Speaker Spotlight: BlogHer Food Keynotes, Day One

BlogHer Original Post

BlogHer Food '12In a little over six weeks from now, hundreds of food bloggers and food blog readers, all kinds of food industry professionals, scores and scores of speakers, a whole bunch of sponsors, and around a dozen behind-the-scenes staff will be taking over the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle for BlogHer Food '12 (register here). Today I'm going to take a moment to introduce you in greater detail to keynoters for Day One of the conference.

White on Rice Couple

Diane Cu and Todd Porter kick off BlogHer Food '12 on Friday morning in the Spanish Ballroom, after breakfast (or over it, for those of us who are late risers or enjoy our food slowly). Diane and Todd, who've been publishing their blog White On Rice Couple since 2008, have a warmth and sincerity that radiates through all the work they do. But it may come through most eloquently through their photography, which spans a range from travel photography to portraits, still lives to videos, documentaries, and of course copious work in food photography, not just on their blog, but in commercial work from advertising to editorial to cookbooks. And while they could say a lot about the mechanics and gear and mastery of the camera behind their photography, what they're most excited to talk about in their opening presentation is Finding Your Voice. Want some amazing images? Look inward to find what it is that moves you the most, and that will animate and deepen your images. They'll show you.

BlogHer co-founder (and vegan gastronome) Elisa Camahort Page closes Friday's programming with an onstage conversation about The Intersection of Great Food, Good Health, and Social Justice. The interconnection of the first two is self-evident, but the weave between food, health, and social justice has become clearer and clearer in recent years, thanks in no small part to the work of people like Bryant Terry and Terry Walters, with whom Elisa will be digging into this topic with gusto.

Bryant -- chef, activist, cookbook author (The Inspired Vegan, Vegan Soul Kitchen, Grub) -- has long been guided by the conviction that "the food revolution will find its spark in home kitchens." In an interview at Colorlines in January of this year, Bryant talks about the hidden narrative of African American cuisine, and his interest in helping people see beyond what he calls the "antebellum survival food" that's often taken to represent the whole of it. But his preference to entice rather than harangue folks into change:

"Using food as an entryway, bringing people together through the central pleasures of the table, and getting people more invested in and excited about eating healthful, sustainable food, is a way to change people’s habits and attitudes, and their politics eventually."

For a taste, check out his online program Urban Organic, in which he explores how people are reclaiming urban spaces in inventive ways, to grow and share culturally appropriate, organic whole foods in neighborhoods that otherwise would be whole food "deserts."

Terry Walters brings her message about eating clean and living well to community groups, health and wellness centers, conferences, spas, corporate wellness programs, and farmer's markets around the country, and we're thrilled she's bringing it to us at BlogHer Food '12. In her books Clean Start andClean Food, Terry makes the nutritional and culinary basis of good health easy to grasp and nonjudgmental: eat a rainbow of color, all five tastes, and foods that are minimally processed for maximum nutrition. She also places this practice in a rich, holistic context, in which we listen to our bodies and nourish our families, communities, and our environment as well as ourselves. Like Bryant, she invites every bit as much as she informs. But don't take my word for it: let some of her recipes do the inviting!

We can't wait to share Diane, Todd, Bryant, and Terry with you this June in Seattle. Check out their work in the links above -- definitely try out their recipes -- and let us know what you think. And meanwhile, remember you can also check out the whole agenda here, meet some of your fellow attendees here, and get to know the rest of our incredible speakers here.

Next time: a spotlight on Day Two's keynotes!