Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Food Blog Forum Nashville Recap

Chaddy and I recently visited Nashville to attend Food Blog Forum,  There were SO many big names there... Jaden Hair from Steamy Kitchen, Todd Porter and Diane Cu from White On Rice Couple, Alison Lewis from Ingredients Inc., Jenny Flake of Picky Palate, Susan Whetzel of Doughmesstic, Lindsay Landis of Love and Olive Oil, there were seriously just too many big names to name!

There's Leah from So How's it Taste? and Shannon from Family Bites

We started the way all good things should start, with a party!  We all met at the Nashville Farmer's Market where we were met with incredible swag bags and several vendors on hand to show us their wares.  Olive and Sinclair Chocolates treated us to some AMAZING hot chocolate, and The Loveless Cafe was on hand with their famous fried chicken and biscuits.  And Chaddy was smitten by the Yazoo Brewing Company and a beer named Sue.  And to top it all off, we were treated to a cooking demonstration by none other than Top Chef contestant Arnold Myint.

Arnold Myint, Nashville Restauranteur and Top Chef contestant

On Saturday we really got down to business.  We started the day by talking about Public Relations and the different ways that bloggers can work together with companies or brands.  The big thing I took away from this was that you should try to work with brands you already love, and that fit your blog.  Being that my blog is focused on cakes and weddings in particular, it wouldn't make good business sense for me to talk about Craftsman Tools, even though we like them and have a ton of them.  And, I learned that brands are willing to work with bloggers even though they are small.  I still consider myself a small blog, and I just assumed that someone would contact me when I was big enough to warrant PR deals like review items and giveaways.  Do any of you currently work with brands?  If so, did you contact them or did they contact you?

There's my new friend LaKisha from Diary of a Foodie Loser

In out next session, we split into 2 groups; you could either choose recipe development or blogging etiquette.  I chose recipe development.  Alison Lewis was one of the main speakers and she led a great panel.  It's surprising how very specific your recipes need to be so that anyone at any skill level can make them.  Also, I learned that magazines and recipe developers are always looking for average Jens to test their recipes.  And they pay you money for that!!  Getting paid to make dinner?  That's unpossible!

After that session we broke for lunch and that could an entire post in itself.  We had 3 Food Trucks (Happy Eating, Riff's Food Truck, and Yayo's OMG!) show up and let us sample their delicious offerings, all on the house!  The shrimp and grits at Riff's was incredible and the Mongolian Beef Tacos at Happy Eating was superb!
At the Food Truck, waiting behind Jaclyn from Food + Words.  Loved her ink!

After lunch, Diane and Todd gave an awesome presentation on food styling and food photography. They are so good at what they do and so passionate about it that it's hard for it not to be infectious!  They showed several examples of food photography and they talked about the flow of the picture and how each picture should tell a story.  Then they did a live food styling demo with some of the food truck food.  In no less than 15 minutes, they took a magazine quality photograph in our classroom with just plain old sunlight from a window (and boatloads of know how!)

After the food photography session, we broke out into mini sessions where we could get into more detail on several subjects.  We chose Food Photography, Working with TV & Media, Blog Design, and Working with Brands for our break out panels.  They were very informative and everyone got to ask their specific questions.

That wrapped it up for the forum, but the fun wasn't over yet!  We all went back to the hotel, got spiffed up and reconvened at The Patterson House where we had appetizers and cocktails!  Goat cheese balls, flavored pork rinds, and Hellfire margaritas were our favorites.

I have been SO lucky that there has been 2 food Blog Forums within a 2 hour drive of my house.  If you are a blogger and you ever get the chance to attend, you really should!  There's lots of great information, lots of great people to meet, and the swag is incredible!! Did I mention I won a 13 cup Kitchen Aid food processor?

5 comments:

  1. You were at Lipscomb!! That's where I got my bachelor's. Looks like it was lots of fun!

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  2. LOVED seeing you guys again! And those marshmallows rocked. Hope to see y'all soon!

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  3. @Shannon - We really enjoyed seeing you and Leah again too. We have to schedule another trip to Nashville sometime! Will keep you posted!

    @Lydia - Yes, we were in the Ezell Center all day Saturday and it was a lot of fun! You should have been there!!

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  4. gr8 blog and photos bdw come thru my fashion blog n lets folloW Each other like twitter .

    C h u c h u - c h u l a l a . b l o g s p o t . c om

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