Jan 19, 2011 | posted in Blog by seedlingprojects
I enjoy making things happen from behind the scenes. As Alice Waters’ assistant, quietly fixing problems, it was a modus operandi that maximized what could be done, and continued to serve when I moved on to other endeavors. This weekend I was quite literally thrust onto stage: Dominic Phillips, brilliant event producer and co-founder of Seedling Projects, insisted that as the Director I must say a few words to close the Good Food Awards Ceremony, stage fright be damned.
Relieved that that was over, I wandering down to the reception looking forward to some incredible food. My beeline for the prosciutto was foiled by a pair of coppa producers from Georgia, a kimchee crafter from Washington DC, coffee roasters from Massachusetts and a dozen other winners who, one after the other, stopped me to say thank you for starting the Good Food Awards. Many of them had tears in their eyes. I didn’t know quite how to respond – but it was an experience I will never forget, and which I know will influence what I do in the future.
I imagine many of the 71 winners felt the same way on Friday night: widely appreciated for what they do for the first time. And perhaps today they feel like I do, a little shell shocked and hopeful that they were gracious in the face of a new sort of appreciation. Working in their garage roasting coffee, in cellars cleaning up exploding kegs, tediously seeding ground cherries to make preserves or spending a week picking June Bugs off raspberries to keep them pesticide free, they are not usually in the public eye. When they are through with their work, the fruits of their labor sit proudly on market shelves, giving us endless joy, but they remain in the garage or the kitchen and rarely get to see how thankful we are for their exceptionally delicious beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles and preserves.
On Friday night, the fooderati of the Bay Area and beyond came out to thank them. It was standing room only after the hundreds of chairs were filled, and the applause when their names were announced reverberated all around the historic Ferry Building. At the Saturday Good Food Awards Marketplace, thousands of people were there to taste and buy their wares – we actually ran out of tasting spoons – and many of the winners sold out. For a salami maker from Salt Lake City or farmstead cheesemakers from Wisconsin, it must have been quite an experience to see just how many have an interest in tasty, authentic, responsible food.
Photos by Marc Fiorito of Gamma Nine Photography
Many hands went into the creation and implementation of the first Good Food Awards. We managed to thank most of them from stage, or on signage this past weekend. However, there were a handful of people who have no logo to paste on a sign or fancy titles to recount. Without their dedication the Good Food Awards would never have come to life. So, I’m pleased to now give the Seedling Projects interns their first lesson in accepting public thanks. I have a feeling it is a skill they will need in the future.
Norris Hung, thank you for your creativity, good humor and keen eye in designing so much of our signage and materials. Hannah Hausauer, thank you for tirelessly scouring the country to get entries and diligently helping the press team get the word out. Sarah King, thank you for being my right hand woman, always with a smile and a cool head. Gavin Crynes, the most frequently asked question I got all weekend was “Is Gavin here? We would love to finally meet him.” Thank you for taking such good care of everyone honored this weekend, without ever letting slip any of the event logistics. Do you ever get tired?
To all of you, and to the three interns who came before you – Amy Chu, Emily Morgan and Shane Michalik – congratulations on a beautiful weekend, and thanks for your hard work.
- Sarah Weiner, Director of Seedling Projects
Gavin Crynes, Amy Chu, Emily Morgan, Sarah King, Norris Hung, Sarah Weiner, Hannah Hausauer