Last month I had the pleasure of attending Food Blog Forum at Walt Disney World Resort. It was an amazing experience enriched in food, knowledge and great people. I find it so hard to sit here and try to wrap up everything into one writing post.
(Here is Day One video. Day 2 and 3 will be here on my channel)
On the first day we attended a welcoming reception at the Four Seasons Resort nestled into the beautiful Golden Oak neighborhood on Disney property. This is where magic meets luxury. We were greeted by the fabulous PR, Food & Beverage Managers and Sommelier team as we entered one of their grand salons. The room was decorated with ornate chandeliers, blue hued palm trees and glass ceilings. The cuisine served was from one of their restaurants called PB&G (Pool Bar & Grill). It is southern, inspired fresh Florida fare. I really enjoyed the Depeche Mode cocktail (Peach absolute vodka, rishi black tea & thyme), Eggs with eggs in an egg (deviled eggs, mousse, caviar & chive) and the incredible Red Velvet Cake Skewers. It is truly a gorgeous resort and I can’t wait to visit again soon! We had a great time meeting some new faces as well as seeing old friends.
On Day Two we headed out early to the Contemporary Resort for a light breakfast and Strawberry Tasting. Who knew that different strands of strawberries had such different flavor to them?!
We heard from a variety of speakers who gave a plethora of information.
- Introduction to Disney Creativity with Victoria Finn
- Storytelling with Natural Food Photography & Styling Diane Cu & Todd Porter
- Beyond the Banner: Monetization Strategies with Scott and Jaden Hair, Lindsay & Bjork Ostrom
- Beyond the Basics of Pinterest with Enid
- Battling Blogger Burnout with J. Kenji Lopez and Elise Bauer
After the speakers we broke for a phenomenal luncheon at the California Grill Restaurant. We were whisked away to the 15th floor of the resort and when we got out of the elevator we were greeted by the Walt Disney World Resort Chefs. Many of these Disney Chefs were from Disney’s renowned restaurants. California Grill is one of my favorite restaurants in the whole world. Not only is the food fab, but the breathtaking views of Magic Kingdom, surrounding resorts and Seven Seas Lagoon is one of the special perks of dining there.
Properly titled Delicious Disney Luncheon, it sure was! Be Our Guest, California Grill, Contemporary Bakery, Flying Fish Café, Le Cellier, Narcoossee’s, Sanaa, Sunshine Seasons, The Hollywood Brown Derby and Trattoria al Forno all presented gorgeous dishes and I truly felt like I was in heaven. I loved the Wild Striped Bass from Narcoossee’s and the Spicy Tuna Tartare from The Hollywood Brown Derby. I am still thinking about those amazing dishes. The Chefs were really in their element and it was such a treat getting to speak with them. This luncheon was a magical experience and I had a wonderful time.
When we returned from lunch we broke off into groups for various Expert Roundtables. I liked this approach and how it pieced up the day. I felt I retained more of the information this way. More conferences I have attended in the past didn’t do this, I wish more would. We were able to ask questions and listen to other attendees’ converse with our speakers. It also gave us a chance to meet more of our fellow attendees’ and network with one another.
On the last day we attended a brunch at East End Market in Winter Park. It is a neighborhood market and culinary hub inspired by local food artisans and farmers. It really reminded me of a smaller Chelsea Market like the one in NYC.
We were greeted with Kumquat Mimosas and the drumming stylings of The Groove Chefs from Sea World. All of the first floor was set up by the artisans who have their food stores and eateries in the market. This was so special to see what each place cooked up for us. One dish after another was more and more splendid than the next. Every eatery was unique and had amazing food. The market vendors were La Femme Du Fromage, Fatto in Casa, Houndstooth, Olde Hearth Bread Co., Skyebird, Local Roots, Porch Therapy 99, Lineage, Kappo and Txokos. Upstairs was a vast open space with tables set up by chefs who are James Beard Award Nominees in the Orlando area. Cask & Larder, The COOP, K Restaurant, P is for Pie, The Rusty Spoon, Se7enbites, The Smiling Bison, Pharmacy and Redlight Redlight. How crazy lucky we were!!! I wish I lived closer to this market; I would be there all of the time.
All in all this was an inspiring experience. I met some remarkable people and learned so much. I couldn’t wait to share all of this with all of you. I can only hope that I will be able to attend again next year. This conference is the recharge I need to keep being creative and energized in this foodie writing world. Thanks again for reading and hope you enjoy the videos.
Special thanks to Julie, Lindsay, Jaden & Scott, Diane & Todd, Pam, Karen, Walt Disney World, Kitchen Aid, OXO, Sabra, Florida Dairy Farmers, Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Visit Orlando and the Disney Chefs for making this event possible.