A Food Blog Conference: Foodista 2010

Brendan Bybee

The Seattle food scene rolled out the red carpet to food bloggers during the Foodista convention the weekend of August 28. More than 250 bloggers from all over the United States attended the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC), which focused on the intersection of writing, technology, and food. In addition to experiencing great Seattle cuisine from some extraordinary restaurants, the bloggers were treated to a food truck gathering that featured brick oven pizza, Thai food, pork sliders with bacon jam, and much more.

The conference sessions were lively and informative. One of SAVEUR's own photographers, Penny De Los Santos, gave a rousing lecture on food photography, reminding her appreciative audience that they need to "capture the food in context" and that when "you shoot manually, you control the shot." There were sessions on food from the source, publishing, and the ethics and laws of food blogging, as well as "writing with one's senses," which challenged participants to describe a lemon without using any of the usual terms. Dr. Nathan Myhrvold spoke about modernist cuisine and caused a rather active Twitter discussion as to whether there was a disconnect between the locavore movement and science. Through it all, the Twitterverse was alive with comments, and at one point IFBC became a trending topic of the day.

The highlight of the conference was the keynote address by SAVEUR magazine's editor-in-chief, James Oseland. To rousing applause, he told the audience that blogging isn't "a popularity contest" and that he had been reading blogs since the mid-'80s, before there was a name for the concept. He said he found bloggers to be a great resource for authentic cuisine and thought that food blogging was all about sharing and celebrating food.

Serious learning and the solidification of friendships took place amid the beauty and elegance of Seattle's perfect end-of-summer weather. The conference was a wonderful opportunity for open discussion, great food, and the building of new relationships by bloggers of the food world.