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BlogHer Food 2010 in San Francisco

I just returned from the BlogHer Food conference in San Francisco.  For those not familiar with BlogHer, it is the publishing network that runs ads on this site. BlogHer has thousands of bloggers generating great content and hosts conferences annually, one of which is for their food bloggers.  For those of you who were at this sold out conference, wasn't it well done?  There were a number of great panel discussions, lots of interesting vendors, tons of great food and two very fun parties.  For those who couldn't attend, I wanted to write a recap so you could see what the conference was like, as I know many of you want to go next year.

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting up with my goddaughter, Gaby, who writes "What's Gaby Cooking'".  We did a Segway tour of San Francisco and had an absolute blast.  We did not want to get off those darn things, they were so much fun!  The weather was spectacular and there was an air show that weekend and the pilots were practicing over the water while we were on our Segways.  It was incredible.

The obligatory mecca to the Williams Sonoma store, Kara's Cupcakes, the airshow,

me and Gaby on Segways


Brian and I went to a couple of great places for dinner before the conference even started.  One restaurant was Perbacco, which just blew us away.  We had some of their handmade pastas, like trofie, which is very labor intensive.  Every ingredient in each dish was outstanding - the basil in the pesto, the figs in the salad. We finished with their caramel gelato with sea salt - a wowzer! Then the next evening we went to Chez Panisse for dinner.  I just had to make that pilgrimage.  It did not disappoint. Everything was incredible, but the first course of crostini with tomatoes was explosive in taste - they grilled the bread over the wood fire and you could actually taste that.  It was outstanding.

From where we were sitting, I could see into the kitchen.  It was a real treat.  At one point, I thought I saw David Tanis in the kitchen:  

Is that. . . David Tanis?  

I know he splits his time between Chez Panisse and living in Paris, so I asked the waitress if he was working that night, and she said, "Oh yeah - that's David back there - would you like to meet him and get a tour of the kitchen?"  Would I?  Yes! But I didn't want to impose.  Brian insisted I go back there (thanks, honey!) so I did and I got to meet David and see the whole kitchen operation and the various stations.  I loved it.  He couldn't have been nicer.

back in the kitchen at Chez Panisse with David Tanis

I've been reading for a long time Marcia Gagliardi's "Tablehopper".  She is the Queen of what's happening in San Francisco.  She was kind enough to invite me to a party she was co-hosting at Orson.  It involved a whole lot of chocolate, lots of strange and exotic flavors to taste and creative cocktails.

Marcia Gagliardi of Tablehopper


One of the things I heard over and over all weekend was how supportive and close the blogging community is and I think that's absolutely true.  Everyone was just so happy to meet each other.  It was fun to meet so many people that I know online - thank goodness everyone had their blog titles on their name badges!  Some people you only know by their blogging titles, so it was fun to meet them in person. Then, of course, there were bloggers who everyone knows and they could not have been nicer to meet.  What a bunch of amazing and talented women (and men, too!).


Diane Cu (White on Rice Couple), Jaden Hair (Steamy Kitchen), Susan Russo (Foodblogga)


Hank Shaw (Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook), Brooke Burton (Food Woolf), Gaby Dalkin (What's Gaby Cooking)

Thanks to Hank Shaw, I now know more hangover remedies and I want to make my own homemade pancetta!


Fran Feldman (FRANtasticfood), Lori Lange (Recipe Girl), Jenny (Picky Palate), Amanda (I Am Baker), Stephanie Manley (CopyKat Recipes)


Todd Porter, Diane Cru (White on Rice Couple), Garrett McCord (Vanilla Garlic), Maria Lichty (Two Peas and Their Pod)


Lael Hazan (Educated Palate), Susan Filson (Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy)


Gaby (the next Food Network Star) and Me


Aran (Cannelle et Vanille) had her beautiful little baby at the conference and it was sweet to watch them. And everyone knows who these two below are, right?   She was scurrying around the conference all weekend, being such a good little girl and getting to eat lots of goodies!

Danny and Lu

I have never seen so many people so totally plugged in.  In normal situations, where there was a speaker or a panel, it would be rude to constantly be on your laptop or your phone.  But in a bunch of bloggers, everyone is on their phone or laptop, twittering away and it's absolutely fine.  I have to admit, I really loved that.  And for those of you who could not attend, reading the live tweets about the speakers is a fun way to follow along.


There were lots of sessions you could go to about anything from food photography to SEO for bloggers to recipe writing and blogger ethics.  There was something for everyone.  


