This past Saturday, I headed up to San Francisco for the 2009 BlogHer Food conference. It’s the first of what I think will be an annual conference series from BlogHer and was aimed at food bloggers. All of the breakout sessions of the conference covered topics that would be of interest to people who write recipes, review products and just like to write about food in general. The topics varied widely from how to attract readers to your blog, how to take better food photos and how to translate your love of cooking or photography into other venues, to name just a few topics. The speakers included (by blog) Simply Recipes, Pioneer Woman, Veggie Venture, Kalyn’s Kitchen and Matt Bites, again to name just a few of the many, many bloggers in attendance.
I skipped the lunch served at the conference because it was – no kidding – frozen Italian food. A food conference is a great place for product placement, but not in place of what could have been a more interesting meal. I instead went out to lunch next door at the SFMoMA’s Cafe Museo with Cooking with Amy and San Diego Food Stuff. I noticed several other conference attendees in the room with us, as well. Lunch was delicious. I had a ham and fontina panini.
For me, the best part of the day was getting to connect with other bloggers, some of whom I knew and some of whom I met just for the first time. I know I’m leaving people out, but it was great to see Cookie Madness (who also took the lovely photos that you see on this post and wrote about the conference here), FoodBlogga, Chef Druck and Tartelette, and it was wonderful to finally meet David Lebovitz in person after having followed his blog and read his books, even though I didn’t have a chance to talk with him as much as I would have liked. I would have stayed for the after party to socialize more, but had to catch a flight back to LA and needed to head to the airport to make my plane.
Another highlight was having the chance to talk to Chef Elizabeth Falkner, the amazing pastry chef behind San Francisco’s Citizen Cake bakery. If you haven’t been there, you’ve probably seen her competing in cake-decorating competitions on the Food Network or on Top Chef Masters. She is a lovely person and gave me some great ideas for making some new homemade marshmallows. She also made the rather interesting looking dessert that is pictured here. The dish was basically like a gigantic, mashed up candy bar that needed to be scooped out into portions with a glove. It contained mint chocolate cookie/brownies, pandan marshmallow fluff, pretzels, paprika, peanut butter, caramel sauce, and ground chili peppers – and that is not a complete list of components. Most of the ingredients were items featured in Sharffen Berger’s Chocolate Adventure Contest, since the brand was sponsoring her demo and appearance. Everything was mashed up into an odd looking and very messy to eat, but also very tasty mix. We chatted about Halloween recipes, so if you’re near her bakery, keep your eyes out for some unusual treats in the next month.
Overall, it was a great time. I wish I could have made the afterparty. Then again, that’s a good reason to go next year.