Love and Olive Oil

Food Blog Forum Nashville Wrapup

What started as a seed of an idea early last spring, grew into something more than we could have ever imagined. Months of planning culminated this weekend in a whirlwind of a day filled with fabulous friends, food, knowledge, and connections. It was an immense success and well worth the effort that it took to plan it.

Food Blog Forum, Nashville 2011

The fun began on Friday night with “A Taste of Tennessee” hosted by the Nashville Farmers’ Market. A dozen local vendors sampled their wares, from Loveless Cafe and their out of this world fried chicken and biscuits, to Perl Catering, who made what just might be the most delicious bite of spaghetti squash I’ve ever eaten. Olive & Sinclair brought a sneak peek of their newest products, buttermilk white chocolate and smoked brittle (omg). Corsair Artisan distillery offered a lovely blood orange and gin cocktail. I’m not a lemon-bar kind of girl but the lemon bars from O.Liv Body Bar made me happy from the inside out. Bathtub Gin’s preserves are always creative, and while I didn’t catch what exactly their little tomato jam-pastry bites were called, I may have eaten a few. Just a few. And cheese. Because I love me some cheese (and Kathleen at the Bloomy Rind never disappoints!). For dessert? Gotta get a Goo Goo Cluster (me? I love the peanut butter one best!)

While I’m not a beer drinker or a slaw-eater, the souvenir beer glasses that Yazoo had made just for us were, like totally awesome, and Mista Dale’s spicy slaw was something I can definitely get behind. I AM, however, a wine drinker (albeit a beginner), and found the blackberry wine from Grinder’s Switch quite delightful. Who says Tennessee isn’t wine country?

The market house is so pretty at night. Even more so when it’s full of good friends, both old and new.

Chef Demo by Arnold Myint

We were also treated to a chef demo by the always entertaining Arnold Myint. Assisted by the lovely Grishma, Arnold prepared some delicious dishes including lentil tacos and pumpkin soup. Um, yum?

Food Blog Forum, Nashville 2011

Saturday, bright and early. After a near epic disaster involving some coffee makers and non-functioning power outlets (lesson: don’t EVER get in the way of food bloggers and their coffee), the real event began.

Food Blog Forum, Nashville 2011

A packed house. 94 of us in all. The fact that each and every one of them went home with a door prize really says a lot about the generosity of our sponsors. I really felt like Oprah. You get a toaster! And you get a toaster! Everyone gets a toaster! (or KitchenAid, or cookware, or some other nifty kitchen gadget or gift). But enough about parties and prizes… we did some learning too.

Food Blog Forum Nashville - PR Panel

The lovely Amanda, Jaden, and Arianna talking candidly about PR and working with brands. It was wonderful to hear about PR from multiple perspectives, both bloggers AND brands, and the session offered some great insight into how we all can get the most out of working with each other.

Food Blog Forum Nashville - Recipe Development

Listening to Kelly and Alison, you’d think they had been working together for years. But in fact, they hadn’t met before this event. Such beautiful women with so much information to share.

Meanwhile, Jenny and Amanda were upstairs talking about Blogging Etiquette. You know those times when you wish you could be in two places at once? Yeah. This was definitely one of them.

By that point, the collective rumble of our stomachs was pretty darn loud. Luckily, there was deliciousness on wheels waiting for us outside at the Food Truck Court!

Nashville Food Truck Happy Eating

Happy Eating served up some fabulous japanese treats. The mongolian beef tacos were especially scrumptious. And the caramel pocky ice cream? Don’t get me started. It’s life changing.

Nashville Food Truck Riffs Fine Street Food

Always a favorite, Carlos and BJ of Riffs were there serving up their twist on Bahn Mi sandwiches and Shrimp & Grits. You know I love shrimp and grits. Jaden even called it the best grits she’s ever had! I have to agree.

