Sunday. I love Sunday – the warm bed (just a few more minutes, because I can), a nice breakfast, lingering over the paper with a second cup of tea. None of that happened today.
The last day of the confernce is sunny and cool and the traffic into downtown is practically nonexistent (yay – why can’t it always be like this?). Bays English Muffins provides a light breakfast and a tip filled demo (seedless lemon wedges! perfectly lined cake pans!) and them we were off to some of the final sessions of the event.
In case you’re wondering, cauliflower and Harissa are the next big things – not together, though I can imagine something quite tasty happening with that combo, but as separate food trends. Throw some flavored butter on it and you’ll be the hippest kid on the block.
The highlight of the day for me was the presentation by Kathleen Flynn (or as she was known to the Cordon Bleu instructors from her first book, “Meeez Fleeen”). As a writer, she is funny, insightful, genuine and spot on with her information. Her presentation “Journalism 101 for Food Bloggers” was more of the same, with the addition of big gestures and lots of pacing. All the stuff I learned in high school journalism came rushing back but with a specific purpose and her spin of experience. It was the session with the most notes taken and the one that will make the most difference to what you see here moving forward. And she had the best shoes of any presenter all weekend!
Saturday comes too soon – the first session starts at 9:00, a time I’m usually still snoozing on a weekend. But I get up and out and downtown and its soon obviously worth it. I’ve read her stories and drooled over her recipes and all the personality I’ve come to expect is up on stage in the actual person of Kim Severson. She’s funny, smart and tinier than her writing would lead you to believe. The breadth of her experience and knowledge give her opinions and information so much weight, yet she is unassuming and warm.
Two breakout sessions later and my head is swimming – and not just because of the amazing cocktail they serve us as part of the holiday blogging demo. Seasonal ingredients, styling, photo tips, finding an authentic writing voice – so much information, all of it useful, personal and necessary for a better blogging experience for both reader and writer.
A lamb session with Ethan Stowell, the Grand Wine Tasting Reception and the Culinary Fair (more amazing food and wine) wrap up the second day of this adventure into the wide world of blogging.
Friday is a little gray, a little cool and a lot exciting. First day of the conference and there is so much to take in. Starting with the session led by Jean Layton (drjeanlayton.com) we jumped head first into pages, productivity, links and SEOs. For a newbie, it was an overwhelming introduction to a complex world – the fact it is filled with interesting, passionate people makes the new words and concepts seem worth digging into further.
The highlight of the afternoon was a trip to the yii Chef’n headquarters. I’ve driven by their building on 4th Ave South a million times and had no idea the treasures it contained. Their products are everywhere and garlic’s best friend. We learned about the genesis of some of the products, saw the fabrication workshop, had a great lunch and left with a terrific swag bag.
The Opening Reception and Gift Suite was another opportunity to meet and mingle. Conference sponsors are so generous with their products, it’s an embarrassment of riches. Imagine unlimited BluePoint oystes from Hama Hama, salumi straight from the hand of Armandino Batali, a variety of top flight wines from Maryhill winery and a gauntlet of product samples, free for the taking – it was a gourmet kleptomaniacs dream.
Tomorrow promises more riches, this time of the nformation variety.
It is finally here – the International Food Bloggers Conference. It has been seven years since I attended the first conference in Seattle, they’re back in town and I’m headed to the Sheraton hotel for three immersive days. The speakers lined up are amazing, the sponsors (swag!) are many and magnificent and the break out sessions promise to really help me get a handle on what you read (and eventually see) on the site. The first time I attended, it was a revelation of (mostly) women who were exploring and sharing their worlds, past, present and future. Some were interested in self-discovery, some were keen on showing others their passions and others, like me, were there to see how this new-ish medium could inspire ourselves and others. Now eight years strong, I’m sure there will be even more to take in, share and learn. I’ll keep you posted!