Follow along with my fun FNCE weekend! Good eats, great conversation, and lots of amazing dietitians!
This year, FNCE (the annual Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo) was a whirlwind of amazingness! It was my first “solo business trip,” so I was excited and a little bit nervous. I headed out of Charlotte on Saturday afternoon and arrived in Chicago around 2:30pm. I ended up taking the train into the city and walking a few blocks to my hotel since it was such a beautiful, fall day out. After checking in, I quickly headed to the conference center for the opening ceremony where Dr. Sanjay Gupta was the keynote speaker. As a neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent for CNN, he discussed how media influences healthcare today. It was super interesting and he was a great speaker! Then I headed down to the Expo floor for a little meet up at the Kind Bar booth. I met up with my dietitian bff, Courtney, and we sipped on Kind Bar inspired cocktails and did a little exploring around the Expo floor. I was pretty wiped from a day of travel, so I headed back to my hotel around 8:30pm and just settled in for the night.
Sunday morning was also beautiful weather! I woke up and took a walk along the Riverwalk, which was right outside my hotel. Then I headed across the river to Stan’s Donuts – amazing! I chose a Nutella stuffed chocolate pocket and sipped on a La Colombe draft latte. I wish I had more time to try different flavors because they all looked awesome! After that, I headed to the conference center for a morning session on foodservice. I popped into the Simple Mills lunch with Alexis from Hummusapien, which was so fun! I didn’t know anyone going, but decided to go anyways in hopes to make a few new friends and I did! I soaked up the opportunity to have a real meal (since the conference is often filled with lots of snacking on samples and hors d’oeuvres). I chatted with the girls at my table, met a dietitian from Charlotte, and then finally met Meme in person! She is the sweetest, most real human and I loved chatting about her special cookbook project with her Nan!
I met up with Courtney again and we tried to navigate the Expo, but it was still super packed. So we called it quits and headed to another session. I went to a culinary demonstration since we’re preparing to start doing teaching kitchens with the students on campus. We left that session early so we could get burgers because we were both really craving something substantial and knew we had a long night of events ahead of us. We parted ways and I headed to the Food & Nutrition Magazine Social. I was so excited to be invited to this event and saw a lot of really great dietitians in media and blogging there! I met up with Haley, one of my mentors and co-founder of the INSPIRDtoSEEK mentor program and online community. After that I finally got to meet the other half of INSPIRDtoSEEK, Monica, after knowing each other for a year online! I got to meet so many social media/blogging friends this trip and it makes me so happy just thinking about it! A bunch of us girls from the mentor program that I was part of last fall met up at RM Champagne Salon to close out the night. I had such a great time getting to meet all the girls in person and it felt like we’ve known each other for so long. My heart was seriously so happy after Sunday night!
Monday morning was a little tough getting up after many laughs and champagne the night before. I made it to the conference center where I listened to a session on aquaponics, since we’d like to bring some type of hydroponics to UNC Charlotte soon. After that, Kimbal Musk, one of the founding fathers of the farm to table movement, spoke about the future of farming and sustainable food. This was one of my favorite sessions I attended because it was so focused on the future of food. I meandered around the expo floor to grab a snack and then headed to one last session before going to a “sweatworking” meet up at The Barre Code for a barre class. It felt so good to get a short workout in amongst all the crazy busy days. I quickly changed and stopped by another bigger INSPIRDtoSEEK meet up and met a couple really awesome new dietitian friends. Then I headed to Blackbird for a dinner with Quaker Oats. The dinner was centered around More Taste, Less Waste and focused on how versatile oats can be in cooking. The meal was absolutely amazing, from the apple salad to the duck with a savory granola to the dessert – apple cider donuts with toasted oat ice cream. To. Die. For. I met some really cool dietitians from all over the place at the dinner and I just loved the initiative that Quaker is launching.
Tuesday was a quick morning of breakfast with Courtney at Yolk. Then I popped in a session real quick before heading back to the airport to fly home. It was a super packed 4 days, but I met so many amazing dietitians, ate tons of great food, and had such great conversation with so many different people. FNCE is always a lot to take in, but I leave feeling so inspired and grateful that I get to practice something I’m so passionate about every day. It’s so heartwarming to be surrounded by “your people” for a few days every year and connect with likeminded individuals that encourage you to reach your goals. It’s truly the best!
Were you at FNCE?? What was your favorite part?!
Hey everyone! I'm Emily - a Registered Dietitian & food lover! I love sharing simple, tasty recipes & mindful nutrition tips here on my blog. You can browse my site for other services I offer & learn how to work with me.