Jun 022010

A few Saturdays ago I taught a day-long class on food writing to about 50 people (about half of whom were bloggers, and some of whom drove up from Portland) at the oh-so-chic Seattle Fairmont Olympic. Keren Brown of Foodportunity organized the event and invited me. Professional photographer and blogger Jackie Donnelly Baisa wrote a post about it and made her images available, so I thought I’d share a few with you.

I must say, I’ve never taught a class in such elegant surroundings. We had a large private room with an entryway for coffee, tea and sponsor displays.

Rebecca Mongrain from Sur La Table brought several copies of the company’s gorgeous new hardcover cookbook, Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired By America’s Farmers for raffles throughout the day. (Disclosure: I researched the chapter on urban homesteading.) Other sponsors were Greek Gods Yogurt (OMG that fig yogurt) and Viv Agave, a prebiotic.

We spent the morning reviewing writing techniques and doing a writing exercises focused on the senses, using Red Hots candy. A few brave students read what they’d written, and some got laughs and smiles.

Then came an elegant lunch of sandwiches and salads, presented with panache by the chef at the hotel’s Georgian restaurant, Gavin Stephenson. He also made a jar of preserves for each attendee.

For dessert, Chef Stephenson created a chocolate ganache lollipop with chocolate Pop Rocks, an idea developed after studying with a Spanish chef specializing in molecular gastronomy.

After lunch, I tried to keep people awake (it’s the deadliest time of the day for a teacher) by having them pair up to interview each other. Then we talked about food blogging, recipes, cookbooks, and the publishing process. These students were no amateurs: some were already published cookbook authors, and publishers had already approached some of the bloggers. It was a lively discussion with many knowledgeable people lending their insights. I’m always amazed by what I learn at these events.

At the end of the day I helped my young host Keren, who blogs at Frantic Foodie, shlep the props back to her place. It being Seattle, it poured as we made a run for her door. But never mind. I had a fantastic time and I can’t wait to go back.

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  9 Responses to “Snaps from My Seattle Food Writing Class”

  1. If I wasn’t going to IFBC in August, I would be terribly envious!!!

    • Well, I’m going to be part of a panel there. It’s not the whole day! But I’m really looking forward to it too. I didn’t get to go last year.

  2. Classy location and classy content to match it. I found it inspiring and invigorating, and it was great to meet (and, yes, network with) other bloggers I’d only read about. I’d encourage other writers to make the investment in yourself and take the class. Terrific!

    • Thank you, Kathleen. The networking was an important part. That’s why Keren scheduled a few breaks. I enjoyed meeting everyone too.

      It’s going to be a while before we do it again, but I can’t wait to do so.

  3. I can’t wait until you come again. You are an amazing teacher.

  4. It was a joy and a pleasure to finally meet you. This workshop gave me more tools and confidence to write beyond my comfort level. Thank you so much for teaching this class.


    PS: I would recommend anyone who is serious about food blogging or writing to take one of Dianne’s classes. She is a wealth of information and her teachings will equip you to be a better writer.

  5. I’m so glad I heard about the workshop in time. The blogging and recipe writing tips are helping me out a lot. And thanks to Keren for organizing the networking opportunities!

  6. Keren really goes all out with her events, finding some of the best venues the city has to offer. She should teach a class on how to throw fabulous food events! I’d drive to Seattle again for that.

  7. This class was fun, informative and inspiring, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in food writing. Thanks again to you and Keren, Dianne!

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