The absolute highlight for me, though, was meeting Penny De Los Santos.  Yes, I am now completely in love with this woman!  Her cool factor is about a 15.  I've always been awed by her photography, but sitting in her session was amazing.  I loved the stories she told about her photographs and her thoughts about her photography in general.  She could not have been more gracious and lovely to meet. I wanted to take a picture of her, but she was too shy about it!  I thought that was hilarious - she didn't want to be on the other end of a camera.  But when I was editing my photos from the conference, I realized I accidentally took a photo of her when I was shooting the espresso bar.  So here is my photo of Penny De Los Santos getting an espresso:

I got you anyway, Penny!


 The food at the conference was great and there was always something being served in between sessions.  There were lots of vendors that made some great little appetizers and there were sweets galore.



There were shuttle buses one day to take us over to the Ferry Building so that we could go to the Market.  I had lunch at the Slanted Door with Lael and Susan and we tried several dishes, including the delicious papaya salad and the caramelized tiger prawns.


The shopping, of course in the Marketplace was amazing.  You could spend all day there but we did have to get back to the conference at some point!


goodies at the Ferry Market


There was a very fun party on Friday night that BlogHer and Food Fete hosted. There was lots of great food, cocktails and fun stuff to sample from the vendors there. 


I see Matt and Gaby yacking away


Friday night party food


The closing keynote was given by Shauna (Gluten-Free Girl), Michael Ruhlman, and Molly (Orangette).  They were all compelling speakers but I must say, I think everyone was very moved by what Shauna shared with all of us.  I think the room collectively gave her a big group hug and I hope she knows it.


Ruhlman getting all fired up during the closing keynote


All good things must come to an end.  On Saturday night, Jaden, Ree and Elise hosted a Closing Party at the California Culinary Academy.  It was so much fun. There was lots of food, of course.


And Michael Ruhlman did a demonstration of how to make your own bacon. The room was packed.  I was lucky to be standing right next to Hank Shaw, who gave me great bacon commentary during the demo!  I love that guy.

Ruhlman making bacon


Now let's talk swag.  You want to know about it - I know you do!  There was plenty of that during the conference.  Sharffen Berger was giving out tons of chocolate.  I got bottles of saffron, numerous jump drives, a digital thermometer, a Nutella knife, a very nice cookbook from Philadelphia Cream Cheese, a great BlogHer swag bag, and tons of edible goodies.

At the closing party, Chef's Catalog gave everyone a very nice bag full of kitchen items and a gift certificate:


Some tips for those of you who would like to go next year.  One: Make sure there is extra room in your suitcase for all the swag. Some people could not take goodies back because their suitcases were so full. I know you can't see it very well in the photo above, but the Chef's bag included a 12-inch pizza pan.  Try stuffing that in your suitcase, if there's no room!  Two: Take business cards so you can easily exchange information with other people and throw your card in for drawings.

Thanks to BlogHer for such a great conference!

If you'd like to read some other recaps of the conference, here are a few links:

What's Gaby Cooking  BlogHer Food and San Fran

Food Woolf:  How to Go to a Food Blogging Conference

Will Write for Food: BlogHer Food, the Love Fest

Panini Happy:  Memorable Moments from BlogHer Food '10

Steamy Kitchen:  Oinker

Bay Area Bites:  BlogHer Food Conference, Day 2

Picky Palate:  BlogHer Food Extravaganza

Celiacs in the House:  BlogHer Food 2010

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Reader Comments (24)

Love your re-cap! What a wonderful weekend we all had. Love to see it through everyone's different activities. So fun!

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Flake

Fantastic re-cap! Looks like you managed to squeeze in lots of SF things into the weekend too. Wish I had been able to stay longer to do that! Gaby is your God-Daughter??? How cool!

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLori @ RecipeGirl

NOO!! You met David Tanis?? Get out!!
Great post, wish I was there to meet all those awesome people myself! And wow, look at that spread!! I feel hungry.
Thanx for sharing!

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPrerna@IndianSimmer

GREAT recap! Love it! It was so fun meeting you. I loved getting to know you, you are beautiful inside and out. Please come to Utah soon:)

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

That was the best recap! Thanks for sharing. I loved being there!

What an amazing wrapup! Your photos are just wonderful - I'm so bashful about my feeble skills. Love the Segway shot, and the Chez Panisse experience too! We actually had reservations for Saturday, but chose to go to the party instead - and am so glad that we did, much as I wish we had ALSO gone to CP.

Next time!

Thanks for sharing this!

