Kalyn's Kitchen

I Met Them in St. Louis: A Food Bloggers’ Weekend

I’m starting out this post with the ode to veggies which appears above the stove of Alanna, one of my favorite food blog friends, who I’d never met in person when she invited me to stay at her house last weekend and join the the St. Louis food bloggers for a workshop. Alanna started her blog, A Veggie Venture, to document her year of trying a new way to cook vegetables every day which she completed on April 1, 2006. Through Veggie Venture Alanna and I became online friends, cemented when we both became writers for Blogher, and we probably haven’t gone more than a few days since without chatting by e-mail. When she decided to organize a workshop in food photography for a group of St. Louis food bloggers, it seemed like the perfect time to meet in person.

I teased Alanna all weekend that I was going to post “10 Things You Don’t Know About Alanna Kellogg” so here’s a newer photo, showing how great she looks. I don’t know if I’ll actually tell ten things people don’t know, but let’s start by revealing she has a red convertible, a dog named Lady, a cat, and a very nice house with a great guest bedroom. She writes a weekly food column, writes for Sauce magazine, and writes for Blogher besides writing her food blog. She’s obviously very multi-talented and her organizational skills brought together a great group of folks for the workshop. She also came up with a great breakfast option that can work for South Beach Dieters and Weight Watcher’s fans both, which I’ll post about later.
The workshop was in the loft district of St. Louis, a delightful area. Thanks to Group 360 for the use of their wonderful space. Bruno from Zinfully Delicious is also a chef, shown here teaching us how to add height to a plate with towers of food, rice this time. Watching in the background are Alanna and food photographer Michelle from Group 360, who shared some great photography tips later in the workshop.
Besides Bruno and Michelle, we were lucky to be able to learn from Linda Behrends, long-time food stylist, shown here teaching us how to cut muffins for optimum photo results. Also in attendance was Anne Cori chef and owner of Kitchen Conservatory, a St. Louis kitchen store which also sponsors cooking classes. All the presenters were generous with their time and did a masterful job.
It was uber fun meeting the other bloggers. Here’s Bruno again with Gunjan from Vyanjanaa who came more than 100 miles to attend. She’s writing a blog with her mother in India, who provides the recipes. She was also the first to try out the trick we learned from Michelle of using an interesting background under the plate.

This is Lisa from Champaign Taste and her husband/food stylist Keith. Lisa did a great job of writing about what we learned from the food photography pros, so check out the tips on her blog. Earlier this year Lisa sponsored an event for Julia Child’s birthday which many bloggers might remember.
The only other blogger I really *knew* besides Alanna was Nupur from One Hot Stove, currently in New York, but soon to be moving to St. Louis with her new husband, Vasant. Nupur completed an impressive work of blogging this year by compiling The A to Z of Marathi Food to celebrate recipes from the region in India she’s from. I’ve been a big admirer of Nupur’s blog, so it was great to meet her in person.

My apologies to Karen of Family Style for not having an individual photo of her, but taking pictures of people is not my specialty, and none of the shots I got of her really showed how pretty she was. It was fun learning about how she travels the food contest circuit, and we’re hoping she wins a big prize sometime. I also missed getting a good shot of Michelle since she had to do the soccer mom thing and couldn’t come to lunch.

Here are all the food bloggers plus master food stylist Linda. Starting from the top left: Gunjan, Alanna, Linda, middle row: Lisa, Karen, Nupur, bottom: Bruno, and me. Keith and Vasant were being good sports taking the photos so we could get a shot with just the foodies. We all went to lunch at a restaurant called KitchenK. Check back for Friday Food Porn this coming Friday when I’ll show you what ten foodies order when they’re all having lunch together.
These are all the wonderful foodie souvenirs I got, mostly from a great store Alanna took me too called Global Foods, with a few things from a kitchenware store called Cornucopia. There’s also a great cutting board which Alanna gave me which may have gotten cropped out of the right side of the photo. I had a great time spending the weekend with Alanna and meeting the St. Louis food bloggers. Thanks again Alanna, for inviting me.

