Tasting Australia Placement Week 2

Round 2 for Tasting Australia Placement. My gosh did I NOT want to go this morning! You know what kept running through my head? Robert De Niro in The Intern. That was how I felt. Old, and like I seriously didn’t belong … but no time for that sentimental BS. I put on some Rihanna and got to Work.

As I may (or may not) have mentioned, I am working on the festivities surrounding Town Square, which is the crux of the entire festival – an 8 day extravaganza in Victoria Square. On Tuesdays the team has a Work In Progress meeting, which is a whirlwind of information. I am happy to report, however, I understood about 60% of the items being discussed! A major improvement from the measly 15% I felt last week!

By the way, this event is absolutely freaking massive. I really don’t think us poor innocent by-standing consumers can ever really grasp the incredible detail involved in organising an event of this magnitude. Like, today, I was surprised to discover the hidden complications surrounding glassware and it’s application. Where do they come from? Who will transport them? Who is responsible for cleaning them? Then who serves them? Who is in charge of storage? Can we get a dishwasher? Do we need a permit for that? Who is going to supply chemicals? Can we afford extra staff members to handle this? I’m not even going to touch on ice. In my head, I’m all “can’t we just grab them from the servo?” but events like these can use up to 200 bags of ice a day. Whodda thunk?!

SO I am very happy to report my learning is increasing rapidly and the concepts are getting clearer. I’m learning peoples names and job titles. I met the CEO, Hitaf Rasheed, today! side note: OH EM GEE she is freaking lovely and real! I even NEARLY contributed to two items of business … nearly. Baby steps people.

In fact it became increasingly clear how much of a late start I have on this industry. There is an incredible amount to learn and absorb. It all moves so fast too, it would take several run throughs, of a major event like this, to even being to relax. Thus the De Niro complex I guess. Some of the people I am working with have been involved with the program for over 7 years.

I won’t be discouraged though. I was so excited to receive this role, I am going to see it through with optimism and openness. Thanks to ol’ Bobbie, I know I’m not the first to attempt something new and life changing, and I certainly won’t be the last. Funnily enough, that beautiful quote by C.S. Lewis keeps popping up for me…

You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream

On to todays most exciting learning … signage! Yes I saw the sign!

I attended a Signage Meeting initiated by the Operations Team. My gosh it was riveting! Who knew there were so many tiny details involving signs! Without boring you with my revelations, I truly appreciate the thought and consideration that goes into every aspect, from a business sense and from a community sense. It is important that signage be clear and unobtrusive yet stand out with important information.

From a business sense, the costs need to be kept down, therefore it is important that signage be reused for sequential events. Then the external stakeholders need to have an input too. Sponsors mostly, need recognition and brand advertising as much as possible. Some of the questions floating around in my brain were: How can we maximise sponsorship exposure? Is there enough detail on the signage so all attendees can understand clearly? Are all legal requirements being adhered to? Are guests easily able to identify the terms and conditions applicable to entry to the site?

Nerdily enough, I was literally on the edge of my seat for entire meeting. There was a map of Victoria Square, on the projection screen, with the fencing, stalls, entrances, amenities, and other facilities drawn up, and this was used to highlight where the signage would go. Seeing this, helped me to feel a lot more involved with the event. A visual makes it feel so much more real, and imagining where the signs would go gives me a deeper sense of understanding and ownership. The more I see the event coming together, the more excited I am becoming.

Another fun new fact is that this time next week, we should have the hard copy programs! My main focus for the last two weeks has been putting together distribution lists for the programs. These will go to hotels, wineries, visitor information centres and other involved entities for promotion. I am happy to announce I completed my list making, and delegation this afternoon, and next week I will be involved in arranging delivery to these delegates. Its all happening! In fact, more and more events are being advertised on the Tasting Australia website. There is an awesome Flavours of Campbelltown experience (which features a pasta class and lunch at my amazing workplace – Mercato), Masterclasses with Sammy and Bella, and even a Professional Food Writing Workshop! Heaven! Check them out here.

Being on the inside of Tasting Australia is so much fun, and such an insightful experience. I am truly blessed to have this incredible opportunity to work on something dear to my heart, learn with incredible industry professionals, and discover all the little pieces that make this event so enjoyable and special. I hope you’ll all come along to Victoria Square April 20th – May 7th and really soak up this amazing festival xo



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