Foodblogforum recap

Whoaaa! What a busy month it has been…pheeww! Oh Hello there, How are you all doing? Today I am not going to share any food recipe but sharing my experience at FoodBlogForum  Orlando.

Warning: This is going to be pretty long post with lotssss of pictures and all I will be talking about is food, food and friends so grab a cup of coffee  and side of muffin/cupcake won’t hurt either! :)

Where can I start? Everything was just so amazing but I have to start somewhere. :))  This event was organized by the FBF community but it was hosted by Disney, Orlando. Now need I say more? We had a blast!  From start to finish – it was all magical. Some of you might think What is this foodblogforum? Well it is an online food blog community which is designed for people who loves food, photography and blogging (even bigger). And it was founded by Jaden n Scott of steamy kitchen and Diane n Todd of Whiteonrice couple in 2010 and since then there is no looking back. This was actually their 5th event in 2 years. And I was lucky that I got to attend 2 of their events in a row.

Going to this event was like dream. come true. Just imagine, huge hall filled with people who has one passion in common. They all  LOVE food. And all they were talking about is food, photography and blogging. It was an amazing experience.

So if you ask me what did I learn from this event/conference? My reply would be in one sentence – “Give back to the community ” – It’s important! All the speakers and organizers were not doing this for money, they really believed in giving back. They were there to help us learn more and achieve our dreams.

The event started off with the beautiful welcome party at Disney’s Grand Floridian resort and spa. Where we got to meet people who we normally communicate through twitter/facebook or comments. It was really nice to meet them personally. The snack served was looking fabulous but too bad that I wasn’t able to eat anything coz everything had meat or sthing else in it. But I really enjoyed chatting with the fellow bloggers, the presentation of food and overall ambience of the party.

"Picture courtesy : Kiran of KiranTarun.com"

After the welcome party I straight away went to the Polynesian resort where we were staying and guess what the lodging was (also) covered in my ticket to the conference. Polynesian is beautiful.  Once you are there you won’t feel like going anywhere. It has this beautiful beach where you can relax all day and even enjoy beautiful illuminations from there. Well we actually needed to relax because we actually drove from Nashville to Orlando and it was like almost 13 hours (one way). And my husband was very kind enough to drive me all the way there just for me to attend one event. See how supportive! Can’t thank him enough :)

Courtesy: Disney

So basically we were dead tired and we wanted to take it easy. Just have dinner and go to sleep. And when it came to dinner, we were stuck. Polynesian is very limited when it comes to vegetarian food plus it was expensive. I mean who wants to pay $30 for one medium cheese pizza plus 18% tip and tax? I don’t. That is the only thing that I was not happy about the Polynesian resort. So we decided to go to the nearest restaurant which was Sweet tomatoes and had our dinner there. We kindaa like sweet tomatoes. One because we don’t have it here in Nashville and second we love Italian food so it was like comfy Italian buffet that we enjoyed and after that we headed back to the beach on Polynesian resort to enjoy illuminations and called it a day.

Next day early morning I had to reach The Epcot center for the conference. So I reached (not early but almost on time) and at that time Scott hair was gearing up the audience for the sessions with his amazing motivational skills. He is such a great, energetic, inspiring personality. And hats off to his sense of humor. This is what he has to say “If you have a dream, share it with others. You never know who can help you achieve them”. Isn’t it brilliant?  Enjoyed his talk while enjoying special Irish breakfast buffet (well it was St.Patrick’s day) sponsored by Disney of course. And here’s Scott’s ultimate recipe to help you achieve your dreams.

  • Know what you want. Be specific. Very specific.
  • Make a list of the reasons why you want it. Again, be specific.
  • For each reason you list, identify actions that can get you closer to your goal – and take them.
  • Be ready to make the adjustments necessary to get to the point number 1.
See I told you he is inspiring.

And Scott handed over the stage to the most beautiful couple Diane and Todd of Whiteonricecouple. They are so charming and creative. They were giving presentation on Food photography. They are so open to everyone that they get connected very easily. And this is what I learned from them.

Dawn and Todd on the top and PR panel at bottom

  • Do not compare your photography with any other; do not let yourself down by thinking that you cannot create a photograph that you saw in magazine or somewhere. You know why? Because probably whole bunch of people worked for that one great picture and here it’s only you who is playing a role of the chef, food stylist and photographer. So appreciate and respect your hard work.  Give some credit to yourself. You can definitely learn from it but do not let yourself down.
  • Do not be afraid of shadows. It gives a picture depth and mood.
  • If you have a recipe that your family loves it, do share it. Do not worry if it has been out there for millions of times. Share it because your family loves it and that is what that makes it so special. And do not forget to tell your story.
  • Find your own photography style.
  • Your eyes are your lens, and your heart is the shutter. Embrace your visual voice and photography”. Capture the moment which will stay forever in your heart.

