This past weekend, over three hundred Foodbuzz Featured Publishers shared this agenda at the Second Annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival. My fellow Featured Publishers flew in from all over the country – actually, the world – to San Francisco, where Foodbuzz is based, to revel in a weekend packed with food tastings, seminars, and the opportunity to meet and learn from one another.
When I started Kitchen Confidante, I assumed that writing a blog was a solitary activity. The process was supposed to be: you cook, you photograph, you write. As time passed, and as, amazingly, people read, I quickly learned that comments lead to acquaintances, and sometimes even into friendships. It lead to community.
I was flabbergasted when I learned that there were food blogger conferences across the country, ones that were most often sold out and filled to capacity. As I delved deeper into this community, I grew excited about the idea of attending these events; when I learned that Foodbuzz hosts a festival for its Featured Publishers, it was a no-brainer. I knew I had to be there.
For me, it was a simple drive across the bridge, but I was in awe of all the attendees who were flying in from all corners of the U.S., as well as Canada and Bulgaria! And I couldn’t help but feel, as I always do, such deep pride for this host city, as San Francisco is what I consider a foodie utopia.
The festival events were held in landmarks all over San Francisco.
Friday evening, the festival kicked off with a Welcome Reception & Street Food Fair at the Fort Mason Center. As I crossed the threshold of the Herbst Pavilion, I was quite overwhelmed by the sheer number of attendees. For a moment, knowing that there are hundreds of people who share this passion for writing about food was dizzying – and that was just in a 30,000 square foot contained space. The reality that there are thousands of food bloggers all over the world set in, but the queasiness lasted just a short time.
Before I knew it, I was encountering old friends, meeting new ones, and eating to my heart’s content.
I returned on Saturday for a full day of Festival activities. The morning was spent at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel for morning break out sessions and seminars. By lunch, a famished and eager throng of attendees set upon the Metreon for the Taste Pavilion. For me, it was a visual and toothsome delight.
Here are some of the most memorable.
Whenever I am in the city, I usually am under a tight schedule – there are reservations and events, traffic patterns and miscellaneous commitments. I hardly have the leisure to wander and soak in the atmosphere these days. Having some time between the Tasting Pavilion and the evening’s Gala Dinner was a rare treat, and San Francisco made the day even sweeter by granting us sunshine and balmy temperatures.
Chandara of Spicy Green Mango and I wandered down to Yerba Buena Gardens to find a cup of tea and a comfortable place to rest. By the blooms and the gorgeous greenery, you would never know it was November.
By nightfall, we made our way to the Saturday Night Grand Dinner at the Ferry Building. Held in the lofty and almost celestial Grand Hall, it was a most sumptuous and fitting setting for the beautifully executed dinner hosted by The Cooking Channel.
Each course was executed perfectly, no small feat when catering such a large event. The beets and scallops were my personal favorites of the dinner, and just when I thought I simply had no more room for anything more after the generously portioned lamb chop, the ethereally light almond cake was the perfect ending to a stunning meal.
Beyond the food, however, the best part of my experience this weekend were the personal connections I was able to make with both familiar names and new connections. I met so many warm souls this weekend, and it was such a joy to put faces to names I have only seen on comments or on Twitter. And though I was not able to attend the farewell brunch the following morning, knowing that I met many kindred spirits was the best conclusion to a memorable weekend. I can’t wait till next year.