Love and Olive Oil

Food Blog Forum Nashville Wrapup (and a GIVEAWAY!)

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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.


To Enter:

Simply leave a comment on this post with the answer to this question:
What is a topic you’d like to see covered at a food blog conference?

Entries open through Friday, October 14 at 11:59 CST. I’ll be randomly selecting the winner the morning of Saturday, October 15th. Prize will be shipped to the winner directly from yours truly. Because of the sheer weight of this swag bag and the perishable nature of some of its contents, I am limiting this giveaway to US Residents ONLY.

Want Extra Entries?
Increase your odds of winning! In addition to the main entry comment, leave a separate comment for each bonus entry.
1. Follow @loveandoliveoil on twitter and tweet the following:
I just entered to win an epic swag bag from @foodblogforum and @loveandoliveoil! Enter here:
2. Like Love & Olive Oil on Facebook (or if you are already a fan just say so!)

(Two extra entries not enough? Stay tuned to Beth and Leah’s blogs in the coming days, as they’ll be hosting their own swag-ulous giveways too!)

Be sure you enter a valid email address, because if your name is drawn and I can’t get a hold of you within 48 hours, I will choose an alternate winner. You may also want to add me to your address book (lindsay AT loveandoliveoil DOT com), as I’d hate for your congratulatory email to end up in the spam folder.

There may be affiliate links in this post. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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  1. I’d like an “all desserts” food blog conference. Yummmmy!

  2. I’m a fan of Love and Olive Oil on facebook

  3. I would like to see more about cooking a healthy and balanced diet.

  4. i want a bag!!!
    i’d love to hear about privacy/safety issues…esp. when it comes to crazy readers who are negative/scary…

  5. I like you on Facebook :)

  6. It would be helpful to discuss tips for creative writing for food blogs and/or how to get out of a “writing rut”.

  7. It would be interesting to talk about healthy and all-natural home-cooking I think.

  8. A talk on how to keep the momentum going.

  9. I’d like to learn more about budgeting for purchasing unique ingredients or where to shop for good grocery values

  10. Already follow on facebook… :-)

  11. I would like to see demos on replicating “ethnic” food at home (Indian, Ethiopian, Chinese, etc.).

  12. Thank you so much for all of your hard work! It was an amazing event that sent us home feeling inspired and with amazing loot! Thank you!! Winners, you’re gonna love the swag!

  13. Already following on Twitter, and tweeted the giveaway.

  14. Home gardening and how to incorporate the fresh ingredients into new, healthy meal options.

  15. Kid friendly vegetarian meals. Would love to get the kids eating healthy and less meat.

  16. I’d love a panel about easy-ish ways to customize your blog design, SEO, etc.

  17. How cool! I think I’d like a talk on healthy casseroles. Especially since they are great for preparing ahead of time.

  18. I think having features of authentic ethnic cuisine would be very interesting for those of us who like to stretch our palates a little!

  19. I would like to learn more about food photography as well as delicious, healthy eating.

  20. More on how to organize a blog so that the archives are easily searchable and accessible to viewers

  21. I would like to learn how to get started, and tips on how to keep recipes organized – both your own and recipes you like from other food bloggers

  22. And I already follow you on Twitter & Facebook.

  23. I tweeted -

  24. I hate that I missed it, but I followed the tweets all weekend long. So…I’m hoping you will do it again next year?? I have my blog name, domain and idea all secured but I’m worried about how to begin. If I attended something I’d like to know more about how to increase traffic and the appeal of a blog which is geared towards a specific group (i.e vegan, gluten-free, food allergies, etc.).

  25. The Food Blog Forum was a great event, Lindsay! Delighted that Just A Pinch could participate. Thanks to you, Beth and your entire team!

  26. Oh the food blog forum would be awesome to attend! I have been thinking of starting my own food blog for awhile, so i think a class or info info on that would be really helpful!

  27. how to make the most out of pinterest as a food blogger

  28. I’d like to see children in the kitchen as a topic. It’s so fun to cook with little ones!

  29. I would love to see: recipes for 1 or 2 and healthy recipes! Losing weight and eating healthy I find it hard to make all these yummy recipes when they don’t fit in my diet!

  30. I would like to hear more about food policy, and budget cooking for one.

  31. this all sounds so amazing! and what a great giveaway!! i would like to hear more about gluten free cooking/baking. since that diet/allergy is growing, and if one likes to cook and has celiac disease- it would be great for someone to cook for themselves and not have to worry about their diet.

  32. I would like to know how to even get started with a food blog ! i love reading everyones different recipes and lifestyles !

  33. I now like you on facebook! :)

  34. Like you on Facebook!

  35. I would love to see gardening and bringing the food from garden to table!

  36. Food photography or fast, healthy recipes for families (that don’t require a lot of strange ingredients that can’t be found at my small local grocery store!).

  37. I hope canning is covered. I’ve spent the last two weekends canning based on your blog.


  38. I would love to learn about taking great food photography without an SLR or any other equipment.

  39. I would love to hear about how bloggers with young children are able to get so much work done! Some of the blogs I follow are posting new recipes every couple days, complete with step-by-step photos and notes on previous versions of that recipe. Combined with taking care of kids, it sounds exhausting!

  40. Echoing some other comments, I’d like to see even more focus on local, healthy cooking (for one, preferably) that is more easily accessible to the amateur chef.

