by John Wiest
It’s an open secret. Our food society is passionate about food, its growth, distribution, preparation, presentation and celebration. Every January, we acknowledge our obsession, starting with the tales of tables traveled, pots stirred and endless bowls tasted, wines sipped … and sometimes quaffed.
The January 23 Annual General Meeting, while in principle a “business meeting,” was really a speed mingle, an embrace of old friends and, thanks to the California Culinary Academy, a sumptuous sit-down dinner. Many a fork was lifted and glass tipped in grateful tribute to our host, the CCA student chefs, Chef Michael Weller and CCA President Peter Lee.
In celebration of the Chinese New Year — the Year of the Dragon— members old and new were greeted at the Technique Restaurant with an array of Chinese astrologic signs, with each attendee adding their personal sign to their name tag.
On that Monday evening, our sponsor and society leaders were recognized for their contributions – especially the 2011 SFPFS Board of Directors. Outgoing 2011 President Dede Sampson played gracious emcee in this year in review. Treasurer Andrea Cope reported sound finances, with planned expenditure for development of the new website and a fiscally sound forthcoming 2013 dues increase, the first in more than 10 years.
Reports from Karen Diggs, Dorothy Nicholson, Sharon Goldman, Gayle Massey, Susan Pridmore and John Wiest highlighted the society’s contribution to the greater Bay Area food community, scholarships, a striking new directory (that Michelin might envy), Food Trend discussions, expanding Facebook capabilities, national culinary outreach, a fabulous annual barbeque and many supportive sponsors.
Rodger Helwig had the honor of presenting the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award to “the hardest working woman in the Food Society,” food educator and culinary travels agent, Lili Rollins.
Of course, metaphorically, it takes two to tango, and while the General Meeting retold the past, the New Members Reception focuses on the future. We were very pleased that our 2012 Culinary Scholarship recipient, Christian Clark, attended and provided evidence of the continued vitality of our Bay Area food culture and industry.
Finally, a tango is propelled by music — which in this case was the generous contribution of our 2011 sponsors. Hats off to our Gold Sponsors: The California Culinary Academy, Constellation Wines and Joie de Vivre Hotels. And this music continues for 2012, with support from Ketchum Communications, CIA-Greystone, Numi Tea and Sierra Select Distributors / Miele Gallery.
Of course, the 2012 dance has only begun. Until next January, the future now assumes the lead, entwined with the past, consuming the thoughts and propelled by the desires of you, our members. A new year to celebrate.