Food Blog Forum Atlanta – Two Thumbs Up!

Food Blog Forum Atlanta – Two Thumbs Up!

Wow! It’s hard to believe that Food Blog Forum is over! After months of planning, the response from attendees of Food Blog Forum was two thumbs up! (By the way, Mr. Bunkycooks happened to catch Chef Rathbun doing that at the kick-off party Friday night, so we couldn’t resist using this photo!) While I know you cannot please everyone, I do think that the attendees that came to our event in Atlanta this weekend had a really great time and learned a lot.

I actually came across the first email contact that I had with Jaden Hair (Steamy Kitchen) this morning. Back in May, I asked if she would be interested in bringing Food Blog Forum to Atlanta and she said yes! Putting this event together was so much hard work fun! It’s sort of like planning a party in high school and hoping everyone will come…and they did!

Pouring wine at The Viking Store Atlanta

Chef Donna Brousseau (Viking) and Chef Kevin Rathbun (Rathbun’s, Atlanta)

I have to thank both Jaden Hair (Steamy Kitchen) and Diane Cu (White on Rice Couple) for being so wonderful to work with! Diane and I must have exchanged hundreds of emails over the course of the last few months. It was pretty crazy, but I am so glad that we did this. It was great to finally have a food blogger’s conference in the Southeast!

Jaden Hair (Steamy Kitchen) and Me!

Alison Lewis, Virginia Willis and Debra Smith

I also want to thank everyone that attended Food Blog Forum (many of you from far away!) and our sponsors. None of this would have been possible without all of you! Getting to meet and network with other food bloggers and sponsors is definitely one of the benefits of coming to these events (besides the wine, food, swag and giveaways, of course!).

Now, to show you some of the fun…here is my recap of the festivities!

Chef Jessica Ray (she is the pasta making master!), Chef Donna Brousseau and Me

Rob and Harry Beecham from Montaluce Winery -They brought the good stuff!

Our kick-off party Friday evening was hosted by The Viking Store in Atlanta. They truly went above and beyond anything that I could have anticipated! Thank you so much to Chef Donna Brousseau for coordinating the whole evening and preparing all sorts of delightful food! Thank you also to Chef Jessica Ray for all the great pasta dishes and to Analia Serebrenik for managing the store that evening. I know that we kept you there late. I hope you got to eat and drink all of the leftovers!

Rawle, Patti and Yasin from Tank Goodness Atlanta – They brought cookies!

Reginald Warner – Thank you for all of your help!

Of course, a huge thank you goes to Whole Foods and Montaluce Winery for providing wine and cheese for the evening (this would include some cheeses from our other sponsors at Woolwich and Jarlsberg). You all were extremely supportive of the event! A big thank you also to Tank Goodness Atlanta for some of the best cookies I have ever had. Mercy!

Pork Belly in the Making!

Chef Rathbun cooked up some awesome Pork Belly Tacos!

Besides all of the great food and wine, we were treated to a very informative and humorous cooking demonstration by Chef Kevin Rathbun. I could not believe that Chef Rathbun hung out with us all night. I thought that was very cool. I guess he thought we were alright, too!

Many thanks to Chef Rathbun for his participation and generosity. It definitely made the event a memorable one. By the way, we all were really happy to get the recipe for “Thick Cut” Grilled Bacon with a Sweet and Spicy Sticky Sauce. I think most of us are still thinking about those pork belly tacos! I for one, am still wearing mine!

Those were some awesome White Chocolate and Craisin Cookies!

The next day’s seminar was at The Shed at Glenwood. They did a great job of keeping us fed and watered all day long starting with coffee, muffins and fruit to lunch that included three kinds of sliders (Angus Burgers, Fried Green Tomatoes and Goat Cheese and Chicken Salad), pasta salad and deviled eggs. Cindy Shera (the manager) did a great job with 100 people tucked into her restaurant. Thanks to she and Chef Lance Gummere for making it a great day. We also had lots and lots of cookies from Byron Bay and Walkers Shortbread to keep us going during the afternoon session.

