BlogHer Food, the Love Fest

by diannejacob on October 11, 2010

Shauna James Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, Michael Ruhlman of and Molly Wizenberg of Orangette at the closing BlogHer Food keynote, talking about why they love to write and what it means to them. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu of Use Real Butter.

BlogHer Food ’10 this past weekend in San Francisco built on its second year as a love fest where 250 attendees (mostly food blogging women and gay men) thrill to be in each other’s presence. If you weren’t into hugging and making this noise called “Squeee!” you didn’t belong.

Southern California threesome: Carrie Vitt of Deliciously Organic, Brooke Burton of Food Woolf, and Gaby Dalkin of What's Gaby Cooking.

The two-day conference was less about the sessions and more about seeing friends, making new friends, partying, and swag. Attendees met heroes they had previously seen only on the page, and discovered new ones. Crushes abounded. The giddy twitter stream of accolades continues.

Danielle Tsi of Bon Vivant and Cheryl Sternman Rule of 5 Second Rule enjoy a cocktail. Behind them are Michael Ruhlman of and Lori Lange of Recipe Girl.

Attendees are just now unpacking their goodie bags from the conference and the Saturday night blow-out party at the California Culinary Academy, hosted by superstars Ree Drummond, Elise Bauer and Jaden Hair.

Here's two of the generous party girls: Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen and Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes. The party featured a huge swag bag, giveaways, live music, gluten-free food, and a bacon curing and frying demonstration by Michael Ruhlman.

Preparing for our panel: Michael Procopio of Food for the Thoughtless, Rebecca Crump of Ezra Pound Cake, and me. Photo by Anna Mindess of East Bay Ethnic Eats.

On my panel about storytelling, we tried to explain what makes a good tale. For Procopio and Crump, their humor and sense of the absurd carries their posts.

At the closing keynote, in a response to a question about blogs getting too personal, James-Ahern moved the crowd, many of whom were moms, when she talked of her daughter’s surgery and how she had to get the story out. “It was more painful not to write it than to write it,” she said. All three food writers said writing and telling their stories is what makes them feel most alive. Amen to that.

For more on BlogHer Food, see the Live Blog archives and


Jackie Baisa October 11, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I’m laughing at “Squeeee!”

Looks like a great time. You ALONE would have been worth the price of admission, but that line-up was fabulous! I’ll try to go next time. Looks like a fantastic time.


diannejacob October 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Yep, get your credit card out as soon as the tickets go on sale. That’s my advice, Jackie.

Brooke@foodwoolf October 11, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Dianne, you are a pleasure to be be around. A great resource for anyone who has ever wondered if they could be a food writer. I truly appreciate the attention and care you gave to me and so many other attendees this weekend (and in so many other events). I’m honored to be linked to your post and to be listed in your photo roll! Thanks!, Brooke

diannejacob October 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Brooke, the pleasure is mine. I was so happy to see you again and get a few moments alone. And a nice photo of you with my iphone, doncha think?

Nurit - 1 family. friendly. food. October 11, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I’m still amazed by how tickets sell out before the agenda is even formed!
A question: Did anyone talk about something we haven’t heard before during previous conferences? Beacuse it seems that pretty much the same people are presenting at Foodista, Blogher, etc…

diannejacob October 11, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Yes there are some of the same people (like me!), it’s true, but BlogHer tries hard to recruit bloggers who have not spoken at conferences before, and there were lots of new voices on panels.

Karen October 11, 2010 at 6:49 pm

What a wonderful experience it was to be able to see everything going on at BlogHerFood’10 while perched in front of my trusty MacPro! Being able to see everything via livestream was a wonderful addition for all of us who didn’t even find out about BlogHer until well past the sell-out date. I would suggest this to everyone for next time – if you can get there that is fantastic, but if not then the Virtual Attendance mode is perfect.
Thank you Dianne for a great session –

Cheryl Arkison October 11, 2010 at 8:08 pm

I might just be burned out from conferences with my old day job, but I’ve not been captured by the appeal of blogger conferences. And where do the people who aren’t pros (writers, bloggers, or photographers) get the moola for this? When I am introduced to new blogs – usually from the Twitter stream of participants, I don’t see a great change or improvement after the conference. Personal satisfaction and relationships aside, it seems like quite the luxury.

And before I get criticized, I want to make it clear that I have nothing against the conferences. I’m just not sure I, personally, would get much out of it. Trust me, I’m not a squee kind of gal.

diannejacob October 12, 2010 at 9:03 am

The people who aren’t pros probably have a day job, which gives them the income to attend the conference!

I suppose it is a luxury to attend, but if you believe that part of food blogging is about community, it is worthwhile to meet your compatriots, have fun and learn something in the process from the panels.

I’m not a squee kind of girl either. I’m with you there, Cheryl.

marla {family fresh cooking} October 12, 2010 at 5:09 am

Dianne, this is such a great re-cap. BlogHer Food truly was a love fest! I could not believe my eyes when you walked into our panel. You are a wonderful woman with so much wisdom. It was so fun to meet you & I hope to see you again soon at one of the love fests in the upcoming months. I think you attend the IACP each year? One of my goals would be to attend that conference.
Carrie Vitt has told me so much about you in the past year, it was truly thrilling to meet you for real 🙂 Thanks for your sweet comment about my blog sharing my true voice. xo

diannejacob October 12, 2010 at 9:06 am

You are most welcome, Marla. I enjoyed your panel. (Just for the record, it was New to Food Blogging? How Do You Stand Out in a Crowded Food Blogosphere?)

