Your customers like to order wine. But do they know enough about it?
According to Morgan Tucker, the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF), a national non-profit with 6 chapters across the US, has as its goal advancing the understanding and appreciation of quality wine and food. Morgan recently assumed the chair of the New York Chapter.
She’s been involved with the New York City Hospitality Group for a couple of years and that group has partnered on events with AIWF-NYC. “Aaron Smyle and Anthony Milano, the former president, convinced me to get involved. And once I put one toe in, I was nominated to lead the organization through 2017.”
The organization, started in 1981 by none other than Julia Child, Robert Mondavi and Richard Graff, was the first culinary non-profit.
The New York chapter hosts an array of events for industry professionals, and wine and food enthusiasts. “You don’t actually have to be in the industry, work in the hospitality ecosystem, or be a culinary professional to become a member. You can join us and come to our events if you’re just a wine or food enthusiast,” Morgan points out.
And you don’t have to live in New York City. “Our events are across the five boroughs,” she adds.
A simple membership fee and you’re in and have access to unique culinary opportunities. We just had our website launch party at Journee, and have a free event at Bowlmor scheduled on May 9th. “It’s really just about eating, drinking, networking, having fun and educational experiences with foodies,” Morgan notes.
Morgan says AIWF-NYC has already accomplished a lot this year. “We just became our own independent 501c3 and we have a new website to broadcast everything that we’re working on,” Tucker says. “We’re trying to reinvigorate and bring some new and exciting things to an organization that has really been a pillar of culinary development.”
Even though AIWF has been around since the early 80’s, for a time it lost its place in the culinary world. “People don’t know who we are because we’ve just kind of faded into the background. We plan to change that this year, and build on the exciting foundation we already have set. Our National organization is famous for their Days of Taste programming which educates children on the importance of fresh food and ingredients. In the NYC chapter, we run a culinary sabbatical partnership with Chef Michael Anthony that awards a deserving Union Square Hospitality Group employee the opportunity to travel on an epicurean adventure.”
“Where and what happens on the sabbatical is up to the person who wins the scholarship,” Morgan explains. “However, the winner is guaranteed their job upon return and they must document their adventure for us as they use the money that we’ve generated to explore their culinary endeavors.”
Morgan says the real goal of AIWF-New York is to bring fun and education to the gastronomy-loving public. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. We’re just a lot of foodies and people in the hospitality ecosystem who want to advance culinary education and bring the community together.”
In terms of her own background, Morgan says she was recently promoted to the director of Business Development for M. Tucker at Singer Equipment Company. “My job is about fostering relationships, and I have the privilege of meeting incredible people through AIWF-NYC.”
She’s also a graduate and active alumni of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, and a member of the Partridge-Invitation Scholarship Organization. Ms. Tucker is based in New York City, in the heart of the Flatiron district. “AIWF creates events where I can engage with my customers outside of our traditional environment. At our events you’re going to see the heavy hitters of the industry. We have a lot of high-profile celebrity chefs and restaurateurs in our network. Come meet them, eat and drink, and have a good time!”
For more information about the American Institute of Wine & Food, please visit their website.