FoodBlogSouth – a Southern food blogging conference

by Melissa on January 23, 2011

Grits, pie and lots of incredible foodies: a few things that made up FoodBlogSouth – a Southern food blogging conference in Birmingham, Alabama.

I made the decision not to head to Birmingham on Friday afternoon, mostly due to a busy day of work on Friday, procrastination and some laziness.  Which meant that I needed to pry myself out of bed at 4:45am on Saturday morning, make myself look presentable, hop in the car and make the 3 hour drive to Birmingham. The drive itself actually turned out to be not that bad… just me, my latte and my Glee soundtrack.

Thanks to my paranoia of getting stuck in Atlanta traffic (even before sunrise on a Saturday morning), I left the house at 5:30am and arrived at historic Woodrow Hall at 7:32am, just in time for the beginning of registration. And to my surprise and delight, I won a door prize thanks to my Atlanta-traffic-paranoia (it went to the person who checked in first at registration in the morning). A beautiful cast iron skillet, isn’t she a beauty?

FoodBlogSouth was filled to the brim with wonderful sessions, fantastic speakers and great information.  The sessions included Marketing Your Blog, Social Media, Recipe Development, Blog to Book, Blogging for Business and Food Styling & Photography – pretty awesome stuff.

Christy Jordan of Southern Plate offered up some practical tips for marketing your blog. Christy was such a genuine, lovely person.  Adore her!  And I learned some recipe developing and testing techniques from Alison Lewis of Ingredients, Inc. and Virginia Willis. Who knew it that so much went into developing and writing every recipe?  Even something as simple as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

The session right before our lunch break was about “Southern Seafood after the Oil Spill.” I was very excited to hear what the panelists had to say about this topic, especially since this was something that I felt very strongly about (it’s the scuba diver/marine life lover in me).  A few interesting tidbits that I took away from the session:

– The species most affected by the spill were mollusks, oysters and shrimp.
– Much of the oil was cleaned up and bacteria in the gulf are processing the oil remaining in the gulf and turning it into natural waste, so seafood is safe
– In the Exxon oil spill, this type of bacteria didn’t exist in the cold climate.
– Exxon oil spill was refined oil. The BP oil was raw.

(Note: I’ll be writing more about this topic. My interest was (re)piqued during this session and I’m going to do some research with my friends at the Georgia Aquarium)

Lunch was a grits bar by Dyon’s Low Country. It was delicious! Thank you for having a vegetarian grits topping option!

Wade Kwon did a great session about Blogging for your Business.

Aside from that addictive cat video that he showed during the session (to make a point about making your blog posts more interesting than distractingly adorable animal videos), the thing that really stuck with me was the fact that many people are intimidated of going to a restaurant that they are not familiar with. My husband and I are the type of people who love trying new places, so it’s hard for us to imagine being weary of new restaurants.

The last break out session of the day was Food Styling & Photography with Jennifer Davick and Marian Cooper Cairns.  This was the session that I was looking forward to all day.  As a hoping-to-become-professional food photographer, it was a dream come true to learn from these ladies.  They went through a demo of an entire food photo shoot; it was really great to watch them in action.  Marian gave great tips for styling food, the details and thought process.  And Jennifer talked about seeing light and using different tools to manipulate that light.

What a great conference and gathering of foodies.  I loved being there, meeting people and just soaking it all in.  I came home both overwhelmed and inspired!  And, I can’t wait till next year!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Wade Kwon
January 23, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Thank you so much, Melissa! I loved that you spend your Saturday with us in Birmingham. If you ever have any questions, please let me know.


Melissa Crane
January 23, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Wade – I’ll def be in touch! And I’m so glad that I got to meet you (briefly) in person yesterday!



June 15, 2011 at 6:14 am

Wow! it looks so delicious.


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