BlogHer Food '11 Agenda

Click here for Sessions-at-a-Glance

BlogHer Food '11 has concluded, but that doesn't mean you've missed out! Check out the live blogs for recaps of all sessions.

Day 1: Friday, May 20, 2011
Time Event
8:30am - 9:15am Breakfast
9:15am - 9:45am Welcome, hosted by BlogHer founders Elisa Camahort Page and Jory Des Jardins
10:00am - 11:15am Session One
Voice: Fortify Your Culinary Prose

Sharpen your pencils and be ready to learn concrete techniques that will increase the effectiveness of your culinary writing. Nancy Baggett and  David Leite lead this workshop, analyzing elements of the craft like the use of active verbs and the avoidance of passive voice; pruning excess verbiage; optimizing word choice; and employing literary devices like similes, metaphor, hyperbole, and irony. You’ll leave with a diagnostic exercise that will help identify your strengths and sharpen your personal voice.

Visuals: Branding and Design 101 for Food Bloggers

Before visitors even read your blog, they see your blog. In this session, designers Sabrina Modelle and Irvin Lin will walk you through the dos and don’ts of designing a food blog, taking you through the same type of branding exercises they’ve used with some of the world’s largest brands. Included: design basics like how to choose an appealing color palette, how to make sure your blog’s logo looks great on the web and in print, how to know when it’s time to redesign your blog, and the top ten design mistakes you can make.

Vittles: Fast, Healthy, Family-friendly: Not the Oxymoron You Might Think!

Read the Liveblog of the Fast, Healthy and Family-Friendly BlogHer Food Panel now.

Delicious dinners and “family friendly” need not be mutually exclusive. This session will provide tips on how the family cook can serve up quality food, even on a tight schedule. Bust out of your rut. FOOD”e” Stacey Ferguson will lead a discussion with Laurie David and Melissa Lanz and brainstorm around how to: shop and stock the pantry for success, meal planning, creative school lunch ideas, and even the joys of bringing back Sunday dinner.

Vocation: How Bloggers Work with Brands and Media

One size doesn’t fit all when deciding how to attract and then work with brands and the media. Four very different bloggers, Georgia Pellegrini, Amy Johnson, Hank Shaw, and Lori Lange will discuss how they make the most of their opportunities, and common pitfalls to avoid.

11:15am - 12:00pm Sponsor Demos and Sampling
12:00pm - 1:30pm Lunch and Author Interview: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way

“On a drizzly morning in August, 2005,” writes Molly Birnbaum, “I was hit by a car while jogging near my mother’s home.” An aspiring chef working at a high-end bistro in Boston, she soon discovered she would recover from the injuries, but writes “it was only later that I discovered the real tragedy: I had lost my sense of smell.” Her story is riveting. BlogHer co-founder Jory Des Jardins talks with Molly Birnbaum about her upcoming debut book Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way, a personal inquiry into the science, psychology and social history of scent. Facing a situation few of us can really imagine, explore what Molly learned and how food, cooking, and the senses played a key role in her recovery.

1:30pm - 2:45pm Session Two
Voice: Off the Dish: Writing About Food in Travel, History, and Experience

This session will focus on the value of placing food in a narrative context, rich in travel, history, culture, and tradition. Evocative food writers including Donna Pierce, Amelia Schaffner, and Diana Kuan, led by Garrett McCord, will discuss how we look at food, our history or personal experiences around it, how food can be intertwined within travel narratives and historical documentation, and why doing so gives us a credible, engaging voice.

Visuals: Vlogging for Beginners: Bring Your Cooking Videos to Life

Learn how to enhance the entertainment value of your blog by creating cooking videos. Using a mock studio kitchen, a consumer-friendly Flip cam, lights, and a computer, food bloggers will learn video production and editing basics from three veteran TV pros, including Liz Weiss, Carolyn O'Neil, and Mria Dangerfield, who met as CNN colleagues. All attendees will spec a cooking video, and several will have the opportunity to test-shoot some video live.

