Yes, I know; as James Oseland told us at IFBC, food blogging should not be a competition. Indeed, if you commit to blogging, especially food blogging, you do it because you love it. The long hours spent in the kitchen. All those dishes and meals cooked and baked, sometimes with successful results, often not. The effort put into good photography (snapped before the food gets cold, thank you). The writing and editing and publishing. It’s a labor of love, no doubt.
Still, we all do it to be heard somehow. Not necessarily to gather the highest number of subscribers, fans, visitors, and page views, but to be read, for sure. To share, get feedback, learn from the experience of others. I wonder how many bloggers would keep doing it after several months if they had no hits and no comments at all?
I started my blog just eight months ago, and what I’m quickly learning is that food blogging is a community. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nothing brings people together like food does. Bring a bunch of foodies together, and they won’t talk business; they’ll talk about what’s on their plate, what they had for dinner yesterday, their latest achievements in the kitchen, the awesome restaurant they visited last week. They talk about personal experiences, so they instantly feel like they are chatting with old friends.
What happens to this friendly mood in a competition context? That’s what I wanted to figure out by browsing through the 652 submissions to Project Food Blog 2010, a food blogging competition that will crown “the next food blog star” in December. I set some time aside today to have a look at as many entries as possible. Since I was entering the competition myself, I thought, why not seize the opportunity to get to know other bloggers better and find out who “the competition” is?
Hundreds of clicks later, three conclusions came to me:
- Foodies are born, not created. Countless contestants posted cute pictures of themselves in the kitchen when they were toddlers and shared family stories.
- A vast majority of bloggers started their blogs as part of a larger process: to learn to live with an allergy or food intolerance; to share a weight-loss or major diet-change story; to try to grasp a new country’s culture and cuisine; to learn to cook after leaving a parents’ home, getting married, or going through a life-changing experience.
- Food bloggers are friends, even in competition. I’ve seen most contestants signing comments on each other’s blogs. Congratulations, cheering, and much love is exchanged. This tells me that the competitors may appreciate the opportunity to meet more people sharing their passion as much as the chance to win $10,000.
Oh, right, there’s the $10,000. The chance to be noticed by Food & Wine Magazine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin, restaurateur Nancy Silverton, and food blogging star Pim Techamuanvivit. And the bragging rights. Ultimately, these are icing on the cake. I don’t know about the other contestants, but I haven’t entered the competition really thinking I will get to the end. Sure, the money would be great, but I’m doing it for fun, to grow my circle of online friends, and to step out of my comfort zone by facing imposed challenges. Back when I started my blog, I also decided to orient my career toward the culinary field, as a writer, translator, recipe tester, and graphic designer. Challenges like Project Food Blog 2010 bring me experience – and who knows, maybe the competition will bring me closer to that goal.
As I browsed through the contestants, I got to know incredibly talented bloggers and writers with amazing life experiences. Since I’m a bit of a globetrotter, I was particularly attracted to those writing from other countries or focusing on international cuisines. I’ll share 10 of my favorite new discoveries, hoping you’ll find them as fascinating as I do. And if you do, vote for them!
The list is alphabetical; I’ve borrowed pictures when I thought they spoke volume about their authors (who are credited). If you’re one of the bloggers featured here and you don’t like the fact that I’ve reposted one of your pictures, please contact me and I’ll remove it as soon as possible.
>> No Recipes
Simply one of the most professional-looking blogs of the bunch. Amazing pictures, great content. The author is a Japanese-American freelance writer, photographer and private chef living in New York.
>> Egg Wan’s Eastern Food Odyssey
A very appealing blog focusing on Eastern Cuisine. Photography is very fresh. The author is Taiwanese and she lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.
>> Feeding Maybelle
An endearing blog written by an Indian author living in Ohio. I love the human side of her pictures, hands or daughter often appearing without the blog feeling too personal. The cuisine is fusion incorporating Indian and Asian flavors to North American cooking.
>> Fork Spoon Knife
Beautiful photo styling with bold colors and textures. Author is South Indian and currently living in New York.
>> From Buenos Aires to Paris
The name says it all: the author is a Argentinean expat now living in Paris. Started cooking after a first visit to France. After moving to Paris for good, she started a blog to share her experiences in the kitchen. Her voice is spontaneous and her photography is mouth-watering.
>> Good Food in Mexico City
My favorite childhood story of the bunch, the story of a man who grew up between New York and Mexico City. Reads like a novel. “A piece of Mexico attached itself to my soul like an orchid to a tree trunk.” Enough said.
>> Life on Nanchang Lu
The experiences of an American woman who tries to understand intricate China by tasting her way around Shanghai.
>> Over a Tuscan Stove
A former San Francisco pastry chef who left many years ago to build a dream life in Florence, Tuscany. She now lives in a small town between Florence and Siena where she teaches cooking classes and conducts food tours.
>> Tokyo Terrasse
An American expat living in Tokyo. Stories of discoveries and experimentations with unfamiliar ingredients. I’m envious.
>> You fed a baby chili?
A scientist and food-lover with a very unique voice who got motivated to cook healthy food after the birth of his (very cute) daughter. Uncommon recipes and pictures.
And, well, you know. Don’t forget about my post, A Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie. If you like it, please vote for me, I would be honored. Voting ends September 23rd. For a list of the following challenges as well as the voting schedule, click here.
A crunchy, creamy, tart, fluffy and sweet heavenly lemon meringue pie.