Sold Out Food Conference

Sold Out are two magical words.

Several years ago, when I was working at The Rainbow Room, there were too few reservations for the big New Year’s Eve dinner. A full page ad was designed for The New York Times. It listed all the fabulous goodies the guests would be receiving: free champagne, top of the line entertainers, big bands, phenomenal food, fantastic view of the fireworks on the East River.

Joe Baum reached for the designers’ ad lay out.

Across the entire page he wrote: SOLD OUT.

“Run it,” he demanded.

We gasped.

“Wait,” he instructed. And left the room.

Instantly the phones rang.

Incredible lies were told: “I am the chef’s mother, I made my reservation six weeks ago…I’ve been coming to New Year’s Eve every year for 35 years…”

The reservations desk responded: So sorry…we’re sold out…but we can put you on a waiting list. It’s an additional $25 per person cost.

The room filled immediately.

The lesson I learned was that Jobs Baum knew to whom he was speaking. In Manhattan, if a place is sold out, it is the only place to be.

The Cookbook Conference that begins on Friday in Manhattan is sold out…Ha…I have already received four requests asking me to use my (zero) influence to bypass the system…I didn’t (couldn’t) though fully expect to see the callers there.