Gluten-Free: IACP Recap & Blinded by the Bite! turns 1 year old!

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of Blinded by the Bite! It’s been an amazing journey, albeit a difficult one at times, but I awoke this morning with a sense of accomplishment, gratitude and still on such a high from my experience at the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Conference, which was held here in Austin last week.  I signed up to work as a volunteer during the conference and it turned out to be such an amazing experience and I could not have asked to have a better week leading up to the 1 year anniversary of Blinded by the Bite!

Take your pick of culinary luminaries, they were here in Austin and we got to see them do what they do best, as well as share their journey, knowledge and encouragement to those attending the conference.  It was a pleasure and delight to be amongst such culinary giants, I’m still pinching myself!  What I was so touched by at this conference and found so incredibly encouraging is how engaging and helpful these food giants were.  From simple encouragement to stay the course, to exchanging contact information (really? I have that persons email address and when I’m in town let them know or come play in our test kitchen), could it get any better? The IACP members were also so gracious and I love that many fell in love with Austin the same way I did  when I first came here!  And to top the cake off of what was IACP, I got to reconnect with old friends from San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as make new ones . . . .I giggle in pure delight at the stack of business cards I collected at IACP!  It was also an honor to serve as a volunteer with other members of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance (and Megan you should have said hello to Martin Yan he was so sweet)! 

Additionally, as part of IACP, Edible Austin held the inaugural Edible Texas Wine Food Match last Friday at the AT&T Conference Center/Carillon Restaurant, which I had the distinct pleasure of working on the social media campaign with Marla and Jenna of Edible Austin.  The inaugural event raised $10,000 for the newly incorporated non-profit Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, which is to be built in Fredericksburg, TX, making Central Texas a place where “localvore” meets “locapour.”   All five chefs created 3 pairings for the guests to taste & then it was up to the celebrity judges panel! The event MC’s Jack Gilmore (of Jack Allen’s Kitchen) and Tanji Patton (of Good Taste with Tanji) were the perfect pairing!  Pinch me am I dreaming?  I won’t event get into the guest list just know it was amazing and it was a delight to meet them all and watch them in their element.  The celebrity judges were:

¬Â¢ Jacques Pépin, world-renowned chef, television celebrity, cookbook author and culinary educator
¬Â¢ Francois Dionot, founder and director of L’Academie de Cuisine
¬Â¢ John Besh, chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and television personality
¬Â¢ Michael Bauer, executive food and wine editor for the San Francisco Chronicle
¬Â¢ Paula Lambert, cookbook author and founder of the Mozzarella Company.

Congratulations to all the chefs who participated in this 1st ever event, to the Texas Wineries (click here to see a complete list) that were selected by the chefs in pairings and to all of the amazing sponsors.  Who took home the gold you ask?  Chef P.J. Edwards of Bin 555 Restaurant was selected as runner-up and Chef David Garrido of Garrido’s Restaurant took home the grand prize, as well as the People’s Choice award.

Saturday to cap off what was IACP, I attended the “Up in Smoke” event at Boggy Creek Farms.  What makes this so special – I love Boggy Creek Farms and Larry and Carol Ann! They are always just lovely when I’ve come out to the farm and I was delighted they were recognized at IACP for what they do on their farm. Then it was off to Cupcake Smackdown 3.0!  This is my second year attending and this year I was also a sponsor.  It was so great to see the drawn Jennie Chen was able to bring in with this event!  It is a favorite among the community and it is always fun to see the families come and enjoy the event!

And just when I thought my week couldn’t get any better I was invited to attend another Edible Austin event on Sunday evening, a Honey Dinner by Chef Will Packwood at Springdale Farm.  This was my first experience tasting what is the genius of Chef Will Packwood . . . I hope to get to experience more of his culinary talents (special thank you Will for changing my mind about beets and for making one of my favorite dishes fried chicken gluten-free!  I did skip the biscuit with the honey butter though).  It was such a treat to be seated with Glenn and Paula, the owners of Springdale Farms, whom sent me home with a wonderful bounty of fresh picked tomatoes!

Add then there is the evolution & growth of Blinded by the Bite!  What started out as a challenging situation one year ago has turned into a really beautiful creation.  I am grateful for so many individuals that have come into my life as a result of this food blog! I cannot even begin to list all of you! A special thank you to Babette of Bakespace.com & what is TechMunch, as I was about to give it all up and then I got to volunteer (thank you Megan) and hear the amazing speakers you brought in for the Austin session (the inspirational words of Penny De Los Santos still ring in my head – “created your dream project“).

What I do know is that Austin has one of the most amazing food communities and I am honored to be a part of it!  So thank you to those whom have helped me along the way, extended an invite to a tasting, proof read a blog post I was scared to publish, offered advice, subscribed to my blog, re-tweeted one of my tweets, Chefs who fixed me a special gluten-free dish just because, and plain simply have just been supportive!  To my clients –  I love you & love what you are doing with your brands!  Thank you for welcoming me in and trusting me with your brand, as it really is the ultimate honor!  I also want to thank those outside of Austin who have helped me along in my journey! And last but certainly not least, the gluten-free community!  What can I say other than you have embraced me in ways I can never repay you! Thank you for helping to fight the good fight, educate and support our community!

I’m so excited as there is some big news coming to Blinded by the Bite! in the next few months and so excited to share it with all of you!  You’ve all allowed me to live this beautiful life that I’m so incredibly grateful for ~ It really is a beautiful life and it is my dream project!

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