PDX Women Chefs & Restaurateurs

The 10th Annual Farmer-Chef Connection by triciab
February 23, 2010, 9:47 pm
Filed under: Events, Professional Development | Tags: , ,

This year is the 10th annual Farmer-Chef Connection for the Portland area, hosted by the Portland Chefs Collaborative, a group of sustainability-minded Portland chefs. This also marks the 2nd year for Friends of Family Farmers to be a sponsor, and now a co-host.

The design for this day is to get area farmers, ranchers, processors, chefs, food buyers, students, and local food system activists together in the same room to build relationships, and to provide workshops to share tools to make these business relationships easier and more beneficial for everyone involved. Please spread the word to anyone that you think can benefit from this event.

One of the highlights of each FCC is the amazing lunch made up of donated product from local farms and ranchers, and cooked by some of the best chefs in the area! A real bargain for the $20 event registration fee. Please indicate on the registration form if you would like to help cook, donate food, or donate a raffle prize.

When: Monday, March 8th, 8am-3:15pm
Where: Clackamas Community College in Oregon City

Details and directions are on the PCC website at portlandcc.org.

Additional sponsors include: New Seasons, FoodHub, CCC Horticulture Department, Cascade Pacific, and the many volunteers and attendees who donate product and time to make this a wonderful day.

Keynote Speaker: Nicholette Hahn-Niman, author of Righteous Porkchop
Author Nicolette Hahn Niman is an author, attorney, livestock rancher, and until recently, sat on the Board of Overseers for the National Chefs Collaborative. Her book, Righteous Porkchop, details her experiences working first with Bobby Kennedy and the Waterkeepers Alliance investigating industrialized hog farms in North Carolina. More information about the author and the book can be found on her web page at www.righteousporkchop.com.

There will be some amazing raffle prizes from local food vendors – check out the list of prizes so far.

Event workshops:

  • Farmer-Chef Connections 101
  • Farmer-Chef Connections 401 (Advanced)
  • Licensing Your Food Product in Oregon
  • Getting Products to Market/Farmers Market Intro
  • Small Scale Livestock – Buying Local and Pasture Raised
  • Introduction to Food Hub
  • The Grains and Beans Project

Sign up now to save your place: CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Hope to see you there!


It was all about you. by Amanda
April 1, 2009, 7:11 am
Filed under: Events, Professional Development

“Networking” is often used to describe this group. But when you move beyond the handshakes and exchange of credentials and business cards, what really matters are personal stories. Maybe it’s because there’s always a story behind the foods we love to eat, or the cuisines we decide to master. Family tradition, foreign travel, childhood fixation, self-emancipation — no dish is simply a sum of its ingredients. And one of the most rewarding aspects of last night was hearing people share what made them who they are today.

By lucky accident I facilitated the session on personal bios. I can’t but wonder why so many of us (myself included) struggle to describe who we are and proudly put our achievements out there. Perhaps it’s because our interests and skills are too complex to boil down into a few paragraphs.  Or because historically, women are raised to be “good girls” which includes not bragging. Maybe our passions create a blind spot because we’re inseparable from that which drives us to create.

Fortunately, with some brainstorming, gentle coaching, and instructive examples provided by Lizzy Caston (which you can download at the end of this post), most everyone was able to capture some bio ideas on paper that will get put to good use in a web site, blog, resume or press kit.

Here are some key takeaways from that discussion:

