We have spent the last few days basking in the glory of what was Food Blog Camp 2011 held at the stunningly beautiful Grand Velas Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Writing a recap means that it is really over and that we are back home and back to our daily grind. But the souvenirs we have returned with are far better than any sombrero or woven blanket. We have returned home with new friends, incredible knowledge imparted by our generous leaders and significant insight on how to make our little blog better.
We are exceedingly grateful to Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes, Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, Todd Porter & Diane Cu of White On Rice Couple, David Lebovitz, Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites and Adam Pearson for sharing their personal stories and teaching us how to become better at our craft. The wisdom they shared transcends blogging and reaches across into everyday life.
Be nice. Be generous.
Have a focus. Be consistent. Tell a good story. Be authentic.
See the light. (It not only helps in real life, but in photography too! 🙂 )
We learned about SEO, business strategies and how to increase blog revenue. We learned about photography and food styling. We also learned more about our camera that we have owned for over a year yet barely understood.
We learned about writing and design. Which you will witness changes of first hand over the coming months here at KC. A whole new look and feel is under way.
We humbly thank each and every one of them. We love you all!!!!
We spent time precious time with each other. We made many new friends. We ate way too much good food.
We put our toes in the sand.
And it was good.
It was great!
We also want to say “thank you” to the Grand Velas Resort for hosting our group. The staff at the resort catered to our every whim. They carried our plates to our tables, they refilled our glasses before they were empty. They walked into the jungle with us when we wanted to take a walk after lunch so we would have security, they followed behind in a golf cart case we wanted a lift. They laughed with us as we mangled Spanish, and they were genuinely nice.
The restaurants at the resort were amazing and each one specifically different. They were distinctive in their respective cuisines and boast some of the best chefs in Mexico and beyond. The buffets at Azul and Chaka were endless feasts and we could have spent many hours at each if we didn’t have other places to go.
The fine dining restaurants were splendid events in and of themselves.
The “Tri-Color Cream” soup (Castille Pumpkin, Tomato, Peas, Mushroom Duxelle Crocant Scented with Thyme Blossoms) and the “French Rack of Lamb” (Roasted with Sweet Grain Mustard and Herbs Au Provence) at Piaf should not be missed.
At Sen Lin, indulge in the “Okonomiyaki”, Chilean sea bass served in a sweet and sour guava garam masala and finish with the “Cardamom Puff”. A spiced deep chocolate molten cake with coconut ice cream. The very best dessert of the entire stay. It was divine.
Cocina de Autor, the signature restaurant at Grand Velas is a study in Gastronomica. The food is beautiful, irreverent and most importantly, delectable and full of flavor. Favorite dishes of our evening there were the “Porrupatata Soup with a Touch of Smoke”, the “Foie with Fruit and Foam”, the “Beet color Venison” and “The Chocolate out of Place”.
We were honored to be granted an inside look into one of the resorts main kitchens and were given recipes and demonstrations by several of the resorts chefs, including, Chef Michel Mustiere, Chef Antonio Cortaza, Chef Daniel Garcia Gomez and Chef Xavier Perez Stone. (We will be atempting the Foie with Fruit and Foam soon!)
They let us photograph each of their moves and gave us their top secrets.
They also let us use them as models for photography lessons.
They were all naturals and didn’t seem to mind the paparazzi.
We would also like to thank Kerrygold for being a Food Blog Camp sponsor. Their golden Pure Irish Butter was the perfect compliment to the croissants we devoured during our stay. Not only did they host a really fun photo contest for us to take part in, but several of our fellow food bloggers were able to attend the camp because of the generous scholarships they received from Kerrygold.
We are thrilled to be hosting a Kerrygold recipe contest here on KC in the very near future. Be sure to check back for details.
And so, it is not really with melancholy (despite the 10″ of snow outside) that we write our recap, but with wonderful memories, aspiration for the future and a wealth of information that we can not wait to put to good use.
