Rockin’ Time in Orlando

This past weekend, Julie, Dawn and I hosted Food Blog Forum Orlando, my first blogging event in my home state of Florida. Putting on an event is no small task, not only is there a ton of event planning and management work to be done, but there’s also something called, uh, teaching involved in these blogging seminars.


me and Julie from Alkaline Sisters who came all the way from Canada

No, it’s not just one big party (though we sure did party the night before and the night after the seminar). The main purpose of these food blogging events is to spend an entire day teaching blogging, tech and photography skills and ideas to an audience hungry to learn.

Special speakers Jeff Houck of the Tampa Tribune and Heather McPherson of Orlando Sentinel joined us to speak about how to get on the food editor’s radar; Pete from Izea school us on SEO and my dear friend Lindsay Landis of Purr Design walk us through web design and usability best practices.

Lindsay is the designer behind Steamy Kitchen website and logo and I just adore her and her husband Taylor. I’ll be honest though, I do have mixed feelings about “sharing” my beloved and talented web designer. The more clients she has the less time for me! ;-) Well, she did so well in her presentation that I think she scored 20 new projects.

Which means that Steamy Kitchen probably won’t be revamped any time soon.

Which probably is a good thing, since I just spent all weekend lecturing that “There’s comfort in consistency.”


Lindsay in center, husband Taylor behind her

Since Diane and Todd were unavailable to come, I was lucky enough to lure a special someone to come teach food photography and styling.

Can you tell who it was?

Oh, maybe this angle?

How about now?

It was Helene of Tartelette!

We kicked it off in high style at our opening party that Whole Foods Market graciously and generously hosted. They simply know how to party in style, with a custom creme brulee station.

And what looked like a pretty wedding cake:

Were we celebrating something I didn’t know about!? Who’s gettin’ married at Food Blog Forum!?

I scootched over to the other side of the cake, saw the piece missing — and thought it was a wedding cheesecake.

SURPRISE! It really was a cheesecake….a Brie cheese cake sponsored by KerryGold.

There’s only one person in the world I know who I can call the night before and say, “Hey wanna go to Mexico with me? We leave tomorrow!” and she’d be packing her bags before we even hang up. That’s Rachelle!

Whole Foods also lavished us with wine – we had these itty bitty wine glasses that held like 4 ounces of wine. The bartender probably thought I was such a lush, as I ended up coming back to him for a refill ever 5 minutes.

Edit: Scott’s version: “No, the glasses were 6 ounces and you lost track after the 21st refill.”

Oh. Was that why I wanted to do karaoke in the middle of Whole Foods’ cheese department?

Okay, so we partied well that night, but the very next morning…we started Food Blog Forum – the learning section-  fast and furious.

Everyone was listening so intently!

I even got Scott to join in on the teaching….I love hearing him speak.

Until the moment he started telling the audience how large my butt is.

Just kidding. I have NO IDEA what he was talking about. Apparently, part of Scott’s public speaking routine involves massive boobie grabbing hand gestures to illustrate his point.

Behind Scott is the table packed of goodies we gave away, courtesy of KitchenAid, Cooking.com, America’s Test Kitchen, KerryGold, Le Creuset, West Bend, Chicago Metallic, EdgeWare and Calphalon. Almost everyone walked away with a prize.

All these lovely lovely food bloggers. Don’t they look like college students?

The after party was even more fun – McCormick and Schmicks seafood restaurant went all-out. They closed their entire restaurant for us! YOU ROCK McC&S! They fed us their house sangria and sushi.

I won’t scare you. After 6 large glasses of sangria and 4 plates of sushi, this photo definitely was better in black & white instead of color.

I just want to say that Food Blog Forum Orlando was just amazing. Big thanks to Julie and Dawn for organizing the entire event (I know from the looks of it I just showed up to drink and party….heh heh). I got to meet so many fab food bloggers. I got to share some of the stuff that I learned in the past 4 years of blogging. Best of all, I made 100 new friends.

Love ya!

p.s. Food Blog Forum is headed to Nashville October 8th hosted by Lindsay! I’ll have more details soon.
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Wicked Good Dinner – Food Blog Forum Seminar Recap
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Return to Sunday Supper – Food Blog Forum Seminar – A Wonderful Experience
Wordflux – Orlando Weekend with Food Blog Forum
Dinners & Dreams – Rabbit and Faisselle Flan
Creative Kitchen – Food Blog Forum Orlando ~ An Unforgettable Experience
inspired taste – Breakfast Rolls
What a Healthy Family Eats – My Experience at Food Blog Forum Orlando
My Sweet Zepol – Food Blog Forum in Orlando, Florida

Comments 57

  1. Monica

    We had such a good time, and I walked away with a ton of ideas, knowledge, resources and like you 100 new friends as well!

  2. thatshowiroll

    I loved the entire experience, met the most amazing people. I must say Food Blog Forum rocked, the food blog world rocks and you guys are the rock behind this huge event! Thank YOU!

  3. Denise @ Creative Kitchen

    I had such a great time at Food Blog Forum Orlando!! The Saturday seminar was INCREDIBLE…the food AMAZING and the parties, meeting you, Scott, Helene, Julie and all the wonderful food bloggers was SO inspiring!!

