I have been looking forward to this year’s San Diego County Fair for a year. Last year when the possibility of a food theme was presented, and then confirmed, I was beside myself with excitement. Now that we are at the end, I can say it was what I should have expected in a Fair – a true rollercoaster.
The ups have been getting Alton Brown’s and Guy Fieri’s autographs in my books while they were on-site; walking into the Tour of Tastes exhibit and hearing Julia Child’s voice on the PA, a DVD of The French Chef in full glory; some amazing food samples from the demonstration kitchen from partners and staff; Sushi Jeff’s birthday, and culinary friends who made things fun; and it would not have been doable, manageable or worth it without the amazing staff who really handle everything.
The downs have been major last minute logistic challenges that changed the layout significantly (thankfully the public had no idea); staff quitting and quitting and quitting and quitting and quitting and quitting and quitting (yes, that is seven times – all personal reasons, it wasn’t because of me!) and two others I had to let go – that’s nine of the 14 I started with, I have never lost that number of employees in total in 25 years of events, let along in one Fair!; learning that the only difference between chefs and athletes…knives. There are a few egos in every bunch.
Be careful what you wish for.