By student blogger Stephanie Kirkland…
The bank and wealth of knowledge that I was able to walk away with from The Beverage Symposium held by The Culinary Institute of America is something that I have not yet experienced near to the end of my education. Being able to pick the brains of some of the actual leaders in our beverage and service industry was not something I could have had a chance to compete in a day, in any other venue.
In the first lecture, about Trends in Beverages, I was surprised to find such a variety of careers that were represented on stage - an ode to what can possibly be pursued in the beverage field. Just in hearing about each of the speaker’s stories and backgrounds is always nothing short of inspiring, just as this lecture had been. From it being “fated” that general manager Eric Ottoway was to end up creating craft beers, to struggling actor Brian Van Flandern supporting himself through that dead end career with stints in bars throughout New York City before finding his true passion. If there has been anything I have learned from those speakers or any that I have ever been fortunate enough to get to know, it is that no career has been what they expected or set out to be. Being at the right place at the right time, and with a stroke of luck had been their lucky breaks; it’s something that I need to continue telling myself as graduation quickly approaches.
As they continued to talk about what they saw in trends from consumers, how to purchase, and how media plays into all of these ever changing fields, I was left with the impression that not only were these people easily relatable, but they were learning as much from each other as we were from them.