Chef Deb & The Sharpen Conference - Amanda Richardson Photography

Chef Deb & The Sharpen Conference

February 4, 2020

Okay, I took sooooo many pictures while I was in Texas it actually crashed my computer at one point 😉 That is going to be my new bar for excellence, I need to get so many pictures that my computer goes into overload! Well, maybe not, as it is, I need a new one lol

I will warn you, there will be a couple of articles about this trip because it was so amazing and I met so many wonderful people along the way, I just can’t fit it all into one!

Coming up you will hear all about Chef Deb. What the branding session was like and how simply amazing she is! Today I want to just give you an overview of last week and share some fun pictures, because that is really what it’s all about!

I stayed at Tru by Hilton in Fossil Creek, Texas. The hotel was so new that no one had ever stayed in my room, which was really nice to know (except the TV and internet didn’t work haha).

Wednesday was the first day of shooting. Chef Deb runs a Mastermind group of Elite Chefs and I stopped in to grab some candids before heading to the dinner she was hosting for all the #Sharpen2020 attendees and their families. Typically the Mastermind is run online, but this group flew in early to get some facetime with Deb and dig deep into their businesses.

The dinner was at Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, I headed out from the Mastermind and arrived a little early to get some test shots and behind-the-scenes in the kitchen. Let me tell you about the private room they had set up for us. It was beautiful and very private which was great! But from a Photography perspective, I walked in and took a big gulp lol! Let’s just say I was thanking myself for always making it a point to arrive early to a shoot and test out lighting and color.

The dinner went off without a hitch, everyone arrived in a steady stream and we got some really cute pictures. I ordered the steak and it was melt in your mouth delicious! The head waiter was also incredibly helpful and worked with me when I was trying to get certain shots.

From the images I captured from the moment I arrived Wednesday afternoon, you could see the love and respect that this group has for Chef Deb. She is so warm and easy to talk to and not to mention, SO easy to take pictures of! The dinner was full of laughter, fun and excitement for the coming days.

Thursday morning came fast! After dinner I went straight back to the hotel and transferred all the images over to my backup drive. (However, I never erase the memory cards until I have backed up my back up, because you never know!) I actually arrived a little later than I wanted to, because I was a little turned around with the GPS. If you have ever driven the Fort Worth highways, then you know they can be a little confusing the first time.

Thankfully when I got there, they were still setting up and I had plenty of time to test shoot. The conference space was very unique as Chef Deb has a such welcoming personality you would never see her host anything in a stuffy conference room. Instead everyone arrived to Classic Wine & Storage, which housed a huge room perfect for how Chef Deb teaches and interacts.

It was a long day, I won’t lie, my feet were killing me by the end, I definitely wore the wrong shoes! But Deb and Candice (Chef Deb’s Marketing Manager and Jack of all trades) had all the bases covered with pastries in the morning, snacks, coffee as well as drinks throughout the trainings. My favorite part of the day, both because lunch was amazing and because I got some fun shots outside, was the Food Truck. You have to see the pictures of this to see how absolutely sweet this food truck was! Lucky Bee Kitchen is not your typical food truck, she served gourmet style soup and salad to the entire group with not just plastic flatware, but GOLD plastic and biodegradable disposable dishes. Seriously she has an incredible brand, if you are ever close by, you need to find this truck and try her out!

Back to the hotel at the end of the day, I could not get to the room fast enough. Transferred the files and fell asleep with the lights on (until about midnight when I realized it). Friday the conference was still going on, but we exhausted the number of interesting shots we could get one day. So I spent the day in the hotel room, in the morning Craig and I chatted for a while, because in the middle east Friday’s are their Saturdays (so that is usually when we have our “date nights”).

After we got off the phone I spent the rest of the day with Netflix playing in the background while I “culled” images. (Culling means sorting through and selecting the ones you want to keep) I was able to cull the Mastermind and dinner and began some of the editing.

By Saturday I was up early and ready to go! I got out the door and was really excited for the branding session with Deb! It had rained every day except Saturday. At 8am the light was perfect outside Stir Crazy Baked Goods. The owner of the bakery, Robbie, had also attended the conference so when I knocked on the door just before 8am, she knew who I was.

I am going to go into this session more later, but it was a fantastic day, Robbie was an amazing help and her staff allowed us to get in the way, walk behind the counter and move carts and trays around to fit the shots.

Saturday ended around 2pm, while Deb and Candice headed back to their respective homes, I headed back to the hotel again to get organized and cram everything back into my suitcase.

I feel so honored to have been a part of this experience and can’t begin tell you how much I appreciated the opportunity. I look forward to sharing more with you soon!

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