Yup, I'm doing it. After 5 years of cooking, photographing and writing about food, I'm finally attending my first ever food conference, the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) in Sacramento, CA. I didn't even know things like this existed, and I'm pretty sure I found it by googling "food stuff to do" or something equally grammatically awkward. Yes, I knew conferences existed and I've attended a few Society for Neuroscience conferences during my PhD...but I have a feeling IFBC is going to be less about brains all day every day, and that the food will be much, much tastier.
I'm constantly trying to improve my photography, write varied content, and most importantly, create delicious food that's simple to make. However, when I first started my blog in 2011, I didn't put much thought into the design, social media strategy, search engine optimization, blah blah blah. Since I was either in grad school then or work full time now and blogging is a hobby, I haven't felt the need to focus on all this stuff until I switched blogging platforms a few months ago. It's been fun learning about the technical side of blogging beyond content creation, but it's also daunting and I often don't know where to begin. This blog isn't a business now and I'm not sure if it ever will be. But, I'd like to learn how to get it there in case I change my mind in the future. I'm looking forward to the "Blog to Business" session at IFBC to learn more.
Recently, I'm more conscious of where my ingredients come from and how I can incorporate certain veggies and meats into my meals with a clear or semi-clear conscience. It's easy to go to the grocery store and buy something without asking or caring about the source, but I've decided I want to know. This also means those around me have had to patiently listen to book excerpts and watch documentaries about farming and eating humanely and sustainably raised meats among other things. The "Farm to Fork" theme at this year's conference will give me something to think about.
Dining out, food delivery, cooking, and grocery shopping are common activities for most of us, and the food tech industry has expanded rapidly in the last few years to accommodate and improve these experiences. Think OpenTable for making restaurant reservations at the tap of a button, Grubhub/Postmates/Doordash for quick and easy food delivery, Blue Apron/Plated for simplifying the cooking process, and Peapod/Instacart for hassle-free grocery delivery. I've used a number of these services, and I often think of additional features or business ideas for making these processes more comprehensive and efficient. I'll be at the "Food Bloggers and Food Tech" IFBC session to hear from people who have made an impact in this space.
And finally, let's be honest, I can't wait to try the food in Sacramento this weekend. As much as I love to cook, I love to eat what other people cook as well. If I accomplish nothing else I've written about in this post, but I return home to Chicago with a full belly, my goals for IFBC will be met.