Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BlogHer Food 2010: The Final Event, An Event Planner's Point of View

I live in a constant state of panic. It's exhausting. It's thrilling. It's nerve wracking.  It's exhilarating.  It's like a drug addiction [or so I've been told by concerned friends and family members]. 
I love Meeting and Event Planning. I love seeing months of work culminating into one event -  a visual confirmation of all your efforts.  I love the idea that one little mishap, one little screw up can upset the balance of the perfectly organized event and that tens [or hundreds] of thousands of dollars hang in the balance of anything that I may have forgotten to do.  Best. High. Ever.  It seriously makes me giddy.

Assisting three of the most high profile bloggers in the blogosphere is a whole new ballpark of crazed panic. You need to have your act together because if you don't, it's not just hundreds or thousands of people who's MILLIONS.  Right.  "Jenny the F*!k Up" would be your new twitter handle...or at least it'd be mine.

Just between you and me, inside my own mind I'm huddled in a corner, rocking back and forth with my thumb in my mouth, chanting, "no, no, no...this isn't going to work" for weeks months leading up to an event.  Outwardly, I may say to Elise, Jaden and Ree that everything is fantastic and that things just couldn't be more swell but inside my brain is screaming, "LIAR, LIAR, YOUR PANTS ARE ON FIRE!!!"

Luckily, when you've got great partner sponsors and BlogHer making this party THE OFFICIAL party, things are almost guaranteed to be perfect. With the generous support of the piggy goodness of the Pork Board - moist tender bites perfectly seasoned with McCormick spices, how could we go wrong?  
The students and staff at California Culinary Academy/Le Cordon Bleu were so excited to have all the bloggers there that they went above and beyond to be so helpful to us.  Do you realize that they were there prepping from 7:00am??  Most of them left together at 11:30pm.  They wanted this event to be the fete of the year.  I heart everyone here. Chef Michael Weller took everything we threw at him and improved upon it in ways I could never have imagined.  The team recap at the end of the evening was so freaking inspirational that it had me crying off on the sidelines. I saw the  look of sheer exhaustion on each of the students faces, each of their faces beaming with pride at their success that evening. I was so inspired that I had to physically restrain myself from signing up for culinary school right then and there.
Chef Weller with his student [photo from the HP photo booth]
As with last year, we also had the generous support of HP with their awesomely fun photo booth.  I would've stayed there all night long but I didn't want to risk being talked about by all the bloggers who were waiting in line [you know, the fear of millions of people knowing that I hogged a photo booth All.Night.Long].  
Set up by HP
Chefs once again exceeded expectations with their marvelous goodie bags, topped off with their eye popping number of giveaway items. I have to admit, I was almost tempted beyond what I could handle - you could dump $10,000 in my lap and I can guarantee you that it'll still be there when you came back for it a year later.  You dump a Kitchen Aid Mixer there...well, you can kiss that thing a fare thee well.
Each of these suckers weighed TEN [10] pounds. They were packed SIX [6] to a box. You do the math.
Lori Luna, the [sane] planner for BlogHer, provided me with resources that I can only say kicked @$$.  I hope that you will drop her an email thanking her for her hard work!  She's the behind the scenes rockstar and she did a fantastic job managing all the small details that most people don't ever notice, unless it's not there...then there's hell to pay. What? You didn't notice anything? Right, because she's awesome. 

Throughout the weekend, I developed little celebrity foodie crushes - Aida Mollenkamp, Penny De Los Santos, Dorie Greenspan, and Michael Ruhlman.  Thanks to my photographer and longtime friend, Darrell Miho, who was quick on his feet and thought to get this photo [the only picture that I have of myself with one of my celeb crushes] with Michael Ruhlman. So here's my sadly giddy [and gratuitous] photo [don't be bitter kids]: 
But even better than my celebrity foodie crushes, I got to reconnect with my friends whom I've had the pleasure of getting to know over this past year and even make a few new ones.  There wasn't as much time as I would've liked to get to meet and greet but that's what is so great about technology...I will meet, greet, and interact with you all.  The food bloggers are a great, wonderful, supportive group of people and I feel so blessed to miraculously be grouped together with 'em. 
Brooke,; Gaby,; Susan,; and yours truly
Lastly, no [wo]man is an island unto themselves.  Without the support of some of my BFF's flying up to SF and helping me carry 60 pound boxes, this event would never have been ready in time.  Thank you, Christy and Fuyumi, you guys are my heroes, i love you, love you, love yous!
Christy, me, Fuyumi [photo from HP photo booth]


  1. Great party! I'm stealing the martini food bar for the holidays! Thanks!

  2. SUCH a fun night! Hats off to you for pulling off an amazing event. The music, the goodie bags... and the food! Wow - fantastic. Thanks again. :)

  3. FANTASTIC post, FANTASTIC party, FANTASTIC friend! I am still spinning from the weekend and without creating this amazing atmosphere (and schlepping my crap back to L.A.) the weekend would not have been the same! My only regret; is that I am not in that photo with you and MIchael(thump, thump, thump)! love you tons! xxxx

  4. That was SUCH a fantastic party. I was really impressed! Thanks for all your hard work, it truly paid off.

  5. Awww...thanks, all, but seriously - i was only assisting Elise, Ree, & Jaden! They're the decision makers on everything!! :)

  6. Looks like a GREAT time, glad you had so much fun!

  7. we were quite envious reading all the #blogher tweets and experiencing it vicariouslly via twitter! Great job!

  8. Hi! I wasn't able to come to the conference, but by all accounts it was a huge success. Just wanted to say congratulations! :)

  9. THANK YOU for a fabulous party! It was the best! I appreciate all of your hard work. I really enjoyed hanging out with you. I wish we were closer! Miss you!

  10. Congratulations on what looks and sounds like a job well done! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your point of view. What FUN!!

  11. Congratulations on what looks like a GREAT event. And OMG, you met Michael Ruhlman. Jalouse!!!

  12. Congratulations on pulling it all together! Wish I could have stayed for the Grand Finale on Saturday- looks like such a fantastic time! Your photos make me smile :)

  13. Congratulations!!! It was a fabulous party, from the food and booze to Michael Ruhlman!! Plus I won a KitchenAid mixer!! Thank you for the Twitter follow, by the way! Looking forward to following you!!

  14. Thank you Jenny for all your hard work on Saturday's amazing party! You are a rockstar!! I also can't even begin to thank you for your help with tracking the bus down to take me back to the hotel early so I could catch my flight. Thank you thank you!
    It was so nice to meet you Jenny and so nice to have a friendly face on that first morning of the conference.

  15. thank you so much everyone! you are way too kind!!

    [jun, you are SO lucky you called me back...i was ready to steal your KA mixer from you! ;) ]

  16. Fun to read a behind the scenes recap. It really was a fabulous party! Well done!

  17. Jen, FINALLY I am here to visit your amazing re-cap of a truly WONDERFUL event. You are an amazing gal & I am so happy we are friends. When I walked into breakfast the first morning & saw your smiling face I felt so happy to be among people I know & love.
    You are an amazing party planner. The work involved is huge, but you are a pro. Everyone had a blast. All the details were perfect. I would hire you any time (hopefully one day I will have a budget that is worthy!!)
    See you soon hopefully for re-cap round two! xxoo


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