If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, then you probably know that this past weekend I was at the Food Blog Forum Seminar in Orlando. Food Blog Forum is a community, created by Jaden & Scott of Steamy Kitchen and Diane & Todd of White on Rice Couple, focusing on photography, social media and technology in the food blog world. In other words, a group of highly passionate people wanting to share their knowledge & experience as well as what Jaden calls the “spirit of generosity” when it comes to food blogging.
I was over the moon that this seminar was coming to town…my town! I have only met a handful of food bloggers in real life, so needless to say I was thrilled to meet others, especially my neighboring Floridian food bloggers.
(Jessica the not so Novice Chef and me)
This event was hosted by Julie, Dawn & Jaden and was seriously out of this world. We kicked off the weekend with a meet & greet get together at Whole Foods Orlando. Let me tell you, Whole Foods knows how to throw a party. There was a live cooking demo going on in one room, a creme brulee station going on in the other room…and mouth watering food (and wine) in between. KerryGold hooked us up with some serious cheese and I was in complete awe of the beautiful brie cake on display (that I sadly never tasted. boo hoo!!).
(I spy Julie, one of the Alkaline Sisters, and my Whole Foods shopping buddy after the party…I introduced her to Joe’s Oats Veggie Burgers and she introduced me to Good Earth Tea)
Saturday was full of interaction with people in the “industry”… we got to hear from Food Editors Heather McPherson of the Orlando Sentinel and Jeff Houck of the Tampa Tribune. Now some people get giddy about meeting people like Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber…well I get giddy about meeting food editors like Heather and Jeff. I started following Heather many years ago when I actually worked for the Orlando Sentinel myself…and have been a fan ever since. These two shared lots of valuable insight with us and had great chemistry, they had us smiling the whole time.
(Jeff and Heather)
Our day was jam packed with presentations from other very smart people…Peter Scott from IZEA helped us wrap our brains around SEO and Social Media Sponsorships, Lindsay of Purr Design talked to us about how to make our blogs more functional and user friendly, Helene of Tartelette schooled us on food photography and styling, Dawn gave us incredible tips on how to “write for the big boys” and of course Jaden & Scott shared insight on how to make our blogs more successful with personal branding and monetization.
Don’t we look all studious?
Oh and did I mention there were prizes?? Goodness gracious..the prizes! All donated courtesy of event sponsors Kitchen Aid, Cooking.com, Le Creuset, Calphalon, KerryGold, West Bend, America’s Test Kitchen, Chicago Metallic and EdgeWare. I happily walked away with a much desired and needed rice cooker from Cooking.com!
A big chunk of our afternoon was spent with Helene. I think we were all anxiously awaiting time with Helene because oh my goodness, she is just the sweetest thing, and an incredible force behind the camera. She rocks people, enough said.
I will say that I have had my Canon Rebel for a little over two years now and have been ever grateful to the pictures it has produced for me. But I’m shamelessly an “auto” girl. Or no flash girl. I just take pictures, I know nothing about photography. A lightbulb went off for me on Saturday as Helene talked about light, mood, styling and other stuff (some of it over my head, but it’s all about baby steps). I went home feeling a little closer to my camera and can’t wait to play with it.
I love the vibe when you are in a room full of food bloggers. Everyone is so generous with helping one another and sharing what works for them. I especially enjoyed my time with my not so new friends Merry-Jennifer, Julie, and Denise…and my newer friends Michelle, Julius aka Droolius, Julie, Jaclyn and Brie and gosh so many others.
Our day of knowledge ended like any day in a room full of foodies should…
Just when we didn’t think it could get any better…we were welcomed into McCormick & Schmicks with a spread of sushi, shrimp, Kobe sliders, sangria and some seriously great hospitality.
Okay…I’m ready to do it all over again.
Food Blog Forum Recaps: