I’ve attended more than my share of conferences ranging from technology, science, dietetics and integrative healthcare. But, those weren’t on my dime. So, in considering IFBC, I questioned if attending as a non-professional and relatively inexperienced blogger would be worth the investment. Indeed, it was.
An all-star cast of experts was the obvious draw. Highlights included a keynote presentation by the acclaimed dynamic duo, food writer and photographer, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg, a culinary demonstration / comedy hour with Thierry Rautureau, food writing clinics with Dianne Jacobs and the highly entertaining Kathleen Flinn, as well as a session on innovative photography lighting and composition with Todd Coleman. It was an excellent learning experience. But, as a rookie, the real stand-out was the sense of camaraderie and support between attendees as well as presenters.
A big thank you to the conference organizers, Sheri Wetherell, Barnaby Dorfman, and Zephyr Adventures’s Allan Wright. They were clearly committed to an excellent attendee experience and set a most convivial, welcoming and warm tone to the conference. I was relieved to find a complete lack of competitiveness. There were no conversations comparing hit rates or subscriber numbers. Rather, business cards were exchanged in a sincere effort to get to know each other and their work. IFBC was more than a gathering of people consumed with making, eating, photographing and writing about food. For the most part, our blogs are solo efforts. But this was community and that alone was worth the price of admission. I’ll be there in 2015.