  41. id love for there to be a panel on cooking creative, healthful, and delicious food on a budget. and maybe party food budgeting. annnd also utilizing the standard spice rack that so many of us get as gifts! there are tons of things in it that i always see untouched when i go to friends house.

  42. wish i could’ve been there for this – it sounds just amazing! as a relatively new food blogger i’d love more information about how to brand yourself and increase traffic to your blog. sometimes i feel like i do a good job marketing myself, and other times i feel completely clueless. can’t wait to read a few other perspectives on what sounds like a great time!

    oh, and i already follow you on facebook :) thanks!

  43. I’m also a facebook fan, too :)

  44. I’d like to see spotlights on different types of ethnic food. Its great to have an awesome meatloaf recipe, but I’d love to have a blogger test out a food adventure for me….say African food??? Filipino food?? Norwegian food??….so a discussion around cultural spotlights would be great…..and also food trucks…got to love food trucks

  45. I’d love to hear the basics of how to start it all, from setting up a website to finding ideas to fill it with. Also the tips and tricks of food photography from those that make us want to eat our computer screens it looks so good!

  46. I would like to know more information about terminology such as “borrowed from,” “liberally adapted from,” etc. Is there a standard? Curtosy?

  47. I’d love to talk about the ways food blogs can be used as tools to improve the health and resources of our communities, and the food system as a whole! :)

  48. I would love to learn more about how to take iPhone pictures of food, and make it look gooooood. :)

  49. I follow you on FB!

  50. I tweeted you!

  51. Definitely food photography. There are so many people out there who are confused with cameras, lighting, white cardboard to reflect lughting, etc

  52. I would love more hand on about food photography

  53. I’m a fan on Facebook!

  54. I need major food photography guidance/help and I would love to see some stuff on that, also discussions on SEO and the like, I always get so confused. :)

  55. Cooking for 1 would be very valuable for us single ladies out there :)

  56. I have been desperately searching for some great forums and recipes for food & wine pairing. With the economy being the way it is these days, more and more people are searching for ways to pamper themselves at home and this would be a great way to do that!

  57. I’d love to see some discussions on food photography!

  58. And… I “like” you on facebook! Thanks for the giveaway!

  59. Oh! I need some serious help with my food styling/photography! Those of use with a humble little point and shoot could use some tips! :)

  60. And I already Like you on Facebook.

  61. I would love to see more about food photography and healthy options for meals. – Also liked you on FB and tweeted ab giveaway!

  62. Food Photography as that’s something I really need to work on improving.

  63. Healthy whole foods on a budget. Also make-ahead, or quick recipes.
    I am also a fan on facebook and would love a swag bag :)

  64. I am a fan on facebook :)

  65. I love your website! What I think would be a good topic covered at a food blog conference is the importance of making sure your intended audience can follow the directions for a recipe, a little more step by stepiness. . . I know its not a word. I follow lots of food blogs from around the nation ( and world), and even though I can read, I sometimes cross my fingers that I am doing it right. Also, I think food photography is super cool and interesting and underappreciated. I am a fan on FB :)

  66. I would be interested in a discussion on the ethics of posting recipes from copywrited sources.

  67. I have been dying to see great fool proof recipes for gluten-free cooking! I also think you can never go wrong with a homemade gifts blog either, especially with the holidays right around the corner! :)

  68. I follow you on twitter!

  69. I’d love to see healthy cooking demos!

  70. More about design

  71. I would love for web design and blog design to be covered!

  72. I would love to see more photos on the process of making something yummy! A receipe is always more helpful with photos!

  73. More cooking demos and I already follow you on Facebook!

  74. Sounds and looks like a great time!
    I would love to hear about recipe development.

  75. I would love to see more healthy recipes for small batch cooking

  76. I’d like to see healthier recipes that are still packed with flavor!

  77. I’d like a panel discussion covering how to maintain a food blog without breaking the bank. Sometimes it seems like all those meals and fabulous ingredients ar out of reach for me.

  78. I’m leaving another comment because I just liked you on Facebook!

  79. Quick and healthy recipes that taste great!

  80. I like you on facebook!

  81. I like you on FB :)

  82. I would love to see more healthy recipes – but that are still full of flavor and delicious. :)

  83. I like you on facebook.

  84. I’d like to see some easy, frugal recipes.

  85. I would enjoy reading a blog about eating healthy whole foods containing recipes for one.

  86. id like to see how to cook for one without wasting too much food!

  87. Followed you on Twitter! And I tweeted :)

  88. I’d love to hear and see about the best way to post a recipe. So basic, yet so important!

  89. I’m also a facebook fan. :)

  90. I would love to learn more about food photography. Some of the staging, and and lighting tips etc. from the bloggers with amazing pictures.
    What a great write up of the forum, really wish I could have gone!

  91. I’d love to learn more about recipe development. I’m still in my learning/experimenting phase of cooking, and I’d love to figure out how to get things to be more “mine” if that makes sense.

    I also second Laura M’s tips on cooking for a small household. :)

  92. I’d love to see more about increasing quality traffic, hosting, and about webpage design/layout. Maybe a list of the most useful plugins? I’m so new! I already liked you on fb with my blog page, but now my personal account likes you too :)

  93. I already like you on facebook ;-)

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