Babette Pepaj, founder of TECHmunch, brought more than 100 bloggers together for a full day conference that touched on every aspect of owning a blog. This year, many of the speakers were local Austin Food Blogger Alliance members. The sequence of presentations and panels took attendees through the evolutionary process of building and managing your blog.
With panelists Jake Maddux, Caroline Wallace, Holly Aker, Devon Broglie, Kate Gardiner, Jodi Bart, Ronnie Bincer, Adam Holz, Hilah Johnson, Sandi McKenna, Rick Griffin, Virginia Wood, Felecia Hatcher, Rachel Barbarotto, Lindsay Robinson, Clint Schaff and Jessica Randazza.
A quick-paced conference covered a myriad of topics, and each speaker was handpicked by Babette Pepaj for thier expertise in a selected facet of blogging. There was enough information presented to appeal to beginner and experienced bloggers. Some of the take-away ideas included having a focus for your blog, read and explore your peers’ blogs, get organized with an editorial calendar, don’t be afraid to edit and present your content in different formats on several social media platforms.
Look for the Tweets with the #Techmunch handle to see the points that piqued the audience’s interest.
Throughout the day there were snacking opportunities including Morning Chameleon Coffee, Driscoll berry smoothies and Jade Monk tea. Lunch was an adventure in Whole Foods Market, where each attendee was armed with a gift card and a map. The afternoon treats included The Sticky Toffee Pudding Co.’s new bars, Good Pops and cupcakes.
BakeSpace.com’s latest endeavor is a free eBook and iPad app designed as a DIY cookbook publisher platform. For more information visit the website.
Thank you to the 55 Austin Food Blogger Alliance (AFBA) members who contributed 78 posts (with 7-8 expected to be added this week) to the 2013 Austin City Guide, which launched today, just in time for SXSW.
The Austin City Guide (#atxcityguide on Twitter and Google+) was first created by a group of local food bloggers in 2010 as a resource for visitors in town for SXSW. Members of The Austin Food Blogger Alliance updated and expanded the guide in 2011, 2012, and 2013 to help out-of-towners and locals navigate the ever-changing Austin food and drink scene.
It’s the last day of 2012 and another wonderful year of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance is coming to a close. The two-year term of our current board will end, and a new board will start in March 2013.
The current board includes: Natanya Anderson of Fete and Feast (President), Kathryn Hutchison of Austin Gastronomist (Vice President), Rachelle King of Blinded by the Bite! (Treasurer), Michelle Cheng of Foodie is the New Forty (Secretary), Jodi Bart of Tasty Touring (Communications Chair), Addie Broyles of Relish Austin and The Feminist Kitchen (Advisory Council Chair), Jennie Chen of MisoHungry (Education Chair), Michelle Fandrich of The Kid Can Cook (Philanthropy Chair), Megan Myers of Stetted (Membership Chair), and Mike Krell of Austin Food Carts (Technology Chair). Rebecca Otis of TheRebeccammendations moved to Chicago in the fall and stepped down as Social Chair.
In early February, twenty-two volunteers from AFBA spent an evening at the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas to help sort through donations from the Food Bank’s Souper Bowl of Caring donation drive. AFBA members sorted nearly 10,000 pounds of food for distribution to people in need in the Austin area totaling almost 8,000 meals.
In early 2012, we asked members of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance to fill out a survey about their favorite eats and drinks in Austin. The results were turned into a blog post, “2012 Austin Food Blogger Favorites.” Forty five members of the alliance (which at that time had 107 members) pitched in to write over 65 posts for the 2012 Austin City Guide.
On April 3, we hosted a Recipe Writing 101 class to prepare members for submitting recipes for our community cookbook. Food writers Karen Morgan (“Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free“), Ann Clark (”Quick Cuisine” and “Ann Clark’s Fabulous Fish,”), Michael Chu (of the award-winning blog, Cooking For Engineers), and Elizabeth Englehardt (“Republic of Barbecue”) walked through the steps to create recipes that are clear, concise and easy to follow.
Members were asked to submit recipes for the AFBA community cookbook by the end of April.
On May 19, we took a day trip to San Antonio. Activities included a visit to the Pearl Farmer’s Market, a tour of the Culinary Institute of America, and a tapas tasting at OCHO lounge at the Hotel Havana.
On May 20, Eli Castro of Grubbus worked with Houndstooth Coffee to host a coffee cupping for AFBA members. A total of 20 people attended, including bloggers and their guests.
In June, we asked for more recipes for the cookbook, along with filler photos, and short essays about Austin and its food culture.
On July 25, AFBA brought together some of Austin’s best professional bakers and food bloggers to raise funds for Bake A Wish, a non-profit organization which provides cakes and other baked goods to those in need here in Austin. The event, “Cupcakes & Cocktails,” raised over $4500 for Bake A Wish – with $2500 raised in the silent auction alone.
AFBA member Josh Kimbell partnered with Boston Food Bloggers organizer Rachel Leah Blumenthal to coordinate the second “Austin to Boston Food Swap” in the fall.
In September, AFBA began taking applications for positions on the board and a selection committee reviewed the applications, ranking candidates based on who they think is most qualified for the position.
On Sept. 8, we hosted the AFBA Cookbook Potluck at Springdale Farm featuring dishes from our upcoming community cookbook. We asked members who have submitted a recipe to test at least one other recipe. The potluck was a way for us to share the dishes we make, collect feedback on the recipes, photograph some of the dishes that need to be reshot and get some group shots.
On Oct. 7, the current board officially voted on the candidates recommended by the selection committee.
On Oct. 22, we announced the new board for 2013-2015. They include: Kathryn Hutchison of Austin Gastronomist(President), Megan Myers of Stetted (Vice President), Nelly Paulina Ramirez of Aneelee (Treasurer), Margaret Perkins of From Maggie’s Farm (Development Chair), Heather Santos of Midnite Chef (Membership Chair), Kristin Sheppard of Mad Betty (Education Chair), Christy Horton of Epicuriosities (Philanthropy Chair), Brittanie Duncan of Three Diets One Dinner (Social Chair), Tiffany Young of Oh Spooning! (Marketing Chair), William Burdette of No Satiation (Technology Chair), Immediate Past President Natanya Anderson of Fete and Feast and Addie Broyles of Relish Austin and The Feminist Kitchen (Special Projects/Cookbook Chair).
On Oct. 24, we held an education event, “Monetizing Your Blog,” at the Evernote offices with panelists Cara Thielvoldt (pay per click and SEO expert, blogs at I Don’t Believe in Diets), Tom Buckley (ad sales), Jeffrey Eisenberg (online conversion)
On Nov. 7, we voted in Natalie Paramour of Food Fetish as Secretary of the Board for 2013-2015.
On Nov. 10 we asked bloggers to join us for the “Meet Me at the Market” blog challenge, to help spread the word about the Sustainable Food Center’s (SFC) Capital Campaign and one of their farmer’s market vendors.
On Dec. 1 we met at Gourmand’s for AFBA’s Winter Bash and Food Blogger Trivia event.
As of this writing on Dec. 31, there are 149 members.
We have many plans for AFBA in 2013, including the publication of our cookbook! We’re so grateful to every board member, member, and volunteer in this special group.
AFBA in 2011: A Year in Review
-Jodi Bart, Tasty Touring
Check out what Austin Food Bloggers love to share with family and friends around the Thanksgiving table in this recipe round up.
Get a head start on the big day with Jessica’s No-Knead Dinner Rolls and Pumpkin Cream Pie. For a lighter version of sweet potato try Lee’s Sweet Potato Ginger Soufflé, mix and pour into your baking dish then cover with plastic wrap and hold it in the fridge until 2 hours before dinner. Take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for an hour, then bake.
Get your greens with this Miso Glazed Brussel Sprout dish by Stephanie.
Julia recreated Emeril Lagasse’s Spicy Sausage Stuffing for something different on her family’s table.
Top off the feast with a twist on pumpkin pie with Pumpkin Crepes. There’s a few more ideas for you in this Thanksgiving potluck collection featuring recipes by Aneelee, Beyond Picket Fences, Girl Eats World, Notes from Maggie’s Farm, South Austin Foodie, and The Kid Can Cook.
-Heather Santos, Midnite Chef
Now it’s time to look to a new group of leaders to take helm of the alliance to help it evolve and grow.
Although the current board’s positions come to an end on February 28 of next year, we think it’s critical that the new board be involved in 2013 planning which we will do in November. With that in mind, we’ll be taking the next several weeks to accept applications for the board in preparation for a vote on a new slate of members in our October board meeting. This will also give us plenty of time to transition smoothly from one board to the next.
Our board is comprised of 11 members as well as an Immediate Past President and a Special Projects Chair for the cookbook. The current board has put together a collection of job descriptions that reflect the responsibilities, time commitment, and any special skills or knowledge required for each position. For example, the Treasurer needs to know how to manage a budget and file tax returns, and our Development Chair needs some experience with working with partners and donors. If you’re interested in serving on the board please take the time in the next week to review the position descriptions so you’re familiar with what a commitment to our board entails.
