Sunday, March 28, 2010

Food Blog Forum Los Angeles

Hi, my name is Jenny and I'm not a food blogger. Sometimes I am a food blogger stalker or an event planner or a traveler. To say that I am a food blogger is a gross exaggeration of reality [on account of the fact that I can't really cook].  But I desperately want to be one. 

Here is my shortlist reasons why I want to be a food blogger:
1.) The People:  First and foremost, these people are just so awesome and amazing.  I have met so many wonderful people. There is no online community who is more supportive than this one.
2.) Good Food: I don't exaggerate when I say that any time you go to a food blogger event, the food is going to be awesome.  
3.) Learning: My goal is to learn new things constantly.  I've learned so much from others as well as on my own through this blog. 

4.) Opportunity: Not to get into detail, but I've never had so many various opportunities as when first I started this blog.  New challenges, new possibilities. 

5.) Community: I know this points back to the People section but really, this needs to be addressed again. People like Jaden & Scott and Diane & Todd who are some of the busiest people I know, develop the Food Blog Forum to help share, GIVE AWAY FOR FREE, their knowledge and insight in developing a successful blog. I spoke with Diane just before this seminar and her words really stuck with me, "We just want to give back and help those who are just starting out." WHO DOES THAT??  These guys do.  

Food Blog Forum, Los Angeles
I almost started to cry when I first found out the date. I had 2 other commitments for that day but attending this was very important to me. 

There were so many favorite topics but to highlight just a few key points [because there are far more eloquent writers out there than I]:

"Find your passion...what is it that you want??" - Scott Hair, former Tony Robbins trainer,  paraphrased. He gave step by step instructions on finding your passion and how to achieve them.  What a dynamic speaker and with a gift to motivate. Jaden doesn't realize this but I plan to be camp out at her home some day.  Poor lady.

"Light, freshness of food, visual delectability, and sense of place are all components of what makes a successful food photo." Matt A & Adam P, totally paraphrased.  They spoke about building your plate for the camera, not necessarily to eat - use foods that are undercooked or overcooked depending on what the item is.  Build and layer to give your food depth.

"Assess your environment; decide the mood, feel, story of your photos; choose your gear, equipment and props." Diane C & Todd P, copied off their slide.  They gave the ever important tips on equipment, scouting out the best lighting for your shot, directional lighting, and the composition of light.  Todd even sat down in a squat to show us how to be a human tripod! 
Todd, Human Tripod

"Write for humans. Pick 2 - 5 keywords before you start to write. Don't use keywords more than twice." Gary N, almost verbatim because I didn't understand a word he was saying.  Ok, that's not totally true but I don't know much about SEO beyond what I read on wikipedia.  I learned things that I had no idea about - permalinks, Social Media Connect, Meta descriptions.

"Content + Authenticity + Passion + Diversity = Magic Formula" Jaden H, i think i wrote this right.  One thing I know about Jaden is she's an ideas person.  She can pop off more ideas in a 30 second period than anyone I know.  I dare you to go head to head with her.  You'll lose.  She gave us insight on what a "Platform" was [how many touch points to end customers]; how to have achieve income diversity [recipe development, photography, cooking classes, ghost writing]; monetize your website [giving tips on ad income]; and how to participate in community [Foodblogforum, twitter, Foodbuzz, blogHer, etc]. Just a few other gems from Jaden:
  • "Nothing exists without community."
  • "Find a rockstar in an unrelated industry and apply it to food."
  • "Give your knowledge away - that's how people will remember you."
  • "I'm a little strange and I like it." 
I was supposed to leave early but once I arrived, I was so transfixed that I just couldn't. Thanks to all the people I had the blessings to meet and see again:
@lafujimama - Rachael
@ihcuppycakes - Clara
@foodwoolf - Brooke
@delorganic - Carrie
@privatekitchen - Sara
@whiteonrice - Diane
@riceonwhite - Todd
@steamykitchen - Jaden
@mattbites - Matt
@adampearson - Adam

Thanks for not running away when I threw my arms around you in my bear hug. You'll just have to be quicker next time.


  1. Thanks for posting this recap Jen! I tweeted that I thought the FBF should come to the east coast and Jaden tweeted back that they will be in NYC in early August. Yeah, just when I am on a road trip in California. Talk about crying!

    I know what you mean about being a food blogger - sometimes I wish I could have all the benefits without that hard work of keeping up with a blog!! LOL!

  2. Thanks for the recap. I am sad I had to miss out. All of the fun happens in CA:) Glad you enjoyed yourself!

  3. Run away? I say BRING IT when it comes to hugs from you. Love all the photos you took. I think the one of Todd, the human tripod, is my favorite! Then again the group one is awesome too. I swear I am so indecisive. HA! So great to meet you. Hopefully it won't be the last time.

  4. It was an awesome day, wasn't it? They did a phenomenal job in putting it all together. I have to especially agree with you on the community point--never have I felt so much "myself" in a group of people. Being with other food bloggers puts me instantly at ease! I'm so glad I got to see you so soon after our macaron classes. When are we going to play again? It better not be in another 5 months... :) XOXO

  5. I love that we're creating such a great community in LA - I'm starting to see people again and and again, and it's such a vibrant, exciting and (to borrow from Scott) passionate community. Great seeing you again -- I'm sorry we didn't get to chat!

    And you so ARE a food blogger.

  6. It was such a fabulous day, I'm still reeling from it. I'm so glad I get to see you again soon in a few short weeks. Writing down of goals is beginning :)

  7. =) I'm so not there yet but YOU've inspired me! AND I just bought Jaden's book AND I've been reading the WhiteonRice blog everyday! I had a spring inspired stir fry last night. Not photo worthy but got lots of yums! =) Keep it up, chica! I'm sure I'll be buying your book soon too! ;)

  8. yayayayay!! it was such an amazing day. Now you are coming over for guacamole the day I get back from Florida! xoxo

  9. SEE! this is EXACTLY what I mean about community! You guys are the greatest!!

    Mardi & Maria: They did mention that they plan to make it a roadshow! cross fingers & eyes! :)

    Clara: It definitely won't be - you, rachael & I will have to be roomies for BlogHer Food! [if I can swing going myself!!]

    Rachael: Muwah! I'll see you & Gaby in 3 weeks! WOOO HOOOO!! Gaby, we should plan for something afterwards??!! grab a bite?? Have a bowl of Guac??

    Kate: Aww...thanks...i still don't feel like one yet, though!! Some day...Some day...

    Esi: eh your back, jack. I'm totally calling you out on that one! :) Muwahahaha!!

    Pegs: YAY! so glad you got her book! Jaden has some GREAT recipes!! Totally fool [Jenny] proof. No book from me...too much work! :)

  10. What a great recap! And your pics turned out awesome; so much better than mine. Don't you want to let me borrow it sometime?! Hint..Hint. Great to you see you again too & meet so many new faces; what an awesome time!

  11. "give away for free"? I'm pretty sure that "seminar" everyone attended was CLEARLY marketed as a for-profit, pay-to-play event.

    Everything that event taught could be googled for free, which makes their site clearly a traffic generator/revenue stream.

  12. What a great post! I live in L.A. and I didn't even know about this :(

  13. Sara: No problem! it was good seeing you again!

    Tony: I hope that their site IS a traffic generator/revenue stream for them. It doesn't change the fact that they're a great resource for new food bloggers - and it doesn't cost me a dime. I hope that with a successful site such as yours, you are also active or are interested in giving back to other newbie bloggers as well!

    Danielle: I'm sorry - i had tweeted about it! Follow me on twitter [@jenjenk] i try to update on certain LA area things. There's also a Food Bloggers Bake Sale on April 17th at the grove!


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