sharing our passion – food blog forum orlando

One of the things that I adore about writing a food blog is that I have found so many others who share this love with me. Looking around the room on Saturday at the Food Blog Forum event in Orlando, I saw a wide variety of people, with lots of different backgrounds and talents, but all with that same passion for food – cooking it, eating it, writing about it, photographing it. We were all there because of our strong desire toΒ  learn, to improve our skills, to broaden our talents, and to make connections.

It’s making those connections that I love the most.

Helene Dujardin during her food styling session.

Jaden of Steamy Kitchen and Dawn of Wicked Good Dinner spoke about their experiences starting and growing their blogs. Hearing about how they turned their passion for food into a career, a job they love – and don’t think of as a job – was inspiring. Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil and Purr Design, though nervous about speaking to the group, did a wonderful job explaining basics of blog design. I left her session with my mind filled with ideas – and also very thankful that there are knowledgeable people like her out there to help the rest of us out. Julie of The Little Kitchen is a pure ball of energy. It is because of her persistence and tenacity that the Food Blog Forum Orlando even happened in the first place.

I was lucky to become friends with Helene Dujardin of Tartelette in January, and I was so excited to hear her session on food styling and photography. I was even more thrilled to be able to participate in a three hour, hands-on, food styling workshop on Sunday. Helene’s enthusiasm and love for what she does comes through loud and clear. She is self-taught, and I found that fact very encouraging. It gives me hope for my own photography skills one day. Helene has a book coming out next month, and I can hardly wait to get my hands on a copy.

Lindsay getting just the right shot during the food styling and photography workshop on Sunday.

I was finally able to meet Aggie, a kindred spirit, and I am already counting down the days until college football season. I plan to drag her up to Gainesville to hang out for a Gator game. Florida has so many talented food writers, cooks, and photographers – Binky, Denise, Michelle, Renee, Lael, and so many others. And I met so many other amazing people this weekend, not only from Florida, but also from as far away as New York City and Virginia.

We gathered at the Food Blog Forum Orlando to learn from each other, to teach each other, to share information and advice, and to support one another in this journey. We gathered to make connections with others who share our love of food and creating.

And I left feeling inspired.

The lunch I styled and photographed - and ate - during Helene's workshop on Sunday.

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36 Responses to “sharing our passion – food blog forum orlando”

  1. 1
    Velva — April 10, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

    Great post! It’s wonderful when you can gather with your blogging friends. Meet and share what brings you together in the first place-FOOD! Awesome! No doubt you made a lot of new friends.

    Please, please take Aggie to a Gator game. Go Gators!!!


    • 1.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — April 10, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

      Velva – When Aggie told me she was a Gator months ago, I knew then we would get along famously. πŸ™‚

  2. 2
    JulieD — April 10, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

    MJ- thanks so much for coming! I had so much fun & it was so awesome to finally meet you in person!!

    • 2.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — April 10, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

      Thank YOU, Julie, for all your hard work to make this event happen. We must plan more meet-ups soon.

      • Avatar
        JulieD — April 11, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

        Yes we do! First one is 5/14, food bloggers’ bake sale (still trying to figure out a location) and we hope to do more every few months. Let me know if you’re interested! πŸ™‚

        • Avatar
          JulieD — April 11, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

          By more, I mean more casual meetups in the Orlando area. πŸ™‚

          • mj (merry gourmet)
            mj (merry gourmet) — April 11, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

            Julie – I can’t make the May 14 one because of work, but I’m definitely up for more meetups in Orlando.

  3. 3
    Winnie — April 10, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

    Looks like such a great time! Thanks for sharing your terrific photos and recapping the experience πŸ™‚

  4. 4
    Aggie — April 10, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

    Haha, you wont have to drag me!! πŸ™‚ I’ll come running!

    What a great weekend. I’m still processing everything, so many ideas and inspiration. It was great to finally meet you in person, felt like we were old friends! Can’t wait to get together again!

    • 4.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — April 11, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

      I agree – it felt like we’d known each other for a very, very long time. *hugs* to you, Aggie. πŸ™‚

  5. 5
    Leigh — April 10, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

    So glad you had such a fab time!! It’s so wonderful to get a chance to surround yourself with people who share the same passion you do. I’ll be glad to eat any of your expertly-styled food any time. πŸ™‚

  6. 6
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — April 10, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

    Wow… what an event! No doubt I would have been inspired.

  7. 7
    Binky (Kristen!) — April 10, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

    Merry, it was so nice to meet you, live and in person.
    I love how your bean salad photo turned out!

    This weekend, the vast world of food bloggers became cozy classroom of peers and friends. What a fun + educational weekend!

    I hope our paths cross again! Let me know if ever you’re in NYC. πŸ˜€

  8. 8
    Denise @ Creative Kitchen — April 10, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

    It was so great to finally meet in person!! It was such an AMAZING weekend, and as much as I learned in the forum….I feel the best part was meeting all of the incredible food bloggers and finally connecting in real life to those that share the same passion as me.

    Like you…I was in awe of the greatness of the Food Blogging Community! I am blessed to be a part of this great community & can’t wait to get together for future events and Florida blogger meet ups! Loved your post!!

    • 8.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — April 11, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

      We are very lucky to be a part of this. I’m so glad to have met you, Denise.

  9. 9
    thatshowiroll — April 11, 2011 @ 9:47 am

    Hey, your pictures are looking good! I could eat your beans right now! Interesting to know that you live in Gainesville; we have close family there. It was a pleasure to meet you and I really enjoyed my time at Food Blog Forum and in the workshop with Helene.

  10. 10

    YAY! So happy to see a post on this! I will be working on mine, too. It was wonderful meeting you, too. I look forward to seeing you once more soon! πŸ™‚

  11. 11
    Lindsay — April 11, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    Ha! You caught me. Short people have to get those shots somehow!

    Truly a pleasure meeting with and very much looking forward to working with you!! πŸ™‚

    • 11.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — April 11, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

      Did you notice my 3-inch sandals? That’s how I get around the vertically-challenged problem. πŸ™‚

  12. 12
    Liz the Chef — April 11, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

    You have confirmed for me that I’ve done the right thing by signing up for Camp Blogaway, a weekend retreat for food bloggers, coming up in 3 weeks. It will be my first such event – excited!

  13. 13
    Taylor — April 11, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

    Looks like an awesome time! Great recap. Wish I could have been there to join!

  14. 14
    Ethan — April 11, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

    If the tweets were any indication, a great time was had! Thanks for sharing, hope you share a few of the secrets that were told during the session too! πŸ™‚

  15. 15
    RJ Flamingo — April 12, 2011 @ 12:26 am

    Always fun to get together with you, MJ! And so great to meet so many that I tweet with – and new friends, too! Make no mistake – I learned a lot this weekend, but the personal connections are the best part of these weekends. Thanks for the shoutout, babe! xox

  16. 16
    Maris (In Good Taste) — April 12, 2011 @ 4:41 am

    Sounds like you all had a wonderful time! Just about the best part of blogging has been the friends I have made and the amazing people I have met!

  17. 17
    Katie — April 12, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

    *Sigh,* what a great even! I really wish I could have been there – I hope there are more to come in the future πŸ˜‰

  18. 18
    marla — April 12, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful experience with us! I went to FBF last year in LA and had a blast. Love catching up with all the buddies, making new friends & learning awesome blog stuff. Can’t wait to meet you some day soon. Are you going to BlogHer Food??

    • 18.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — April 13, 2011 @ 10:16 am

      Marla – Yes! I’ll definitely be at BlogHer Food. I’d love to connect with you there.

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