This month’s Member Spotlight features Wendy Powell, Sales Direcotr - Northeast Territory for Guckenheimer Enterprises, Inc. Wendy answered several questions for us.
You are pretty new to SHFM but have been very involved in two of our recent Locals in Washington DC and also Boston, how has your involvement brought value to you?
Having attended many local events over the past couple of years, I was really impressed with the comradery, networking and warm embrace I received from the members and organization alike. It was early last winter I joined SHFM as a member and quickly hopped on two local committees. It’s in my nature to raise both hands and get my feet wet, so having volunteered Guckenheimer to host both DC and Boston local events this year is not unusual. Having been a rookie member I depended heavily on the guidance of key fellows and received tremendous support as I learned the process of coordinating these special events. The value of joining a committee goes beyond networking; it dares you stretch beyond your comfort zone, find the leader within and just go for it! The commitment of the local chapter members is stellar and I am so proud to serve in these two regions.
How did you get your start in the industry, was it your plan or did you grow into the industry from another path?
The paths which lead me to Corporate Dining were rather unconventional. A communications student moonlighting as a caterer, I found myself an entrepreneur at 24. My organic growth as an award winning caterer in Massachusetts spanned 16 years before an intentional career shift to food styling. You may be asking yourself ’what is a food stylist?’ A food stylist is a makeup artist for food, who works closely with art directors, photographers, advertising agencies, and product owners. As a food stylist I worked with many national brands and media outlets setting the culinary stage in both print and film. I was known for my extensive collection of interesting props and a fun person to have on the set. This unique profession provided invaluable insight into today’s major food manufacturers, industry influencers and the integrity of these companies.
Always seeking opportunities to learn and grow I had been introduced to Guckenheimer through a friend of a friend in early 2011. I was amazed at the core values of Guckenheimer and knew I had to be a part of this chef centric organization. I joined Guckenheimer as a Chef Manager in February of 2011, worked as a General Manager and am currently Sales Director for the North East.
Having experienced SHFM first-hand through our events, what do you see as the biggest value of the Society?
What excites me the most about SHFM events and the value of this organization are the countless opportunities to network our businesses and partnerships. At each event I witness industry professionals coming together, learning about each other’s companies and capabilities in an intimate setting, and ultimately connecting on a level that leads to future business. I have experienced this first hand and walk away from each event I attend with greater knowledge and understanding of the nuances, great people and countless organizations that make up the hospitality and foodservice industry.
Our industry continues to evolve, what do you see as future trend or trends that our members should stay ahead of to continue to be on the cutting edge?
It may not ‘feel’ like a trend but our industry has a tremendous amount of influence in regards to health and wellness in corporate America. Designing workplace environments for employees that incorporate innovative services including fitness centers, onsite medical services and healthy cafes is fast becoming the trend. Keeping up with the nutritional and technology aspects as they relate to this trifecta are significant factors to the evolution of wellness in the workplace. Guckenheimer takes a responsible approach in helping people be healthier by creating delicious healthy menus, from scratch, prepared by real chefs. We are intensely focused on wellness and believe the foodservice partner can be a substantial lever in driving peak performance.
What and where was the best meal you have ever had?
This is an impossible question for someone like me to answer. It’s like asking someone which of your children is your favorite! I have had countless best meals throughout my lifetime, from 5 star restaurants to pig roasts on the family farm. Coincidently, my most recent best meal experiences have been shared with SFHM fellow members. I recently dined at Jewel in Farmingdale, NY, and fell in love with their butter poached lobster and white truffle risotto… yum. And I must share the most wonderful, authentic Japanese dining experience at Hatsuhana located in midtown east Manhattan; a hidden gem that everyone should know about. Make sure you have a reservation and don’t leave without trying the Box of Dreams, Chawanmushi and An Mitsu.