This is the 5th International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) and the 2nd one I’ve been to. It was a 3 day event starting on Friday, Sept 20th. I also went to the 2nd in 2010 which was also in Seattle. I would have gone to others if they were in Seattle but they tried out a few other cities for the past couple of years but next year they will be back in Seattle again for 2014 IFBC which will be even bigger and I’ve already registered for it. You can’t beat the blogger price of $95! The low price is possible because it is expected that you blog and share on social media about the event and the sponsors.
Lunch & Registration
Day 1 started at noon with registration and a lunch provided by Chipotle Mexican Grill and ice cream from Cupcake Royale. I will admit right now that I did indulge in a few things that I wouldn’t normally eat, like ice cream. Chipotle was serving up bowls of goodness with a choice of gluten free carnitas or Tofu Sofrita with your choice of toppings. I went with the carnitas (pork) bowl and got a little of everything on it (cilantro lime rice, beans, cheese, pickled onion, salsa and guacamole) and yes it was tasty. Cupcake Royale had a few different flavors to choose from and some got tastings of all four. They served them up in tiny little sugar cones or a bowl. I went with a bowl with just a little of the Stumptown Coffee with Dark Chocolate and it was as good as it sounded.
After stuffing our faces we met in the large conference room for the Keynote speech given by Dorie Greenspan. She is an amazing woman that has done so much in her life and she doesn’t take a moment for granted. She said how she’s always pinching herself because she is living her dream and wants to make sure she isn’t really dreaming. She’s published 11 books and has gotten to work with some amazing people including Julia Child. Her face lit up when she talked about Julia Child as you can see in this photo I captured of her. She encouraged everyone to just do what makes you happy and to “always say yes” to any opportunities that come your way. Her speech was very inspiring and made me believe I can do anything I set my mind to.
When we sat down for Dorie’s keynote, there were paper bags full of snacks and drinks which some people started snacking on but they were for the next session: Live Food Blogging with Amazon.com Grocery. It was like speed dating with food. Everyone dumped the contents of about 15 different products from their bags on the table. There was a representative for each product that spoke about the product and their company for about 5 minutes while everyone tasted, tweeted and instagramed the products. I didn’t post about all 15 but I did Suja Juice, Manuka Doctor Honey, Navitas Naturals Dragonfruit, Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai, and Sahale Snacks Maple Pecans. I didn’t actually open and try them all, most of the people didn’t because they wanted to save them for later. But I did try the Suja Juice and honey and they were both great. I was happy to see that most of the products were gluten free and organic however many contained sugar and/or cane syrup.
Making Your Blog Work for You
Next on the agenda was a choice of 3 different sessions. I decided on the one titled Making Your Blog Work for You. This was presented by Michael Cain, a theme designer and developer for WordPress. I have used WordPress before for other blogs like my D&D Adventure blog which isn’t a food blog but I did blog about the spread of food we had at each of our gaming sessions. I’m still trying to decide if I want to move my Gapeys Grub blog to WordPress or not. If I do it will probably be on my own server and not the wordpress.com site. Though I’ve been thinking of getting rid of my agape1.net domain which is hosted by bluehost since I don’t really use it anymore. After attending the session I haven’t really come any closer to a decision. My photos are hosted on Smugmug and it looks like they have some kind of wordpress integration but not sure if they host it or not. I’ll need to look into that more before I decide. Blogger has served me well over the years so I may just stick with them for now.
Instead of handing out swag bags like years past they had what they called a “gift suite” where the products were layed out on tables in a conference room and a pile of orange allrecipe bags on one side of the room and a pile of green California Olive Ranch/Bob’s Redmill bags on the other and you walk around the room and stuffed your bags. There was plenty of stuff for all and everyone was polite and there wasn’t any pushing and shoving. I thought it was a good idea to do it this way that way people took what they wanted and weren’t stuck with a bunch of stuff they didn’t want. For example, I passed on a few things like a wisk because I already have 2 or 3 wisks in my kitchen and I really didn’t need another one. I also passed on a lot of the drinks because I already had a bunch from the live blogging event earlier. Plus those things are heavy and my arms were going to fall off if I put any more stuff in my bags.
Taste of Seattle and Gourmet Fair
A Taste of Seattle & Gourmet Fair finished off the evening. Some of Seattle’s best chefs and restaurants served up some amazing food. There were so many options that I didn’t even get to try everything. My favorite dish of the night was served by Volunteer Park Cafe (Burrata with concord grapes, brioche crouton, pancetta and sweet potato coconut curry bisque). I love burrata. It’s like cheesy butter and the bisque was spicy and full of flavor. In total I tried dishes from 9 different tables and wished I had room to try more. It was a great ending to the first day of IFBC. Click on the photo below to go to flickr and hover over the plates for a description of what each dish was and who made it.