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What’s new for ‘22

By, Heidi Vail

I am ready to move on. I am not saying I want things back like they used to be, not entirely, but I am ready to move forward and embrace whatever comes next.

I am asked regularly how these past couple of years have affected the culinary world and the catering industry and events in general. As a now-retired owner, I am out of the daily loop of running the business, but I am aware of the changes.

I have always said chicken is chicken and always has been. Maybe raised or fed with things we don’t like these days but… it is still chicken. Food styles change, presentation changes, the way we cook it and even the way we eat it is what changes. Food prices have sky rocketed – which ash rolled down hill to our customers. But it is what it is.

What I see has changed the most is PEOPLE. I’m sure our parents and grandparents all said the same things. “Things just aren’t the way they used to be!” I see a big change in how people buy things. How weddings are planned, how events are created, how food for corporate events is ordered. People don’t want to come in, sit down and talk about their event. They want to do it all online. ‘How much is a wedding?’ is simply not a black and white answer. But it’s a very popular question. It’s nearly impossible to get a real person on the phone anymore. People just don’t want to talk. They would rather text or email. I get it. I just don’t like it. I miss the human voice, the personal touch, the eye to eye contact. The warm fuzzy feeling that comes with satisfaction.

I see a big change in the work force. The new way of working and earning a living. The balance of what one gives in return for what one expects in return is off. I think our parents and grandparents had a good message for us all back in the day. “Expect a good day’s wage for a good day of hard work.” When did that all change? How can we get the pendulum to balance out? What can we do to get the help wanted signs down? The “hungry can you help” signs out of fully capable people’s hands?

I, for one, am going to change the one thing I can: Myself!

I plan to give more, expect less, I plan to talk more, text less, I plan to look people in the eyes more often and say ‘thank you’. I plan to slow down and live in the moment. I’ve never been big on social media but I can tell you how I feel when I’m in a room full of people or even just in the car and everyone is someplace else (on their phone), even when they are sitting right beside me. I feel insignificant.

I plan to go to the store and stop filling my recycle bins with cardboard boxes.

I plan to invite people over for dinner more often. Have more block parties. Shake hands again.

I plan to DO more with my grandkids and buy them less things. I plan to live life to the fullest, while I can. None of this is really new for ‘22 but maybe forgotten. It’s easy to let our moral compass slide, get lazy, take the easy street.

But in the end it feels better to do the right thing.