I’m back (and a mini-review about BlogHer)!

After two whirlwind weeks of business travel, I’m back and will be posting again regularly. Did you miss me? I missed YOU.
Food roundup:

I was sick for most of my Chicago trip, but did make it to Hugo’s Frog Bar (and thus Gibson’s; same kitchen) and BIN 36.  I’ll be writing about both of them soon.

BlogHer roundup:

Very disappointed– I’ll write about it more on dittochic, but I found out a couple of things:

1) To BlogHer, food bloggers only write about recipes.  I was one of two (2!) restaurant/general food bloggers in the Food Blogging session.  Everyone else was a mommy blogger who had a cooking blog.

2) The moderator of said session, who will remain nameless, treated me with open disdain when I shared my restaurant blogger perspective about blogging during the recession.  She not only didn’t pay attention–looking everywhere but at the person speaking (me), glancing out the door,  and even looked visibly relieved when another recipe blogger got the mike.  Wow.  The moderator also stated that “no one makes gourmet meals”.  Wrong.

3) The food blogger dinner (which I did not attend, mostly because I didn’t know it occured) apparently revolved around whether or not restaurant bloggers were food bloggers.  Consensus? No.  What?  As Michelle’s husband Kevin said, that’s like penalizing a wine blogger for not making his or her own wine.  Why do bloggers have to be divided into factions, can’t we all just get along?

4) The food blogging session was basically a recipe swap.  It had nothing to do with marketing a food blog during a recession, or blogging tips, or best practices.  The panelists (Michelle excluded– she was as lost as I was) actually promoted buying a DSLR…during a recession blogging panel.  It was ridiculous.

5) As I tweeted this panel, I got several DMs agreeing that it wasn’t what attendees expected, so I swear I’m not insane or sensitive.

So, there you have it.  I doubt I will attend BlogHer Food, particularly if this is the attitude those of us who are not recipe/mommy bloggers are going to get.  Just not worth it.

So glad to be home!

18 thoughts on “I’m back (and a mini-review about BlogHer)!”

  • Hey, Next time you plan a trip to Chicago let me know. My boyfriend and I are there all the time and can tell you what restaurants to hit up. My favorite is Avec. The best places are off the beaten path…not in the Gold Coast. We are going this weekend and have reservations at Japonais. We really wanted to eat at Sunda, but they have a 2 month waiting list!!!

    Side Note: Lux, (which is apart of Hugo’s and Gibbson’s) has a restaurant.com gift certificate.


  • We go to the Hugo’s location in Naperville every time I’m in Chi-town… LOVE the $1 mini burgers & wedge salad (plus a Goose Island or Hacker Pschorr.) Makes a delicious & cheap lunch with white tablecloths & great service. There’s also one table that is an old phone booth so we always try to request that for an extra bit of excitement 🙂 Haven’t been to the downtown location. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!

  • We ate at the Hugo’s Naperville location yesterday and the RL downtown this trip (sadly I was at BlogHer so much I didn’t get out as much as I should have), will be eager to hear your review of Hugo’s. I also attended the food blogger session and think either I didn’t understand what it was supposed to be or it was mis-labeled. It was all about how to cook on a budget and out of a crock pot, which is fantastic, but I wanted BLOGGER tips, not recipes. I thought it would be marketing a blog during a recession, so not sure what happened, but you were not alone.
    .-= Sheri´s last blog ..10 Tips on Saving Now for Your Holiday Road Trip =-.

  • As beer blogger, I really wanted to talk about making our blog better for our readers. I would have loved to have heard more from the “Show Me the Curry” video blogger on the panel. The moderator totally took over the panel and made it into her personal point of view. Some people actually want quality over quantity in their food and beverage in these hard economic times. That’s why craft beer sales are up!
    .-= Carla´s last blog ..This Week in Beer: July 27 – August 2, 2009 =-.

  • I understand now. I apologize once more, and hope you give it another shot next year.

    Sometimes audience questions and reactions can change the focus of a panel. It can also happen that panel members’ interests and expertise are so diverse, they don’t really mesh well. These things can’t be anticipated, but they are certainly worth an apology after it happens.

