Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I see you: Putting faces to the tweetstream at Foodportunity

Among the foodie cognoscenti, Foodportunity has become quite the popular nexus between chefs, their restaurants, the people who friend and tweet them and fellow foodies. Chefs from around Seattle presented amuse bouche, appetizers and sliders while two large screens displayed the ongoing tweeting inside the Tom Douglas Ballroom last night.

Arriving at yet another sold-out Foodportunity networking event I saw I was not the only foodie who Sharpie penned both their name and Twitter handle in bold, black letters on their name tag. Unless you already knew who they were, here is how parts of conversations began throughout the evening, “So you’re the one behind @(insert Twitter name). It’s so nice to finally meet you!”

In previous events, Keren Brown, producer of Foodportunity, had set up a stage and presented a panel of writers and another time a panel of chefs. This time she brought in more chefs but put aside the pedestal. Instead, the chefs were seated around high tables so you could walk up and have your own conversation with them. The gallery included Greg Atkinson (@westcoastcook), Brian Canlis (@bcanlis), Seif Chirchi and Rachel Yang (@joulerestaurant), and Ron Zimmerman (@herbguy).

I asked chefs Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, owners of Joule in the Wallingford neighborhood, how social media networking is working for them. Facebook works for Yang because it connects them to real people who are loyal customers. “It’s a two-way communication that’s quick and easy,” Yang said. “It’s scary. It’s scary how powerful it is,” Chirchi said. “Rachel will post Wednesday our Sunday dinner on Facebook. We’ll start getting calls and fill up quick.”

The Foodportunity formula for success is food + networking = foodportunity. The amazing food at Foodportunity made me thankful to be living here in Seattle.

As @herbguy wrote, “Mistral hit it out of the park with their short rib-kimchi sliders.” I told the Mistral crew that if they ever decided to go mobile ala Kogi BBQ, I would be right there. The other big hits of the evening for me: the nettle vichyssoise with parsnip relish from Urbane, the sunchoke salad from Spinasse, Olivar’s version of fried wonton with tuna, olives and spices, and from Tom Douglas Catering & Events, the five-spice duck buns and lemongrass tofu buns.

Photo: Seated, L. to R. Greg Atkinson, Brian Canlis, Seif Chirchi talked shop at Foodportunity in the Tom Douglas Ballroom, 03-22-2010.

1 comment:

denise, the prime magpie said...

Cheers for Foodportunity -- so glad it brought everyone together and so awesome to meet and talk with you! Will look for you at the next foodie gathering, to be sure. Go Team Spam!