P.S. Thanks to my *Food-Blogger-in-Training* neighbor Maria for getting my mail! Some weekend soon I’m going to share her photos of a great Southern Utah restaurant. I predict she’s going to be a food blogger herself some day.

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    21 Comments on “I Met Them in St. Louis: A Food Bloggers’ Weekend”

  1. Thanks for coming so far for the event! I appreciated your enthusiasm for photography. You captured everyone in a very good light!

  2. Thank you, Kalyn!

    It was almost like being there. Maybe some day…

  3. Krista, it was!

    Maria, Thanks again.

    Lisa, thanks. I did like the picture of Alanna too.

    rp, We did have so much fun.

    Bruno, thanks, great meeting you too.

    Nupur, I do hope we will meet again. The Canon Rebel is a _great_ camera!! I totally love it. (If the photos turn out well it is the camera and not my photography skills.)

  4. Thank you, Kalyn! What a great write-up…I loved meeting everyone and I hope it was just the first time of many.
    Meanwhile, Vasant can’t stop talking about your camera 🙂 Obviously it takes awesome pictures!

  5. Great post Kalyn! It was a pleasure meeting you. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to St. Louis.

  6. Sounds like you all had a wonderful time together. Lovely pictures.

  7. Kalyn, what a super write-up of the event! Wow. So many great photos, too (love the big one of Alanna especially). And Karina’s right—you looked tres chic in your jean jacket. Thank you for documenting the day so wonderfully. It was fun!

  8. It looks like you had a great trip! Good for you. I am jealous:) I would love to see all of your food finds. And maybe someday I can have a food blog…it would be fun!

  9. This sounds like it was allot of fun.

  10. Erin, Sher, and Karina, it was so much fun. I do really like the picture of Alanna too. Karina, I was not thrilled with how my hair looked, but not bad otherwise. It was the best photo of everyone else by far. It’s hard getting a good picture of ten people.

  11. I’m with Ilva – green with envy. It sounds like so MUCH fun!

    And I love this photo of Alanna. I think she should use it in her profile!

    [By the way, Kalyn, you look uber fab in your jean jacket. Beautiful!]

  12. That sounds wonderful–and I loved reading all the things I didn’t know about Alanna. Wonderful pictures! Everyone looks great and obviously having a great time!

  13. what a great idea! looks like fun.

  14. Hi Christine,
    Funny you should be the first one to leave a comment because I was telling Alanna about you since you’re kind of close to her.

    Alanna, your public wants to see what you look like!! Yes, Chicago will be great. (Everyone, Alanna is talking about the Blogher conference this summer in Chicago, where Alanna, Elise, Sam and I are trying to get the powers-that-be at Blogher to have some sessions specifically for food bloggers.)

    Lydia, I do have a very good friend in Rhode Island so maybe we can meet some day.

    Ilva, you know that Paz and I are planning to come visit you. (If you had been there we would have all been asking you for photo tips.)

    Genie, it was great. And if you go to St. Louis, don’t miss Global Foods. What a wonderful store.

    Lucette, I haven’t seen food photography in Salt Lake either. Knife skills would also be fun to take.

  15. Me, too: envious, that is. I’ve just been wishing there was some kind of food-related class I could go to in Cleveland. Most of the classes here are demonstration, not hands on, which I’m not interested in, and I’ve never seen anything at all on food photography. Or knife skills, which is something else I’d like to learn more about.

  16. This sounds like it was such a blast! I’ve been dying to hear how it went, so I was excited to see this post come through in my RSS feeds this morning. And your food goodies…they look incredible!

    The Inadvertent Gardener

  17. hmmrrrmm. I’m GREEN with envy!!

  18. Looks like a wonderful weekend — so much talent and good energy in one place! Thanks for sharing this experience with those of us who live a bit farther afield.

  19. Crikey! Nothing like waking up to your own face! What a lovely write-up of our lovely weekend … it all passed so quickly! Next stop: Chicago!

  20. Boy does that sound like fun. I was in St. Louis myself this weekend (m-i-l’s 91st birthday!) — I am surprised I didn’t feel all that good foodie energy radiating from wherever you all were!