    I was sarcastic without finding out facts, and I was wrong. I was also speaking more towards another group that complained a lot over things far more trivial, and this session wasn’t on my mind at all.
    .-= Jane´s last blog ..BlogHer Is Officially Over, Except That It’s Never Really Over =-.

    • I’m definitely not a conference newbie– I know audience participation can really change the vibe of a session– but considering the moderator inserted herself onto the panel and drove a recipe-only agenda, IMO it has less to do with how conferences work with one person’s agenda.

      I really do appreciate you reaching out! I’ll shoot you an email, too.

  • Hi Julie. Glad to have you back. After attending Podcamp in Columbus, I am not surprised by the unexpected content of the sessions. Verria and I were in a couple where the title sounded very intriguing and beneficial only to be completely different.

    I like to read a variety of food blogs and even add recipies or food topics that relate to the conversation at hand. As we both know, the food industry is vast although it sounds like these ladies are a bit close minded and possibly “cliques”. Your blog is more of a professional (and very respected) food/review blog and not just a hobby of recipe swapping, which is great in it’s own right. Hopefully this moderator simply didn’t realize what she was doing and perahps next year, there could be more than just one or someone who is a bit more diverse.
    .-= Christina Baita´s last blog ..Where Is The Weight Hiding? =-.

  • I’ve thought it through for hours now, and have come up with a simple solution in two easy steps:

    1) Become a mommy

    2) Change your website over entirely to recipes

    Really, no need to thank me, you’re quite welcome. However, if you do feel the urgent need to express your thanks, send me a wheelbarrow full of your blog-earned cash – but no bills over a twenty, please.

  • I hear opprtunity knocking! If recent blog conferences on food are inadequate ( and kind of sadly non inclusive ) , I think it would be great to have a restaurant blog meeting hear in Cincinnati with Julie leading it. Julie, you have made a great success by intelligent and open minded reporting. You could share that with other bloggers and really assist some folks.

  • “No one makes gourmet meals”? I’m pretty sure more people than ever are into cooking “gourmet” meals at home. Just consider the popularity of the Food Network. Also, with the recession, I’m guessing people are replacing eating out with cooking something “gourmet” at home. Also, if you’ve seen any of the Next Food Network Star show then you’ve seen a home cook make it to the final two. I’m pretty sure she cooks some gourmet meals for her family…
    .-= Joe Kikta´s last blog ..JoeKikta: RT @chuckhemann: interesting concept from @daveknox – "Everywhere Shopper Marketing" – http://bit.ly/O4Nhw =-.

  • I forgot about the “gourmet” at home comment. I cook like that all of the time. AT HOME. I even love to garnish. I prefer to select foods that compliment each other or offer a contrast that works well. I even served a full Asian inspired meal down to the ginger ice cream and candied ginger. Ok, now I’m hungry!
    .-= Christina Baita´s last blog ..Driving Italian Style =-.

  • Hi Julie, So sorry we missed each other at BlogHer. Your comments give me pause, wondering, Is she right, IS there a “recipe” bias at BlogHer? I don’t think so but if YOU feel like there is, then that needs addressing.

    BTW I didn’t organize this year’s food blogger supper but I did two years ago. It’s hard work, finding everyone! (And maybe that’s one of our tips for the BlogHer staff for another year, helping us know who our “birds of a feather” people will be attending BEFORE the conference.) I worked and worked and worked (right up until the last minute) and still missed people who would have been much welcomed at the dinner. (The restaurant thought I was crazy, keeping the numbers open up until the last minute.) I also know that Kalyn and Lydia, who did organize this year’s supper, did the same thing. The day before the conference, I saw a post saying someone was coming to the conference and forwarded it to Lydia, she extended an invitation, which was accepted.

    Maybe you’d e-mail me? I’m working with some other bloggers on the content/organization of BlogHer Food in September and would love to include your thinking.

    Again, thanks for chiming in. I just wish I’d known you were at the conference!

