Monday, July 23, 2012

Food Bloggers meet at TECHmunch in T.O.

I started this blog in 2011 at the urging of my friends after I posted a bunch of pics to facebook on food I was making while I was at home.  I have worked an office job most of my working life and normally would be working all day and then freelancing either doing makeup or at film festivals or working on own films for the past few years.   I never looked into the Food Blogger World until I started posting on this blog more frequently.  I found out that there are some serious food bloggers out there, and there are a lot of them.   There are Food Blogger Conferences even.  I decided to check one out this past weekend and see what it was like.  TECHmunch is a U.S. based conference that brings food bloggers together with tech savvy people and brand marketers to try and improve the blogs and make some connections.  TECHmunch is produced by Babette Pepaj, founder of BakeSpace.com.  Babette brought the conference to Toronto for the 1st time ever and it was held at Harbourfront Centre during the Hot and Spicy Festival.
Erik Deutsch, Ivy Knight, Jessie Allen, Babette Pepaj (host)

We spent most of the day in the Studio Theatre which I have been to many times before to see film festival movies and other screenings.  This time it felt a little different for me.  In the film/ film festival community it is very social and very small.  There are limited numbers of theatres that show festival films in Toronto and a lot of the same people attend multiple festivals.  When I attend a festival screening I generally run into someone I know and especially now since I have been filming a documentary for the past 3 years on a festival volunteer.   But this food blogger world is new to me.  When you are a food blogger you generally sit at home on your computer and type away into cyberspace and don't really know if anyone is reading anything you put out into the Universe unless someone makes a comment.  You never meet your readers face to face unless they are already your friends or acquaintances.  Unless you have a full career in the food world alone and are connected to various parts of the industry for your blog you generally work in a vacuum.

So I decided to venture out to the Conference and see what tips I could pick up since I just jumped into it and haven't pursued it as a business venture but more as an outlet for food things I am interested in.   But since I am not working that pay the bill day job and the film industry doesn't pay the bills I am looking for other opportunities and decided to see if food blogging was something that could become lucrative.    Well it seems there are ways to make money if you can gain many unique visitors and viewers to your blog and connect with the right brands for marketing opportunities or possibly sell things through your blog.   I don't do any of these things right now but I am open to possibilities of future opportunities.

Back to the conference,  this conference was like starting the first day of school in a new place where you didn't know anyone but you were there for the same reason.  I didn't know anyone but found it interesting listening to the different stories and how people connected to the food blogs.

We started the day with a mingling of people coming in and trying out a whole selection of Sweets from the Earth and O.N.E. cocunut water and drinks from Whole Foods.

We proceeded to the studio theatre where we listened to different panels discussing topics like working from home, getting higher google rankings, and connecting with brands.
It was very informative and all the panelists provided a lot of information which was very helpful.

We had a lunch break and were given a voucher to use to choose our lunch meal at the Hot and Spicy Festival.
I used my voucher to get some chicken and pork tacos.  While they were tasty they were light on the added condiments which would have added some brightness.


After the conference was over we headed upstairs for a mixer with some more food and drinks, a little spiked punch and some beer and wine and some lovely charcuterie from Seeds to Sausage I tried a couple of pieces and the quality was really good.

Lot's more cupcakes, loafs and cookies.  I wasn't very hungry since it was getting extremely hot outside and it really did feel like we were at the Hot and Spicy Festival.  So I took some of the Sweets from the Earth to go and will have some to snack on later.

         
All in all it was a really great Conference and had a great flow to it.  Knowing how tough it is to get events started in this city...and especially when you don't even live in the city, it went very well thanks to a little help from local food blogger, chef and event host Ivy Knight who knows who's who in this city when it comes to food.

I hope that this Conference becomes a yearly event and maybe I will feel more connected to the Food Blogger world by then.


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