Vittles: Cooking Without Recipes

Are you jealous of cooks who don’t seem to need a recipe and can whip up gourmet dishes with a pinch of this and a dash of that? Fine Cooking Magazine’s popular Cooking Without Recipes features, along with their online Recipe Makers feature, is dedicated to letting all of us do that! Join Sarah Breckenridge from Fine Cooking as she shares the guidelines and best practices for making substitutions, riffing on recipes and creating your own masterpieces, no recipe required.

Vocation: Effective Social Networking for Food Bloggers

Social networking has become the most important adjunct to your food blog. Attracting and managing followers via social networks like Twitter and Facebook can be fun, but presents challenges as well. Led by Toby Bloomberg, Jaden Hair, Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, and David Lebovitz share “best practices” for traffic building, but also explore how to decide which tools are delivering the most value for you, so you can use the tools (and your time) most effectively.

3:00pm - 4:15pm Session Three
Voice: The New Generation

Flying a bit under the radar in the ever-growing food blogging community is a new generation of cooks and bakers. Meet the millennials, Gen-Y “digital natives” who are blogging about food, friendship and community, including Lauren McMillan, Tessa Arias, Kamran Siddiqi, Hannah Queen, and Elissa Bernstein. Come encourage the next generation of food lovers and bloggers, and reinvigorate your passion alongside theirs!

Visuals: Taking Your Blog Content to Mobile (Learning from What the Big Media Companies Are Doing)

The inevitable move of online content towards mobile needs to change how a lot of us are blogging – including food bloggers. In this session, folks at media companies talk about how they’re adapting their properties for mobile, and not always with a massive budget. The move to mobile means looking at your content and your tools and making the most of both. Lead by blogger Irvin Lin, Kelly Senyei from Gourmet Live, Tanya Steel from Epicurious, and Mark Levine from will share how they tackled the challenge.

Vittles: Recipe Development and Adaptation for Special Dietary Needs

There is an increasing demand to accommodate special dietary requirements and it can be a valuable niche for food bloggers. In this very practical session, bloggers Alicia Simpson, Alisa Fleming, Colette Martin, and Sarena Shasteen will talk vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and various types of allergen-free cooking. They will explore specific practices for substitutions and adaptations and how they might affect a recipe.

Vocation: SEO Smackdown

Bloggers have conflicting feelings about SEO: Is it the magic path to tons of traffic? Is it an evil technological impediment for good writing? Answer: neither. In this session Stephanie Stiavetti, Rene Lynch, Pamela Braun, and Geoff Allen are going to explain why and how you can optimize your blog’s search engine friendliness without suppressing your own human voice. Learn how to craft posts that are compelling to readers and readable by search engines.  We will also explore how to make sense of and use of Google’s controversial new Recipe microformat.

4:15pm - 5:00pm Sponsor Demos and Sampling
5:00pm - 5:45pm Innovator Interview: Food, Health, the Environment, and Raising a Generation That Cares About All Three

BlogHer co-founder (and proud vegan) Elisa Camahort Page talks with Academy Award-winning producer, environmentalist, and author Laurie David (An Inconvenient Truth, Stop Global Warming, The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a TIme) and Atlanta-based chef, food writer, and culinary educator Asata Reid (, Who’s Your Mama: The Unsung Voices of Women and Mothers, as well as for BET & Essence) about how battles for the health of the planet and its peoples – as well as local battles for our own health and well-being – can be won night after night at the kitchen table.

6:00pm - 7:30pm Welcome Reception
Day 2: Saturday, May 21, 2011
Time Event
10:00am - 10:15am Welcome
10:30am - 11:45am Session One
Values: Recipe Writing: Copyright, Credit, and Etiquette

One of the most common ethical issues you’ll face as a food blogger is the absolutely appropriate way to use and properly credit another cook’s recipe. Dianne Jacob, David Leite, and Liza Barry-Kessler will discuss the most perplexing issues, including the definition of "adapted" or "inspired by," when you need permission to post a recipe and what defines plagiarism, particularly if you have named the author and linked to their book or website. Is it enough to make minor tweaks to the ingredients list or techniques descirbed?  What, exactly, is copyrightable, and how do you do it? Come find out!

