Hi. My name is Robin King and I am no longer a Food Blogger Conference virgin.
With the encouragement of my saucy sister, The Saucy Queen herself, Michele Northrup, and The Family Foodie, Isabel Laessig of The Sunday Supper Movement, I decided to attend the 2015 Food & Wine Conference at the beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, as both a participant and sponsor.
Out of the Weeds was in good company along event sponsors Dixie Crystals, Famous Idaho Potatoes, Wisconsin Cheese, Certified Angus Beef, St. Augustine Distillery Company, Dandy Fresh Fruits & Vegetables, Georgia Peaches, Beef. It’s what’s for dinner., Chicory, Cabot Creamery, Florida Milk, Florida Strawberry Growers and Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces, just to name a few.
We enjoyed wonderful food, the resort is spectacular, and the event was well organized. There were sessions on everything from travel blogging, beef education, the art of cheese pairings, Periscope, food photography, publishing, taking your product from “self to shelf”, collaborating with brands, balancing work and personal, and SEO. There were people from California to Maine, and everywhere in between. I left inspired, and with wonderful ideas. I left with homework, and now have much to research. I made new contacts, and this morning am working on a collaboration with a very special food blogger on an exciting event. So was it worth the time, effort and money? Indeed.
The staff of UCF Rosen College of Hospitality prepared lunch for the group on Sunday, using my Carrot Ginger Artisan Salad Dressing to make Carrot Ginger Pasta Salad topped with Carrot Ginger marinated chicken. I hope they liked it! The Healthy Fit Foodie shared this photo with her fans – thanks Lara!
If you know me, you know that I do not collect much, outside of Fiestaware and Le Creuset, but I do collect inspirational phrases. Words that I save and pull out during trying times, sometimes to share, and other times for quiet reflection. Some are serious, others more fun. Here are a few of my favorites from my foodie weekend:
“Cultivate gratitude. Ask yourself, what can I do for my community.” Ann Tran
“Invest in other people.” Kathleen Decosmo
“Be a constant learner. There’s always something new. But, if there’s a social media platform you’re not crazy about, don’t worry about it,” and “if something scares you or frightens you, write about it.” Rachelle Lucas
“You never know who’s watching . . . and one opportunity leads to another.” Wendy Garcia
“There’s nothing new under the sun,” and “you can’t get away from the authentic voice.” Candace Karu of Cabot Creamery
“We are building a community of farmers, families, customers and bloggers.” Margaret Coleman of Certified Angus Beef
“Make sure the you comes through in everything you do.” Hyuna Lee of Dixie Crystals
Andrew Wilder reminded us of the the inspirational words of Steve Jobs:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward . . . you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
“Make something you feel passionate about and embrace the crazy that comes with it.” T.R. Crumbley
“I don’t need an assistant, I have teenagers.” Brenda Bennett
“Suck it up, buttercup,” Michele Northup, A.K.A. The Saucy Queen
“Stay committed to who you are,” along with dozens of inspirational words from the amazing storyteller Monica Bhide, although my favorite from Monica, in that food is my second favorite “f” word, sometimes you just gotta say, “fuck this shit.”
The overriding message I heard all weekend was to be authentic – au·then·tic – of undisputed origin; genuine. I am not sure I know of any other way to be; in many eyes, to a fault. So perhaps I have this going for me in the new world I explore, a place where being just me is finally accepted and encouraged. A place for authenticity? The thought of that makes me very, very excited.
My journey as a restaurant owner, blogger and now brand, continues. I learn, I stumble, but most importantly, I get up and keep moving forward. The 2015 Food & Wine Conference was a step forward, and for that, I am grateful.
We rise by lifting others . . .