BlogHer Food '11 Roundup: Day Two

BlogHer Original Post

Day Two of BlogHer Food '11 kicked off with a later-than-usual welcome from all three of BlogHer's founders—the schedule allowed for attendees to have a slower morning—followed by the first sessions of the day, which focused on recipe writing, visual voice, accommodating picky eaters, and creating a distinct brand.

Sign welcoming bloggers to marketDuring the lunch break, most conference attendees headed over to the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. There, they had the opportunity to eat at several pop-up stands or the Sweet Auburn BBQ truck outside, or purveyors like Grindhouse Killer Burgers or Metro Deli Soul Food inside.

At Afrodish Restaurant, the cashier chatted with a regular customer taken aback at the number of people with name tags swarming the space, cameras and smartphones at the ready. When told they were all in town for a food blogging conference, she sighed and said, "Someday I would like to be able to relax and think about cooking again." As she headed for the door, the cashier shrugged and explained the customer was in the middle of her residency at the hospital nearby.

When not finding delicious treats to eat for lunch, conference attendees wandered among the counters selling meat, seafood, produce, and baked goods, and some browsed cookbooks in the market's bookstore.


Miss D's Popcorn


Back at the conference after lunch, there was no shortage of sausage-related double entendres as Kim Foster, Cathy Barrow and Sean Timberlake ground and cooked three kinds of sausage: Mexican chorizo, Italian sausage, and country sausage in their Charcutepalooza demo. Participants gathered round the demonstration as the team discussed grinding techniques, how to adjust flavoring, and what elements are most critical to get the right texture. In other sessions, bloggers learned about professional-grade recipe development, food blogging for change, and improving your food photography.

During the final plenary of the conference, BlogHer CEO Lisa Stone held a conversation with Molly O'Neill of One Big Table, Meredith Ford Goldman of Life Is Lemonade, and Tanya Steel of Epicurious on moving from traditional journalism to the online space, and how they see writing online changing.

Steel underscored much of what bloggers learned at the conference about finding a voice and developing branding—she said she appreciates that bloggers can access so many different platforms to get out their stories and message, but said it was important to use those resources in a cohesive way.

"You have to be your own brand," Steel said. "You have to really excel at the very core of what you do. You do have to do your homework and you do have to do your due diligence."

Ford Goldman predicted self-published cookbooks will present a tremendous opportunity for bloggers and other food writers in the future, and said she expects the publishing landscape in 10 years to be something completely different than it is now, with many more food-related ezines on the web.

"I think you're going to see a lot of people develop their brand into more than just a weblog," Ford Goldman said. "It's going to be going full throttle."

But O'Neill cautioned against giving work away for free, and encouraged fee-per-page view models of content delivery. "It can assign proper value to honest work," she said. "The only way we're going to get that is to stop giving it away."

As the day wound to a close, participants gathered at The Tabernacle for a final opportunity to meet new-to-them food bloggers, sample sponsor food and beverages, and dance the night away. Mrs. Q of Fed Up With Lunch called it:


BlogHer Food Attendees Know How To Dance


Our intrepid live-blogging team covered every BlogHer Food session. Check out their posts for all the details from the sessions!

Genie blogs about gardening and food at The Inadvertent Gardener, and tells very short tales at 100 Proof Stories.

Image credits: Genie Gratto