Looking Back at Food Blog Camp, 2011

by Fran@frantasticfood.com on January 15, 2011

A Monster Post

It’s been almost a week since most of us have returned from Mexico and I’ve been pouring over everyone’s camp round-up blog posts, leaving myself little time to put together a round-up of my own so grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy the read.  It’s a long one.

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So here we go …

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We were greeted at curbside with a tropical drink and led to an expansive lobby to sit down, relax, fill out a form for check-in and get to know the small group we came in with a bit.  On the way to the room I knew I was in trouble — that I wouldn’t know my way around until it was time to check out and that was an understatement.  I never quite got my bearings.  It’s all very secluded and serene.  Peaceful.  No stress.  And not knowing my way around just didn’t matter.  It wasn’t like I was going to miss my bus and get to work late.  Not having that stress each morning was a great start to the day.  Well, that and a delicious, fresh breakfast at Chaka.  Fresh fruit, beans, chilaquiles and other little bites filled my plate each morning and, oh my gosh it was delicious!

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The resort is large and beautiful pathways like this through the “jungle” side of the property are everywhere and yes, I was still lost the last day of camp.  It got easier, but at some point each day I’d find myself turned around.  No need to worry, a staff member would be around the corner and eager to help, but I’ve got to say, I felt pretty silly getting turned around all the time.

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I met incredible people from all parts of the world and connected with those I’d met at Food Blog Camp, 2010.  I’m not much of a portrait photographer, but under the links at the end of the post are blogs with plenty of people shots for those interested.

The sessions, led by leaders in the food blog world, were full of useful information.  Although I’ve been to multiple events with Jaden, David, Elise, Matt, Adam, Diane and Todd in the past 12 months and have been exposed to a lot of the same information, I continue to come away with valuable nuggets of information that help me improve what I do here.  It’s tough to pick my favorite part of the trip, but if I had to pick just one thing, I’d have to say dinner with new, and not so new friends each night was the best.  We learned lots about each other, shared helpful tips and suggestions and one night I laughed until I cried.  That’s what it’s all about for me.  All out laughing until it hurts is what makes me happy and I swear, as I get older, those occasions are few and far between so I’m thankful to have had the opportunity.

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Many people took beautiful shots of the beach and the pools, but I was drawn to the food demos.  It was tough to get a good vantage point so I wandered off and to find places a not so tall person could capture shots with the least amount of people in view.  It wasn’t easy, but I managed to capture a few good shots once I learned how to set the focus points on the new camera.  Thanks Diane!!

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How delicious does this shot of a tuna roll that the chefs put together during the demo in Cocina de Autor look?  The food at Grand Velas was wonderful and a fabulous surprise.

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And the men in white?  Well, they’re fabulous too. Need I say anything more?

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I didn’t think so.

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Grand Velas is all inclusive.  There are no additional charges and the staff “gets” customer service.

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Smiles abound and help is offered at every turn.  Have a plate from the buffet you need to get back to your table with?  Someone will appear out of nowhere ready to take your plate so you can navigate your way back to the table without worrying about getting it to the table without spilling.

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Working up a thirst relaxing at poolside?  I don’t know why, surely someone approached you as you sat down to help arrange your towels and  to offer a bucket of ice water before asking for your drink order.  Getting hungry while basking in the sun?  No need, a menu magically appears and food is delivered with a smile.

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The beach side of the resort is all white, peppered with pink hibiscus and greenery with a turquoise sea off the cool sand beaches and coconut palms are everywhere swaying in the evening breeze.

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And the sand doesn’t get hot in the blazing sun.

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Grand Velas Riviera Maya truly is paradise and I’m pretty sure you could relax yourself into a coma — not in a bad way.

On the last full day of camp this year I headed back to my room after a couple of hours at the pool to put together a stop motion video.  It’s intended to be “jerky”.  I’m planning to create one more video this weekend, sans stop motion. It will be my final Food Blog Camp, 2011 post — maybe.  I’m obsessed — remember?!

While I was thinking about how to put this post together I took a look back at Food Blog Camp, 2010.  Since many of you are linking here from this year’s camp blog posts, I thought I’d give you a look at last year.  And yes, I was a bit blogging obsessed in 2010.  When I looked back at all the posts I put up during and after the trip I realized why David said to me, “I thought for sure you would have posted something by now,” a couple of days into the trip this year.  But I am somehow more contemplative now.  I write a post, let it simmer overnight, come home and look at it the next evening and throw it out or take a red pen and mark the whole thing up, leaving me to pretty much start from scratch.  But as you’ll see here, last year I just sat down and got it done.  I don’t know if Todd, Diane and Jaden watched these videos last year, but I got one of the captions wrong and it was too late to pull back by the time I saw it.  Most of you won’t notice, but I captioned a shot of Todd and Diane as Scott and Diane.  Scott is Jaden’s husband’s name.  A Club Med Food Blogger Camp Wife Swap?  No, not so much.  So you see, being too quick to publish isn’t always the smartest thing to do and perhaps that’s why I’ve been here typing away for the past 8.5 hours.

Below are the links my Club Med Food Blogger Camp, 2010 blog posts with a couple of videos included.

