I'm going to take you inside the my world now. Well my world at FNCE anyways. It was 4 days of food and nutrition and networking and I'm pretty sure every other profession wishes they had a conference like this.
First off, the conference was in Atlanta. I've always wanted to go to Atlanta. As a nutrition professional and soon to be RD, i'm sure it seems very odd to say this, but I've always wanted to go to "Coke World." Now if you know me, it's not that strange. There's a family history with Coke. I have a collection of all things Coke. My cousin's childhood room was Coke themed. I even remember a Coke radio we had when I was a child. Coke World was a blast. It was almost everything I wanted to see. Slightly cheesy but so much fun. The best part for any food lover is obviously the tasting room. You could literally try flavors and varieties from ALL OVER THE WORLD. Very interesting seeing how culture intersected with the flavors representing each country. I'd highly suggest NOT trying Beverly. It was awful.
So the conference started Sunday morning. While the educational sessions were absolutely fascinating (well...most of them), it was the expo that I was really excited about. And the session on recipe writing, food blogging, and food photography I went to. Hopefully I can start incorporating some of the many things I learned at that session in upcoming posts! Back to the expo. This is where any food lover's dreams come true.
This picture really doesn't do the expo hall justice but hopefully you get the idea. There were HUNDREDS of booths like the ones you see here sampling and demoing new food and nutrition products that were either new to the market or hadn't even been released yet. My favorite station was probably the Chobani Yogurt station. There was literally every brand of Greek yogurt imaginable. But, the Chobani booth was the best. They had literally every possible Chobani flavor you could ever imagine and you better believe I made my best effort to try all of them. Without a doubt, the best flavors I sampled were the Chobani With Oats Apple Cinnamon and Banana Maple. SO GOOD. The oats added texture and whoever dreamed of putting apples into yogurt was a completely brilliant. When I got home, I stocked up on this apple yogurt at the grocery store. I haven't gotten sick of it yet.
I had one other favorite product but I'll get to that later. I want to bring up how there were so many famous chefs and cookbook authors at FNCE. People I idolize (yes, I am a freak). I saw so many of the chefs that I admire I was completely and utterly star struck. Anybody watch Top Chef on Bravo? Well I'm obsessed. So Sunday (day 1 of the conference), I don't know why but I just wasn't expecting to have any "celeb sightings" at a food and nutrition conference, but I did. I was at the Welch's stand, just sampling some grape juice and there he was, right there next to me. I read the name badge and probably made a fool out of myself but it's all good. It was Top Chef's Fabio Viviani! Here's how the conversation went.
Me: "Are you Fabio from Top Chef?"
Fabio: "Yes. I'm Fabio Viviani nice to meet you."
Me: "I'm a huge fan!"
Fabio: "Thank you. Nice meeting you."
There was more conversation to our encounter than this but in my state of "OH MY GOSH this cook from TV is actually a real human" I forgot to ask for a picture and be more normal. My celb encounters got better after learning my lesson from this one.
Without a doubt, my favorite Top Chef judge is Hugh Acheson. My friends were like Rose, there's another Top Chef guy here. I had to find him. I did. Hugh is my fav judge on the show. He's snarky, sarcastic, and so totally honest that I can not only relate to him, but appreciate his sense of humor in every sense of the matter. We had a very entertaining conversation. And the goon I am went back 3 times because my picture with him kept getting blurry. But I did manage to score a free, signed copy of his cookbook and I'm so pumped to start cooking out of it. Here's the pic of me and Hugh below. I'm glad that after the 3rd time, we got one that came out! Also, look at how he signed the book for me. I'm a happy kid.
Marcus Samuelsson from Chopped. Pictured below you can see us having a casual conversation about how I've applied to the show many times and would do great if they just let me on! I also suggested a dietitian themed episode. I think he wanted me to stop talking but either way I met him so that's the cool part.
Hungry Girl aka Lisa Lillien who was without a doubt the sweetest woman I've ever met. I was able to snag a free, signed copy of her cookbook.
Ellie Krieger who I used to watch on Food Network. She's one of the shows I used to watch obsessively back in the day when my food, cooking and nutrition obsession was young and budding. The line to meet her was really long but I had to snap a creeper photo to prove she was actually real. I know how weird that sounds.
I think of everyone I met, I was most star struck by this lady, Joy Bauer. I don't know why but I didn't even think I'd see here there. Which is silly because she's an RD. But, I've always been a big fan of Joy. She kind of gets to combine all the things I've wanted in a dream job into one. I've always wanted to be on a cooking show. I've always wanted to be my own boss. I've always wanted to share nutrition tips and tricks with the world. She does all of this on the Today Show and it's awesome. We chatted for a few minutes and she gave me some advice for getting on the local news and I plan to take that to heart. Some day in the next few years, I'll be Rose Kaplan, RDN, sharing tips and tricks on the morning news. Get ready for it.
Now if you've made it this far, CONGRATS! This is the fun part of the post, where I reveal my favorite thing I ate at FNCE. Drumroll....... It was actually the snacks I sampled from Joy Bauer's new line of snacks: Nourish Snacks! I loved the creative mixes of nuts, dried fruits and other flavors to create new and delicious snack mixes to be enjoyed on the go. There isn't one mix that I sampled that I did not LOVE. I actually decided to try out the snack club. My first monthly box is going to come with 20 different snack packs and I'm super excited to try them all. My favorite snack from FNCE was the apple and almond snack pictured below. If you want to join, I have a discount code for you, but you can also purchase the snacks individually too. I just like how joining takes the stress of decision making out of my hands. Join using my code here and you'll save $10. You are welcome. nourishsnacks.com/goji6163
Get excited because I've got a whole lot of inspiration now for some fabulous new recipes that will be coming your way. I know I haven't been posting as frequently as I'd like to, but thanks for being patient with me. Stay with me for this wild ride. I've got a lot of new tips and tricks in my book and I can't wait to share. Happy snacking!