Fancy Food show did arrive in San Francisco as it does every year. When I worked in restaurants, the show did create little excitement to attend. I never did because food was not my top area and knew few people who cared to attend. I did have time on the second day of the show and showed up to check it out. I asked for a press pass because Fancy Food does not allow photography except for press and when I got it I found out I have to ask each vendor for permission. I am sure the rules are not strictly enforced but without an abundance of photographs (I expected a few hundred snapshots by myself) I would have little to present and changed my plans. Instead of attending twice for a short time to visit my choice vendors, I did one quick visit to check the show.
I had reviewed the guidebook to the show and picked a couple of dozen vendors to visit for sure. Mostly they were cheese, cured meat and some chocolate and olive oil vendors. I marked them on the map but once I got lost in the show, I realized marking maps does little for a show like this. I think Fancy Food can do something to improve the quality and the number of happy attendants by helping organize the visit. The show is large and is all over the place and one needs much time to get into it. One thing I thought was if they would enable their show website, a potential attendee can go through the list of vendors and put checkmarks by the ones interested to see and the website can create a map or list that helps follow one’s path through the show and visit the choice vendors for sure. Any website can be organized this way and helps the professionals with limited time to organize a successful visit and return in the future. I had made my own map by writing on the show floor map but that helped little once I was lost in the maze of tables. Wine tastings are not half as bad to visit. Fancy Food was difficult because too many vendors show too many products of various nature and everything is mixed to some level. I am sure after 30 years of doing this show, they can take one step further to help a busy professional organize a solid visit. They will have more serious food and beverage people from Bay Area in the future..
The show itself was great. Fancy Food is very organized and I did not see even one attendant or booth that is less than perfect in appearance. They know what they are doing and they are the manufacturing people. Someone told me for each booth and its tables, there is a factory or more the size of Moscone center. Fancy Food has many small vendors that I cannot present here because I could not take pictures and just went through them but the show is hardcore package food for millions. They do a good job however. All of the samples I had were great (in taste). Some of the tables look incredibly good in layout and arrangement and must be photographed to be appreciated. It was a good show overall but offered very little for anyone serious about specific categories presented. The attendance was not good on the day I visited and the photograph above shows why. That must have been the first time in years that I have actually had to step out of the rain and seek shelter with others. The word storm did have meaning this time and the photo is one block from Fancy Food Show.
I will visit the next Fancy Food Show if they bother to adjust their website so I can pick my itinerary within the show and just follow the lines and the turns on my own printed map. Fancy Food has a great number of cheese vendors though they are good for passive visit. They were not organized to allow exploration of the cheeses. Chocolate and cured beef are also enough in numbers to justify a visit. They did a great show and too bad I got lost and the rain is nobody’s fault.