Planning the International Food Blogger Conference New Orleans

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One very large part of what I do professionally is planning the International Food Blogger Conferences. I am, happy as happy can be, the lead organizer for Foodista.

Here’s how the conferences are born and raised:

We all pick a city.

We ask the community of food bloggers who they want to hear from and what they’d like to learn about. They sound off on a list of session topics we propose, because after all, what does the conference mean if it’s not valuable and absolutely enchanting to those attending?

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I collect those responses. I narrow them, I choose the sessions.

I accept proposals and ideas from food blogs around the world.

And then I choose the speakers. Who can inspire on this subject? Who has the most relatable, most enviable blogging path? Who’ll share their story and their advice, and allow attendees to leave feeling renewed of passion and creativity?

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When I’ve hemmed and hawed over the agenda and tweaked and twisted it just so, approximately seven hundred million times over,

I pen the final agenda. I schedule those sessions that were most requested by the community and I contact the speakers that must-simply must-speak on each subject.

I’m mindful of not using speakers that are too saturated in the community. I’m thoughtful of the value in welcoming a range of grassroots bloggers, cookbook authors and publishers, brands, and media.

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I write emails and make semi-confident phone calls to individuals who have secretaries for their secretaries and assistants for their assistant’s dog’s assistant.

I feel brazen.

I spend months scanning Twitter and thousands upon thousands of blogs and try to cultivate a series of sessions and presenters that I find captivating. What I’d want to learn, had I a moment to sit down at the conference, unclench my clipboard, return the color to my cheeks and knuckles, and dry the sweat from my brow. You know how intense I can be.

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And then, I most likely redo it, just in case my initial creation isn’t up to par with the perfection I’ve standardized.

I take two to three decades from my life contemplating the quality of content- the only thing that really matters in a weekend with the people I admire.

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Make it good.

Make it the best.

Give attendees an experience.

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I research the leading chefs, the most loved cafes and restaurants in the area where we’ve set the conference, and I ask that they kindly join me for a weekend festival of eating.

I make contacts with locals and ask which spots, which local favorites, simply shout the flavor of the area. I must have them there.

I talk po’boys and beignets and gumbo and jambalaya and crawfish and ettouffe in New Orleans, for months.

I talk farmer’s markets and fois gras and food trucks and famous chefs in Santa Monica, for months.

I feel as though I’ve eaten Louisiana and California, by the time the conference registration even opens

And then, I promote the speakers, the food, the sessions, and the sponsors on Twitter, on Facebook, on blogs and billboards and ’bout every media source I can think of.

I am Social Media Manager, afterall. I know Twitter intimately. In another life, I *married Facebook.

*We divorced, twice.

I sweat and I stress and I fine tune every detail. Four hundred and thirty seven times.

But really,

I have an absolute ball.

I can’t tell you the high, the excitement of putting together a conference for friends, one that you’d dream to attend, had you not been the one to plan.

I can’t even explain how much fun and laughter goes into thinking that what you’re working on for months will ultimately be seen and enjoyed and hopefully loved by roughly 300 of the best food bloggers in the country.

I won’t be able to make you know the thrill of realizing you just spoke with James Oseland and bloggers you’ve followed and fawned over for years.

I arrived this week in New Orleans for the first of my 2011 International Food Blogger Conferences.

It’s been a pleasure to plan, and now, I’ll enjoy every drip drop of the experience to the fullest.

Fingers crossed and a million silent prayers that this weekend shows all the love I put into her :)

Photos by beadmobile, cbanck

Comments

  1. Johnny says

    You are the best! KNOW YOU ARE THE BEST!! BE THE BEST!!!!
    Rah rah rah hiss boom bah
    There, you have been appropriately cheered on!!!
    We all love you so I’m SURE they will, have a great time and bask in your great work!! :)

  2. says

    Wish I could attend your arrangement, I’m sure it’ll be a blast! Could be fun next year maybe – looking forward to hearing about the 2012 arrangement 😉

    Enjoy and have fun!

    /Gitte

  3. Carole says

    Oh, good luck to you! I’m sure it will be fabulous.

    So, are you no longer on Facebook? I don’t see a link anywhere….

  4. says

    Have an amazing time in New Orleans and enjoy the fruits of your labor! I’m so jealous- I love NoLa so much. If you want an awesome frozen Irish coffee (and I know you do- they’re amazing), go to my friend’s bar called Molly’s at the Market (on Decatur, right behind the French Market). Ask for Trey and tell him you’re a friend of mine. :)

  5. says

    looks fantastic! i love the event-planning part of my job. scouting is pretty awesome, too. enjoy everything nola has to offer. i went for work last october, and decided i had to go back a few months later to explore with lots of free time.

  6. says

    I visited New Orleans with family who live there a few weeks ago and we visited the Creole Creamer. I’m sure you have already heard of it, but just in case you MUST go there! They make their own ice cream (dark chocolate ginger, marscapone lemon, heirloom tomato sorbet) and so many more “to die for flavors. http://www.creolecreamery.com. There is also a Carousel Bar that we didn’t get to try but looks pretty fun. http://www.yelp.com/biz/carousel-bar-new-orleans Have a great time in an amazing city!

  7. says

    Hi Andie– The conference sounds amazing! My grandparents used to live in New Orleans and it’s one of my very favorite places.

    Also, I just stumbled on your blog and wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying it already! I love the simplicity of your design, inspiring content and really delicious-looking recipes. Will be back for sure :)

  8. says

    Hi Andie,
    I loved being part of the IFBCNOLA and meeting you there.  Great job organizing and planning it.  If the IFBCNOLA was that good, I wonder what IFBC Santa Monica has to offer 😉  Hope to see you there.

  9. says

    Hi Andrea!

    I love your blog! I’ve never commented before but I’ve read for a while. I am actually blogging from Italy, but the idea of an International Food Blogger conference really intrigues me. I have just started though so I didn’t know about this one before hand.

    Is it possible for people that aren’t officially invited to speak or participate to come? Does it cost a lot? Is there a website with info.

    Thanks in advance! Keep up the good work you are amazing!

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