It is a tradition to have an ICCA officer or board member take notes throughout the Summit to offer a short recap of the learnings they will take back to their team from the event. ICCA President Amy Smith, Director of Culinary Innovation for Buffalo Wild Wings, wrote this amazing recap from the successful and record-breaking ICCA Summit Napa Valley:
Smith continued, “So for me, the ICCA Summit could really be called Homecoming, because although this three-day conference is packed with thought starting ideas and useful consumer insights, it feels like a giant celebration among friends.
We were able to see around corners, exploring trends that will impact menu development in the years to come, to sample an impressive array bites and sips providing an abundance of inspiration and enjoy the company of our colleagues and friends.
Our 16th Annual Summit kicked off with Cathy & Maeve’s session on Cravability. They shared their point of view on redefining cravings around experience, authenticity and nostalgia. See their PowerPoint presentation here: ICCA Crave Deck – Cathy Holley Maeve Webster.
We were afforded the opportunity to take a quick trip to Vietnam with Chris Constintino. He transported us with flavor, texture & tales of a small woman kneeling to prepare his food. We tasted how deep the connections between place, person, and plate actually go through the Laab he prepared.
In a hands-on toolbox session, Colleen dove into the creation and marketing of a successful menu item, with teams creating an in-theory menu concept, applying their own creativity to the principles laid out in the session. Through this exercise, we learned the cues that can drive trial. See her PowerPoint presentation here: ICCA Workshop
The Culinary Road trips took us across the region. And from the wineries, vineyards, gardens, and stops along the way to sample the local cuisine, everything we experienced screamed Wine Country! Cuisine here is emphatically local, cocktails are meticulously personal, and the community is wholly self-aware. Napa & California Wine Country are a flavor unto itself.
Which brings us to today (Tuesday)…Whether we are ready for it or not, foodservice is the next frontier for robots. Deepak Sekar took us down the rabbit hole, exploring the automation revolution, what it means for foodservice and introducing us to Sally and other robots designed for the foodservice industry. See his PowerPoint presentation here: ICCA_2018_Chowbotics
Datassentials’ Marie Molde and Colleen McClellan shared meaningful insights around emerging flavors. They discussed consumer ratings of foods and flavors, revealing what they love and the ties that bind them. See their PowerPoint presentation here: Datassential – ICCA Trends 2018
Huge Galdones gave us tips and tricks to make our photographs dynamic, appealing and how to share a sense of person, authenticity & connection thru the narrative in photographs. I could almost feel the comfort of a worn wooden table, smell the sweet perfume of the perfect char, and taste the silky kiss of fresh whipped cream, all brought to life in his images.
Simon shared what America is through its food. Through his journeys we were transported across the country. He tasted strong evidence of the “where” in our cuisine: from Kansas City to Birmingham with the most memorable meals coming from some of the more unlikely places. See his PowerPoint presentation here: Simon Majumdar ICCA Presentation
Barry Wiss shared the building blocks of tasting and aromas during his lively session. The aroma wheel and samples brought to life the connection between what we smell, the words we use to describe them and where they are found in wines.
Stephen Barber & Kip shared how they deliver the next evolution of farm to table at Farmstead by connecting guests directly to food. The diner is given a first-hand experience via the crops, trees, vines, bees and animals that are farmed, and raised on their farm.
In closing, my four-year journey on the ICCA board has only reinforced my opinion of what an amazing community this organization is. Each of you have become a part of the team I can count on for knowledge, advice & answers to life’s persistent questions. I am proud to look out into this room and see, Luis Haro & Farley Kaiser, both talented, dedicated and hard-working individuals with whom I had the good fortune to work with during my career. I see my fellow board members who can always be counted on for a laugh & a cocktail or two; I see members & sponsors, both new and tenured, thanks for making each and every event memorable and fun filled. Kevin, Susan, Palmer & Mike, you make the Summit look easy, when I’m certain there is more than enough chaos and confusion going on behind the scenes.
So to all, please raise your glasses to the end of the Summit, thanks to all for joining us in Napa! Hope to see you all soon”.
Stay tuned for more videos and updates from the 16th Annual ICCA Summit Napa Valley. We are creating a video from the hands-on kitchen challenge at the CIA Copia as a part of our annual dinner there plus we will have a glimpse into the trend research presented in three different sessions including: Cathy Nash Holley & Maeve Webster, Simon Majumdar plus Colleen McClellan & Marie Molde. The ICCA Culinary Road Trips are always an amazing element at the ICCA Summit and this year was especially spectacular featuring the leading wineries in both Napa and Sonoma Valleys. If you attended the event and would like to fill out our brief survey, please click here. Here is a brief video showcasing some of the elements we experienced during the Summit: