International Food Blogger Conference 2010

Opening Party at the IFBC

This weekend I attended the International Food Blogger Conference here in Seattle.  I had been looking forward to this event for months, and I was not disappointed.

Imagine walking into a cocktail party with two hundred and fifty or so extremely animated people you’ve never met before, all of whom want to talk about exactly what you want to talk about.  They are witty, interesting, humorous, and curious about you.  Then sprinkle in a few fascinating celebrities you’ve always wanted to meet—yes, that’s Morgan Spurlock over there drinking a cosmo, and indeed that was Dianne Jacob who just joined your conversation with fellow food blogger Father Leo.  Throw in chefs offering tidbits of their finest creations, all the wine you care to drink, and gifts to take home with you.  There are people walking around with a lamb pop in one hand, a camera in the other, and a grin from ear to ear…and oh yes, it doesn’t end on Friday night.  All of this goes on for three days.

Cod BLTs by Jason Wilson of Crush

I learned something from every speaker, but there were a few that really knocked my socks off: Penny De Los Santos, whose session on food photography was so inspiring that she had her audience in tears, then on our feet for a standing ovation; and Dr. Nathan Myhrvold, who talked about the multi-volume cookbook he is producing, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking .  Wow.  Just, wow.

 For an excellent rundown on all of the sessions from the conference, check out my new friend Kendra’s posts about the weekend over at Kitchen Report.

I met, ate with, and learned from some amazing, passionate bloggers, like Feed Yourself, Teenie Cakes, Rural Eating, Purple House Dirt, Awake at the Whisk, Food Flirt, Stephen Cooks, Savour Fare, and so many others.  

Food Bloggers at Lunch

Truly remarkable chefs produced food for hundreds of people at a time without even breaking a sweat–like it was no big deal at all to plate 250 meals while hungry bloggers vied for photos, asked questions, and generally acted like a plague of tipsy locusts.  

Marinated Octopus with Chickpeas and Preserved Lemon

I love trying new foods, and I had a couple of firsts at the conference.  Somehow I have lived in the Pacific Northwest my entire life without trying Geoduck  clams—until I walked up to the table where two grinning guys from Taylor Shellfish Farm presided over a very…umm…substantial geoduck on ice and some gorgeous, delicate plates of geoduck ceviche and crudos.  They led me through the initiation rites–squeezing lime over a morsel of geoduck, spearing it with a toothpick, dragging it through kosher salt, and popping it in my mouth.  It was good!  Crunchy but yielding, and after the initial tequila shot blast of lime and salt, it tasted of nothing but fresh seawater.  

Geoduck Ceviche

And then there was the Steak Tartare, served up at lunch on Saturday by Daisley Gordon of Campagne.  I generally prefer my meat in a state of advanced char.  But how could I pass up the opportunity to jump into a new experience with both feet?  The chef answered my questions about the provenance of the beef, then he handed me a plate.  After picking up a glass of the paired wine, I wandered around a while, joined a group at a stand-up table, generally stalled, and then I finally spread the ground steak on a slice of bread, topped it with a few greens…and became an instant devotee.   I went back for seconds.  

Steak Tartare

On Sunday, a convoy of gourmet food trucks roared and chugged into position outside before lunch.  The odors of fire and meat and goodness filled the air, and we all stampeded outside. 

Kaosamai Mobile Lunch Cuisine

It was wonderful to spend an entire weekend eating, drinking, and making merry like a gluttonous duchess.  But in the end, it’s not just about partying like it’s 1999.  Here’s what I came away with: Pay attention to what you put in your mouth, where it came from, what it is made from and how.  Food should be shared, so gather together in community.  Be inspired.  Be passionate.  Be brave.  And never forget those who are absent from the table.  

Salmon Carpaccio from Seastar Restaurant

Secret Sherry Society Pre-Dinner Cocktail Party

Secret Sherry Society

Crispy Trout from Kaosamai Mobile Lunch Cuisine

Taco and Tamale from El Camion Taco Truck

Rolling Fire Pizza

Pike Brewing Co. Beers Proved Popular

  

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24 thoughts on “International Food Blogger Conference 2010

  1. Natalie

    How amazing, I totally agree with what you said, pay attention to what you eat, what it’s made of and where it comes from. Often it is the difference between a good sausage and a vile one! Brilliant post – again!