And lastly, I did my homework and searched for all campers that have written a post about their time at camp and have listed them below.  Elise taught us about how important it is to be generous and it struck a chord with me.  So many people have linked to me from their blog posts and I wanted to do the same in return.  So anyone that has posted a piece about their trip is listed here.  If I’ve missed anyone, please let me know.  I finished the list at about midnight and in my bleary-eyed state, might have missed someone.  Be sure to check out their home page because they may have posted more than once.  These links are to just one post.

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Organizer & PR contact

If you’re still here, I applaud you for making your way through this long post, you’re strong — or very bored and needed something to do today.  And for that, I thank you!  icon smile Looking Back at Food Blog Camp, 2011   Now get off your the couch and go do something!

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 Looking Back at Food Blog Camp, 2011 In 2007 my career with a large, but shrinking high tech Fortune 50 \"left me,\" leaving a void in my life. While lamenting the loss and flying around the world looking for a new career to get married to, I discovered a way to use a familiar outlet during tough times -- writing. My blog-writing morphed into writing about my favorite past time -- Food! I purchase food, sell food, make food, watch food being made, broadcast meal preparation, photograph and blog about food. Like I said; Food! To change this standard text, you have to enter some information about your self in the Dashboard -> Users -> Your Profile box.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

AmberNo Gravatar January 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Good recap, Fran! I, too, can't enough of the moments when a good belly laugh is present. :) Glad to have met you. Hope we have the chance for more laughs in the future. Food Blog Camp 2012??


frantasticfoodNo Gravatar January 15, 2011 at 10:05 pm

We'll see what the year brings. I'd love to travel far and wide. I'd be game for Brazil! :)


ReneeNo Gravatar January 15, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Thats such a great post. And I love your "jerky" video! :) Looking forward to seeing your new video! So nice to meet you!


frantasticfoodNo Gravatar January 15, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Thanks Renee! This next video is going to take time, but it should be fun.


marlameridithNo Gravatar January 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Hi Fran, love your re-cap #2. The video is awesome. Dang those chefs were cute ;) xo


frantasticfoodNo Gravatar January 15, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Glad you liked it. I am never going to get those 8.5 hours it took me to write it back so I'm happy you liked it. :)


frantasticfoodNo Gravatar January 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Thanks! What do you think about a Chefs of Grand Velas calendar? ;)


BrookeNo Gravatar January 15, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Fran, you're being too hard on yourself, girl! This isn't a long post at all…At least, it didn't feel like it. Your pictures and well picked words made that possible. Great recap and lovely seeing you in the thick of it again. Next time, let's keep our fingers crossed we have a few more days to spend time "off hours" together! xoxox, Brooke


frantasticfoodNo Gravatar January 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Thanks Brooke. You're too sweet and yes, I'm too hard on myself. I blame it on Kurt Vonnegut. He spoke to our small Creative Writing class in Jr. High school and told us that, "The piece we wrote that we think is GREAT is a piece of s**t." I took that to heart and ever since, for the past 30 years, doubt my abilities. Shame on him for instilling self-doubt in a bunch of teenage wannabe writers in the tumultuous 70's, eh?


SarahNo Gravatar January 16, 2011 at 8:03 am

Hey Fran! Great recap. {And I wish I had made my FBC post longer by the way!} It was so fun meeting you in Mexico. Let's keep in touch.


foodalogueNo Gravatar January 16, 2011 at 9:45 am

Heavenly setting. Great photos. You either learn well or are a natural behind the lens. Plus I always love your injected humor.


KateNo Gravatar January 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm

HI Fran. What a creative way to use still photos in a video. It must have taken a long time to put together, but the final result is very fun and fits the music perfectly. :)


frantasticfoodNo Gravatar January 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Thanks Kate! This wasn't my best stop motion, but was fun to put together.


savuryandsweetNo Gravatar January 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm

love the stop-motion movie. awesome work :)


frantasticfoodNo Gravatar January 16, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Thanks! I got addicted to making them this summer and it was perfect with my new camera and "burst mode." Woo hoo! :)


DamarisNo Gravatar January 18, 2011 at 1:18 am

I'm still not one bit tiered of reading these posts. i want to go back so bad.


FranNo Gravatar January 24, 2011 at 8:43 am

I am going to find a way ro get back there. It's too great not too. :)


Sarah OlsonNo Gravatar January 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Great round up Fran, looks like another fun time! Your photos are great too, I'm glad you are liking your new camera.


FranNo Gravatar January 24, 2011 at 8:44 am

Thanks Sarah! Wsh you were there. It was a beautiful resort.


Lisa@ButteryBooksNo Gravatar January 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm

To be surrounded by beach and food would be my dream getaway. Love the pictures!


frantasticfoodNo Gravatar January 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Oh how I\’d like to be back at that beach right now, Lisa. :) Thanks for stopping by!


susanNo Gravatar February 17, 2011 at 2:12 am

great photos, Franny! you have a gift, a visual gift and a gift with words! love reading all that you have to share!


frantasticfoodNo Gravatar February 17, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Thank you so much! I'm happy you have fun here.


seoNo Gravatar January 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Have you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog based on the same topics you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would enjoy your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.


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