Nashville Food Truck Yayo's OMG

And last but certainly not least, Yayo’s OMG! (stands for Original Mexican Gourmet, but the exclamation certainly fits the food as well.) Serving up mini pork and chicken taco bites and freshly fried tortilla chips with some sort of magic sauce. They were gone so quickly I’m surprised I had time to snap a picture. *crunch*

Nashville Food Truck Yayo's OMG

Back inside. Where the food coma could easily have gotten the best of us…

Food Blog Forum, Nashville 2011

Leave it to Todd & Diane to bring energy to a dark room right after lunch. I don’t think there was a droopy eye in the room. Their passion and creativity are incredibly contagious. It wasn’t hard to leave feeling energized and inspired.

The final session of the day was a unique one, which gave attendees the opportunity to speak more personally with our speakers and experts. From photography to recipe development, blog design (from yours truly!) to SEO and social media, the choice of topics was impressive.

Phew. Tired yet? Considering I had been up since 5:45am I should have been, but there was so much energy in the room that the exhaustion simply disappeared. I was running on excitement and adrenaline.

Good thing, too, because we weren’t done yet.

After Party at the Patterson House

The Saturday after-party took us to The Patterson House, one of Nashville’s coolest bars, even cooler now after so generously hosting this event for us. They really outdid themselves.

After Party at the Patterson House

Those, my friends, are fried goat cheese balls. I could have sat in a corner with a plate of these and been perfectly content. But I didn’t, because I was too busy further reinforcing the friendships that until now, had only existed on twitter. If I had to take just one thing from this event, that would be it. The people. The beautiful, inspiring, smart, sassy, creative, wonderful people.

After Party at the Patterson House

The lovely ladies of Food Blog Forum. From left: Beth, Leah, Jaden, some bum, and Diane.

This event did not happen on it’s own. It took many many hours to make everything come together as well as it did. I couldn’t have done it without my partners in crime, Beth and Leah. I don’t know if I’ve met anyone more organized than Beth. She was always one step ahead. And Leah? Let’s just say that we wouldn’t have had 2/3 of the prizes and swag that we did without her. Not to mention a place to put it all.

I also want to, once again, thank our sponsors for supporting this event.
OXO, Just a Pinch, Calphalon, Girard’s, Nashville Farmers’ Market, The Patterson House,, Chicago Metallic, Swissmar, Whole Foods Market, Farm Flavor, Kitchen Aid, Artisan Books, The Loveless Cafe, Lindsay Olives, Goo Goo Clusters, Amco Houseworks, Edgeware, Nashville Toffee Company, WestBend, Jarlsberg, Beanilla, Lifetime Brands, and Betsy’s Cheese Straws.

And finally, thank you to everyone who came. From those who traveled from afar, to those who just drove down the street. Your smiles and enthusiasm are what made it all worthwhile. I hope you went home with a new motivation, a bit of inspiration, and a whole lot of swag. :)

Enough with the sappy Oscar acceptance speech… I’ve got a surprise for you!

For those of you who couldn’t make it to the event, whether you had other commitments or it was just too far away, are probably feeling kind of bummed out right now. I know, I’ve been there. Seeing all the tweets and photos and posts about what a fabulous event it was, it’s easy to feel left out.

Would a super duper, stuffed to the brim, bag of swag make you feel any better?

I bet it would!

Since we ended the day with a few extra swag bags, we thought we’d give you the opportunity to win one for yourself! Not to brag or anything, but this just might be the best swag bag in the history of swag bags. Trust me.

And I’ve got two of them to give away.

Food Blog Forum Nashville Swag Bags

You know you want one.


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  1. I’m a fan on Facebook!

  2. I also tweeted! :)

  3. I’d love to see a discussion on the creative process of coming up with recipes, photographing them, etc. As somebody who loves recipes but doesn’t trust myself to just throw something together and create, I’d love to hear the from people who do that all the time!

  4. It would be fun to see more recipes on different cultural foods such as thai or korean.

  5. oh, and I am a facebook fan :)

  6. Great job!! You guys did awesome putting this all together. Would have loved to come. :(

    For a food blog conference, I’d love to see a very practical session on photography. Small in number, hands on, where we can practice setting up and taking shots, then critique each others. Not very practical probably, but it would be very useful! Also, maybe something talking about ads that actually mentions numbers. I have no idea how much is a reasonable amount to earn from ads – I’d love to hear from some experienced bloggers on what is reasonable/average.

