|Photo credit: Joy Estelle Summers|
Had you told me at this time last year that in 2011 I would:
-spend much of the year behind a camera snapping food photos,
-have the chance to meet local chefs and cookbook authors whom I admired,
-do a cooking demonstration at the Minneapolis Farmers Market,
-be recognized as a Blog of the Month by Jamie Oliver,
And most importantly,
-make dozens of new friends in 2011, super cool people who were as crazy about food as me,
Well...I'm not sure I would have believed it.
But that is exactly what happened this year. Many of these opportunities came about via a local networking group called Minnesota Food Bloggers, which was started by uber-talented blogger Stephanie Meyer.
I remember seeing a Twitter notice last December about an upcoming food blogger event in February and signing up with a bit of anxiety - would anyone talk to me? It felt intimidating.
Yet, from that first gathering, it was clear that this was a passionate group of welcoming folks who were supportive and collaborative. We all loved to eat food, cook food and talk about food. (Not to mention, photograph food!) This was my tribe.
The Facebook group started out with around 100 members and has since grown to over 300 members (!). There is now a Minnesota Food Bloggers website and Twitter account (@MNFoodBloggers). Other bloggers have taken the lead in creating off-shoots of the group - Girls Big Food Night for the ladies, Guys Big Food Night for the fellas, Big Veggie Night for the veggie lovers of the group and MN Food Dudes.
There were many official group events throughout the year, some of which I blogged about and some I did not (and sometimes I simply blogged about something connected with the event). There were other food events, that while not officially Minnesota Food Blogger gatherings, I considered to be blogger events because a blogger had organized them or so many of my food blogger friends were there. Hundreds of dollars were raised for charities at most of these events.
At each gathering, we ate delicious food prepared by the talented chefs in the Twin Cities.
|FEBRUARY: 128 Cafe|
|MARCH: Corner Table|
|APRIL: The Local|
|MAY: Blogger Bake Sale fundraiser organized by Kate Selner|
|JUNE: Rainbow Chinese|
|JULY: California Olive Ranch event at Cafe Levain organized by Will Hsu|
|JULY: Eat Ramen Help Japan fundraiser organized by Stephanie Meyer|
|AUGUST: Fulton Beer, Sangria and Bars Bake-Off at Stephanie Meyer's house|
|AUGUST: Celebrity Chef Tour / Tour de Farm dinner|
|DECEMBER: Lady MN Food Bloggers + Adam Vickerman at Stephanie Meyer's house|
But equal in importance to the food were the people.
We were there to celebrate each others' triumphs. Some bloggers won awards and cooking contests this year; some began freelancing in food writing, while others expanded the publications for which they create content; some started food-related businesses and others completely switched careers to work in food.