Atlanta is about a 6 hour drive from Lexington and I was able to drive down with my fellow Kentucky-based food blogging friend Melissa, and meet up with Andrea, my favorite food blogging conference roommate and now friend.
We arrived at the welcome event a little late, but made it in time to see a great cooking demo at the Viking Store featuring bacon and watermelon skewers and pork belly tacos. One of my favorite foods of the weekend was the tacos. The pork belly was combined with a sauce that included homemade hoisin sauce, Sriracha and honey.
We also got there just in time for dessert which for me included lady fingers topped with bananas foster, and pound cake topped with macerated strawberries and basil whipped cream. Yes, basil whipped cream! It was as delicious and interesting as it sounds.
Saturday was the day of the seminar which took place at The Shed. Jaden, Scott, Diane and Todd are some of the most knowledgeable, down to earth people I have had the pleasure to learn from and briefly meet. If you are interested in attending one of these seminars in the future let me give you a list of things you can expect to learn and experience during the sessions.
- Motivation for determining your personal goals and working with and towards what you are passionate about in life.
- How to manage product sponsorship, and the options out there for structuring your relationship. For example, working with companies individually or through PR agencies.
- How skilled all of the hosts are at what they do. They all began their journey from scratch with little knowledge. They taught themselves along the way and made smart decisions to excel in food blogging and related work.
- Motivation and a fresh approach to food photography and how to develop your skill while keeping budget in mind.
- Food styling and eye-opening strategies for creating beautiful pictures regardless of the equipment you have.
- Key components for the design or structure of your blog, developing content, and driving traffic.
I also have to admit that I almost shouted, “YES!” when Diane admitted that she rarely uses Photoshop. I really have no desire to learn too much about that, but I thought it was something I was going to have to do to excel. And if you have seen her photos and now know that she rarely uses it, that’s enough to prove that it is not a necessity.
So, if Food Blog Forum comes to your area, should you go? Yes! Not only did I learn a good amount, but from a business and work stand point the weekend was full of inspiration leading to motivation.
About the only complaint you heard around the group was the set up. A long time in wooden restaurant chairs in very tight quarters with lots of people, lots of bags and nowhere to set our drinks or notebooks. We had plenty of breaks and the conditions didn’t negate the benefit of the event, but we were all pretty exhausted and ready to break out of that room after a long day.
There was also a significant distance between the hotel, site and parties so a car was a necessity and if you were the DD you really didn’t get to enjoy the wines and cocktails provided. Not too much of a sacrifice for a great event, but also a bit of a bummer. (Can you tell I was the DD? Ha, ha!)
However, I guess my winning a door prize made up for it. I won a Kitchenaid Countertop Oven! A new model, soon to be released. I’ll let you know when it arrives in the mail!
Thanks to Steamy Kitchen and White on Rice Couple for giving back to the food blogging community and sharing their knowledge.
Now I leave you with swag and food!
Fried Tomato with Goat Cheese Slider & Sirloin Slider from The Shed
Passion Fruit Whiskey (my correction - bourbon) Fizz from The Spice Market made with passion fruit juice, Maker's Mark and ginger ale. Taken by candlelight which didn't turn out too well so I didn't picture the food. We did enjoy mutiple spring rolls, shrimp and pineapple skewers, beef satay and chocolate.