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFabFrugalFood

Thanks for the recap! It made me feel like I was there (even though I couldn't make it). Love it, thank you!! Glad you had a good time.

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTraci

LOve your thoughts and pictures!! Well. Except the one of me of course. You have such a unique and awesome perspective of the weekend.. I love all the different things you did!! And now I am so excited to stalk your site and learn everything I can from you!!

BLessings swet girl!

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

It was such a pleasure meeting you this weekend. Even better getting to hear the story that you were the one behind Gaby discovering food blogging! Yay for inspiring that spit fire to do her WGC thing! Your photos are just extraordinary and your wrap up is incredibly thorough. Thank you so much for the shout out and for filling in all the blanks on what happened at Blogher! Can't wait to see you again! Next time we WILL have dinner.

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke@Foodwoolf

What a great recap, Elaine! I am hoping to attend BlogHer Food next year. I would love to finally meet you! Thank you for such a great post!

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFlavia

One of the hardest parts of these conferences is when I read a recap that so resonates with what I experienced and I feel the blogger gets the same things I get and I didn't meet them. I wish I could have met you there and we must all come up with a better way to connect at BlogHer so we don't miss out on the interesting and talented bloggers gathered there. Beautiful photos that also captured the feel of the hotel, the city, the people, the food.

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWendy@Celiacs in the House

What an awesome recap Elaine! Thanks for such wonderful coverage and photos! I too felt I was right there with you. Great post!

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterYankeeSoaper

I just found your blog and I have to say that your photos are nothing short of AMAZING! I also found a picture of the back of my head (I'm talking to Diane Cu)! I'm writing a BlogHer Food re-cap post, but I don't think it will compare to this one! -Flannery Good of Fashionaby Bombed

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFashionably Bombed Girls

From The Italian Dish:

Jenny: It was fun to meet you - you are such a doll!

Lori: I loved meeting you -- isn't that funny about Gaby? You and Jenny are so cute together.

Prerna: You will have to come next year!

Maria: It was about time I met you, my Twitter friend! If we get back to Park City, I'm calling you!

Sandy: I love your book!

FabFrugalFood: Chez Panisse is a must next time you are out there.

Traci: Thank you!

Amanda: You were such a doll to meet. I love your blog!

Brooke: Hope we get to do that dinner thing sometime! I loved meeting you. Gaby sure has a wonderful friend in you.

Flavia: I hope you go!

Wendy and YankeeSoaper: Thanks!

Fashionably Bombed: That's hilarious - that's the back of your head! Can't wait to read you recap. I'll watch for it.

October 13, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Such a great rundown! I loved reading it. Wow, I had no idea there was even such a thing as a Food Blogger Conference, but sounds like so much fun. And that Williams Sonoma shot almost made me fall off my chair, that is amazing! Keep on Bloggin' in the free world.

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

So great to meet you (on the bus and again on the plane). Your blog is beautiful! I can't wait to hear about your Pancetta! On behalf of Pig Farmers everywhere-thanks for making our product so delicious. I'll be an avid follower from now on!

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan

What a great write-up. It must have been such fun! Lucky you!

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarcellina

Wow! Great recap, Elaine! I can't believe all the wonderful photos you got! I, of course, am still trying process the whole experience and organize my thoughts.

It was so great to finally meet you and have the opportunity to hang out together. It was definitely a highlight of the weekend for me! Hope we get the chance to do it again soon. :)

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan @ SGCC

Elaine, thanks for sharing your experience! Great photos as usual and I am so excited to check out some new blogs you've mentioned!

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

Elaine, You're gorgeous! Looks like you had a wonderful!

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarie

I loved reading your entry. I have not been to some of these places in San Francisco, I will have to check them out! Great photos.

My wife is a professional photographer and she has been following Penny De Los Santos as an inspiration for her. I'm sure she would love to meet her but living in the UK I doubt whether she ever will. You were obviously thrilled to meet her but after reading your website I'm sure she was equally as thrilled to have met you.

August 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

To be successful in this issue you’ve got written about, one ought to really devote time and effort into it. I worked on doing a research on it in my spare time and you also wouldn’t believe in the options that opened up job wise. This is a great discipline and can lead to many exciting possibilities. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

amd Athlon

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramd Athlon

To honor the BlogHer Food traffic triumph and all of our many food bloggers, we will give this week's poll a culinary theme. Tell us about your favorite holiday food recipe or dish. We want to know what's going to be for dinner in your house as we approach the holiday season. Please leave a recipe or a link to your food blog in the comments.

computer store

November 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercomputer store

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