By Mick Brown
There’s no Business like Show Business… Especially when it comes to Gluten Free (GF) Food Shows. I am primarily a Caterer and am new to the Spice Manufacturing Industry. My Brand is barely a year old. Last weekend we had the opportunity to Exhibit at our very first GF Expo. Perhaps, I should thank Indiegogo. Our current Indie Campaign has yet to rain major money on me. However, maybe it’s existence brought us to the attention of the Show organizers. The Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest is sponsored by Living Without Magazine. Held in San Diego, I got to encounter some of the most exciting new “Stars” of the growing GF Food Scene.
Before it all happened, I was originally going to spend about a month in preparation for our very first Gluten Free Expo in Pasadena, on June 7th. I started the Indiegogo Campaign to make new friends and maybe raise a few funds. At least let a couple of people know we would be at the June Expo. Then I get a call from Shelia, the Coordinator of the San Diego event. She said “I read about you online. We had a last minute cancellation, and think you should be there.” Then she sent me a video of her appearance on the Indianapolis Episode of the “Tasty Freedom” video series, hosted by Jaquy Y.
Note- this was a mere 8 days before the opening day of the Show. I had never done a professional public Food Expo before. So I sought the advice of a seasoned colleague from New York, Barbara. At first she was congratulatory, then emails got sort of quiet. I soon learned on Facebook that she had been preparing to do a live Gluten Free Cooking Demonstration on the Bronx 12 Morning TV News. Barbara did come through with much needed help. It was Barbara who first introduced me to the “Tasty Freedom” video series, as she appeared in the Brooklyn Episode with Jaquy Y.
At the show, I was fortunate to meet Ed from Keil’s Fresh Food Markets, a growing San Diego chain that is poised to give Vons and Walmart a run for their money. Even more fortunately- Keil’s decided to give our new Brand a try, and bought a couple of cases. The product will be available in San Diego at the Keil’s Gluten Free Spring Fling Tent Event on May 17th. They are the only big Retail Store (I know of) that makes such a concerted effort to reach out to Gluten Free customers, advertising over 1500 Gluten Free Products in the stores and online. Because they give big discounts, our challenge will be to “Go Big or Go Home”. I’ll do my best to stick with the former.
In the middle of the first day I got to meet Ester from The Gluten Conundrum [pictured above]. The young Blogger is branching out this year, in her quest for the best GF Products. She also has great taste in Grilled Steak Salads. I can see Ester following in the footsteps of Jaquy Y., a former producer at the Food Network- now a Chef, Food Consultant, and the Host of “Tasty Freedom”. It turns out Jaquy flew into San Diego from Vietnam in order to present at the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest. In fact, I watched her give a couple of Lecture/Cooking Demonstrations from my booth, which happened to be next to the Main Stage. However, for two full days I never did have the chance to meet Jaquy Y.
Of course that changed. Shelia to the rescue… At the very end of Day 2 the Event Coordinator finally got to taste my product. Shelia also reached out to Jaquy to arrange a personal visit. Upon meeting her, Jaquy was just as warm and exuberant as she is in her “Tasty Freedom” video series. I won’t speak for her on how she feels about my new product HEROIC!, which is an All Natural Superfood BBQ Rub. Let’s just say she took a few bottles back to New York, asking what she can do to help. Actually, she already has been an inspiration. It was truly a pleasure to meet Jaquy Y. If she doesn’t have a show on the Food Network soon, hopefully someone will help her launch a new Gluten Free Food Network. Until next time, Eat and Be Well.
Update 5/8/14– Since finishing the article, I just heard from Jaquy on Facebook. She says “Was great meeting you at the Expo!! Your product has already made it into a couple savory cocktails and many salads… Amazing rub, you must try!!”
There you go. Now I am an even bigger Jaquy Y. fan!
Mick Brown is a Food Blogger/Purveyor based in Los Angeles, with over 30 years BBQ and Grilling experience. Aside from Catering, his passions are creating Easy Grilling Recipes and searching for the World’s Best Flavors. General Manager of Tastee BQ Grilling Co. and the new California Gold BBQ Rubs. He is also author of web serial blog “The Adventures of Tastee BQ.” Current Indiegogo Campaign is Get HEROIC! to the Gluten Free Expo- June 7th in Pasadena, CA. Email- Mick@TasteeBQ.com.
Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest by Living Without Magazine http://www.glutenfreefoodallergyfest.com/
Tasty Freedom Video Series on YouTube (Grab a Gluten Free Beer and Enjoy!) https://www.youtube.com/user/SalsaViking
Tasty Freedom Website http://www.tastyfreedom.com/
Keil’s Fresh Food Markets http://www.keils.com/glutenfree
Keil’s Gluten Free Spring Fling Tent Event May 17th in San Diego http://www.keils.com/events
The Gluten Conundrum Website http://theglutenconundrum.com/
The Gluten Conundrum on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheGlutenConundrum
Barbara Callanan on Bronx 12 TV News http://bronx.news12.com/news/food-for-thought-chef-barbara-callanan-offers-gluten-free-tips-1.7841441
Barbara Callanan on Tasty Freedom https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-4HkAh7Fsm
The Golden Apple Rule (Anti-Bullying Campaign) http://www.consultjcb.com/the-golden-apple-rule.htm
Shelia Cafferty on Tasty Freedom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw8yh3n_pOc&list=UUdl-rjQJFZ0WQlyreIM4lvQ
The Gluten Free Three c/o Amy Levy Public Relations http://www.amylevypr.com/#!gluten-free-marketing/cgm5
California Gold BBQ Rubs (Where to Buy) http://www.californiagoldrub.com/products.html