Project Food Blog 2010: Ready, set, blog!

Keyboard on eatlivetravelwrite.comFor 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).

Yes, it’s a little bit like the Next Food Network Star for food bloggers.

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.

(the macaron graveyard!)

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.

6. What you read is who I am. Those of you who know me in real life know that my blog reflects my personality. It’s my voice.

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 (note: link no longer live) and vote! You need to be a Foodbuzz member but all it takes is a simple signin process. Thank you all in advance!

80 thoughts on “Project Food Blog 2010: Ready, set, blog!”

  1. I’m sure you’ll go far in the competition. You’re fierce competition for the other bloggers. Good job on the first entry. P.S. I’m struck by the similarity of some of your points to mine.

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  2. You certainly are good at what you do. I applaud your efforts and consistency. I know whenever I log onto your site I will be reading something fresh and insightful. Good luck and keep it up!

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  3. Good overview. You have also developed real relationships from your initial cyber relationships (meeting in NYC with some gals) I think. I do read you, Mardi, as you are clearly driven and bright and learned and love learning and very interesting! So this is a fantastic challenge for you. I do the same thing all of the time: challenge myself. That’s the only person I am interested in “upping”… what can I do better or differently next time. I love learning from others, not completing with them.
    🙂
    Valerie

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  4. I haven’t posted my entry yet, but I felt the way as I was pulling it together. I am doing this so I can be challenged in ways I might not readily choose. I expect to grow in different directions and be better for it.

    So well said. And of course it draws the line in the sand for competition. I’ll be cheering you on no matter how far either of us get.

    Jason

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  5. A terrific post for the 1st challenge! Like you, I was also not sure whether to participate or not. I am still working on my entry 🙂

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  6. What a great post to get to know you better Mardi! Congratulations on your achievements since you’ve started this blog. You’re certainly a hard worker and I’m sure this will be reflected in your participation to Project Food Blog. I wish you the best of luck and you can be sure I will be voting!

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  7. Very nice Mardi…and good luck with the competition. I understand the competitive nature well and like you, I’m not all starry-eyed over contests normally. You have a wonderful, well written blog and your photos are beautiful…I’m jealous because I’m sorely lacking in the photography department! You have so many points on which you are eminently qualified to win…again, good luck.

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  8. You have so many wonderful achievements and are such an accomplished blogger, I can only hope that when my blog is 15 months and counting I can have the same successes as you. I am excited to be in this challenge and experience with you! Well written post, with honest thoughts, perfect for the first challenge 🙂

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  9. Mardi, I’m so glad you decided to enter the contest! I’m in it too, and I’ve decided the competitive aspect just isn’t worth losing sleep over. This food blogging thing is all about love and passion – we wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t love it. I’m excited to learn more about all my food blogging friends through these challenges. Now I just have to sit down and write my own “who am I?” post…thanks for inspiring me.

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  10. I think you will do very well. I have enjoyed your blog over the last year. You have made terrific progress but more importantly you have remained interesting.

    Best Wishes!
    Lisa
    Cocktails and Small Bites

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  11. Fantastic post, and I agree with so much of what you said, especially near the beginning of your post. There’s some uncomfortable element of competing with the exact same community that we have grown to love in the time that we have been blogging. I’m totally rooting for you. I think you write a great blog and I’m amazed at all the things that you do.

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  12. Mardi, thanks so much for sharing your feelings, I had the same reservations, but for different reasons! I felt I was too new to have any chance against more experienced bloggers. The best thing about entering though has been reading posts like this for me. I don’t feel alone, I just blog because I want to, not to be the most popular. I can’t wait to come back and visist your blog often! Best of luck to you!
    -Gina-

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  13. Hey! I LOVE your blog! And you should totally bombard everybody with “vote for me” tweets. At least every now and then, because otherwise I will never remember to vote and I won’t be able to convert my fandom into you winning the grand prize! Ok?

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  14. Wow – you really spoke to me in this post. Many of those reasons are the same as to why I’ve struggled with the decision to enter as well. I love how you have put everything out there in a very “real” fashion and not just so voters choose you. Very honorable!

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  15. I really enjoyed meeting you (briefly) at IFBC and I’ve enjoyed getting to know your blog. Great post. I’m still deciding also, but regardless you inspire all of us to just be ourselves – wonderful message. I love your hunger for all things. Love to you.

