Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Recap of My First BlogHerFood Conference #BlogHerFood16

I attended BlogHerFood16 as a panelist on an uber interesting session about Food in the Center of Cultural Conversations. Now, I'm more of food journalist than a blogger and so had never considered attending a BlogHer event. However, I'm passionate about both food and culture, and believe the two go together like, well, peanut butter and chocolate chips. So of course, I jumped at the opportunity.

 (Photo courtesy of Kim of I'm Not the Nanny. So you have panelists --L to R- Toni Tipton-Martin, moi, and Thien-Kim)

My sister panelists and our audience were awesome and engaged, so we had very thought-provoking and interesting discussion. You can check out the highlights here courtesy of BlogHer.

There were so many great moments at BlogHerFood16, that I needed some reflection time to sort all my thoughts and feelings out.

So here's the short version of my reaction to BlogHerFood16:

Thank you!
Why didn't I do this before?
When can I do it again?
Here's my longer version:

1. It was a fabulous experience!

2. I loved the conversations and exchange of ideas and how-to information going on all around. After my panel, I just spent the weekend attending sessions that sounded interesting and something I'd like to explore.

I attended a really informative session about making videos (using multiple cameras and one camera) as a one-person crew and I attended a session about making Live Broadcasting: Dynamic New Ways to Create a Cooking Show, which just blew my mind.

Chef Ayinde Howell, who did the Live Broadcasting session, was a Super Star! He cooked, danced, and interacted with two sets of audiences (on FB and at BlogHerFood) all at the same time. Color me impressed! And he produced a pretty tasty sample for us -- a vegan "crab" cake made with hearts of palm. Yum!

3. It introduced me to new (to me) items like Go Umami, which is a brand of to-go Tofu snacks. My favorite was the Hickory Smoked version. Yes, there's food involved and a lot of nibbling. Let's just say I was pretty happy grazing by the vendors & learning...educational eating, it's a thing.

4. There were quite a few food celebrities mingling around and graciously indulging fan-girl moments. I watch The Chew almost religiously during my lunch hour. So when I spied Chef Carla in the crowd...

 (Chef Carla is so sweet, she even took this pic for me because she has longer arms!)

Speaking of celebrities, actor Freddie Prinze Jr. -- movie stud muffin and husband to the awesome Sarah Michelle Gellar of Buffy The Vampire Slayer -- spoke  about his cookbook, Back to the Kitchen at the BlogHerFood16 closing session.

Here's my article on Prinze Jr. and his cookbook for my newspaper!

5. BlogHerFood16 was INSPIRING. Yes, it had to be caps. There were so many amazing stories about people following their passion and doing amazing things. Like Avery of, who brought together two passions -- cooking and helping fight modern day slavery and child labor -- in one business. Or Mareya Ibrahim of Grow Green Industries, who was spurred to find a eco-friendly solution to clean produce after her father was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease and told not to eat fresh fruits and vegetables because of the risk of food-borne illnesses.

While all of BlogHerFood left me inspired and energized, meeting Aarti Sequeira of Food Network was particularly special for me. The world is a diverse place, but when I'm watching my favorite food shows on TV I don't often see the same diversity, and I don't often find myself reflected.

So watching Aarti win The Next Food Network Star was a perspective changing experience for me. Every time I watch her or Maneet Chauhan on TV, they give me hope. I don't know if I'll ever be brave enough to compete on national television ever, but I know that it's possible. And that, my friends, is empowering.

The overall take away: I had loads of fun meeting other foodies, taste testing and learning. The weekend reminded me why I had created my food blog in the first place -- to celebrate food, family and the multicultural mix it all creates in my kitchen. It left me energized and excited about blogging again.

So HUGE thanks goes to my friend Grace Hwang Lynch, the creative of the blog HapaMama, who sent this opportunity my way; to the awesome SheKnowsMedia team for all the hard work they put into making BlogHerFood16 wonderful; and my friend Laurie, hostess extraordinaire.

Thanks for visiting! :)


  1. Great glad you had this opportunity.

    1. Thank you! It was a great experience and I'm really glad I was able to go. :)