Wednesday, September 1, 2010

IFBC, Part 1: How does your (food blogging) garden grow?

I had a plan for this series of blog posts.  The International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) is fading into the recent past, but the memories still feed my soul.  I have initialized my brand spanking new copy of DoubleTwist and begun to share photos between the Mac and my CatDroid.  The Spirit moves me to write!

I thought I would start with the "molecular gastronomy" event at the Intellectual Ventures Lab, in which those who were fortunate enough to receive an invitation were treated to 12 (count them, 12!) different dishes and face-time with each of the genius co-authors behind the forthcoming Modernist Cuisine.

In my mind, this event really was the crowning jewel of the conference, although it is surrounded by all manner of glittering gems.  A premiere event for food bloggers that is all about the numerous ways to think and write and learn about food, featuring some of the sexiest food that ever graced the human palate, is REALLY tough to top.

Still, as I allow the waves of memories to break upon the shore of my awareness, I must admit that the conference came full circle for me at a charming little neighborhood restaurant bar called Cichetti, thanks to the indomitable efforts of two great Twitter pals: @FranticFoodie (aka Keren Brown) and @CarrieOliver.

As you might well anticipate, there was something a wee bit frantic in that last minute invite that I received pre-conference from Keren Brown.  (Who says spontaneous people can't be successful in business?)  It happened live in real time on Wednesday before the conference started.  I was scanning somewhat recklessly through my HootSuite streams.  I no longer remember what I was looking for.  Keren and I connected online and she extended the invitation to join a group of writers at Cichetti for a preview of the forthcoming cookbook from Kristine Kidd (former editor at Bon Appetit).  

The event started at 5:00 pm.  I stared at the clock: 3:20 pm.  I made a mental calculation of how many things I would have to accomplish before I could leave the house while I queried her on how long the event would last.  I love Cichetti almost as much as I love @FranticFoodie, so I knew I was going to do it.  I began to jettison things from my work schedule.

I arrived in the South Lake Union neighborhood just before Kristine began her presentation.  She previewed her new book and talked about life without the magazine.  She fielded questions about the publishing industry and numerous photos were made.

Delicious grenache wines from McCrea were poured and a delicate apperitif was passed around the small throng.

Air Kisses from @FranticFoodie 

@FranticFoodie brought gifts!  She collected business cards from all present and drew winners for each item.  I actually WON a brand new olive wood spatula (glu-ten-free-ee!). Yay!

Mozz wrapped in grilled eggplant

And the kitchen maestros at Cichetti turned out 3 delicious gluten-free apps for yours truly, even though Keren had just given them notice about an hour before the event began! Those folks know how to LOVE their guests!

Everyone went home with a review copy of the new book and the instruction not to give away the treats within until the book release date in October.  We also had the clear sense that one fantastic hit parade of a weekend conference had already begun.

SO! That was all pre-conference!  For those of us who bought a seat at the Artisan Beef Tasting dinner arranged by @CarrieOliver, we'd be back on Monday evening, post-conference, for the coda.

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