So I have heard that if you want to get anywhere in Hawaii, it’s all about who knows you (not the same as who you know). I think a truer statement is, ‘who knows about you’ makes a big difference.
I signed up for a Nextworking Professional Mixer that was to take place 3 days after my arrival. When the day arrived, I charged my camera battery, packed about 50 business cards and made detailed notes of the bus route (crossing my fingers to not get lost). I fussed over whether to wear my chef uniform as I usually do to anything I attend while traveling or to just dress up. I decided on the latter, after flipping a coin of course.
I arrived early, scanned the location and took some initial photos. Within minutes of the event officially starting, an energetic individual with a fast talking style asked me if I was a photographer. I sadly denied this, but explained I was a chef. His eyes got wide and I almost literally see wheels turning in his brain… “I need you tomorrow”, he said to me. My response? “Um…? Ok?”
He explained he had an event, a cocktail party with wine the following evening, the chef had just backed out and he needed someone to do the event. We exchanged information and coordinated details with the host of the dinner. I excused myself to the ladies’ room and congratulated my reflection in the mirror with a satisfied smile. 3 days into my trip and 15 minutes into my first networking event and I had landed a job!
The following morning, I met the dinner host for coffee and menu planning at starbucks. Yes, readers, if you are wondering, I did indeed have a caramel machiatto. We spent an hour or so discussing menu options and then made a game plan for the day. We picked up groceries at Costco, Foodland and even made a stop in Chinatown (which deserves a post all its own)!
We arrived at the man’s home and I changed into my uniform and began to prepare for the evening’s party. The kitchen was a bustle with simmering sauces, grated spices, chopped fruits and blended concoctions. The guests started to arrive and it was show time! The menu, just in case you are wondering was:
Fresh Salmon with Pear Sauce
Candied Grape Tomatoes on Basil Leaves
Prosciutto Wrapped Watermelon in Asian Sauce
Puff Pastry Wrapped Brie with Spicy Nectarine Chutney
Avocado White Chocolate Mousse
To be quite frank, I believe there were other dishes, but due to the hectic nature of the event I don’t remember what else I made. Alas, i don’t have many photos either. I will make it up to you all in future posts, I promise.
The evening was delightful. I noticed a guy taking notes of the things I was doing, in particular one of the desserts, introduced myself and acquired a curious pupil and the nickname yoda. Another gentleman named Joe danced with me between serving desserts. The incredible compliments from gentlemen at the party and raves from the women were much appreciated.
Unusual event, great experience and lots of new contacts. I cooked my shoes off! It was definitely a night to remember.
Until next time…