Here is a little video of Food Blog Camp 2011. We hope it will put you in the mood for next year!
Here are some of the attendees blog links: (Please let me know if I have missed anyone!)
Food Blogger Camp (Website)
Food Blogger Camp Photos (Flickr)
- Food Blogger Camp (David Lebovitz)
- Food Blog Camp and Dancing Video – A MUST SEE! (White On Rice Couple)
- Food Blog Camp 2011 (Matt Bites)
- Food Blog Camp Re-Cap (Deliciously Organic)
- Food Blogger Camp 2011 (Kitchen Corners)
- Food Blog Camp: Seeing the Light (Confections of a Foodie Bride)
- Food Blog Camp-Cancun (What’s Gaby Cooking?)
- Food Blog Camp 2011 (Mommy Cooks!)
- What I learned…Food Blogger Camp 2011 (A Communal Table)
- Playa del Carmen, Mexico: Food Blog Camp 2010 (Adventures of an Amateur Foodie)
- Hola from Riviera Maya (Savuryandsweet)
- If You’re Happy and You Know it, Eat Foie Gras (FRANtastic Food)
- Food Blogger Camp: Molecular Gastronomy Demonstration (The Recipe Renovator)
- Food Blogger Camp Riviera Maya (Family Fresh Cooking)
- 10 Lessons Learned from Food Blog Camp 2011 (Food Woolf)
- Community Across the Globe: Food Blog Camp 2011 (The Urban Baker)
- Food Blogger Camp Overview ( Recipe Renovator)
- Mango Grand Marnier Margaritas & Food Blog Camp 2011 (Sally Cameron)
- Food Blog Camp 2011: The Whole Enchilada (Acorns and Apples)
- Food Blog Camp: Highlights From Paradise (Daily Nibbles)
Damaris @Kitchen Corners says
I loved seeing you two at the camp. Could my husband and I get away from our babies one day and travel together? I hope so! Keep up the good work. I’m so glad you two were able to come.
Here’s one I bet you weren’t expecting…
I was there just before you/possibly overlapping your visit (1/6-1/9) and my group had a strange experience with the chocolate out of place – it made the sides of our tongues (bitter & salty areas) plus the back of our throats burn. The sensation was not, as far as I can identify, the feeling one gets from a hot pepper (plus I didn’t detect any pepper flavor) but more like a very uncomfortable sandpaper/broken glass sensation. As a food-writing group, and, from the sound of it, a behind the scenes group, do you have any ideas what ingredient we were reacting to?
As an aside, the porrupatata soup was a favorite of mine too!
I’m so glad that you had the opportunity to attend this! As a new blogger, I can only imagine how valuable all these sessions and wise words would have been for me! I hope that I can attend at least one food blog conference in the upcoming year. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your amazing trip. I hope your weekend overflows with good food, good friends, and love!
Renee and Ari, I kept seeing you two honeymooners off in the distance holding hands on the beach 🙂 It was so short, I really didn’t get to meet everyone. I loved reading this post about your experience in Mexico. If three people hear or see the “same thing” you will definitely get three different stories, so I thoroughly enjoyed your perspective. Maybe we will return next year to have a good, long conversation, but in the meantime, I will be able to keep up with you on your lovely blog. (and watching for the changes–it is exciting!)
p.s. I do get to NYC now and then (College Boy is at NYU) are you in the city?
Ha!ha! I heard about the golf cart following you on your walk. What a riot! Great to have met you two. Look forward to many more food adventures. And great, clean look to your site!
dusty earth mother says
WOW!!!!!! This looks so amazing and the photographs are incredible. I’m so glad you got to do this! And by the way, what were those little chocolate-looking things in the cup o’ cream? Because I want them.
They were actually caramel cubes. More like a jello texture. The cream was banana pudding. They really know how to make beautiful food!
Wow! It looks like you had a wonderful time!