    Thanks for sharing your side of the experience…it was cool to see all the familiar faces while reading & SUPER cool to see the picture you took with Michelle (Domestic Mama) and I Friday night at Whole Foods. Wasn’t that cake of Brie unbelievable? I still can’t get over it.

    Thank you again Jaden for all you do for the food blogging community. And though I know many great food bloggers around the world, there is something extra special about our home state of Florida and our amazing group here. ;)

  4. Joanne and Adam

    We had a great time and the networking opportunity was awesome. Thank you for taking the time to put this together. It was priceless and it was so exciting to meet you in person :)

  5. merry jennifer

    I love those conferences where my passion for food and all those creative things that surround it (writing, styling, photography) is reaffirmed. This was one of those. I’m so happy that I was able to chat with you – and with Scott – at the conference and the after-event. Thanks so much for doing this thing you do.

  6. fortycloves

    This conference sounds wonderful! I’m new to food blogging and would love to get “in the loop.” How can I find out about the next one (is there going to be a next one?) Thanks for sharing!

  7. Robin

    I had such a great time and learned so much! My hat goes off to everyone involved in setting this up! Great food, new friends, packed in sessions…I’m ready for the next one!

  8. Deborah

    Thanks again Jaden! Even though I felt like the grandmother of food bloggers this past weekend having been online for almost 10 years, I learned lots and hope to apply some new ideas both to my present blog and the new one which is still a work in progress.

    This was my first food blogger event ever as I am out of the country 6 months a year in Italy, and I was so happy you held it in our home state of Florida before I left. Food Blog Forum in Orlando was great…….. I met lots of great folks, the food was wonderful, learned lots, and the trip was worth it if just to finally meet both you and Helene.

  9. michelle @ The Domestic Mama and The Village Cook

    Thanks for by big brains! :)
    I learned so much, and made so many dear friends. I hope this event is one of many to come all over the country. Food Blog Forum.com is such a resourceful place to network and get help, events like this get it on the map. Everyone involved did an amazing job~ the speakers, the sponsors, and the organizers, too.
    Thanks so much for putting the pics up! I love re-living the event trough other peoples eyes!
    Thank you for all you give back to the community. There would be a lot less people following their passion if it wasn’t for people like you giving advice and encouragement. :)

  10. Joan Nova

    Great recap…I was smiling throughout (especially at your comments about Scott’s hand gestures). :)

    Thanks so much for caring about the rest of us. The information you shared was invaluable.

  11. Wanda

    Jaden, this was a life time experience for me and my husband (that went with me to #FBF). We learned so much & our heads are spinning with info and ideas. Thanks for teaching us about your learning experience & being there when I tweet with any question, you rock! Had a blast & hope to meet sometime soon!
    Wanda
    http://www.mysweetzepol.com

  12. JulieD

    I don’t think I can thank you enough…from agreeing to have an FBF Orlando to sharing your knowledge and advice to being so giving to everyone. I had so much fun planning this event with you and during it. I’m so glad it turned out so well and hope to have another one here! Thank you, Jaden. Hope to see you in Atlanta at BlogHer Food.

  13. Rachelle

    What a fun time! The location was perfect for the occasion and the sponsors were extremely generous!

    Thank you for hosting such an awesome event!

  14. Pingback: Food Blog Forum Orlando – Connecting with some awesome food bloggers — the little kitchen

  15. SMITH BITES

    yep – now confirmed that you and Scott are total rawk stars and the ultimate power couple . . . in fact, who need Brangelina when we have ScoJaden???

  16. Pingback: Food Blog Forum – Orlando | Aggie's Kitchen

  17. Aggie

    Left this weekend with such a smile on my face! Love the food blogging community so much!

    Can’t thank you enough for having this in Orlando. Hope our paths cross again soon!

  18. Aggie

    OH and I’m so glad you mentioned the teeny tiny wine glasses…seriously, they were smaller than normal right? I felt very thirsty! :)

  19. Tickled Red

    It looks like you had a great time love! I’m so bummed that I missed it, Orlando is one of my favorite cities and has my all time favorite Italian resturant. Maybe you’ll come play and teach at the beach one year ;)

  20. Jeff

    It looks as though you all had way too much fun, especially you Jaden. Congrats on the success of the Food Blogging Forum in Orlando.

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  22. Helene

    Charleston. Spring 2012.
    There I said it.

    I’ve been smiling reading everyone’s posts and tweets all week while reading how many things finally clicked for so many attending, speaking or just watching. Events like this one are important no matter what side of the stage you sit on. There is heart, content and genuine care.

    I love Debra’s comment…”ScoJaden”…oh yeah :)

    Thank you for having me share this weekend with you. I packed the upcoming one with work so I would not feel harsh withdrawals, lol!

  23. Pingback: Orlando Weekend with Food Blog Forum | WordFlux

  24. Amanda

    Oh, I feel so envious. This looks fantastic and I’ll bet everyone learned heaps. I hope that one day we can have something similar here in Australia.

  25. Pingback: Food Blog Forum Orlando ~ An Unforgettable Experience!! | Creative Kitchen

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  27. SEOExperts

    It looks like you had a great time love! I’m so bummed that I missed it, Orlando is one of my favorite cities and has my all time favorite Italian restaurant.

  28. symptoms of menapause

    My partner and I stumbled over here different web address and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to going over your web page yet again.

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