Expect the unexpected is a great motto, but it’s a hard one to follow. Especially if you like knowing what’s going to happen next.
Blogher Food ’09 was—without a doubt—a thoroughly surprising experience. I enjoyed meeting my blogging heroes and a throng of fascinating blogging personalities. I learned technical lessons, had theoretical discussions, and listened in on inspirational ideas about blogging. But one thing I didn’t expect was bad frozen food, rubber gloves for a chocolate dessert tasting, processed frosting in a can, and the organizers’ overall misunderstanding of the culinary needs of conference attendees. Though the programmed conference programs were educational (I wish I could have gone to all of them), the most disappointing aspect of the conference was the food.
CUE: HORROR MUSIC
I know. I couldn’t believe the organizers gross misunderstanding of their audience, either. Though food bloggers may share technological platforms with other bloggers, what sets us apart from other online publishers is our obsession over all things culinary.
Unlike most conferences where food isn’t even a consideration, a food blogging event requires an extreme amount of attention. For us food bloggers, every food item we encounter—from the water we drink, to the packaged nuts served to us on airplanes, or the herbs we grow in our gardens, to the pasta recipe we develop so we can make it from scratch, or even the 7-course tasting menus we travel around the world for—every item that passes our lips (or is passed before our eyes) requires in-depth study, photography, critique, and discussion.
Despite the detailed data collection concerning the Blogher Food conference attendees, the food portion of the event wasn’t given the appropriate amount of attention. In choosing a handful of process food sponsors, it was clear that the organizers of Blogher hadn’t taken into account the data they had collected. In the words of Use Real Butter, many of us felt insulted “that somehow BlogHer doesn’t know the difference between a mommy blogger and food blogger (oh, there is a huge difference).”
In short, the conference let down the attendees and the corporate sponsors that ponied up the necessary funds to make the event possible. Regardless of how hard pretty-boy Rocco Dispirito tried, there was little he could do to convince a room full of hungry food bloggers that Bertolli frozen pasta was the best meal that San Francisco had to offer.
Luckily, after the conference was over, a handful of generous food bloggers (Elise of Simply Recipes, Jaden of Steamy Kitchen and Ree of The Pioneer Woman) threw a fun-filled party with plenty of great tasting morsels and refreshing cocktails. Hungry folks that skipped the frozen food lunch and all the processed food, happily drank margaritas and munched on bites of freshly made Mexican food. Leah from Spicy Salty Sweet and I gobbled from plates and sipped our drinks as we met a handful of wonderful food bloggers from all over the country.
Expect the Unexpected–Part II
The next morning Leah and I slept in at our Union Square hotel. We dressed, packed our things, and stowed our luggage so that we could head out on foot for a day of eating.
We started in the Mission at Dynamo Donut where we sipped our first Gilbrator (equal part espresso to steamed milk), read the NYT, and between photos we sampled three donut flavors: Maple-Glazed Apple Bacon, Chili Chocolate, and Cherry Cornbread with Cardamom.
After our sugar and caffeine driven breakfast, Leah and I walked several miles to the Ferry Building. For the first time, I allowed myself the freedom to explore and let the city dictate what would happen next.
We never expected we’d encounter such incredible sights. This time it was wonderful to be surprised.