Thursday, August 16, 2007

Associating Associations

In the culinary and hospitality industry we have a number of professional associations including the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA). Such organizations are dedicated to fostering a community of professionals within the industry and promoting the industry itself. These types of associations can have a large membership base that spans across the country – or the world - for that matter (such as the IACP). I can imagine that is no small task to manage an association itself and therefore it is no surprise, really, that there is an association for the professionals who run the different associations. (Yes - there is an association industry!)

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) was founded in 1920 and currently has over 22,000 members who serve over 10,000 associations. I recently had the chance to cook for, and speak to, about 1000 of the top association executives from around the country. The event was at Chicago's historical Navy Pier Ballroom for ASAE's 1st Annual Food and Wine Classic; a fundraiser held in conjunction with ASAE's Annual Meeting and Exposition. My red curried sweet potato soup was the hit of the reception. Many interesting stories were shared during this event and hopefully some good contacts were made as well.

A new business "association" for me is the Hershey Entertainment & Resort Company in Hershey Pennsylvania. As a Culinary Partner, I will be working directly with Mr. Jim Miles who is the Vice President of the Hershey Entertainment & Resort Company. This consultancy is going to be challenging and exciting. I am looking forward to working with this great group of professionals. TripAdvisor recently rated Hershey Park as the top rated park outside of Orlando according to a story posted by Thrillnetwork.