    Reply
  2. Cristina @ TeenieCakes

    Hi Christina: It was so good to meet you and glad we had some time over lunch to chat.

    I enjoyed your post on the IFBC experience. You’ve explained it so well what an amazing time it was like at the reception. Spirits high, amazing food and conversation about the things you’re passionate about w/respect to food and your food sites/blogs with others that speak your lingo. ;) I hope I can make to next year’s.

    Reply
  3. Victoria

    Woo hoo! I made it into a conference photo! That’s my hand in the lunch shot. I’m setting up MY lunch shot.

    Very nice post. I like what you said about remembering those who aren’t at the table. When I think of those not at a table like the tables at the conference, I know that the conference was a privilege. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to shell out this kind of money to hang out with people who like to blog and eat. Too many people can’t get their hands on food basics. I’ve read several conference blog re-caps in which people complained of not getting enough food, they had to supplement lunch with one of the many fabulous food joints in Fremont. I just shake my head. Really? We’re in the middle of a food frenzy and you’re not getting enough? And then you complain that you had to get food from a great restaurant? OK, I will not get on my soap-box.

    Really nice coverage, thanks for posting it!

    Reply
    1. The Rowdy Chowgirl Post author

      Too funny! Your hand is a star…

      And I’d gladly join you up on that soap box, sister. I left the conference so completely grateful and aware of how privileged I am.

      Reply
  4. CookwithClaire

    When I saw your pre-conference post telling us that you were going to attend the conference I knew we would be in for a wonderful post-conference summary! Thanks for sharing and hope to attend one in the future.

    Reply
    1. The Rowdy Chowgirl Post author

      Abby-I think I first heard about the IFBC on the Food Blog Forum–there is so much great information on there–have you checked it out?

      Reply
  5. Velva

    OMG! What an absolutely fabulous event. Next year, I had the Blogher conference on my list. A foodie conference would be awesome.

    Thanks for sharing this event with us!!! I know you made a lot of new friends.

    Reply
  6. Lynne

    I loved reading your perspective on the whole event. Even though I was there, you helped me see it with new eyes. I’m still processing my experience, and now you’ve helped put some other thoughts into the mix. Morgan Spurlock’s admonition for bloggers to go out and DO something and your comment to remember all those who can’t be at the table stand out the most. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. The Rowdy Chowgirl Post author

      Lynne-I feel like I’m still processing the experience too. Who knows where it will lead us food bloggers? I’m looking forward to finding out!

      Reply
  7. SMITH BITES

    so happy to see your review of the event and loved that you met some of the people I tweet with – especially Jenny, from Purple House Dirt – looking forward to meeting her next month BlogHer Food! and yay to you for trying new things!!! and Penny De Los Santos? omg – listened to her on the U-stream live – so inspiring brought tears to my eyes!! great post, Rowdy!

    Reply
    1. The Rowdy Chowgirl Post author

      I’m looking forward to your recap of BlogHer Food, Debra. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

      Reply
  8. Monet

    I want to go so badly next year. I’ve been seeing everyone’s experiences and it sounds like it was just amazing. I love all the pictures you included (especially the picture of that crispy trout…yum!)

    Reply
  9. Stella

    Nice Rowdy, and I totally noticed Morgan Spurlock in the top photo before reading. I guess it makes sense that he would be there. He did make the movie ‘Super Size Me’ and his wife is a vegan chef, I think?!
    Glad you had fun, and so awesome that you could go…
    p.s. in tears over photography?! Wow, Penny de los Santos must be a great public speaker;)

    Reply
    1. The Rowdy Chowgirl Post author

      Stella-
      Yep, Super Size Me and a vegan wife, that’s right. Morgan Spurlock was the opening night speaker. He was hilarious, intense, and awesome.

      Reply

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