Whew, the Nift team had a wild few days at the 2019 New England Food Show. From hearing celebrity chef Anne Burrell’s stories and life lessons, to meeting the folks from cafes and restaurants right around the corner from our office, and tasting some of the best ice cream and duck (not together!) we’ve ever tried, NEFS had it all.
During the show, we got the chance to learn from some incredible speakers and restaurant industry gurus. Hearing their journeys in the food industry and how they’ve made names for themselves inspired us.
Here’s what we took away:
1. You can make magic out of everyday ingredients
As celebrity chef Anne Burrell sauteed peppers and onions, she told us how she began her career, and what she loves about cooking. “Food should taste good,” Anne said. “And you can make things taste good with ingredients from your regular grocery store. You can turn everyday ingredients into something magical.” Sure, she said this referring to a frying pan of chopped veggies, but we’re taking that lesson with us outside the kitchen. All we need is right in front of us.
2. Talent comes in all kinds of packages
Co-founder and brewer of Sam Adams, Jim Koch, gave us some insights as to how Sam Adams has become so successful since its beginning in 1984. “When I was looking for a business partner, I knew all sorts of MBAs and business professionals, but I knew that experience or studies didn’t necessarily mean talent.” His business partner was his secretary from his firm, whom he approached because he knew she knew bars, and knew she had the right spirit. “Talent comes in all kinds of packages,” he said. We’re taking that to heart.
3. Engage the community you’re already in
Aman Narang, co-founder and president of Toast, had more ideas for us, companies like us, and all the businesses we work with, on how to make a name for ourselves and make our mark. “Engaging the local community is the new trend,” he said. And we think it’s more than that. At Nift, we’re always trying to support the community we’re in.
4. Service needs to be a priority
Pitmaster Andy Husbands reminded us how important good, old fashioned, customer service is. You can come back from making mistakes or messing up, as long as you’ve given good customer service to people who walk through the door. Want to make sure you stay on people’s radar for the right reasons? Have out-of-this-world customer service. Make people feel good.
5. There’s no substitute or shortcut for hard work
As Anne Burrell finished sauteeing veggies, she answered a question from someone in the audience about how to get started in the restaurant industry. Like her comments about everyday ingredients, we think this advice works anywhere: “there is no shortcut or substitute for hard work,” she says. “The better the attitude you have about working hard, the faster you’ll move up.”
We learned, we talked, and we tasted. Our first New England Food Show was awesome, we’re already looking forward to next year!