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  16. Well said Mardi! I could not agree with you more on all of your bullet points. I appreciate you being frank about how this is not or should not be a popularity contest; it should be based on skill, talent and most of all true passion. Which, my friend, you have very much of! I admire that!

    Good luck, we will be cheering you on!

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  17. Good luck! I decided not to participate. I’m kind of the opposite of you, not particularly competitive by nature (only because I know I’m all-around awesome, no need to compete!) 🙂

    Can’t wait to see your challenges.

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  18. Good luck, Mardi! I have watched you for a while now and know that you do push yourself hard to get what you want, go where you want to go which is so admirable. I also thought long and hard about doing this but am afraid of committing myself time-wise. So more kudos to you! Go for it and may the best blogger win! We’re behind you, babes!

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  19. Oh god, that ONE mark would have killed me too. I completely feel your pain.

    Onwards and upwards though, and hoorah for deciding to enter into this endeavour!! Very best of luck and I wish I had got your autograph when I visited 😉

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  20. Seriously great post, Mardi. I was a little worried about the contest myself because of the competition aspect of it, but you make some great points. Good luck…you deserve to go very far in this competition!

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  21. It will be interesting to see where this goes. I hope to see the challenge results not be reflective of constant begging for votes and hope your true capabilities are what sees you accomplish success!

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  22. I have always admired just how prolific you are, despite everything else you have in your beautifully busy life! And I always appreciate your honesty. It requires so much courage and I think your readers know that! I know you’ll do well in this competition!

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  23. Very thoughtful post. Some of your points are exactly why I decided NOT to do the Project Food Blog. I would inevitably get way too caught up in it and not be able to enjoy the process. But much luck to you, you’re a great blogger!

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  24. Great post and good luck with the challenges. Like you I also couldn’t make up my mind whether to participate or not but it’s a great opportunity to learn a lot from talented chefs, like yourself.

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  25. Hear hear! This perfectly states my own feelings on Project Food Blog – I don’t know how far I will make it but will just enjoy the ride for what it is. Thanks for reminding us that this isn’t a popularity contest and to treat the competition as a way to challenge ourselves versus beating others! I also love your recap of IFBC and the James Oseland session – sounded like an amazing event!

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  26. Mardi, I think you captured yourself brilliantly! I think most people perform at their best when they’re outside of their comfort zone. 🙂

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  27. Great post! Very insightful and inspirational. I felt the same way about PFB, but figured I had absolutely nothing to lose. And I agree with riceandwheat about your recap of IFBC – way to distill a lot of info into one blog entry!

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  28. What an honest, insightful and thoughtfully written post. The best FBP post I’ve read so far, for what it’s worth. I applaud your progress, vast participation in the blog world and your accolades! Can’t wait to see what you do next. I may not be Pim, Nancy or Dana, but you have my vote!

    Best of luck and happy blogging
    -Laura 🙂

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  29. Wow, I felt like I was reading my own post for challenge #1 here, just written out differently. You and I have many of the same thoughts about this challenge, and I too, am doing it to simply challenge myself in a new way. I’m excited to have discovered your blog. I think I have a lot to learn from you (I’ve only been seriously food blogging since the beginning of Aug, although my blog has been operating since January). WOnderful post, and good luck!!!

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  30. I’m with you — your ten reasons make you one of the most noteworthy food bloggers I’ve read today. You’ve got my vote!

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  31. Mardi, I can’t believe that you had second thoughts about entering, when I first heard about the competition you were the first name that came to mind. I appreciate your posts for your honesty and your sincerity -two traits that are very rare these days. You have my vote and I look forward to seeing you complete challenge after challenge.

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  32. Wow – thanks everybody for your votes of confidence. I am truly blown away at the support I have received simply for being myself. I have read some amazing entries and seen some fierce competition from many of you – my blogging friends – which makes it all the harder to compete and was one of the reasons I hesitated so much before entering. Reading your responses, I know now I made the right decision. Thank you all.

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  33. thank you for being so honest. i echo your thoughts on the competitiveness in the food blogging world. i find solace in the friends that i have met, the new dishes that i haven’t tasted, and the flavor combinations that i want to create. i look forward to this challenge for all these reasons. i look forward to seeing what you cook up. you got my vote!
    Lick My Spoon

    Reply

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