  • Hi Julie,

    First let me state that I am truly sorry if I gave you the impression that I did not value your presence or input at the food blogging session. What you have interpreted as “disdain” was actually delight that you, as a restaurant blogger, were in the room and frankly stunned surprise that there were so few others. If I looked out the door, it was because the door was open and there was noise coming in from the hall, which I really wanted to have closed. (It did get closed thankfully.) If I said “no one makes gourmet meals” I do not remember it, and do not remember in what context I may have said it, because that’s certainly not true. We make gourmet meals, just not that often.

    In planning for the session, we as a group focused on what we were doing on our blogs as bloggers that would be helpful to our readers confronted with recession realities. It came out that the session planners envisioned more of a session about cooking tips, but we weren’t nearly as interested in that as what we do as bloggers. In the session I did make several attempts to steer the conversation back to blogging, but also wanted to be responsive to what the group wanted to talk about, which much to our (the panelists) surprise ended up being cooking tips. I was also instructed to participate fully in the discussions. I did try to hold back, but obviously failed at that and failed you as a moderator. I do apologize.

    Hi Carla,

    We had a beer blogger in the room? That’s awesome! Did you raise your hand to ask a question and I didn’t call on you? If that’s the case I am sorry as I did make an effort to hear from as many people as possible.

    By the way, there is a recap of the session posted at the BlogHer site: http://is.gd/1SVsP

    • Thanks for writing, Elise– it means a lot that you took the time to check out the blog to see what I’ve said. And I do appreciate the apology; I hope that future BlogHer food-related panels are less focused on recipes, and maybe that’s something that needs to be made clear in the session description!

  • Sigh. I wasn’t going to step into this, but hell, why not? I was just so disappointed in the conference as a whole. For those who are curious, you can read my opinions on the swagathon here: http://bit.ly/MdzfM and the tech (or lack thereof) and my own Food Blogging panel here: http://bit.ly/lba1w (FYI, those links go to the tech blog to which I contribute – not the wine blog.)

    I was sad to not be invited to the Food Bloggers Dinner. I keep hearing that they couldn’t find everyone, but heck – I was on a Food Blogging panel, so I’m a little puzzled by that excuse. I was easy to find! 🙂 Wine blogging is a subcategory of Food Blogging, just as Restaurant/Review blogging is. And Julie, you know that had I been invited, I’d have dragged you along in a heart beat. C’est la vie, I suppose. Live and learn, and it’s not really a big deal in the scheme of life.

    I knew there was a beer blogger in the room – she is one of my closest friends. But the conversation never steered to anything to which she could contribute. Leftovers and beer just don’t mesh well. Well, okay, they do – but not necessarily in this context 🙂 As for restaurant blogging, that topic was quickly steered back to leftovers and bringing flat storage containers to restaurants. We never really came back to the topic again. Elise – someone did say (and I’m not sure who) that no one cooks gourmet meals anymore and my immediate thought (and perhaps I should have opened my mouth) was that my friend Julie only cooks gourmet meals at home.

    I had hoped, a lot, that we would get into topics such as ethics in accepting samples. Whether you eat out (comp’d meals) or accept samples like I do, it is definitely a way to affordably food/wine blog in a recession. It didn’t even come up. Also, how do you market a foodie blog in the recession? I know we had our conference call beforehand, but I left the conference call feeling that the session would go one of two ways – they way I dreaded (recipe swap!) or the way I hoped (blogging-related). Truthfully, this wasn’t unique to this panel. In several panels I was hoping for more information on handling the blogging on the topic as opposed to the topic itself, if that makes sense.

    I speak on social media, blogging, and even wine blogging at a lot of national conferences. I’m not a conference newbie by any means. But my BlogHer experience was drastically different than any other conference I’ve ever attended.
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Ethics and Integrity =-.

  • Hey Julie, you can borrow Michael anytime you want but I think we should still cook gourmet at home!

    You and Michelle sure have eased my mind that I missed BlogHer. I could go to a party anytime. Personally, I can’t wait until the next CWB meeting. Speaking of, is there a certain weekend of the month that it usually falls on so that I can bid for that time off in September?
    .-= Christina Baita´s last blog ..Where Is The Weight Hiding? =-.

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