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IFBC New Orleans

When I first saw the announcement that IFBC would be held in New Orleans I did a little happy dance that equal parts stunned and amused my coworkers who I forgot were in my office at the time. Then I took another look at the date some 8 months away grabbed for my calendar and pen (because if it’s in pen there’s no turning back, right?) and intended to mark those dates as out of the office, do not disturb, not even if you are on fire. It wasn’t even Christmas yet, surely I didn’t have something work related scheduled for that particular weekend some 8 months away; but there it was in pen. PEN. And of course it was out of town so I couldn’t even leave early to split my time between the two events and hope no one at work realized that I was playing semi-hookie. I flipped through my calendar disheartened and realized how many work events were already scheduled for the upcoming year and how much of my life I was really missing out on- and for what? This was the point of realization for me, something in my life had to change. Something was going to change. I dragged myself home that night cooked a fantastic dinner, opened a special bottle of wine and had THE TALK with my super supportive husband. The decision was made. I was going to be leaving my job and not looking back.

Six months later was my final day. Lord have mercy that was a long six months. When you know that you are finally going to be able to pursue your passion it’s like the days become longer and the months take on extra days. It was the same pain I feel when there’s a cake in the oven, I want to yank it out and jam my fork into it as soon as humanly possible but I know that if I practice self control there will be frosting at the end. Sometimes the cake doesn’t make it to the frosting stage, don’t judge. Since my “retirement” I have been doing my homework, and lots of it. I’ve been reading about food, writing, styling, photography and whatever else I can get my grubby paws on. I’ve been on twitter networking with other food bloggers, asking lots of questions and just watching to get a feel for what are the best practices of the industry. I’ve got the amazing Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil and Purr Design designing me a fancy-shmancy website of my very own.

Phase 1 is almost done, phase 2 is IFBC.
Now that I have a solid base I feel like I can really learn from IFBC. I have the fundamentals but I need some experts to teach me the rest and where else would you find such a diverse and experienced bunch of folks in one place. From the presenters to the other folks attending, I can’t wait to glean everything that I can from everyone around. I’m so excited to *hopefully* meet the folks that I’ve been chatting with on twitter and whose blogs I drool over daily and hug all their necks. These folks who didn’t know me at all but took the time to answer all of my questions, and there were lots of questions, and didn’t block me and scream stalker when I started calling them my friends. (They’ll learn real quick once they’re in New Orleans that’s just the Southern way though. Everyone comes a stranger and leaves a friend.) Speaking of folks who answer my questions and let me call them friend without protest, if you haven’t seen Jaclyn’s post yet you really should meander on over there and check her out too. Her Bourbon Street Milkshake may cause me to say a novena it’s so sinfully delicious and I think she and I should be winners #1 &2. So there, all you have to do is pick one more. See how I help 🙂

So we’ve chatted about phases 1&2, obviously life after IFBC is phase 3. I won’t say final because I think that we’re always learning and growing so there’s never really a final phase per se, but all of this learning has to lead up to something. Cats In The Kitchen is my little cyber home where I will share with everyone the food of New Orleans. Not just the stuff you see in the movies because contrary to what pop culture will have you believe we do not eat gumbo, jambalaya and all things fried each and every day. Our food has rich cultural traditions that span generations where recipes are handed down like precious family heirlooms. We have endured disaster like no city ever has and it is so important that we not only continue these traditions but that we share them with others so that everyone understands why some folks never leave and others keep coming back. It is my hope that people will be able to taste my love for this amazing city one dish at a time and hopefully come visit us sometime soon.

I am from New Orleans. I love New Orleans. I swear, my veins are shaped like fleur de lis and I bleed black and gold. I can not wait to welcome yall to my city and show you around while you’re here. You really do need some locals at this shindig to give you the real scoop on what’s going on around the Crescent City. I promise not to let you leave before we’ve had a Lucky Dog in Woldenberg Park while listening to the steamboat Natchez’s calliope and sipped some Abita amber.  You need to hear some live music away from Bourbon Street and you need to come with me to the local farmers market. Don’t get me wrong, the tourist books won’t steer you in the wrong direction but there’s nothing like living like a local. We’ll take the streetcar over to my place for an evening of real local cooking in a real local kitchen, complete with the 3 cats that always sit on the counter and supervise my culinary adventures.

IFBC is going to be a blast. It’s in New Orleans, so you can’t go wrong. I can’t begin to tell you how much I want to attend and appreciate the opportunity.