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international food blogger conference

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?

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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