Oh yeah...and I ate some of the best Oysters I've ever had. Don't judge. I actually really like a good oyster. I haven't had them since...well...over 20 years. The CEO of the company insisted that I try these at dinner with our team.  Yup. They were awesome.
After IFT, I flew back to Denver for that amazing Wood Fired University that I got invited to attend in March. Yes. I can't believe how fast July arrived!

Bill Rogers was there again with Culinary TV filming some of the events.

He asked me to do a show with him.  Here's the video...

We baked over 400 pizzas in 2 days! It was insanity. Pure delicious insanity.

The last week of July was spent baking and preparing a couple tons of vegan cookies for the Vegfest in Denver.  It was a busy prep! Vegans are cool.

VegFest Colorado was 3 days of Vegan conversation and education. I really love the energy and the people that I met at this event! There were so many kind-hearted souls just trying to do what they believed to be best for their health. 

I am excited to say that I did a good enough job at the Wood Fired University to be invited back for October!

 Wood Fired University October 2018 will feature the brilliant instruction of Michael Kalanty! WHAT????!!!! He is an absolute superstar in the baking industry.  I am in complete humility and awe at the opportunity to even be in the same room with him, let alone given a chance to teach at the same event!

Now the biggest Grand New Adventure for our little family.
We're uprooting.

  My family is moving to a really small town. We're still staying out West.   I will post the details as they are set in stone, but we put an offer in on a house and it has been accepted. Yes, this means I am leaving the heat and the desert. Hint. I will be much closer to my parents and family in all directions. It's a good thing. I will miss Phoenix deeply. It has been my home for a quarter of a century. Most of all, I will miss my best friend Gena and her family, who have been such a strength to me over the last few years. I will be ugly crying driving away from this house...and cheering as I arrive at the new one. Isn't life just funny that way?

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess


Anonymous said...

Wow can't believe how BUSY you have been lately! Good wishes on your move!

Chef Tess said...

Thank you!! It has been busy but so blessed! We are so excited about the new house and town. :)