We’ll be honest and tell you that serving on a non-profit board is hard work but it is also amazingly rewarding. As far as we know we’re still the only group of our kind and size in the country and we continue to blaze a trail for the role food bloggers can play in a community.
There are five steps in the new board selection process.
- Application Submission: September 7 – 16
To be sure that each incoming board member is set up for success, there will be a short application that we’ll ask anyone interested in a position to fill out. In addition to core questions we ask of each prospective board member there will be a couple of additional questions associated with the special skills required for individual positions. The application process will be handled online and shouldn’t take more than 15 or 20 minutes.
- Application Review: September 17 – 26
A selection committee made up of the current board, members of our advisory committee, and a group of current members will review applications and rank candidates based on how well they feel each candidate fits the needs of the position. Read on for how you can be part of the selection committee.
- Tabulation and Final Board Candidate Selection: September 27 – October 3
The board’s Executive Committee (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) will tabulate the rankings of the selection committee, double check our work, and send the final slate of committee-recommended board members to the current board.
- Official Vote on the New Board: October 7
At our October board meeting the current board will officially vote o the candidates recommended by the selection committee.
- Notification of Results: October 7 – 8
After the board meeting we will notify all applicants of the outcome of the selection process and we’ll post the results on our website.
The process is lengthy we know, but a strong board will be a key factor in the future growth of our organization and we think the time required to follow the process will be well worth it for everyone involved.
Volunteering for the Selection Committee
If you’re not interested in applying for a board position but would like to be part of our selection committee, please fill out this short form by September 7. We’ll randomly select 6 interested members to be part of the selection committee and will notify everyone who threw their name into the virtual hat by September 12. Only members who are not applying for a position on the board can be on the selection committee. We also ask that you only list yourself as willing to be on the committee if you’ll have a few hours between September 17 and 26 to devote to careful review and consideration of our applicants.
We hope you’ll take time in the next few days to review the board positions and carefully consider if serving on the board is something you’d like to do. If not, please consider volunteering for the selection committee or think about any committees you might want to serve on so when the new board members call for committee support you’ll be ready to volunteer.
Finally, be sure to watch our Facebook page and e-mail for reminders of important deadlines in the next few weeks.
In early 2012, we asked members of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance to fill out a survey about their favorite eats and drinks in Austin. Those that filled out the survey first had the opportunity to write a blog post about the category of their choice, to be shared in the 2012 Austin City Guide.
A total of 53 members of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance filled out the 43 category survey, with 45 members pitching in to write over 65 posts for the Austin City Guide. As of this blog post writing, there are currently 107 members of the Alliance. If you are interested in learning more about how to become a member, click here.
The following businesses placed in the top four in multiple categories:
- Contigo and Uchiko — six categories
- Foreign & Domestic, La Condesa, and Uchi — four categories
- Asti, Hopfields, Fonda San Miguel, Justine’s, The Peached Tortilla, Polvos, and Second Bar & Kitchen — three categories
- 24 Diner, Apothecary, Bar Congress, Blue Dahlia, Carillon, Casa de Luz, Counter Cafe, Curra’s, East Side King, Elizabeth Street Cafe, Hai Ky, Jack Allen’s, Kerbey Lane, Kome, Lamberts, Perla’s, The Tigress, Trudy’s, Veggie Heaven, Vino Vino, Vivo, Wasota African Cuisine, Whip in and Wink — two categories
And without further ado, here are the 2012 Austin Food Blogger Favorites:
- TIE: Curra’s, Matt’s El Rancho, Polvos, Trudy’s
- TIE: Chuy’s, Enchiladas Y Mas, Guero’s, Habanero
- Tam Deli
- TIE: Elizabeth Street Cafe, Hai Ky, Pho Dan
- Baguette House
- Foreign & Domestic
- South Congress Cafe
- TIE: Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse, Contigo, Fonda San Miguel, Jack Allen’s, Lamberts
- Foreign & Domestic (North Loop)
- TIE: Blue Dahlia(East Austin) and Asti (Hyde Park)
- TIE: Apothecary (Central Austin), Bess (Downtown), Cipollina (Clarksville) and Elizabeth Street Cafe (South Austin)
- Vino Vino (Central Austin)
- TIE: Gourdough’s and Luke’s Inside Out
- TIE: La Boite, Lulu B’s, The Mighty Cone, Wasota African Cuisine
Which of the groups picks to you agree with? Where do you think we got it wrong? Please do keep in mind that 53 people participated in the survey, and we by no means represent all of Austin, nor is our opinion the last word on the best eats and drinks in town. Feel free to comment here, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter — use the #atxfoodguide hashtag and/or mention us @atxfoodblogs.
Members: If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to fill out the Austin Food Blogger Favorites 2012 survey. The deadline to submit your answers is Friday, Feb. 3.
