If you are culinary professional -- you do something with food, for money -- you could be in the IACP, the international Association of Culinary Professionals. There are lots of food-oriented professional associations, but the IACP is the awesomest one, if only for its incredible annual conference. Just take a look at the program for this year's conference, April 20-24 in Portland, Oregon.
Night tours take in eateries, watering holes and craft breweries. Offsite programs concentrate on professional skills and local businesses. Big names in the food world attend -- this year's marquee names include Madhur Jaffrey, Ruth Reichl, Michael Ruhlman and Ann Willan. The hardest part is deciding what to attend.
And there's the city itself. Portland's culture of street food is on proud display. Conventioneers get a special hour of their own at a street food cart festival going on during the convention. Check the link above, for some of the amazing street food in Portland, from crepes, risotto balls and Czech goulash, to classic grilled cheese, barbecue, Thai and vegetarian.
If you're a food professional but not in the IACP, you could join and attend the conference, all for one price. The full conference is $830 for non-IACP members, and the special "new members" offer includes a year of IACP dues. There are also day passes, great if you have a friend in Portland you can visit (and stay with) and want to drop in on some sessions. Registration information is here.
I wish we could all go to Portland on a Bites fact-finding trip. But, you know, the recession and all. Wouldn't it be something, though, if the convention were held here? What can we do to get Nashville on the IACP's radar?