For those of you who are wondering what on earth is Project Food Blog, it’s a Foodbuzz initiative. According to the website, it’s the first interactive competition where Foodbuzz Featured Publishers compete in a series of culinary blogging challenges for a shot at the ultimate prize: $10,000 and a special feature on Foodbuzz.com for one year. Contestants will be whittled down over 12 weeks via challenges related to food blogging. Entries are voted* on by Foodbuzz Featured Publisher peers and rated by our panel of judges including: Dana Cowin (Editor-in-Chief of FOOD & WINE Magazine), Nancy Silverton (Founder La Brea Bakery, Co-owner Mozza), Pim Techamuanvivit (Author of ChezPim.com and The Foodie Handbook).
I can’t tell a lie. I’ve struggled with the decision to participate for a few weeks now.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the idea *in principle* is fantastic. As bloggers, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and either stop posting or post the same types of posts all the time. So challenging oneself to move out of one’s comfort zone is always a good thing. It’s something I do on a regular basis with the baking and cooking challenge groups I take part in (Daring Cooks and Bakers, Mactweets, International Incident Parties and RSVP Redux). All these groups help me push myself to do more in the kitchen than I otherwise might. So in that respect, I am excited for the challenges Project Food Blog presents.
No, it’s the competition aspect that bothered me. If you are a blogger reading this, you will already know that food blogging is competitive. It’s hard not to get caught up in it, especially when, like me, you have a competitive nature in your real life. I like to do well (who doesn’t?) and have very high standards for myself. I am the person who dwelled on the ONE (!) mark that stood between me and a Distinction for my MA, instead of rejoicing in a) finishing and b) my Merit. So entering PFB, I am putting myself in a competition where I will want to do well. I won’t lie, I would *love* to win. But as James Oseland famously stated recently at IFBC, “Food blogging should not be a popularity contest” – something the 300 bloggers attending that event applauded.
So I am entering this as a personal challenge to myself. I will not bombard your Twitter feed with “Vote for me” tweets. I may gently remind you that voting is open here on the blog. But I promise not to be a pain about it. And as they say en français, que sera sera. Because I do believe I have what it takes to go far in this contest and hopefully that will shine through in my posts. I am excited for Dana, Pim and Nancy to read my work and even if they only read one or two posts, that’s more than they would have read had I not entered. It’s called making the most of an opportunity that is afforded you.
So what defines me as a blogger? Why should I be the Next Food Blog Star?
1. Simply put, I love to blog. And (excuse the big head here), I am good at it.
In just 15 months, I have grown a loyal following: blog subscribers and on Foodbuzz and Twitter. I was nominated for Best New Blog after only 5 months. I won a trip to the Foodbuzz Festival for a recipe I developed and I demoed it live in the Tasting Pavilion. I obtained full sponsorship to attend the International Food Bloggers Conference last month in Seattle. I’ve had proposals accepted for numerous Foodbuzz 24×24 events (including the infamous Weight Watchers gelatin fest!). I have three freelance writing gigs – Food Network Canada, The Mushroom Channel and Spotlight Toronto; you can check out these and other guest posts I have written here.
2. I am a fast learner, even with a steep learning curve.
Case in point: macarons. I am on a mission to conquer these babies and in just a few short months, I have made huge progress:
Case in point #2: photography. Compare an early photo from my blog to a recent one:
(click on the picture for the recipe!)
3. I am realistic. I am not afraid to post my failures. Even sometimes ugly pictures (gasp!). Because noone wants to read a blog with only perfect, gorgeous photos that make things look unrealistically easy. It’s ok to not get things right the first time. Which leads me to …
4. I work hard to get things right. Even if I don’t always succeed at something, I am willing to try again. And, err, sometimes a few times.
5. I am channeling my passion to educate little minds about nutrition and good food choices and teaching them that home cooking is both easy and delicious through my Les Petits Chefs after-school cooking club. I am lucky to be in a position where I can. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of my week. I have even started to incorporate some cooking into my curriculum and the boys’ motivation level for French has skyrocketed.
7. I participate actively in the blogging community. Because it’s not just about me and mine. I take the time to visit many other blogs on a regular basis and comment and participate in their communities too.
8. I post consistently. Not too often, not too little.
9. As well as blogging/ freelancing, I am a full-time French teacher to 7-12 year-old boys, am working towards my PhD and pursuing the Food and the Media Certificate at George Brown College. I manage my time well.
10. I still have a lot to learn. Challenging myself is the only way I will. And I thrive on challenge.
Want to know more? Check out my Project Food Blog Profile…
Edited to add: Voting has begun! Want to vote me through to the next round? Click here and vote! You need to be a Foodbuzz member but all it takes is a simple signin process. Thank you all in advance!