Those who fill out the survey will be entered into a drawing to win the opportunity to be a judge at The Taco Experiment contest during SXSW. The other judges are Claudia Alarcon, Addie Broyles, Virginia Wood, and one of the Franklins.
Each member of AFBA may fill out the survey once. We suggest that you copy and paste the survey questions into a separate document to give you time to think about your answers before submitting. No need to answer every question if you don’t have an opinion, but please do your best.
The survey results will be used to create an Austin Food Blogger Favorites – 2012, to be made public in early March on our website. We are also looking for volunteers to write a blog post about each of the categories, sharing the top votes for each category, along with personal recommendations geared to Austin visitors (particularly during SXSW).
Priority in blogging about the Austin Food Blogger Favorites will be given to those who submit their survey early and have made an effort to answer as many questions as they can.
Click here to fill out the survey. If you have any questions, send an email to email@example.com.
It’s hard to believe it, but the Austin Food Blogger Alliance is over one year old since it was first conceived. A group of local Austin food bloggers had gotten to know one another during 2009 and 2010 — mostly thanks to our use of Twitter, and to the restaurants and PR firms that invited us to events where we got to know one another. We felt that it was important to start a group that would support each other, and our community, in a somewhat organized way.
In mid-November, 2010, Natanya Anderson, Jodi Bart, Addie Broyles, Michelle Cheng, Adam Holzband, Mando Rayo, Kristi Willis, and Marshall Wright first met in a semi-formal way to discuss the idea.
In January and February 2011, a larger group met to cement the many details involved in starting this group including the name, logo, website, bylaws, membership guidelines, roles, etc. Natanya Anderson, Jodi Bart, Addie Broyles, Jennie Chen, Michelle Cheng, Adam Holzband, Rachelle King, Mike Krell, Rebecca Otis, Mariam Parker, Mando Rayo, Kristi Willis, Kristina Wolter, and Marshall Wright attended at least one of these meetings.
Our goal was to launch in March before SXSW, where a group of us had begun the tradition of writing a group of blog posts that became the “Austin City Guide” to offer restaurant recommendations to SXSW-goers.
On March 27, the Austin Food Blogger Alliance Facebook page launched.
On March 29, we hosted an informational happy hour to recruit members at Takoba. Close to 100 people attended, including the founding AFBA board members: Natanya Anderson, Jodi Bart, Addie Broyles, Jennie Chen, Michelle Cheng, Rachelle King, Mike Krell, Rebecca Otis, Mariam Parker, Kristi Willis, and Kristina Wolter .
On March 30, we posted the code of ethics, application form, and a FAQ. At this point, we had our board members, made up of volunteers, and our advisory board, made up of people we respected in the food community.
By April 7, AFBA had 80 total members.
April 20 was the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas event kicking off the SNAP recipe blogging project. A total of 19 members participated by providing recipes and publicizing the program on their blogs.
May 15 was a Farmer’s Market Potluck Lunch social event.
By June 7, AFBA had 101 members.
June 9, we launched our blog (note: any member can submit an idea for a post).
On July 30, we held a Pie-luck contest and pie social. Each pie was judged by a panel of experts, and Michael Chu’s pecan pie was the winner.
On August 21, AFBA teamed up with the Alamo Drafthouse to show the movie Waitress, and hold a pie sale benefitting SafePlace, that helped raise over $2,000 for the non-profit.
On Sept. 21, we created a members-only AFBA membership group on Facebook as a place for non-public, non-promotional discussions between members.
On Oct. 9, AFBA held a hands-on food photography workshop.
On Nov. 11, the AFBA membership list was posted on our website.
On Dec. 2, bios on our current board of directors was posted to the web. This includes Natanya Anderson (President), Kathryn Hutchison (Vice President), Rachelle King (Treasurer), Michelle Cheng (Secretary), Jodi Bart (Communications), Addie Broyles (Advisory Council), Jennie Chen (Education), Michelle Fandrich (Philanthropy), Mike Krell (Technology), Megan Myers (Membership), and Rebecca Otis (Social).
On Dec. 11, we held our Winter Social and White Elephant Kitchen Gadget Swap.
On Dec. 21, we began collecting a list of AFBA members who would like to be part of our official Volunteer Corps.
As of this writing on Jan. 1, there are 123 members according to our online blog roll.
We have many plans for AFBA in 2012, including a volunteer event at the Capital Area Food Bank on Feb. 9, 2012. We’re so grateful to every board member, member, and volunteer in this special group. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch with one or more of our board members. Our programming and content is really only as good as our volunteers.
-Jodi Bart, Tasty Touring