The Food Bloggers of Canada Conference was recently held in Montreal, Quebec between October 23 to 25, 2015. This is the third year they have organized this learning and networking session. Previous years, it was held in Toronto and Vancouver. The FBC2015 schedule was jam action packed filled with some of the most talented and awesome humans on the North American food scene – ranging from celebrity chef, television personality and owner and founder of Canada’s one and only national food magazine, Ricardo. Oh Ricardo.
Although, I was not able to attend the Vancouver conference, I am so happy and grateful to The Food Bloggers of Canada and Canadian Lentils that I won tickets to Montreal! I know what?! Never say “I never win anything on the Internet!“.
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. All I know that I was very excited to exchange ideas with fellow bloggers and industry veterans. Luckily, I recently attended Blogpodium and had some Tips on How to Prepare for a Food Conference.
We flew Air Canada and stayed at Le Westin Montreal. It seems every time I am in Montreal, I end up at Le Westin. The rooms are very comfortable and the location is super convenient and central: next to the Metro, steps away from Old Montreal, Chinatown and Saint Catherine Street.
Food Bloggers of Canada Conference Recap
Depending when your flight arrived, there was a Pre-Conference filled with Food Photography Workshop with Andrew Scrivani with Tim Chin and Aimee Wimbush Bourque. Learn food photography covering the basics of daylight food photography: angles, lighting, food styling and prop acquisition. There was a cocktail reception, and dinner presented by Turkey Farmers of Canada. And of course, sign in and collect your name tag and SWAG bag.
What’s in my SWAG bag?
- Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites by Aimee Wimbush Bourque
- The UnDiet Cookbook: 130 Gluten-Free Recipes by Meghan Telpner
- Best Cookies from Ricardo Cuisines
- S’well Bottle
- CorningWare mini baking bowls
- Epicure Chia Jam
- Nanny Hudson’s Homestyle Ketchup
- Egg whisk
- USB memory stick
- Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts Shelled Hemp Seed
- Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bites Snack
- Natural Delights Snacks
- Food Network Apron
- Tea Towel
- Entertainer Wine
- and more
FBC2015 Day 1
Opening Session: Ricardo
Kicking off the first full day of sessions was Ricardo. I loved listening about the struggles and hard work that he put into building what Ricardo is today. It’s all about taking the leap, effort and dedication. Meeting Ricardo in person was the highlight. He was totally sweet and genuine and took the time to talk to everyone. This makes me want to continue to work with Ricardo even more!
You’re Awesome: Cultivating a Magnetic Brand and Growing Your Community
Presenter: Meghan Telpner
Meghan Telpner is the author of The UnDiet Cookbook: 130 Gluten-Free Recipes. She talked about how to turn your blog into a full time business, how to differentiate themselves within their niche and how to build loyalty.
Legalese for Bloggers – Understanding the Basics
Presenters: Lesley Ellen Harris and Sarah Huggins
This was one of my favorite sessions. Sarah Huggins is a Food blogger and entertainment lawyer and Lesley Ellen Harris is a copyright lawyer and author of the book, Canadian Copyright Law.
Did you know that contests of pure chance (ex. random draws) are illegal? You must have a skill testing qustion. And it must be at least a 4 step, grade 6 level math question (ex. it can not be 2+2=4).
Grilled Cheese and milk sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Food Bloggers
Presenter: Casey Markee
Casey Markee specializes in SEO for food bloggers. Is your site mobile friendly?
5 Simple Things you can do to improve your blog’s SEO.
- Title tages are the most important SEO Metric: 60-65 characters max
- Keep your images below 80kb in size
- Implement Adjusted Bounce Rate
- Page Speed
- Site Appearance
Dinner was presented by Canadian Lentils and entertainment with Quebec based nouveau cirque troupe, Cirque Éloize.
Breakfast on day two was presented by Half Your Plate with Montreal tradition with fresh St. Viateur bagels, cream cheese and lox!
Getting the Story: Working With Local Food Farmers and Chefs
Presenters: Jennifer Hayes, Chef Jay Nutt, Tiffany Mayer
We learned how to approach busy farmers and chefs. How do you tell their stories and make a connection?
Food Photography Q & A with Andrew Scrivani
Presenter: Andrew Scrivani
Andrew Scrivani is a renowned New York Times food photographer. Visual narrative storytelling without texts.
4 Simple Food Photography & Storytelling Tips
- Seasonality: colors and props (ex. newspapers = mornings)
- Connect the emotional dots (ex. childhood memories)
- Pricing (time appropriately and factor in your reach)
- Multiple images to support a text
Taking the Leap From Hobby Blogger to Professional Blogger
Presenters: Ayngelina Brogan and Davida Kugelmass
How to turn your blog to a full time business? These two bloggers shared their approaches to earn a living from your blog. The Holy Grail questions of them all that all bloggers want to know.
Be A Boss!
Since we couldn’t all fit into Schwartz’s Deli; FBC brought the Schwartz’s Deli to us! Montreal smoked meat, Cott’s Black Cherry Cola and pickles and slaw.
Blogger/Brand One on One
At the end of the conference, there was a dedicated one on one opportunity for bloggers to sit down and network with brands you like to work with. Hopefully you brought your business cards! Or had the opportunity to network prior to this!
I can’t wait to reconnect with everyone and see what you’ve learnt from this food bloggers conference! See you again soon!
Leave a comment below and let me know what I’ve missed. Or what you’ve learnt from the conference you can share with me!