Hon.Nancy VanReece

Speaker | Strategist | Vice President Business Development, Batch Nashville



Finding Art in the Food you Eat

photo from Yelp by Alecks V. of  Italian Macaroon Blueberry Caramel Crunch

Taking the time to recognize that each element of our lives lends itself to being an artful moment does take some practice. Do you find the art in the food you eat?

You’ve experienced that meal that was served to you by coming with such elegance or such fanfare that it was clear that the chef and even the server thought of it as art. But did you? What about the making of a simple grilled cheese sandwich? Can that be art? Indeed I say yes!

Okay, before you think I’m just completely off my rocker, consider this quote from Antonin Careme 1784-1833; “The arts are five in number: painting, sculpture, poetry, music, architecture –whose main branch is confectionery” .

Renee Kasman, former pastry chef at Zola and now with TIn Angel Restaurant, won a contest sponsored by Purity Ice Cream for the 2nd Harvest Food Bank. She took a classic vanilla ice cream and added ingredients to make it an Italian Macaroon Blueberry Caramel Crunch desert. “A successful song is a song that you want to hear over and over again” says Kasman. ”Good food should be the same. If you have done it correctly you will want it over and over again.”

Some chefs will spend time working on the visual element and others more on the flavor and texture. The art is found in finding a balance of both, not losing sight that food is art for your mouth. Wedding cakes for example, need to be made to hold up under fluctuating temperatures and sometimes making them to look just breath taking can result in a pretty bland taste. Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in California in 1971, serving a single fixed-price menu that changes daily. The set menu format remains at the heart of Alice’s philosophy of serving only the highest quality products, only when they are in season. Over the course of three decades, Chez Panisse has developed a network of mostly local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture provides a steady supply of pure and fresh ingredients. This concept is followed as much as possible at just about any really great chef owned restaurant in this town.

When it comes to money, we put it where our mouth is!  Eating out in Nashville can be a social pleasure but it is also a clear statement that we appreciate the enjoyment of artful food.

Slow down and look, taste and smell your food and think about the farmer that raised the ingredients, the chef that prepared it and the proprietor that has set the music and colors in place around you for an artful experience.

Now back at home, let’s do the same. Let’s look at your kitchen as your studio! Enjoy finding the right utensils and items to work with. I’m very fortunate to have a wife that creates a menu of meals and does the shopping and then we cook together.

We love food but by planning and creating and enjoying food more slowly and by making it at home where we know what was in it.  It can be very good for you too!

Okay so back to that grilled cheese – 


I worked with Nancy for 4 years and I can attest that she is a life-long learner, leader, and relationship builder. Nancy has never met a stranger. I’ve probably sat in over 100 meetings with her and she’s always found something to connect with the person across the table- “a virtual connector of dots.” That takes both empathy and emotional intelligence. Nancy is thoughtful in her approach to everything she does which makes her excellent at business development. She is able to think strategically at ten-thousand feet while being detailed oriented in the execution of tasks. Ideas are nothing without execution and Nancy balances those effortlessly. Having Nancy is your corner is nothing short of incredible.
Nancy did a spectacular job rebuilding MDSave’s social media presence. One heck of a turnaround job. She was creative, reliable and has a solid work ethic. She came to the table with fresh ideas, was always on time and always kept a great sense of humor.
— Chad Blackburn Vice President Business Development MDSave,Inc.

"I came to Nancy because I wanted to build my brand through blogging/social media and had zero knowledge about how to do it. She was the perfect person for the job. Her blend of social media expertise and calm, positive demeanor was exactly what I needed. 

Consultant/coach/patient trainer, she helped me create a path to launching my blog and gave me skills along the way. She made me feel like what I wanted to achieve was possible, and then got me there. There is lots left to do, but I feel confident that we will partner to achieve the long term results I'm hoping for."

- Lisa Pote, Consultant

Nancy VanReece is the real thing. She knows how to build an effective social media brand/platform. Even better, she makes this complex, arcane world accessible (and dare I say FUN) for her clients. She stands on the valuable ground where social media, branding and marketing intersect. I’m incredibly relieved to have her on my team!
— Amy Lynch, Generational Edge
What can be said about Nancy VanReece that you may not already know? There is a general consensus (and a look at her LinkedIn recommendations confirms this) regarding her wide-ranging talent for just about everything at which she tries her hand. As communications director at the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF), I was responsible for helping to coordinate a statewide summit featuring thought leaders and communications experts in the non-profit arena. During the planning phase for the event, when charged with finding a presenter for the topic of social media engagement, I knew immediately that Nancy was the best possible choice. Nancy is on the cutting edge when it comes to helping organizations create comprehensive social media engagement strategies. Her presentation at the Tennessee Executive Residence was eloquent, sleek, articulate and – most significantly – effective. Our attendees left the summit invigorated with a real sense of how to implement Nancy’s ideas and reach more of their constituents in the ever-evolving ecosystem of social media platforms. I cannot recommend her highly enough, and I hope to work with her often in the future.
— Kirk Graves, Communications Director, Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation
Nancy has completely transformed our social media program, creating a viable and robust presence for us across a variety of platforms, from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to Google+ and Pinterest. She has played a critical role in upgrading and maintaining our website, and she piloted the launch of the Nashville Symphony’s mobile app, which today has been downloaded more than 5,000 times.

Nancy’s commitment to the job has been beyond compare, as she has spent countless evenings tethered to her iPad, monitoring and responding to the outpouring of feedback we receive through our social networks. Day in and day out, she has created, organized and posted dynamic content that represents the full breadth of who we are and what we do here at the Nashville Symphony — our concerts, our musicians, our education programs, you name it. We are a better institution for all of the incredible work that she has done, and she’ll be greatly missed.

In her own words: “I have enjoyed my nearly two years with the organization. Over 16,000 tweets and 2,200 Facebook posts later — totaling 204 million impressions — we have grown a great community on 11 platforms having 500+ conversations a week. I look forward to working with new clients as effectively!”
— Sr. Director of Marketing|Communications, Nashville Symphony
Nancy put together a intensive 2 day workshop for Engage Kingsport and Kingsport Cultural Arts. The workshops gave individual artists the confidence and tools they need to enter the Social Media world as well as helped regional arts organizations refine and enhance their current social media strategies.
— Bonnie Macdonald, Director, City of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts
Nancy was fun and informative. As the Luncheon Keynote Speaker for the Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare, Nancy provided great insight to a representation of over 20 different social service agencies. Her presentation spoke to each agency and everyone left with a more forward thinking mindset of social media and how it can be most effective and beneficial in telling their agency’s story! We loved Nancy!
— LaTamera Woodley, LAPSW