International Food Bloggers Conference: Sex, but No Drugs or Rock n Roll

posted in: Dine, Experience, Seattle-ing | 39

Chickpeas and the Sea

When I was younger I would regularly attend Grateful Dead shows, The Glastonbury Fest, Lollapalooza, the Oregon Country Faire, and the like (this was pre-Burning Man). At the end of each of these festivals, I would head back to reality wiping away tears, sweat and grime, stunned by the thundering display of humanity and spirit present during the gathering of so many souls. Speaking generally, a fair bit of mood-heightening substances would likely have been consumed over the course of several days, which helps to splay the psyche and let crude emotions come pouring in.  Rejoining with reality felt like spluttering through the stratosphere then crashing into the atmosphere without a parachute. No amount of arm-flapping could protect me from the splintered thwack of contact with unyielding earth. The International Food Bloggers Conference was much the same, but without the drugs and rock and roll. (There was plenty of sex. Food bloggers have DIRTY minds, as you’ll see if you follow the #IFBC hashtag running commentary of the conference on twitter.)

Jason Stratton, best new chef, finishes a Spinasse dish
Jason Stratton, best new chef, finishes a Spinasse dish

I am trying to cull my thoughts into a cohesive stream of information that might be useful for my readers, but I feel like a saturated band-aid has been ripped off a still-seeping gash. There was so much information to parse, my brain is spinning like a cpu looking for various nooks and crannies in which to store chestnuts of data. The best part about the conference was not the speakers. It was not the questionable temperature control, the wrapped mints and urine cakes in the glamified porta-potties, it was not even the food. The single-most powerful thing about attending IFBC was the glorious mind-meld that inevitably takes place when over 300 (aspiring and actualized) industry leaders from a burgeoning field come together to eat, drink and be merry. The sum of every individual was raised to the highest common denominator of our parts. We were all able to surreptitiously bask in the “picture-making” sepia glow of what it might be like to be Penny De Los Santos, if only for a too-brief, visually orgasmic slide presentation. We all felt the collective heave of wrenching back what is right from The Man when Robin Goldstein successfully wrestled the ethical golden ticket away from Robert Schroeder of the Federal Trade Commission with only the use of his skillful silver tongue and the cerebral heft behind his words. After so many displays of awesome talent, I am left nearly bereft of words, and those are the things I always have in abundance. Five second pacts over tamales and Kilt-lifter cemented friendships for life, leaving me simultaneously gnashing at the bit to make a masterpiece with my words, lens, hands, and high heels, and also just a little bit verklempt- overcome by the utterly-endowed group of brilliant individuals.


Vignettes. Shauna from Gluten Free Girl made everyone feel extra special when she invited the lot of us to sample a berry crumble she had made along with her husband from berries gathered outside their Vashon doorstep on a dewy, late-summer morning. Chef John from Food Wishes let me in on a brilliant upcoming post idea he has involving twitter streams-of-consciousness, whilst we drank sherry after sherry from cups we stacked end to end as though we were at a keg party. I played hookie with some cool kids like Michael Natkin and Georgia Pellegrini during lunch, wherein we traipsed over to the bar-formerly-known-as-The-Triangle and downed drinks brought to us by none other than Captain Jack Sparrow.  A speaker took the stage at the first moment they started to project the live twitter stream for all to see in the front of the room. The first tweet to hit the screen: This speaker moonlights as a phone-sex operator. Written by Yours Truly, projected by accident, prompting gales of laughter much to the confusion of the speaker, totally unbeknownst to me that it would be there for all to see. I sheepishly hunkered down in my seat, and they quickly removed the feed. Nathan Myhrvold, author of the upcoming, controversial, exhaustive tome, Modernist Cuisine, won my heart as he completely geeked out during his presentation on all things sous vide, foam, gel, and Maillard. He showed us how he cuts things like Le Creuset dutch ovens and Weber Grills in half to get his remarkable images, as well as throwing in some gratuitious shots of slo-mo popcorn popping and wine glass shattering. Incidentally, the price of the book (which oscillates from the high $400 to the mid $600 range on Amazon) does not seem outlandish to me considering that the Oxford English Dictionary sells frequently and historically for $1000, and with that you don’t get images or recipes.


The sheer strength of social media and the realization that I am entrenched in that- a little fava in a big pod- brought out an unparalleled evocative emotional response in me. Collectively, we have the power to incite food revolutions, get generations back in the kitchen, and knock-back an impressive amount of wine while we’re doing it. I cracked jokes and made light of issues with the best of them (I’m looking at you, Seattle Food Geek and Chef Reinvented) but inside, a little ember of surging possibility kept me warm with a surefire, confident knowledge that the future is indeed, very bright.

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39 Responses

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  5. @A Canadian Foodie
    Thermomixing is like the final frontier- I’ll have to check out what you’re up to with that. Glad to encounter a fellow crazy person in the kitchen- have fun.

  6. @Christine @ Fresh Local and Local
    I hope to go to Foodbuzz too, so chances are good we will finally meet:) Let’s keep in touch about it…

  7. IFBC sounds like an amazing and inspiring event. I must say that I am impressed with Nathan Myhrvold’s work. This is the first time that I am learning about it, and it just sounds incredible the lengths he goes to to provide a window into how things work.

    By the way, I hope to meet you later this year at Foodbuzz! At the very least, I can’t wait to see what types of shoes you wear.

  8. Funny, thoughtful and provocative! I am so in… read about you on Mardi’s post… wish you had a subscribe by e-mail plug in. I do sous vide, too… and Thermomixing and lost of other interesting things… but definitely NOT in stilettos!

  9. […] Seattle: International Food Bloggers Conference: Sex, but No Drugs or Rock n RollPoor Girl Eats Well: International Food Bloggers Conference Reception, Morgan Spurlock and […]

  10. I like your sense of humor…great post!

  11. What a fab recap, although you’re just making me more bummed that I missed it (damn work!) ;)

  12. Wish I could have gone. Looks like a great time. Thanks for the post!

  13. @Michael @
    Glad you agree, Michael- maybe we should share a copy:) Yes, our little hooky lunch definitely made for a better afternoon!

  14. @Eve Eats Everything
    Not Kathleen- one of the organizers on stage for such a quick sec I didn’t get her name. Lovely girl, though. Meant as a compliment:)

  15. You are a crack up! I love your write-up about all. I hope to go next time.

    Shelly :)

  16. Which speaker had the phone sex operator voice? I assumed it was Kathleen Flinn…

  17. What a blast! And love that shot of Cap’n Jack; beautiful exposure. That was one of my favorite parts of the weekend, grabbin’ a beer with you gals + @foodcartspdx. That and Nathan Myrhvold’s presentation. I totally agree with you, I don’t think $500 for that book is too much at all.

  18. A terrific recap of a spectacular weekend. You really brought all the great moments to life. I’m still reveling in the fun and friendship I experienced there.

    And, it was lovely to meet you!

    -Maria at Fresh Eats

  19. @Dianne Jacob
    I am certain our dusty trails will wind together soon, Dianne. I need profound time with you in hopes that some of your brilliance will osmose to me. You are here often enough, next time I’ll catch a class. (you did look lovely surrounded by a legion of devotees all weekend, though, xx)

  20. How did we not get to talk? I was trying to meet everyone at least once, but 250 was just too many people.

    You did not mention your outrageous tweets during Nathan M’s presentation. You are crazy, girl!

    Thank you for distilling the feeling of IFBC into a post with superb photography. I just went for the controversy.

  21. Hey LInda, sorry we didn’t get to hang out more.I had goals to meet all 250 people but it didn’t happen.

    I did, however, get a laugh out of your salty tweets during Nathan M’s presentation. You are crazy, in a good way.

    Thanks for distilling the feeling of the conference into words. I just went for the controversy.

  22. @Brad
    You crack me up! good idea.

    It truly was incredible- LOVED having you here.

    @The Duo Dishes
    From what I saw, you guys made the most of your #IFBCPP though:)

    @Barbara | VinoLuciStyle
    I so cannot wait to meet you- you are a wise woman, Barb. You were definitely with us in spirit all weekend.

  23. Sorry we did not connect at IFBC. I really enjoyed your account of the conference, maybe we should all recommend a Rock n Roll or jam band play for next years event?

  24. Linda, I am so impressed you can even get any words out, let along such eloquent ones. What a wonderfully evocative post – brings back great memories of a truly unforgettable weekend.

  25. Thanks to all of you for tweeting while you were there. It was great for the rest of us stuck at home. :)

  26. I am saddened I could not come; that I seem destined with a leg injury to only watch from afar as my fellow bloggers join together and find a greater community even than we have made on Twitter.

    But it is pretty amazing how much a person could sort of kind of (OK, not really) feel there by watching the presentation stream (why not the attendee stream, where was that?) and combing over follow up posts to glean something even close to what you were all blessed to discover…we are a breed apart and when we come together…something special does happen!

    And I will not soon forget the vision of those green shoes!

  27. @merry jennifer
    there were definitely some spectacular moments:)

    @Joseph’s Grainery
    great to meet you too!

    @Carol Peterman
    I feel you.

    @Carol (CGtheFoodie)
    I hope so too!

    @Paula Thomas
    So happy you were one of the cool kids too:)

  28. Ha ha! Perfect capture of some of the spectacular moments of IFBC.

  29. Way to put into words (and photos) a great weekend! It was great meeting you there.

  30. *clap* What a well written post! Great shot of Mr. Sparrow. :) I need to get working on my pics and blog post.

  31. Fabulous recap of the conference!!! I loved reading your tweets all weekend and am saddened that we never got to converse in person. Next conference perhaps.

  32. Well done. My brain feels paralyzed as I try to process the whole glorious experience that was IFBC.

  33. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Linda M Nicholson, Linda M Nicholson. Linda M Nicholson said: Thoughts on International Food Bloggers Conference: Sex, but No Drugs or Rock n Roll #IFBC […]

  34. I am not even in this industry and your post makes me feel like I needed to be there. I love that palpable group energy and you captured it 100% perfectly. Amazing writing.

  35. @Cookin’ Canuck
    I hope to see you next year! In the meantime there’s always foodbuzz fest…
    Thank you, Meghan!

  36. It sounds as though this was a weekend not to be missed! I’m definitely going to try to make it next year.

  37. What a splendid recap of what sounds like it was an unforgettable weekend!

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