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I just spent 3 days at the IFBC in the trendy Fremont district of Seattle. Aside from suffering temporary red wine and dark chocolate overload, I’m feeling a renewed interest in food, blogging, recipe writing, online friends and photography. My geek side has been stimulated, I discovered Theo coconut curry chocolate and I had my first taste of sherry – ever. I made new friends and solidified online friendships with real-time, face-to-face hugs.

Here are a few highlights from the conference, some tips from the presenters and a mix of random photos I took while in Seattle. If you’re uninterested, you can bail out now by clicking here for creative recipes from Saveur Magazine or here for a follow-up anatomy video from Gil Hedley, the science guy behind my prior post.

Tips from Session 1: The Art of Recipe Writing, Amy Sherman, Dianne Jacob, Kristine Kidd

• Make sure your recipe title is straightforward and descriptive.
• Give more than 1 indicator. Sauté onions for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
• Attribute your source. Inspired by, or adapted from.
• Supply 2 amounts. Four scallions chopped, about 1/4 cup.
• Use the word about when indicating times. Bake for about 30 minutes.

The subject of whether food bloggers should charge when companies ask to use their recipes was a heated one. What do you think? If a cookbook author, product company, marketing group or food writer wants to use a blogger’s recipe, should you (the food blogger) charge them for it? Or, be thrilled to have the exposure?

Stuff from Session 4: Law, Ethics and Bullshit (seriously), Robin Goldstein, Robert Schroeder from the FTC, Barnaby Dorfman of

Recent Advances in Bullshit Reduction by attorney, author and food/wine blogger Robin Goldstein was one of the most entertaining presentations of the event. What does it take to get a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence? Not much, we discover. For more information and a PDF file of his Power Point presentation, check here. In addition to his law degree from Yale, Robin has degrees in neuroscience and philosophy from Harvard. Smart, cute and quirky. Charming mix. He had the room a-twitter.

Pictures from Session 8: Food Photography, Penny De Los Santos (she was definitely the cool kid on the block)

I got so much from this session with Penny, senior photographer for Saveur (and National Geographic). She’s reverent, witty, offbeat, colorful and full of brilliant information for taking better pictures. Here are a few of her tips:

• A good picture needs the right light, color and composition.
• Use a photo of hands holding food once. No more. Ever.
• Camera angles include overhead (except for tall food), 3/4 angle, and from the side.
• Always consider the background.
• Not all food looks good from the same angle.
• Don’t get too close to the food. Let it breath. Give it room.
• Diffuse and soften harsh light.
• Shoot a variety of shots – food in the process, empty plates with details.
• Practice your photography regularly, give yourself assignments.

To see her work, check here and here. Go – go there now. Actually, wait until you’re finished reading this post, you’ll never come back. She’s amazing.

I took this photo during the Winemaker’s Dinner with James Oseland, the editor-in-chief of Saveur Magazine. His keynote speech was fun, informative, silly and uplifting. He’s doll. Tweet, tweet.

Food bloggers, cameras in hand, descend upon the lunch tables.

My new best friend. She blogs at I was totally jealous of her Seattle tan.

Lady Gaga meets the Jetsons.

This was a GF peach and berry cobbler made by Danny of gluten-free girl and the chef. He made some of the food for the GF crowd. Thank God I have celiac disease, as there was a sign on the table saying the food was for the “GF folks only.” If you’d like a glimpse of the main course, which was prosciutto wrapped sockeye salmon over GF pasta with lemons, anchovies, pine nuts and olives, check here. Hands down, the best meal at the event. Shauna (gluten-free girl) and Danny have a new cookbook coming out in September. You can pre-order it here.

Danny’s arugula, fig and bacon salad. It was divine. I had 5 servings.

No, this is not a photo of a blonde pony tail with mall bangs. It’s Morgan Spurlock of Super-Size Me fame being interviewed at the IFBC welcome party. He’s very funny. As was the delightful interviewer (who was that guy, someone please tell me). Morgan’s wife is Alex Jamieson, author of Living Vegan for Dummies. She did a presentation with Shauna on blogging for specialized diets. They were a lively and informative pair and the talk encouraged a lot of discussion from the audience. Awareness of food sensitivities is increasing and that’s a good thing. Thank you, ladies.

The garden mobile and the pork mobile.

Fresh flowers were everywhere. I love that. No bad moods allowed.

Pike Place Market. Can you find the spelling error? And the hip and groovy melon?

Peace, love, friends and food. What more could you ask for?

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28 Responses to “international food blogger conference”

  1. michelle says:

    Great photos and notes…made me sorry I wasn’t there…thanks for sharing

    • Melissa says:

      Michelle, Thank you for your comments. It was a great conference and the goodie bag was over-the-top! Watch out for it next year. It’s worth going. Food, fun and new friends!

  2. Love this recap & I loved meeting you Melissa! You’re wonderful!! (((((((((hugs!!)))))))))

    • Melissa says:

      Carrie, I loved meeting you and your hubby as well. What a good sport he was! You two are sooo cute. Wish we would have had more time together. We’ll have to do it again some day!

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  4. So glad you did this recap! Great pix and is now my fav site as well 🙂 It was such a pleasure hanging with you in Seattle – hugs and kisses! carol

    • Melissa says:


      Thank you! It was a blast and we’ll have to do it again next year. Maybe it will be in Europe one of these years. How fun would that be?! Good luck with your new book. Can’t wait for it to come out.

  5. Megan says:

    Of course. I love Brusses Sprouts.

  6. Melissa! What a lovely recap with gorgeous photos of IFBC. You must know how utterly sad I was not to be there…but all for the right reasons. I will send you an email with details. Meantime, I look forward to whatever you ‘cook’ up in writing and more inspiration!

