A Panel Discussion at the New York City Wine & Food Festival on October 17, 2015
As a publicist for practically all of my life — a professional one for nearly 20 years — this is a job that doesn’t at all feel like actual work to me. It’s more fun than work. It’s something I look forward to waking up and doing every single day!
I’ve had many accomplishments over the course of those two decades as a professional publicist. I’ve done PR for chefs, restaurants, hotels, casinos, luxury shopping malls and fashion designers, among others, but nothing really measures up to the opportunity which Wall Street Journal reporter Katy McLaughlin has given me.
When Katy called me to talk about the making of a celebrity chef and building their brand at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, to say that I was excited would be an understatement. I was completely blown away. It’s more than an honor to be given the opportunity to talk about what I do, how my company creates buzz and how we’ve tirelessly created awareness for restaurateurs and chefs, even some brands, some of which have become household names.
I’m excited to be part of this panel, which includes Celebrity Chef Tyler Florence, Celebrity Baker Duff Goldman, Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, and Katy McLaughlin. I’m honored to be the person that has been selected to represent the celebrity chef part of the discussion from a publicist’s perspective. I’m excited to talk about my career — something which defines me.
The truth is that there’s no real easy answer on how to make anybody a celebrity anything. There’s a lot of hard work, motivation, dedication and creativity that goes into pretty much every campaign that we execute. There is no easy road to success, and this is just one piece of it.
As I told Katy, if I’m going to try to turn a chef into a household name and a celebrity, his or her food has to be awesome. We have a responsibility. If their food isn’t great, I’m pretty certain that I can’t help them. If their food is phenomenal, then we must make that chef a star in their neighborhood first, and beyond that, it’s a steady recipe consisting of a ton of creativity, a little bit of luck and a lot of persistence — a lot of being in the right place at the right time and a lot of the chef backing it up themselves in the kitchen. The best thing that happens once we get rolling: press begets press. Once this phenomenon happens we’ve got momentum, but there’s no resting and celebrating at that point. We keep pushing because the more success we gain, the more fun we have. This isn’t a job. This is my life’s work!
Over the years, I have represented a number of talented chefs, including Marc Vetri; Jean-Marie Lacroix; Susanna Foo; Ian Knauer; Shelley Wiseman; Marcel Desaulniers, who wrote the Death by Chocolate cookbooks; Cindy Wolf; Dominic Filoni and Marc Orfaly, who were Food & Wine Magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs in 2004. Vetri and Foo were also in the infamous top-10 list.
I feel extremely privileged to be included in such a prestigious panel of experts to discuss my calling, which is organized by Food & Wine magazine and the Wall Street Journal, two of the premier outlets I’ve been lucky enough to have placed stories in over the course of my career.
Learn more and purchase tickets to attend the event here: http://nycwff.org/e/wsj__talk:_recipe_for_a_celebrity_chef-61
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