  7. Delicious recipes with common and minimal ingredients would be a fabulous entry!

  8. i love your blog! thanks for the chance to win a swag bag!
    i’d like to see tips for the best food photography or even how to make your own cooking demo video.

  9. I liked you on facebook!

  10. I followed you and tweeted!

  11. I’d mainly like to see photography topics covered.

  12. I tweeted your wonderful give away~

  13. New facebook fan~

  14. What a great day to find your lovely blog. As a relatively new blogger, I’d still like the old standby: food photography tip.

  15. I’m a facebook follower.

  16. Would love to see recipes with local, fresh, bold flavors.

  17. I’m a facebook fan

  18. I think a class on editing photos would be great. I’ve seen classes on how to take better pictures but not on how to edit the crappy ones to make them better

  19. i just liked you on facebook…

  20. i would like to see more on cooking for allergies… it’s completely shocking when you have to start out…

  21. Photography: especially night time/low lighting photos because I think those are the hardest to capture!

  22. If I could attend a food blog conference I would like to learn how people who started out as bloggers, found their way into a new career because of their blog – maybe they still blog but what other options are out there.

  23. Im a student who lives alone so Id love to see more about healthy, fast cooking for one! I see so many recipes that look and sound fantastic, but they are usually for a family, not an individual. And I have found that I can only eat leftovers for so many days. :)

  24. I recently have become friends with someone that is gluten intolerant, and given that I love to throw dinner parties I’d love to hear some explanations and tips about the world of gluten free cooking.

  25. I tweeted as well! @LeaCobaugh

  26. I would like some a post on some of the new cooking tools/appliances that might be good holiday presents for those that have everything!

  27. I’m happy to see another update from you, I get my updates as a fan on Facebook!

  28. Maybe some ideas for healthy cooking or college/school cooking?

  29. I’d love to hear creative ideas for leftovers – everyone has heard the Thanksgiving ones, but when you’re cooking for 1 or 2, you often have extra food. As good as a dish may be, it’s not always as yummy 2-3 nights later!

  30. I follow you on Facebook. :)

  31. The thing I struggle with, and would love to hear addressed, is nailing down content for a specific post, especially where to start. I have a great dessert recipe I want to post. There’s no amazing story to it. I just made a delicious dessert. What are some points of inspiration to draw readers in before I say, here’s the recipe?

  32. I am a facebook fan, already.

  33. And I am now a facebook fan!

  34. I already follow you, but I tweeted for your giveaway:!/BoonieSooze/status/123547844769619968

  35. I am still devastated I couldn’t afford to make it, and missed out on such a wonderful day. Just about broke my heart.

    I wanted with all my heart to attend the session on food photography, so that’s the session I would want to attend: Three basic steps moving in the direction of making your phood photos pop.

  36. I think a really good topic would be blogging language, and how to write in an interesting way with an intriguing tone!! Love your blog ;)

  37. Cooking for one or two!

  38. I’m a fan on Facebook

  39. Finding your niche as a blogger

  40. i’d love to see information about how to preserve foods. i’m planning on starting a garden in the spring and am totally interested in getting into canning my harvests. what would be better than eating my fresh canned fruits and veggies in the dead of winter? :)

  41. i tweeted @laurenashley201 :)

  42. i’m a fan on facebook!

  43. just became a facebook fan

  44. 3. Yep, I’m your fan on facebook too. =)

  45. 2. I’ve been following you on twitter for a while, but I tweeted your message just now. =) However, since they redid twitter, I have no idea how to show you the link. =P

  46. I’d love to see a session dedicated to food photography lighting, natural and artificial.

  47. 1. As my partner travels so much for work, I have weeks with him gone and I suck at cooking and saving food for one. I’d love to see recipes and tips for people like me. =)

  48. I would like to see GMO’s in food, and how to be aware of them/ prevent them as a topic at a foodshow

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