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!


Save the date: 5/18 by Amanda
May 4, 2009, 7:07 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

We’re planning the next meeting for 5/18 — to discuss all things social media & how you can leverage them for your business. (Do not be afraid of Twitter!) Invitation to the member list & details to come very, very soon!

How to be your own food publicist by Amanda

Winter is a tough season for the restaurant industry — people are dieting, it’s slim pickings when it comes to produce (more root vegetables anyone?) and the weather is more often than not bleak.

But judging by the warmth and enthusiasm of the nearly 30 attendees at Monday’s potluck, there’s a lot to be optimistic about.  A strong level of support, encouragement and candid advice characterized the evening’s discussion about how to leverage PR in a down economy. (Being in Susan’s drop-dead-gorgeous condo in the Pearl didn’t hurt either. Thanks again, Susan!)

We were lucky to have two great presenters: Lota LaMontagne of LAD Communications and Lizzy Caston from Lizzy Caston Communications. Here’s a quick synopsis of their presentations:


  • The press kit is dead. All you need is a fact sheet, a personal bio and an elevator pitch, and you’re ready to do your own PR.
  • The economy’s affect on media means they are trying to produce news with fewer people. They need content — it’s a great time to pitch
  • Instead of wondering why no one will write about your business, do the “Why should I care?” test? If your pitch can’t answer that question, rework it. Try tying it to easy news hooks such as new products (you don’t have to be first as long as it’s new), current events or seasonal topics.
  • Rule of thumb: lead times vary for different types of media (magazines, newspapers, TV). If you can just remember to pitch 90 days ahead of your newsworthy event (grand opening, product launch, new menu, etc.), you’ll be in good shape.
  • Know who you’re pitching:  Can you name the reporter who covers the restaurant scene at Portland Monthly? A single writer at FoodDay? Read the publications you want to write about you and jot down the reporters’ names so you can pitch them directly.

Key Tips

  • Join Travel Portland
  • Start a media list
  • Look ahead on a calendar and think of how you could provide content
  • Become a go-to person for a reporter. While this may not always result in coverage about your business, when you become a trusted resource or “go-to” person for a reporter, it will pay dividends.
  • Make friends with a photographer, or call one up and negotiate a rate. Being able to pitch not just a story but also the photos to go with it makes the job of the reporter a lot easier.
  • Develop a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. You need to make yourself easy to find online. The easiest way to do this is blog.
  • Keep your website updated, whether it’s a menu, the hours or your story.
  • Get involved with other organizations in town, such as the Portland Culinary Alliance.


DIY Marketing & PR Overview

  • Create a strategy and plan. It enables to be efficient, budget effectively, allocate enough time and resources and plan for opportunities. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time — you can do this in as little as 2 hours a week. Treat marketing and PR like you do other business essentials such as accounting.
  • There are several free resources and worksheets available to help you develop strong marketing and PR plans. Look for low or no cost business development workshops or online courses if you need a little more structure.

DIY Tips

  • Self-educate throug books, websites, classes, professional groups and conferences
  • Google your competition — research what others are doing by going to their websites and blogs
  • Collaborate — we all need to bounce ideas off of each other and have friends give us unvarnished feedback.
  • Partner on events and promotional ideas. One great example is how Portland Spaces magazine, CIty Club of Portland and Jimmy Mak’s are working together to host special events.
  • Don’t feel like you need to do it all, or do it all at once — take it one step at a time
  • Devleop a 6-12 month calendar
  • Look up editorial calendars of local media and map your stories to them
  • Keep momentum going so PR doesn’t end up at the “bottom of the pile”
  • Network — offline and online

That last bullet point triggered a brief discussion about the importance of social media but we ran out of time before we could delve into it too deeply. How to leverage social media for PR purposes will definitely be a future topic.

The best news I got today was that an attendee, Tricia Butler of Sassafras Catering, already put one of these tips into practice and got great Google search engine placement.

Hi Ladies,

Just wanted to shoot a quick note and let you know that I tried an experiment similar to Lota’s with her “Inauguration Party Menu.” Idecided to make a post on the blog about easy Super Bowl appetizers.

Well, I posted it at about 7:30AM this morning, Twittered about it in both my personal and Sassafras accounts, and at 9:30AM, it was #4 when I googled “Easy Super Bowl Appetizers.”

See the attached image – I am shocked and amazed.

Thank you again Lizzy and Lota!


WOW! Kudos to Tricia for not wasting any time getting herself out there.

We’ll be meeting again in March. If you’re interested in getting an invite, add yourself to the membership roster here. There are no fees or costs to participate, and we welcome women both from the foodservice industry and from professions that support it.

(Note to attendees — when I get more time, I’ll send you the contact info of all the attendees, as promised!)