CSES2016 provides a wealth of information crammed into a four-day sprint of advice, collaboration, insight, and much more. With so much happening in such a short time, it can be difficult to fully reap the benefits of this conference. To help you narrow your focus, we’ve selected some of the key sessions that you shouldn’t miss and also provided some tips and tricks on how to capitalize on your Catersource experience.
Additionally, the 2016 ICAEF Catersource Winter Scholarship Recipients are recognized at the end of this article, so congratulations to the winners!
What not to miss
Out of the many exceptional sessions set for this year’s conference, we’ve chosen two of the most promising. “Ordinary Food, Extraordinary Station,” led by Adam Gooch, the corporate executive chef at Common Plea Catering in Pittsburgh, will teach you how to put a “twist” on the comfort classics everyone loves. When dishes are signature, they make your brand one-of-a-kind, and that’s key as a caterer. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for inspiration.
Next, staffing was overwhelmingly indicated to be the biggest issue caterers had in 2015, so it’s likely that many can benefit from sessions on this complex process. “Hire Them Right So You Don’t Have to Fire Them Later,” which will be led by Jennifer Delay and Steve Sanchez, the CEO and chief marketing officer/VP of sales (respectively) of The JDK Group in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, will help you analyze and improve your hiring process so you can find the employees best for your company.
How to make the most of your experience
Catersource is an excellent opportunity to learn, but it can also be a bit hectic. The best way to combat the chaos? Make a plan. There are a lot of concurrent sessions, so find a friend who is attending something you aren’t and swap notes. Also, plot a strategy for the Tradeshow floor—it’s huge. Seek out the items you need and vendors you want to learn more about. This is your time to ask anything and get all the free advice you want. Companies are on the Tradeshow floor to help you!
Catersource is a place to learn, so make sure to attend the education sessions. Take notes, make an action plan from what you’ve learned to share with your team, and try to follow up with speakers, either by personally meeting afterwards or sending them a quick follow-up email. Believe us, they’ll appreciate it.
We want to help, too! If you’re not an ICA member, stop by the ICA booth during the Tradeshow to meet some current members and learn more about how being a part of ICA can help your business. If you’re a current member, stop by to meet your fellow caterers and learn about the new, exciting things in store for 2016.
And lastly, try not to forget the little things. Attend events to network, because the connections you make at Catersource help your business for many years to come. Also, take photos of demonstrations, events, and Tradeshow floor. Whether you share them with employees or peers, upload them to social media, or just use them to remember the experience, the 10 seconds it takes to snap a picture are well worth it. You can also use social media to connect with other attendees on a specific topic. Want to know more about corporate catering? See if someone on social media can help.
If you have a free moment, we welcome you to attend the ICA Meet and Greet on Monday, March 14 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the ICA Inspiration Zone in the Attendee Lounge!
2016 ICAEF Catersource winter scholarship recipients
ICAEF and its board of trustees thanks all of our sponsors whose generosity makes it possible for the brightest of the next generation of caterers and event planners to continue their culinary education and help our industry become more professional and accomplished.
The International Caterers Association Educational Foundation (ICAEF) is proud to present the scholarship award winners:
The Mary Crafts/Culinary Crafts Scholarship Award • Susan Bocks, Haworth Inn & Conference Center/Creative Dining Services, Holland, MI
The Sterno Products ICAEF Emerging Stars Scholarship • Erin Loney, Tulips and Maple, Ottawa, ON, Canada
The Elizabeth "Mom" Jones Inspired Scholarship • Paige Bryan, Purple Onion Catering, Vienna, VA
The AllSeated Scholarship • Sarah Nett, Creative Hands Cuisine, Mesa, AZ
The Chef David Keener Memorial Culinary Scholarship • Stefanie Haim, Food Company Catering, East Hanover, NJ
The Chef Reinhard Jacob Memorial Scholarship • Carisa Lockery, Spice Catering Group, Durham, CT
The Catersource Consulting Unit Award • Jaimee Smith-Solomon, Palmer's Catering & Events, Darien, CT
Heather Allen, Puff 'n Stuff Catering & Events, Orlando, FL
Lauren Bartoli, Tulips and Maple Catering, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Bianca Bilyeu, Feast on This Catering and Events, San Diego, CA
Lonnie Bouvier, BBQ Feast Catering, Lakeside, ON, Canada
Heather Carr, Footers Catering, Denver, CO
Cynthia Creighton-Jones, Cape Creations Catering, Savannah, GA
Ashley Dietel, Puff 'n Stuff Catering & Events, Orlando, FL
Wesley Easton, By Word of Mouth, Gauteng, Johannesburg, South Africa
Amanda Hosking, Partyman Catering & Rental, Avon, NY
Jennifer Krowczyk, Rocky Mountain Catering, Littleton, CO
Megan Litzau-Kanal, H&M Catering, Mount Holly, NC
Javier Morales, Blue Plate Catering, Chicago, IL
Timothy Seeberg, BG Events and Catering, Boston, MA
Patricia Voltaire, A Thyme to Cook, North Stonington, CT
Cindy Walker, Mintahoe Catering and Events, Saint Anthony, MN