At the last minute, I was invited to a Yelp Paris Foodie Elite event by a connection made through The Kale Project. I didn’t really even ask anything about the event but figured it would be something good to attend at the chance I might meet some people for The Kale Project. Turns out it was a place for all of the top commenters to join and meet each other in person versus just over online reviews. I was never a big Yelp user in the States, but I do know influential it is for restaurant decisions and as Yelp is slowly trying to grow a presence in France, I wanted to show my support. To top it off, the theme of the event was introducing this crowd of online reviewers to raw/vegan food at the newly opened Gentle Gourmet Cafe.
@thekaleproject is connected to @Gentle_Gourmet and we’d tweeted back and forth a little bit about my excitement about the café and them growing kale in their garden(!) starting this September. So I let them know I’d be attending the event.
I knew the organizer of the event spoke English and while my French has greatly improved and I’m now trying to speak with farmers, a networking/mingling setting would be new and I soon found out something that I was not prepared to do or really ready for. But I kept my head up, enjoyed a glass of organic white wine and reminded myself that I was there to taste test Gentle Gourmet’s raw/vegan creations and hopefully touch base with the owners.
It was hot, I felt anxious and nervous standing alone, pretending to be “taking in the scene,” as the noise of the French language swirled around me and nothing made sense – it was just a lot of words. My confidence as the girl who is trying to bring kale to France slowly diminished. My mouth became dry and my glass of wine was empty.
Then came the food. It was a good distraction from me being the “weird” girl with the American name standing off to the side alone.
The foodie elite reaction was positive and food quickly flew off the serving platters. I enjoyed it so much and quickly made a reservation for dinner later this week (and will report back).
I met Caroline, the owner, who’s mother is American (and the reason they plan to grow kale in the fall). I plan to meet up with her in the next week or so to discuss further how Gentle Gourmet and The Kale Project can work together. I’m so excited that this new restaurant is planning to incorporate kale into their French-Vegan-Raw menu.