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Great things can grow from Foodportunity

What a bountiful garden this year. These are just a few of the vegetables that grew in my garden as I started my blog The Solo Cook. Photo by Christine Willmsen

Opportunities can grow just like a garden

Potatoes are easy to grow and there is always a surprise underneath. Photo by Christine Willmsen

Three types of potatoes – butter, rose and purple – grew in my garden. Photo by Christine Willmsen

This summer I had just started a food blog called The Solo Cook, which focused on cooking, gardening and savoring food from a single person’s perspective. But I didn’t know how to get the word out. The Solo Cook was just underway and I had no idea how to meet and network with chefs, writers and food industry peeps.

A couple friends suggested I go to a Foodportunity event in June. I quickly printed some business cards and walked into the event with a smile. While I was nervous about explaining my passion for food to a room full of people, I realized it was a true opportunity for me. After seeing a couple familiar faces and sipping a glass of wine, I warmed up and just started chatting with people. In fact, the night wasn’t even over and I had run out of business cards.

This single girl froze some of the peas to later cook during the wet winter months. Photo by Christine Willmsen

I met some amazing, talented people and absorbed suggestions and ideas from chefs. One of those chefs was Thierry Rautureau, owner of Rover’s and Luc. He had a sincere interest in my blog and offered some valuable advice. It was this connection at Foodportunity that gave me the confidence to apply for a live cooking competition. Not only did I have the guts to apply for the cooking competition at Rover’s, but I must have made an impression because now I’m one of nine contestants in Kitchen Circus. This home cook will tackle a professional kitchen on Nov. 20 and prepare an amuse bouche and one course for at least 45 people.

My beets started to appear in the garden mid-summer. Photo by Christine Willmsen

I look back at my experience with Foodportunity just four months ago, and believe it gave me the courage to step outside my comfort zone of being a hard news journalist and dip my pen into the creative, fun world of writing about food. My photos here are of my garden and some of the wonderful food it produced. I’m still new to this arena, and most people don’t know about me or my blog yet, but everyone has to start somewhere.

It’s October and I’m pulling my beets out of the ground. I chop the green tops and throw them into soups. Photo by Christine Willmsen

I’m attending the Foodportunity event on Oct. 22 at Palace Ballroom, and I don’t plan to run out of business cards this time. Follow Foodportunity on twitter #foodprt and @foodportunityse.