There was a shotgun wedding in Las Vegas, October 14-16, 2010 at Mandalay Bay. No, not mine, silly. BlogWorld and TECHmunch hooked up for the first time and, well, I saw fireworks! Babette Pepaj of Bakespace-TECHmunch energized BlogWorld with a slick Jenn-Air kitchen on the convention floor, hosting cooking demos and panels with notable food personalities including Erik Trinidad (above), Jaden Hair, Nadia Giosia, Marc Matsumoto, Lindsay William-Ross and Diane Cu & Todd Porte, to name just a few. All this in the heart of Las Vegas, a bona fide culinary mecca. BlogWorld-TECHmunch is a food blogger’s dream!
HOW TO AVOID A FOOD EDITORS RAY GUN?
TECHmunch provided the first dedicated food track at BlogWorld, making it the best BlogWorld ever! So many interesting discussion panels on topics from photography to SEO. My personal fave was “Leveraging Traditional Media–How to Get on a Food Editor’s Radar,” featuring CNN Eatocracy Editor, Kat Kinsman, Los Angeles Times Food Editor, Rene Lynch, and Tampa Tribune Food Editor, Jeff Houck, shown above goofing around with Babette Pepaj and moderator, Andrea Metcalf. Like the editors themselves, the discussion was direct and jovial. My takeaways include: Be human; make me laugh; tell a story only you can tell; your twitter feed is your pitch; show me something great, not necessarily cool; we’re all in the same media jacuzzi together; you scratch my tweet, I’ll scratch yours. What an awesome panel! Thank you, TECHmunch!
LIVE! LIVE! LIVE!
My BlogWorld kicked off with a live morning interview, and this time I was the one being interviewed! Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop drinking a second cup of coffee. The original internet celebrity, Steve Garfield, interviewed me at The Pulse Network booth, and we talked shooting video in the kitchen and old times. Steve and I go way back; it was fun catching up right there on the live internets! You can watch the video here.
MY FIRST NIBBLE AT TECHMUNCH
Then it was off to the Jenn-Air Kitchen Stage to speak on a TECHmunch panel, “Setting up your Digital Kitchen” with co-panelists Dan Delaney (above), Beth Cochran, Melody Pepaj, our very own Lee O’Donnell of Average Betty, and moderator Marsha Collier. We shared our experiences and lessons learned from setting up our own digital kitchens and shows. Some of the takeaways: Make sure it’s something you love — requires hard work and dedication; start small until you know; spend money on clip lights and a microphone; own your domain; establish as many revenue streams as possible (adsense, coupons, affiliate programs, merch, etc) small adds up; you can do it — nothing is stopping you from trying! Interview with Dan Delaney video coming soon!
DOUBLE DOUBLE DESTINY
Although there were many highlights on the BlogWorld-TECHmunch floor, there were many awesome moments outside of the convention. One of those moments was a lunch date with Jeff Houck (above) for his very first In-N-Out Double Double! A week before BlogWorld I recalled Jeff had not eaten In-N-Out before, so I tweeted him to make sure it was still the case. Indeed it was. What luck! You’ll be hard pressed to find another culinary void in Jeff’s life, especially one as significant as In-N-Out. So I asked if I could do the honors, and it was on! What did we order and what did Jeff think? Video coming soon!
TASTING LAS VEGAS
With so much good stuff going on, it was impossible to see all of the cooking demos and panels, but I did catch the Tasting Las Vegas panel, headed up by Mr. Tasting Las Vegas himself, Mike Dobranski (left), Steve Friess, Kari Haskel (right), Julia Buckley and moderated by Cathy Brooks. It was a candid conversation about dining experiences and food blogging in Las Vegas. The discussion spanned from small dives off the strip to high end eateries like Bouchon. I’m bummed I didn’t meet Kari Haskell, owner of Retro Bakery, a combination bakery/wedding chapel/blog. Now that’s creative. Vegas 3.0. Definitely something I want to see first hand! Next time…
RED ROOM AT PARIS: OOH LA LA!
When I wasn’t running around BlogWorld or in the kitchen with great Vegas chefs (videos coming soon!), I found solace in the swanky Red Room at Paris Las Vegas. Spacious, comfortable, clean and shockingly quiet. Amenities include a refrigerator and single-cup coffee maker, though I opted for the barista downstairs. Not shown in photo above is one very large flat screen television, clock/stereo with iPod doc, and separate tub and shower in spacious, red-appointed bathroom. Ooh la la!
On the final night of BlogWorld, we bid farewell to the convention and said hello to a five course French wine pairing dinner at Les Artistes Steakhouse in Paris. Our tasting was part of the CRUSH celebration of French wines, which pays tribute to the month of harvest and features special events, complimentary tastings and unique wine pairing menus at select Las Vegas restaurants. Shown above is the first course of our Les Artistes tasting: Duck Leg Confit, Garlic Braised Chard, Autumn Royal Grapes Agri-Doux. And yes, that was just the first course! Details on our five courses of French indulgence at Les Artistes Steakhouse coming soon!
MORE TO COME!
Much more Las Vegas coverage to come, including a Las Vegas Culinary Tour featuring Chef Paul Bartolotta (left) of Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas, Chef John Schenk of Strip House at Planet Hollywood, Chef Kim Canteenwalla of Society Cafe at Encore, and Chef Benjamin Jenkins of Strip Steak at Mandalay Bay.
If that weren’t enough, there’s also Chef Adam Cho of Rick’s Cafe at the breathtaking Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort. Once a month Chef Cho hosts Spice Skool at Rick’s Cafe to help teach home cooks spice fundamentals and powerful flavor combinations. I was lucky enough to get a private lesson and interactive five course tasting with the Chef! Stay tuned…