Visuals: Finding Your Visual Voice

Nearly every food blogger is looking to take their photography to the next level – whether they’re just starting out, or are more experienced. Technique is important, but developing and individual visual voice leads to distinctive culinary photography. We’ll explore how Aran Goyoaga, Tami Hardeman, and Stephanie Shih have cultivated their own unique style and how it impacts how they shoot.

Vittles: Foodie Mom, Picky Kid: Staying Motivated and Challenged When Your Kids’ Palates Are Challenging to Accommodate

It can be challenging to be a food-lover living with a picky kid, even if it’s just a “phase”. In this session talk about how to turn lemons into lemonade and find inspiration for your food blog not in spite of, but because of your ability to cook for persnickety palates. Food bloggers like Jenny Flake, Debbie Koenig, Caroline Campion, and Cindy Rowland can’t cook as adventurously as they’d like, so, they’re challenging themselves in other ways.

Vocation: Branding Ain't Just for Cattle: Set Yourself Apart from the Herd

Branding, marketing, & strategy are just jazzy terms to describe using common sense to communicate your personal and unique point of view. Casey Barber, Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, and Melissa Clark, bloggers with robust brands, talk about three ways food bloggers can build and promote their brand: define your goals to find your audience; telegraph your brand across your site and related media – while building community; and harness growth for a stronger readership and exposure beyond the blog.

11:45am - 12:30pm Sponsor Demos and Sampling
12:30pm - 2:30pm Excursion to Sweet Auburn Curb Market
2:45pm - 4:00pm Session Two
Values: Food Blogging for Change

The issues of food politics, policy and safety touch all our lives. Elaine Wu moderates a discussion with bloggers focused on these issues, including Andrew Wilder, Michelle Ferrier, Bettina Luescher, and Mrs. Q. We'll discuss how to leverage social media to raise awareness and spread the word – and how to keep readers engaged in our content, not suffering from compassion fatigue.

Visuals: Simple, Affordable Tools, Techniques, and Accessories to Improve Your Food Photography

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to create compelling, quality food photography. Sarah Olson and Alice Currah will explain simple and inexpensive ways to make big improvements in your images. Side-by-side comparison photos will help illustrate that the little things, from props to camera accessories, that can go a long way!

Vittles: Charcutepalooza: A Bumpin', Grindin', Sausage-Makin' Demo

Charcutepalooza: an interactive cooking demo that’s part educational seminar and part meat party.  Join Kim Foster, Cathy Barrow, and Sean Timberlake as they teach you, as only they can, how to bump, grind, season, and stuff your very own sausages. Humor, fun, press-on pig tattoos, and tasteless jokes aplenty!

Vocation: Professional-grade Recipe Development

It takes more than being a great cook to develop recipes other people can reproduce. The art comes first, of course: recipe development begins with the appealing combination of ingredients handled in just right way that results in a dish readers will love. Then the science kicks in: measuring, timing, and proceeding in a logical sequence that makes the recipe accessible and reliable. Join Alison Lewis, Marge Perry, and Katie Webster to learn what it takes to turn great food into recipes that will land you happy readers, and maybe even interested editors!

4:00pm - 4:45pm Sponsor Demos and Sampling
5:00pm - 5:45pm Closing Keynote: The Evolution of Food Writing: From Ivory Tower to Public Square

In a recent blog post Meridith Ford Goldman writes, “We move through, not around, to move on.” This could well describe the trajectories she and her panel-mates have taken. BlogHer co-founder Lisa Stone talks with three award-winning print media vets who’ve not only made the leap online, they’re thriving there: Molly O'Neill, longtime New York Times food writer and most recently author of One Big Table, the epic American cookbook and blog  (; Meridith Ford Goldman, longtime Atlanta Journal Constitution dining critic and food writer, now blogger at Life is Lemonade ( and editorial director at Atlanta-based marketing and public relations firm The Reynolds Group; and Tanya Steel, longtime Bon Appetit and Food & Wine writer, now Editor-in-Chief of Between them they have done every kind of media there is, and will speak about the burgeoning opportunity for everyone in the room, as well as directions they see for the future of food writing.

7:00pm - 9:30pm Closing Party at The Tabernacle