  • Even if you don’t have a current business need for a bio, creating one is an exercise in focus and expression that enables you to clearly articulate what you have to offer and what sets you apart. Cover letters, informational interviews, cocktail party conversation — you never know what leads to your personal pot of gold. Create a bio so you’re know what to say when the opportunity of a lifetime lands in your lap. And because many people in the food business do end up starting their own businesses, you’ll be that much farther ahead of the game when you’re ready to do so.
  • Ask someone who knows you really well to tell you why you’re so great. Seriously. We do a lousy job holding up mirror to ourselves so let our biggest fans — be they family, a friend, a co-worker or significant other — point out the strengths we didn’t realize we had.
  • Treat the bio writing process like you’re doing a performance appraisal on yourself. What have you accomplished this past year? So much time gets diverted into so many different directions we don’t realize that, cumulatively, that volunteering or seemingly small projects all add up to something worth crowing about.
  • Different aspects of our bios expand and contract based on the experience we accumulate. So, out of school, we tend to go deep into our educational background. As our careers progress, it’s totally fine to discard aspects of our experience that don’t apply anymore, or to severely scale back certain details. Don’t try to say it all; focus on what’s important and relevant.
  • What if your background includes a radical departure or shift from what you used to do? Use it if it’s relevant to who you are now. If your anthropology degree inspires and informs your baking, explain why. If you’re much happier doing something that has nothing to do with your MBA, talk about the wake-up call. People — customers — connect with stories, not resumes.
  • Produce long and short versions of your bio for different purposes. Who are you in 50 words? 100? 250? Having these for different circumstances will help prevent someone else butchering your bio into something unintelligible.

Since I facilitated the bios all evening, I don’t have notes from the other roundtables. Lizzy ran the discussion about developing a communications timeline, and Julia Wood of Litmus Design & Architecture led the discussion about developing a company description. However, the attached documents from Lizzy provide step-by-step guidelines along with handy templates for tackling all of last night’s exercises.

Many thanks to Amanda Oborne for hosting everyone in her lovely home last night. There was plenty of room to spread out and the buffalo burgers were awesome!

Next meeting topic: Social Media for your Business

In about six weeks (mid-May), we’re going to have a full-blown session on social media. In January everyone learned, from a public relations perspective, how much buzz  can be generated with a personal blog. And there have been numerous questions about how to optimally use Twitter and Facebook to promote your business. With Portland being the Silicon Forest, we have a number of local experts to tap in to for this next session. It will be an ambitious agenda that includes a ground-level tutorial on “What is Twitter?” for the uninitiated.

As soon as we set a date and location, I’ll send post an update here.

What’s in a name?

Lastly, I want to point out we’re going to rename this group. Originally we had aspirations to be the regional chapter of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, but we’re more of a grassroots organization that embraces people from outside that strict definition of membership. So while we don’t have the final answer, don’t be surprised when you see an email that doesn’t say “PDX WCR” (perhaps the most awkward combination of letters possible).

Download files from last night’s meeting

Communications Templates_Revised

Sample Communications Timeline

Communications Templates

Need a coach? Get on the phone! by Amanda
September 18, 2008, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Events, Professional Development

“Communication can be tricky. We think we are saying one thing and our foodservice team is hearing something else. Mr. Gates knew the information, and expected us to think like he did… with all his years of experience. What he forgot was that teaching, leading, and managing is all about the audience.

A few years ago I met Kathy Gillen at a Womens Foodservice Forum conference. She was also a first-time attendee; we practically held hands and braved the sea of 2,000 women together.

Kathy’s got a unique niche as a business coach focused on foodservice executives. And as we stayed in touch over the years, I came to appreciate the value she offers via her free teleforums. It’s format that’s well-suited for those who are otherwise too busy or too bootstrapped financially to hire a coach or attend professional development conferences.

While the topics or examples may sometimes seem geared toward the larger companies, I think there are universal lessons here for everyone. Frustrations about not being heard, dicey political situations and communication breakdowns happen at all companies, at all levels.

Her next teleforum is about communication breakdowns. Ever have them? I thought so.

Read the Mr. Gates example here and sign up for the teleforum.

10 Core Competencies for Women in Foodservice by Amanda

Take a look at what the Women’s Foodservice Forum has identified as core competencies to develop for business success:

  1. Initiative
  2. Strategic Thinking
  3. Building Networks
  4. Visioning/Setting Direction
  5. Developing Others
  6. Building High Performing Teams
  7. Driving For Results
  8. Risk-Taking
  9. Tough-Minded
  10. Communicating & Listening

(This PDF has more details about each one.)