  7. Melissa, you did such an amazing job with this post–words and photos! I’m holding back on mine trying to think of all the right words, although I should probably just go ahead and post it, because I don’t think I can come up with words or photos to convey it all. Especially how it felt to meet you in person … laugh together, drink some wine together, enjoy some incredible gazpacho and carrot soup, and so much more (I won’t tell all our secrets LOL). Now that we’ve met, there will have to be more meetings and outings–lots more! 🙂 And, didn’t we have the best group of folks to hang out with ever? Oh, and you’re right … those food celebrities weren’t bad either. 😉

    Love and hugs,

  8. Melissa, you did such a wonderful job with this post. Your pictures are amazing! My favorite is those crazy shoes. hehe! I am thinking they would be perfect for a Halloween costume!
    I love your summaries of each of the sessions, too!
    I am so so happy that I was able to get to know you. You have the most awesome spirit and energy. I just wanted to spend so much time with you. And your nutrition knowledge is amazing, to boot!

    • Melissa says:


      We’re on the same track with our nutrition focus! Thanks for your comments, coming from you, they have lots of meaning since you’re so good at putting blog posts together! You definitely have the creative and techy side blended into perfection. Yes, those shoes were really something, weren’t they. Loved the colors. Can’t imagine wearing them since I find vibram soles a must. =)

      It was sooo much fun meeting you. Happy birthday!

  9. Melissa says:


    When I first read your comment, I had no idea what you were talking about. I didn’t see the “Brusses sprouts” spelling error. Good one! There’s another one as well. And did you see the hip and groovy melon?

    I’m impressed, Megan. You really are a detail girl! Neurotically so. =)

  10. Melissa says:


    Thank you! We missed you and I must say, I was really looking forward to connecting with a fellow organic veggie queen. =) But you needed to be with your family. Food conferences are here to stay. There’s always next year! We’ll plan on it.

    Sending good energy your way. My thoughts are with you.


  11. Melissa says:


    Thank you. Your kind words mean a lot to me and I really did try to take some of what we learned in those sessions and apply it to my blogging. You’re right, it’s hard to take an experience like that and craft the words to bring it to life. It was so great to finally meet you and hang out. What a blast! Although it was way too short. Next time we need to add a day on each end for fun. You and Diane seem to have that part down. =)

    By the way, I listened to a live interview with Penny and Barnaby yesterday. It was a bit of a recap of what was said at IFBC, but I was re-inspired by their comments and suggestions. I’ll post the link to the YouTube video of the talk. It was great.


  12. Wonderful summary…thank you so much for sharing and for coming to the event.

  13. Melissa says:


    Wait, Barnaby, come back.

    I have so much more to say. Lets have lunch and talk. Should we think about Paris, London or Venice for next year? After all, it is the International Food Blogger Conference.


  14. Alta says:

    What a fun time, and a great summary! That salad looks so simple and divine. And I love Penny de los Santos’s work – it is breath-taking!

  15. Melissa says:


    Yes, we had a blast. Wish you could have been there. Penny is amazing. Breath-taking is right. I watched an interview with her online yesterday. I’ll post the link on Facebook if I can find it. It will be on YouTube in the next day or so.

    Thanks for the comment. Always appreciated!

  16. Cid says:


    I think London is a great idea….. and we could squeeze in Paris and Venice if Barnaby insists 🙂


  17. Melissa says:


    I actually suggested London because of you and all the wonderful food friends I have on the other channel. Barnaby Dorfman is the creator of and the guy who puts on these International Food Blogger Conferences.
    Miles, of course, will be one of the featured chefs. And after the conference, we’ll have Anne give us a culinary tour through Germany. Plates in hand.


    Hope you’re having a pleasant summer!


  18. Thank you! I got a huge vicarious thrill from reading your post. I’m going to the blogher conference in San Fran in Oct – can’t wait!

    • Melissa says:

      Ellen — You’re welcome and I’m sure I will get a huge vicarious thrill from reading your update about BlogHer! I’m envious. You’ll have a blast in San Francisco. Wish I was going!

  19. I love the tips from Sessions 1 and 8! It’s always nice to get some guidance/feedback from the blogosphere experts.

    As far as whether food bloggers should charge when companies ask to use their recipes, I think if one is blogging for the right reasons he/she should be thrilled for the exposure. Blogging is about connecting with others who share similar interests and forming relationships that would otherwise be unattainable–doing it for profit takes away its from its informational value. But I do see how it would be tempting.

    What do you think?

  20. Melissa says:

    Hi Nicole,

    Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your thoughts on all of this. I agree with your sentiments about making connections and friendships, that’s what most of this is about for me as well. Some of the recipe writers at the IFBC said they disliked it when bloggers gave away their recipes because it diminished their (the “real” recipe writers) opportunity to make money. Hmmm? I think we’re all “real” recipe writers if we cook and blog about it, whether we make money doing it or not. =)

    I do it for the joy of sharing and to satisfy my creative interests. But, in a way, it’s also a “marketing” tool for me, an online brochure. Nutrition is my business and this is a nice way for me to connect with people.

  21. Kristine says:

    OH EM GEE. international food blogger conference??! sounds like a better conference than the ones I usually go to! I love your humor, Lady Gaga meets Jetsons?! I. Die. Laughing.

  22. Melissa says:

    OMG! I love your version and I must admit, I love your humor, too. The food blogger conference was wonderful and now this weekend I get to spend 2 days in a blood chemistry analysis workshop. That’s probably more inline with what you’re doing. Omegas for nutrient deficiencies?! =)

    Thanks, Kristine!

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