It took two SUV’s to get all the swag goodies to The Shed!

Our host for the seminar on Saturday.

Diane Cu and I checking in the attendees at The Shed

Besides the food and the amazing swag bags…you should have seen the giveaways! A set of Calphalon cookware, a Kitchen Aid stainless steel mixer, six other Kitchen Aid appliances, Le Creuset Dutch Ovens, a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, Chef’s Catalog gift cards and the list goes on! Wow! Too bad I wasn’t eligible!

So much swag…oh, my!

The first session on Building a Dream Career with Scott Hair (Steamy Kitchen) was very inspirational and it set the tone for the rest of the seminar. Everything was so upbeat and positive. Jaden’s personality lights up the room and you instantly know why she has been so successful.

I found the two panel discussions, Working with Media Outlets and Brands and Building a Personal Brand, to be very helpful as I think about making some changes and moving forward with my own website.

The first panel discussion included John Kessler (Atlanta Journal Constitution), James Andrews and Lauren Thomas from Be Everywhere.

John Kessler, James Andrews, Lauren Thomas and Jaden Hair

The second panel on Building a Personal Brand featured Virginia Willis (Virginia Willis Culinary Productions) and Alisa Barry (Bella Cucina).

Alisa Barry (Bella Cucina)

Virginia Willis and Alisa Barry

The consistent theme was to limit your focus, love what you do and to be authentic. Positive thinking and energy plays a large part in your ability to be successful. It is great to be reminded of this as we all get wrapped up in so many other things associated with our blogs. It is good to get grounded in this philosophy. Here is a great clip of Jaden speaking from the second panel discussion. It was too long to include in the post, but is certainly worth listening to.

Alison, Amy and Lisa

Of course, Diane and Todd’s presentation on food styling and photography was outstanding. Many of us struggle with taking photos of our food and their step-by-step demonstration on lighting and staging really made a difference in how I will approach this in the future. They are really wonderful people and I feel blessed to have met them!

This was so cute, so I asked Bakerella to use her photo! Thanks!

Todd Porter and Diane Cu (White on Rice Couple)

Finally, many bloggers want to learn how to make money while doing something we love, which is cooking and writing our blogs. I thought the ideas that were shared by Jaden in the session on Business Strategies were incredibly helpful. There were suggestions that I had not thought about. Now that I will not be swamped with event planning, I can refocus on my own brand and website!

Question and Answer Session

Thanks to Showcase Camera and Video, the morning session was live-streamed. I hope that those of you that were not able to attend in person were at least able to take part in the event via the internet.

The Showcase Camera and Video crew with John Williams, General Manager of Showcase.

We wrapped up the day with an after-party at Spice Market, which is located in the W Hotel in Midtown Atlanta. Thank you so much to Melissa Libby and Associates for arranging this venue! The Passion Fruit Whiskey Fizz drinks (and several of them!) were a perfect way to end the day! We also had more incredible appetizers than we could possibly eat! As Debra from SmithBites said, this place was uber hip and very swanky!

Since we were having so much fun wrapping everything up, we did not take many pictures, so all you get is a photo of us party animals girls on the steps on the way out of the hotel!

Party animals!

Thank you again to everyone that made this event a huge success! When are we gonna do it again Atlanta?!

Here are some other posts about Food Blog Forum Atlanta:

* Steamy Kitchen – Food Blog Forum Atlanta
* Bakerella – Food Blog Forum and New Friends
* Culinary Historians of Atlanta– Steppin’ Out
* White on Rice Couple – Food Blog Forum Atlanta- Great new friends, Awesome event
* Frantastic Food – Food Blog Forum Lights a Fire!
* Holzerian Nation – Food Blog Forum Atlanta
* Indian Simmer – A weekend full of food, food talk and foodies!
* The Local Cook – 10 Things I learned at The Food Blog Forum Seminar
* Mommie Cooks – Food Blog Forum Conference!
* My Sweet Things – Food Blog Forum- Part One- Atlanta Friday Social!
* What Megan’s Making – Food Blog Forum Re-Cap

Thank you again to all of our sponsors, including the ones who provided giveaways and amazing swag goodies for all of the attendees!