Yes, so far I’m planning to attend IACP next year, in Austin in June. It’s gonna be hot!

The Italian Dish October 12, 2010 at 5:47 am

Dianne: It was so nice to meet you at the conference. It was an amazing experience and everyone was so supportive and generous. I’m working on my own recap right now!

Eleonora October 12, 2010 at 6:17 am

I would have loved to attend! As someone else mentioned, you alone were worth the trip. Unfortunately, for me the journey to SF is a little more engaging since I live, work and blog in Italy!

Just wanted to reiterate how much your vision has helped me. Your writing exercises and story-telling practical advice in Will Write For Food have made a huge difference in my writing. I notice such an improvement! What I need to do now is get the new edition with expanded blog section…

Ciao from sunny Roma,

diannejacob October 12, 2010 at 9:08 am

Wow, Eleonora, you are making me blush. Thank you so much.

It’s a big expedition for you. Maybe you could go to the one in London and get the same vibe there.

Lori @ RecipeGirl October 12, 2010 at 7:43 am

Just for the record, I didn’t make any “Squee!” sounds 🙂

Always nice to chat w/ you… when’s the next event?!

diannejacob October 12, 2010 at 9:10 am

Hah hah. Lovely to chat with you too at the closing party. Maybe I’ll see you at IACP in June? Can’t remember if you’re a member.

Greg Patent October 12, 2010 at 7:58 am

You look mahvellous!

diannejacob October 12, 2010 at 9:11 am

Thanks dahhhling. I don’t think you’ve been to a blogging conference yet. If you came this past time it would have been you and Ruhlman in the straight man category.

Cookin' Canuck October 12, 2010 at 10:35 am

Dianne, it was such a pleasure to meet you and have a few minutes to chat. The writing session with you, Michael, and Rebecca was one of the most thoughtful and entertaining sessions of the conference. I appreciate the practical and common sense advice you provide to beginning writings like me. Thank you!

diannejacob October 12, 2010 at 12:30 pm

You are most welcome, Fellow Canuck, and thank you for saying so.

Lovely to meet you too after all this communicating in front of the computer. That’s one of the things I enjoy most about blogging conferences.

OMG! Yummy October 12, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Hi Dianne – Enjoyed sitting next to you in the cookbook session. I will watch your session when I buy the videos. Hope we can find a place for you to teach your class in the south bay area. Thanks for linking up my article. Looking forward to being in touch and learning more from your unique and very experienced perspective.

diannejacob October 12, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Thanks Beth and nice job on the post. I’d love to come teach in the South Bay. We just have to find a venue.

Kendra October 12, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Glad it was such a success, even so close on the heels of IFBC. Maybe I’ll rally for San Diego 2011, but until then — thanks for the recaps!

diannejacob October 12, 2010 at 1:28 pm

You’re welcome, Kendra. BlogHer has a similar vibe, but with uh, 10x more people, mostly women. You’d have to gird your loins for that one!

Anna Mindess October 12, 2010 at 2:16 pm

As a newish blogger, I found the conferences attendees warm, welcoming, collegial and supportive. Info at the sessions was immediately useful (photography, storytelling and SEO). Advice was freely given, connections were made, without a whiff of competitiveness. I got an offer to partner on a post from a much more experienced blogger. Felt encouraged by the community and its buoyant spirit. The only negative: with all the free food, I ate too much.

diannejacob October 12, 2010 at 3:43 pm

That’s terrific, Anna, except for the part about eating too much. We’re all guilty of that. I’m glad you found the sessions so useful. BlogHer aims for 60 percent newbies at each conference, so it’s good to know they’re hitting the content correctly.

Michael Procopio October 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm

That was fun, Dianne.

You have no idea how much our panel discussion energized me. Or how much our quiet talk beforehand calmed me. Thank you.

What a total pleasure,


diannejacob October 13, 2010 at 2:48 pm

The pleasure was mine, Michael. I enjoyed doing my research — scrolling through our blog posts and laughing while trying to figure out what, exactly, constitutes storytelling.

the urban baker October 13, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I loved, loved, loved meeting and talking to you! I love your writing and Ioved hearing your journey. I look so forward to many more gatherings such as this one and growing and learning from strong, intelligent, independent woman such as yourself! xx Susan

diannejacob October 13, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Thanks Susan. I’ve added your link. I loved meeting and talking with you as well. We have so much in common, except that I’ve never been on Oprah or worked on the Emmies. Probably a million other things.

I hope we keep in touch.

the urban baker October 13, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Dianne, I cannot tell you what a thrill it is for me to call you my “friend”. I am humbled to know you as I have admired you from afar. This weekend taught me a lot of things. For one, your heroes, your idols can be a part of your life. And you are one of those heroes!x

diannejacob October 13, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Oh Susan, you are too much! Don’t know what to say to this, other than thank you.

Stephanie @ October 15, 2010 at 6:36 am

I love these types of events, meeting folks here was especially inspriring. I have come home to work on a fury. For me going to a food blog conference is getting the opportunity to meet other folks that I haven’t heard of before. Working at home, I get tunnel vision so easily, coming here is like having someone lift the veil from my eyes.

I am wishing I had some of those delicious turnip cakes in here!

diannejacob October 15, 2010 at 8:14 am

Exactly. I go through that too, spending too much time at home in front of the computer. I came away inspired and happy to be surrounded by such talented people.

Thanks for reminding me of those turnip cakes at Pearl City . Creamy on the inside, crispy on the outside, with little bits of Chinese bacon for a salt fix. I want one now!

Delishhh October 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I was not able to attend so thanks for the great summary.

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