Aug 30, 2010

ifbc Full Day at Theo Chocolate

The first full day of the conference began at 7:45 a.m. at Theo Chocolate in Fremont. I parked my car in front of the Foundry. Fremont was deserted for the moment. A couple of the locals walking dogs. A man and a woman on bikes perusing the dumpsters. The air was chilly. I knew the conference would provide coffee from Caffé Vita but I wanted a latte. No time. More than the latte I wanted to get inside, scout out the space, pick the seat I preferred - toward the back, on the end.

Loved the space in the Theo Chocolate warehouse. Big. Plenty of room in the back for walking, gathering grub and mingling. White lights were strung on high. A stage in front. A large screen communicated with several laptops of presenters. On the table in front of each chair was placed a small puzzle book provided by Andrews McMeel Publishing. Along the floor the organizers had taped power strips to accommodate all of the laptops attendees would bring. The place was dripping with bandwidth.
Breakfast looked yummy. Baked goods provided by Bakery Nouveau, PCC Natural Markets, and Driscoll's Berries. Don't get me wrong, the twice baked almond croissant and the chocolate croissant and the buttered baguette were heavenly. But next year I hope there is a little protein for the taking. When the choices are pastry and fruit, you just set yourself up for a sugar coma. I'd lie to see some yogurt cups or hard-boiled eggs or cheese.

Our first session was The Art of Recipe Writing with Amy Sherman, author of
Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers: Classic Recipes Redefined and the blog Cooking with Amy; Dianne Jacob, best-selling author of Will Write for Food; and Kristine Kidd, cookbook author and former food editor at Bon Appétit. Really good conversation. I took pages of notes but let's boil it down.

To consider:
  • Who is my audience?
  • Why am I sharing this recipe?
  • What is my voice?
  • Attribute sources.
  • Use more than one measurement in a recipe.
  • Use more than one indicator in cooking directions.
  • Titles should be straight-forward, descriptive, fun.
  • Headnotes should invite the reader.
Next we had Technology, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Building Traffic, and Social Media Blog Traffic with Joy Victory, Editorial Czar; Barnaby Dorfman, CEO; and Mani Dhillon from

I admit, some of this info is lost on me. I'd be lying if I said I was very interested in stats and hits and feeds and ranks and trends and so on. I want people to read my blog, of course I do. But I can't spend too much time worrying about how many are reading, when, from which IP addresses, how they found me and if they linked to me and such. I don't have enough time as it is to post as often as I'd like so my extra time for blogging needs to be spent blogging.

However, I did learn a couple of things. I will check out Google Analytics and Google Webmaster so I am familiar with each.

Now we move on to Writing With All Five Senses taught by Kathleen Flinn, writing teacher and best-selling author of The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry. Here is a little exercise for all of you. Write a few sentences describing this lemon. The rules are that you can't use the words
lemon or yellow. Go. Tricky, huh? Then tell me how it tastes but don't use the word citrus.
Then it was on to lunch and conversation. I was really happy to meet and chat with The Rowdy Chowgirl, Rural Eating, Teenie Cakes, and purple house dirt.

Food prepared by:
Daisley Gordon of Campagne
Chef Shannon Galusha of Bastille Cafe and Bar
Chef Jason Stratton of Spinasse
Chef John Howie of Seastar Restaurant, John Howie Steak, and Sport Restaurant and Bar

Wines provided by Walla Walla Wine Alliance.
Octopus and chickpeas. Very good.
Beef tartar.
A nice display by Seattle Urban Farm, Co.But then back for another plate of salmon from Seastar.Writing/Technology: Ethics of Food Blogging Moderated by Barnaby Dorfman

This session covered FTC laws, blogger disclosure, recipes and copyright law, and blogging etiquette. The session was presented by Robin Goldstein, IP attorney, author and food/wine blogger and Robert Schroeder, Director of the FTC's Northwest Regional Office in Seattle.

Definitely take the time to read Robin's What Does It Take To Get A Wine Spectator Award of Excellence?. Eye-opening but, sadly, not surprising.

I wasn't feeling well since earlier in the day. A severe sore throat attacked me somewhere on the viaduct because I didn't have it when I left the house and I didn't notice it until the first conference session began. By the end of the ethics and law session I was just not well. I knew I couldn't make it through the next session let alone cocktails and dinner. I wasn't at all pleased about having to leave but I knew if I got home and got busy doing very little, I would feel better the next day and I really did not want to miss Sunday.

Basically, I missed the following on Saturday:

Food From the Source: People Who Will Change The Way You Think About Food
Jack Czarnecki, Oregon White Truffle Oil; Debra Music, Theo Chocolate; and Andrew Stout, CEO/Founder of Full Circle Farm.

Tapas provided by Chef Philippe Thomelin of Olivar Restaurant.

Winemaker's Dinner with James Oseland, Editor-in-Chief of Saveur.

Once I got home I finally had a chance to dig through the swag bag from Friday night. This doesn't include the accumulated items form various sponsors that I collected in the ifbc bag I received when I checked in.


Anonymous said...

Nicely writte, Bo!


The Rowdy Chowgirl said...

Lovely to meet you this weekend! And you make an excellent point about spending your blogging time actually blogging rather than obsessing over your stats. Good for you. Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

feedyourself said...

Rowdy, thanks for reading! I'm still processing the whole weekend. I can't possibly write about everything I took notes on and everything I remember. Just trying to get the basics. Very nice to meet you. Going to fill out the survey now.

Cathy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cathyeats said...

I was at IFBC but somehow we didn't meet. Maybe next year! Your photos are great.

feedyourself said...


There just wasn't enough time! I was just getting into the swing of it when it was over. I'll look for you next year. Thanks for reading!

feedyourself said...

Diane, thanks! I still have another day to cover.


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