34 Responses to “Food Blog Forum Atlanta – Two Thumbs Up!”

  1. 1

    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — September 13, 2010 @ 8:50 pm

    Looks like a fun event Gwen!

    • Lisa Boalt Richardson replied: — September 14th, 2010 @ 10:26 am

      This conference was really put together well from beginning to end. Kuddos to all that made it happen. I have some great take aways from it not only from a learning standpoint but also great products in the swag bags. Excellent recap and big thanks!

  2. 2

    Julie M. — September 13, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

    Gwen, You truly put together the perfect food blogger’s weekend. The food was delicious, the speakers were amazing and the swag was plentiful. I loved meeting all the bloggers (and finally getting to meet you!) and can’t believe how much I learned. I can’t wait to apply it to my blog! Thank you SO much again for all the work you put into making this the success that it was!

  3. 3

    SMITH BITES — September 13, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

    Gwen ~ just want to say again just how wonderful this event turned out to be and I am so happy we made the effort to be there! Everything was just outstanding and you did a terrific job – CONGRATS!!!

  4. 4

    Sara — September 13, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

    Wow, looks like you guys had fun! I wish I was there! :)

  5. 5

    Amy — September 13, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

    Thank you for all of your hard work. I had a fabulous time – it was just way too short!

  6. 6

    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — September 13, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

    Thanks Gwen for ALL of your hard work. This was an amazing event and I’m so glad I was able to attend. Please keep in touch. We are so close with me in Birmingham. Great Recap!!!

  7. 7

    Jaden — September 13, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

    I miss you guys already!!! thank you so much for everything…it was one of the very best food blogging conferences ever! xoxo

  8. 8

    Prerna@IndianSimmer — September 13, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

    It was all because of your hard work that we all got to have so much fun Gwen! Two thumbs up to you :-)
    You’ve summed up everything beautifully and now I want to attend the conference again! Great knowing you and meeting you in person. We’ve got to stay in touch.

  9. 9

    Steph@PlainChicken — September 13, 2010 @ 9:48 pm

    Looks like everyone had a great time. Hopefully I can make it to the next one!

  10. 10

    Fran — September 13, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

    Great write-up, Gwen! Thanks for getting all the details posted. It not only helps those of us that were there to remember, but I’m sure those that couldn’t come feel like they weren’t left out. Hope to see you again, soon.

  11. 11

    denise @ quickies on the dinner table — September 14, 2010 @ 12:17 am

    Well done Gwen!!! What a massive achievement – you should be proud of yourself, I sure am!!! :) Btw – you are absolutely GLOWING in the pictures!!!

  12. 12

    Diane and Todd — September 14, 2010 @ 12:34 am

    thanks for organizing a fabulous event! and kudos to your hubs Roger too for the great photographs!

  13. 13

    Monet — September 14, 2010 @ 12:37 am

    You should be so very proud of yourself! I was thinking about you and the conference this weekend, and it was so exciting to see all the pictures and to hear about how it went. Everything looked amazing, and I only wish I could have attended. I’m sure you are tired…so rest up and enjoy some peace!

  14. 14

    Cristina @ TeenieCakes — September 14, 2010 @ 12:43 am

    Gwen – it looks like you put together an awesome event that spanned a couple of days! I can tell by your perfectionism and organization you display on your blog that it carried over to the planning and management of this forum. Thanks for recapping the event!

  15. 15

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — September 14, 2010 @ 6:07 am

    I am truly amazed at how much hard work (and love!) you put into this event to make it happen. And it could not have gone any more smoothly. It was seriously a blast, and I can’t stop thinking about how fun it was! You totally deserve so much credit, and I can’t say thank you enough for taking the time to do this! I learned so much and met some amazing people (you included!) Can’t wait to meet you again sometime! :)

  16. 16

    Donna @ My Sweet Things — September 14, 2010 @ 8:50 am

    Gwen, Thank you so much for all your hard work in putting together the event! The whole experience was wonderful and so memorable!

