Wow, what an event.

Now that the second annual Smart Kitchen Summit is in the books and the blur of this week has cleared enough for me to reflect a little, I wanted to share some thoughts about the event and what we’re building here.

First a mostly personal reflection about the mix of relief and sadness I felt at the conclusion of both this year and last year’s SKS. Relief because the event was successful and we had escaped without any fire alarms going off (although we had one close call in the Founders room!). Also, a slight sadness at the realization that this gathering of interesting, smart and fun people is over and I won’t see some of them until next year in Seattle.

Second, it became even more evident to me this year that people love to see the innovation shaping the future of cooking and food up close. Last year it was on display as people touched and talked about innovative cooking and kitchen products in the sponsor and startup areas at SODO Park all day long. It was, for this reason, we decided to kick off SKS 2016 with the Startup Showcase, where people packed the Olympic Ballroom at the Edgewater Hotel for two hours straight touching, tasting and talking about the innovation on display.

I also realized how important having great people on your team really matters when you’re trying to create something that lasts. Many of you know Ashley Daigneault, who has been my partner in creating this event. She’s one of the smartest and hardest working persons I’ve ever worked with, and this event couldn’t have happened without her. There are also many others who were critical in making this event a success, and I thank you each and every one of you.

Lastly, it’s more evident than ever that this is a community we are building. This group of food lovers, product makers, technologists, and entrepreneurs have come together because we see how the future of food, cooking and kitchen is going to change over the next five, ten, fifteen years and we all want to be a part of it together.

I saw this growing community all week as I walked around and talked with many of you, exchanged ideas, laughed and promised to connect in the near future. I listened to it on stage and in the sponsor area.

I also saw it on social media:

Most importantly, it was happening with conversations taking place in the hallways, at the lunch table, at happy hour. I’m both hopeful and confident these connections we’ve made will continue to grow over the next year as we solidify friendships, forge partnerships, and share ideas here on The Spoon or connect in person at events and meet-ups around the globe.

Over the coming weeks and months at the Spoon, we’ll be analyzing the themes and topics discussed here at SKS16 and also look for new ones we think you should know about as this community maps the future of food and cooking together. We’ll also be sharing the pictures and videos of sessions and panels we captured here at the Spoon as soon as they’re back from our editors, so stay tuned for that.

Lastly, just a note of thanks to you. This event and the community we’re creating together has exceeded my expectations at every turn. I’m very thankful to each and every one of you.