Last weekend I attended the Eat, Write Retreat which is a weekend event for food bloggers, photographers and other foodies in the industry, thanks to the generous support of Saffron Road Foods who sponsored my attendance and for the t-shirt and coupon giveaways they provided for me to distribute to my new food blogger friends.
Every table had a little practice time on the stage to style fresh foods
One of the best things about the weekend was simply meeting the people there: the fabulous and hospitable organizers, Casey Benedict and Robyn Webb, the interesting speakers like Monica Bhide and Michael Natkin, and other food bloggers who also share a passion for food, photography, health and nutrition.
It was almost comical to see everyone’s cameras come out every time food was presented because it’s something I always do at home and when I’m eating out. With a table full of food photographers, it felt like we were food paparazzi capturing culinary presentations on a plate..
The swag bag and the additional giveaways from Calphalon and Oxo were phenomenal and generous and kept coming all the way up until the last moment of the retreat. I still can’t get over the fact that I came home with a Panini press…
In addition to the workshops on food photography, we also had a motivational presentation and exercise by the well-known and respected food writer Monica Bhide who I was able to finally meet in person- one of the highlights of the entire weekend for me.
The cooking challenge we participated in at Culinaerie on Sunday gave me a glimpse into what it might be like to be on one of the reality cooking shows where the pressure is on to create, perform and present to judges, which although it can seem nerve-wracking, seems not too much different than any mom putting dinner on the table for a crowd.
In the red shirt is Chicago-based Jenn Sutherland who writes The Whole Kitchen blog on gluten-free cooking and in the back on the right is Beth Pav of Austin, Texas who I got to know. She’s a talented and well-seasoned chef who owns the Cooking by Design Culinary Studio. (above)
That’s Arianna of Oxo Good Grips tasting our dish during Sunday Morning’s Cooking Challenge. She seemed to really like our dish, which was a uniquely spiced watermelon jam over quesadillas. (above)
Laura Kumin of the blog, Mother Would Know, has a nurturing way of presenting the how-to’s of cooking. Please check out her site. She had me laughing for more than half the weekend with some of her stories and fun conversations we shared. (above)
Miami, Florida-based Renee of Flamingo Musings shared her recipe the watermelon jam in our cooking challenge, which got an honorable mention and everyone asking for her recipe. She actually sells many of her jams on line and at local Miami farmers markets. (above)
In the evenings, I was able to scope out some of the nearby halal food destinations I came easily across which reminded me of the time I spent living in DC over ten years ago. It was so great to be in this international city once again. Try George’s in Georgetown for wonderful falafel sandwiches and shwarma plates, all for a really decent price. You can even eat outdoors…
Overall, it was a jam-packed weekend with events from Friday evening thru Sunday afternoon. The food was either catered or served to us at the restaurants we visited, much of which was healthy and light- plenty of vegetarian options around, which was a great alternative for me all weekend.
Thank you again, Casey and Robyn for making me feel more than welcome to be there, and Saffron Road for helping make the trip possible…
Now, as a thanks for your support and for reading this blog as much as you do, I’m giving away something from Oxo Good Grips that I received from the event- just leave a relevant comment to be entered into the random drawing. I’ll pick two winners. Deadline to enter is May 19, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.