Friends asks "What was it like?", and I struggle for a single, quick answer. So here's a somewhat rambling, lengthier collection of memories and events that stand out from the very long 7:00 am - 9:30 pm Day Two at IFBC2014.
An early breakfast hosted by Noosa Yoghurt brought a crowd into the Westin's 4th floor foyer and Grand Ballroom I. The yogurt plus toppings and muffins tempted many, but I really savored the opportunity to grab a coffee and connect with other bloggers, product reps and vendors. We were a noisy, enthusiastic, sociable group - a large portion of the 440 attendees, from 30 states and provinces, including 5 other countries besides Canada.
Keynote speakers Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, authors of The Flavor Bible and What to Eat with What You Drink, shared their views on the food blogger's mission: Learn, Educate, Entertain,Inspire... and I may have missed one more. Memorable quote: "Being a good writer has to do with living an authentic life." (So, what's a non-authentic life?) They covered current food trends, highlighting the move toward plant-based diets. I can lean in that direction with Meatless Mondays and eating more produce, but as a happy omnivore I'm not ready to forego meat, seafood, dairy and the like. I did add their books to my library reserve list.
The second featured speaker, Todd Coleman, sparked interest and some controversy regarding ethical practices during his presentation on Modern Editorial Photography (and Video): Scrappy Light, Hidden Props and Magic. Coleman's visuals were striking, each illustrating a composition, lighting or prop decision. I took copious notes here and will play with several of his techniques in future shoots. Memorable opinion: forget about any requirement for natural light and "...use it when it serves the moment."
Thierry Rautureau, The Chef In The Hat, did a pre-lunch cooking demo that was as entertaining as I had expected. Working with local, seasonal produce he whipped out simple dishes with few ingredients and big flavor.
- Chanterelles sautéed in butter, roasted yellow plums with a touch of harissa, slivered sage and a fluff of arugula all piled atop a crostini slice pan-seared in butter.
- His quick pickling brine formula (3 water/2 vinegar/1 sugar) plus herbs and spices to brine or dress veggies and fruits.
- A blend of watermelon pulp, mustard, EVOO and a bit of harissa plus herbs to dress a stack of melon slices and burrata.
Lunch and the afternoon went by in a blur of more food, more networking, and a time slot lacking any sessions of interest (to me). Time dragged. I drooped. Dropped into a session and daydreamed, half-listening to information I already knew. Departed quietly.
Dianne Jacob, author of Will Write for Food, led my last session of the day. "So, How Did it Taste?"
covered literary techniques designed to wake up food writing, a very brief seminar on specificity and evocative language. Memorable quote: "Adjectives are the crack of food writers"... they need other tools. Oops! I may never use delicious or tasty again. I added her book to my library reserve list.
Quiet sociability filled the pre-dinner lull, a chance to hang out in the foyer and enjoy longer conversations with interesting people. So interesting that many of us missed the reception in another room. Then came the big food event, A Taste of Seattle & Gourmet Fair, a chance to "Sample a variety of gourmet goods from producers and nibble on cuisine prepared by some of Seattle's best chefs and restaurants!" More comments on this experience in another post.