  17. 17

    Sara — September 14, 2010 @ 9:42 am

    I love those cookie boxes!

  18. 18

    Cathy (breadexperience) — September 14, 2010 @ 10:30 am

    Gwen, Thanks for the recap. I was too busy soaking in all of the information, I didn’t take any photos.

    You did a fabulous job planning and coordinating this event. Thank you for all of your efforts. All of the speakers and participants were wonderful! I learned so much my head is still spinning.

  19. 19

    Andrea (Off Her Cork) — September 14, 2010 @ 10:34 am

    Gwen this was a great recap! Thank you so much for organizing this event and making it possible for those of us on the East side of the States to be able to attend a wonderful event!

  20. 20

    Kristina — September 14, 2010 @ 11:11 am

    Thanks for organizing such a spectacular event. I had a wonderful time and I learned a lot. It was nice meeting you!

  21. 21

    torviewtoronto — September 14, 2010 @ 11:38 am

    looks like a lot of fun

  22. 22

    Monica — September 14, 2010 @ 11:53 am

    Gwen.. like everyone said here, thank you so much for your dedication to making this event such a great success – REPEAT! I took away so much information with it.. but most of all, it gave me the opportunity of meeting such great new friends and peers.

    Pat yourself on the back, girl… lots and lots of times.. you truly deserve it!

  23. 23

    Joan Nova — September 14, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

    Looks like a great event. I’d like to come next time…Atlanta is not far from So Florida.

  24. 24

    Jenniffer from Cup a Dee Cakes — September 14, 2010 @ 6:50 pm

    Gwen, thanks for all of your hard work! We learned SO much in such a short amount of time! And met SO many new friends too!!

  25. 25

    Becky — September 15, 2010 @ 6:54 am

    What a fun and informative way to learn more about food. I want to go next year!!!

  26. 26

    Drick — September 15, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

    Gwen, from the beginning I knew I would kick myself for not attending but I just don’t know how I could have done so, looks like it was a great success and very powerful. thanks for this followup, the leads will give me some insight of what I missed….

  27. 27

    John Williams — September 15, 2010 @ 6:01 pm

    Thanks for inviting us to “live stream” the Food Blog Forum”.
    Thanks to the great program by Jaden, Diane, Scott and Todd.
    It was a fabulous day!

  28. 28

    The Mom Chef — September 17, 2010 @ 11:08 am

    I wish I could have made it but we had a big deal in the works for our business and while I love my blogging, the IT business is what brings in the money so I can buy the food I make. ::sigh:: Being an adult and having to set priorities stinks sometimes. Thanks for such a helpful recap. Makes me really intent on going next year.

  29. 29

    Kim — September 17, 2010 @ 4:23 pm

    Gwen, looks like all that hard work paid off!

    And thank you so much for a recap! And for the other bloggers who did a recap… That way, the west coast kiddos could read up and pretend we were there. :o)


  30. 30

    marla {family fresh cooking} — September 18, 2010 @ 8:56 am

    I smiled my whole way through reading this post. After speaking with you this summer I know how much hard work you put into organizing this event. It looks like and A+++ Five star success. It is so fun to see how many great folks attended. Wish I lived closer I would have been there in a heart beat :)
    Love what you say here:
    “limit your focus, love what you do and to be authentic. Positive thinking and energy plays a large part in your ability to be successful.”
    By the way: you look radiant in these photos.

  31. 31

    Carolyn Binder — September 18, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

    Hi Gwen:

    Thanks so much for your hard work in organizing this fantastic event. We learned so much and had so much fun! The Food Blog Forum definitely exceeded our expectations.

  32. 32

    Lori — September 18, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

    Thanks for helping to bring such a great event to the southeast! Your hard work was evidient in the success of the weekend and all of us greatly appreciated it. It was great to meet you!

  33. 33

    katie o. — September 20, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

    I’m still sad I missed what seems to have been one amazing forum. Thanks for such a wonderful recap. Fingers crossed that this event will happen again. No doubt this would have been incredibly helpful to me!

    Great job!

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