Food Blog Forum Atlanta

September 12, 2010

Among all the busyness that seems to be going on in my life at the current moment, I was able to sneak off this weekend to the Food Blog Forum Seminar in Atlanta. I have to say that I was thrilled when the event was announced because foodie events don’t make it to the southeast often. I was especially excited that this was the specific event coming because I have great respect for both Jaden (and now Scott) of Steamy Kitchen, and Diane and Todd of White on Rice Couple.

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.

If I had to pick a favorite, for me it was the photography information. This is because right now my passion with food blogging is weighing heavily on the side of developing myself as a photographer. White on Rice Couple showed easy ways to improve photos and layout without investing in $1,000 lens’ or other equipment.

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.

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  • Wendy (The Local Cook) September 12, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Wasn’t it awesome? Your pics turned out great, by the way. And I totally agree with your assessment of the conference (great content, sardine conditions, crazy traffic, would definitely do it again). Hope to see you at another one!

  • OysterCulture September 12, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Love all the swag – that has to be one of my favorite shots. I was going to go to BlogHer in SF until I realized it was the same day as I fly to Rome, so will have to put off my foodblogging meet up until foodBuzz. What a treat to live vicariously through you in the meantime.

  • Marianne (frenchfriestoflaxseeds) September 12, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing the info about the seminar, and the link to Food Blog Forum – looks like it’s a good resource to us out there. In fact, I’ve already made some adjustments to my camera because of it.

    I just wish there were events like this in my backyard. I just can’t justify the cost of travel to go to a seminar like this.

  • Debinhawaii September 13, 2010 at 12:47 am

    No one ever comes to Hawaii! ;-( ah well… I am glad you had such a great time–it looks and sounds like a wonderful event. And congrats on the great prize. (The swag bag looks pretty amazing too).

  • Lori September 13, 2010 at 5:04 am

    Wendy – It was great to meet you! I love your description – sardine conditions! Very accurate! 🙂

    OysterCulture – Hmm…Rome, BlogHer, I think I’d go with Rome too. 😉 So glad you will make it to Foodbuzz this year and bummed that I can’t. Can’t wait to see the recaps though!

    Marianne – This one was a great opportunity for us with it being in ATL. A 6 hour drive was doable. I do wish food blogging conferences would geographically spread the love. I think it will all get there in time as it grows.

    Deb – I’ll come to Hawaii! Let’s plan one. 😉

  • bunkycooks September 13, 2010 at 5:28 am

    Glad you enjoyed the event! I am sorry that you were the DD and could not enjoy many of the cocktails, but hope those pork belly tacos made up for it! 😉

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking September 13, 2010 at 5:33 am

    great recap. It was so good meeting you this weekend. I especially enjoyed our evening party at the brewery 🙂 (for a food blogging conference, we were all pretty hungry by then!) I agree it was an awesome weekend, with some incredibly information. And the swag was awesome – my husband was amazed when he saw the amount of stuff I brought home 🙂

  • Andrea (Off Her Cork) September 13, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Nice recap Lori! I also agree that it’s nice to see Seminars and Conferences start to come out to the East! It makes things easier for us who live there or if you’re like me, live in the Eastern half of the Midwest.

    The information was so fantastic and now I’m in the process of redoing my blog so focus more on what I want. 🙂

  • emily (a nutritionist eats) September 13, 2010 at 11:05 am

    What a great event! I hope they are coming to my area!

  • Eliana September 13, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Looks like ti was time well spent. I love foodie events!

  • Marisa September 14, 2010 at 12:03 am

    Sounds like a great event! I love being able to learn from other people who’ve been there, done that & who understands the problems us bloggers encounter.

    Have to agree, that taco sounds amazing… Anything with pork belly immediately grabs my attention! 🙂

  • MelindaRD September 14, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Glad you got to go to this event. Looks like fun and congrats on your oven win.

  • kat September 15, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Sounds like a good time & can’t wait to see your prize

  • Social Media Mom September 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Hi fellow food bloggers!

    After attending the foodblogforum last weekend, a couple of us decided it would be great to get together on a regular basis to talk about blogging, what’s working, what’s not and help each other out. It’s a chance for great networking and we’ll plan it around a meal. We’re planning on having our first meeting Wed. Sept 22 at 10:00 at OK Cafe near I-75 and West Paces Ferry Road. Please let me know if you can come. Hope to see you there!

    Becky Reynolds Smith