And their talk continued with them sharing a beautiful video of “Our life recipe” followed by Diane’s story of her love for her dogs and it left everyone into tears. I absolutely enjoyed every second of this session.

Our Life Recipe – Todd, Diane & Sierra from Todd Porter & Diane Cu on Vimeo.

Wasn’t that amazing? Love this couple :)

The next session was “PR perspectives” by Jaden of steamy kitchen, Thomas of Disney, Rachel of Kitchen Aid and Arianna of OXO. And this is what I learnt.

  • Treat your blog like a business. Have a plan – Jaden
  • And here’s my reminder to myself. If you get lost go back to what Scott said!
  • Approach the brands that you like and believe in. They also want to work with bloggers.
  • Your involvement in your blog is important then your numbers.

And this session also ended with some fabulous giveaways sponsored by OXO, KitchenAid, LandOLakes, Le Creuset, Scharffen Berger (Btw they have best chocolate bars), Goo Goo clusters, Bob’s red mill, Spice Islands, king Arthur and last but not the least Walt Disney world and whole foods. They really made some people very happy with their fabulous giveaways besides the Swag bags that were filled with awesome goodies that every attendee received.

Oh and yours truly got lucky enough to win one of the gift hamper sponsored by my all time favorite brand “OXO”. See what I am talking about?

Ok moving on to the next session which was conducted by David Leite who is an award winning food writer and he was there to teach us how to write bigger, better and more badass food posts.

And I got to learn that

  • Erase the word “Delicious” from your dictionary and find another verb instead.
  • Forget about using “I” all the time. It’s about something larger than you.
  • Story telling is very important. Have a conflict? Use that, it can be a nice story.
  • Be consistent. Connect with your readers. Tell a story.
  • Be authentic.
  • Use proper grammar. Buy a grammar book and read page by page, again and again.

This session left me thinking about my sucky writing and how I can improve that. So working on it. Have patience with me guys :)

Top:David Bottom left: The head chef of Disney and Right bottom: Dawn

And the last sessios before we headed for our lunch was held by cheerful and bubbly Dawn Viola. She is a research and development chef and a food writer. And she gave us some useful information on how we can take our blog to professional level.

While we were done with the sessions it was time for all of us to have lunch. And to be honest with you all, I was expecting that our lunch will be like some buffet type with some boring French fries, salad, burger options.

Ambiance of Luncheon and Me with my favorite Diane and Aran

But Disney really surprised and impressed all the food bloggers. All of us were headed to the private luncheon specially prepared for us by Disney chefs. And oh boy! It was the best luncheon I have ever been to in my entire life. We had 2 hours but in the end it was not enough. Because all of us really wanted to take pictures, try out the food and networking.  The food, the ambiance was just outstanding. Well all I can say is I was in heaven! See see what I am talking about?

"Photo courtesy: Kiran again"

Nobody wanted to leave that place so soon I am sure. Well not me at least. It was magical.

"Heavenly desserts"

After coming back from heavenly lunch enjoyed along with Kiran we were all ready for the speed networking private sessions with your selective speakers. It’s like a round table discussion session where you can do networking, share your knowledge and ask questions.

I signed up for Diane and Aran’s live food styling and photography demo, followed by Alison of Ingredient.inc and Angie (the cake pops queen of Bakerella) and got some useful information on how to write a cookbook.

"Diane and Aran in action"

And another 2 private sessions were one with David and another was with Arianna and Rachel learning how to work with the brands in detail.

The event continued with the closing dessert party but I chose not to go because I really wanted to hang out with my hubby who drove me all the way to florida. And I also skipped the brunch next day sponsored by Whole foods and I heard that it was fantastic. So we headed to the Disney parks (oh did I mention that park tickets were included too? wink..wink) to enjoy rest of our stay at the Orlando.

I want to pet Giraffe!

So overall, it was very informative, FUN and I strongly recommend that if you get to attend one of the FBF, please don’t miss out the opportunity.

And at last I would really like to thank Julie of thelittlekitchen for all her hard work and also Julie, you have raised the bar really high for next FBF organizer. It was just fantastic.

Wow…that was pretty long, wan’t it? I hope you guys are still here :)

Here are the links of other fellow bloggers who have attended Foodblogforum with me.