The Depressed Cake Shop, a pop-up bakery raising awareness of mental health issues, came to Seattle this weekend. The Sole Repair Shop in Capitol Hill was host to tables full of gray-colored goodies, some with a surprisingly colorful interior, like this rainbow cake my friend Deirdre purchased. The proceeds benefited the Seattle branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
I bought a random assortment of of gray goodies and we took everything back to Deirdre’s. After our resident chef, Jeff, attempted to repair the damage done to the cake in transit, we sliced into it to reveal six layers of rainbow, plus some M&M’s in the center.
For fun, I arranged the other treats around the cake. On top: a chocolate-covered Oreo (must have been the Halloween variety, as it was orange) and a googly-eyed cake pop. Below, a caramel Earl Grey macaron and pumpkin cream cheese cupcake topped with two “pills” filled with sprinkles.
I’m really inspired now to start a Depressed Cake Shop Tacoma. If you’re interested, please leave a comment!
Dorie Greenspan, keynote speaker at this year’s International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) and author of 10 cookbooks, encouraged an audience of more than 300 bloggers to always say yes to opportunities and follow their dreams.
“I think I’ve been fortunate because I’ve always said yes,” she told an adoring audience.
Dorie, humble and self-deprecating, made for an inspirational start to IFBC. She shared with the audience how she started out in food writing with no formal culinary or writing background. She admitted that her mother didn’t even cook or bake! Dorie said “yes” to the opportunities that came her way because she figured they would be fun and interesting, and that she’d learn something. She also “wanted to stop being nervous” and gain skills and confidence.
Her other bit of wisdom: “Concentrate on the work.”
By this she means write for yourself, not others. Do the work that makes you happy. When Dorie started out, she didn’t have the instant gratification of blog comments or social media. But after publishing Baking: From My Home to Yours in 2006 and starting a food blog, she discovered a huge community interacting with her work. It made her realize that writers today have more power than ever before to encourage people to do what makes them happy.
Dorie, thank you for an inspirational keynote!
Photo of Dorie Greenspan by Robyn Lee.
For me, the highlight of the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) this past weekend in Seattle was NY Times photographer Andrew Scrivani talking about food photography. He was featured in two sessions: one about shooting food photos, and another about workflow and business. Both were practical, straightforward, and really well done. Here are some takeaways.
Buy props that are neutral and versatile. That way, you can reuse them and they will work for many different photo shoots.
Propping is essential to storytelling. Be intentional. A blue or red gingham napkin will tell viewers you’re outdoors at a picnic, for example.
Study your recipe to pick up hints that will help with propping and styling. You may notice a specific garnish will add something to the shot, or part of the cooking process itself is worth documenting.
Back up your original images immediately upon transferring them to your computer, and back up your final edited images regularly. You’ve put a massive amount of time and energy into your photo shoot, so do yourself a favor and don’t risk losing those images, which are potential income.
The first question to ask when working with a potential client is: What is your budget? Andrew Scrivani went over 10 questions to help you price your work and conduct yourself professionally. Your time is valuable, and everything involved in a food photo shoot costs money (food, props, stylist, etc.), so don’t under-price yourself.
The 2013 International Food Blogger Conference is taking place in Seattle this weekend! Soon I’ll be surrounded by lots of people who share the same passion for food, photography, and writing. Gathering a bunch of food writers and photographers in one place is always a good time.
I’m especially looking forward to the food photography workshop with Andrew Scrivani, food photographer for The New York Times! I plan to blog about it, of course. Food photography is still pretty new to me, but I’ve been having lots of fun with it lately.
You may be thinking, Wait a minute, is this a food blog? I thought it was about photography. Well, it’s both. It’s been a journey for me. When I was invited to speak on a food blogger panel for a social media event in Tacoma last spring, I wondered, Am I a food blogger? I was hesitant, because I hadn’t really defined a niche for my blog. It was just photos and photography, sometimes involving food. Of the four bloggers on the panel, my blog was the least food centric.
More recently, you may have noticed a stronger focus on food photography—dessert photography in particular. I’ve always loved baking. I’ve always loved photography. It seems strange that I never really considered combining the two until recently. But if you look back to my first post, it’s about cupcakes. So that’s a pretty big sign to me that it’s the right move. It took me a long time, but I’ve finally discovered my favorite photography subjects: food and nature.
If you’re attending IFBC, come find me! I’ll most likely be hanging out with Tacoma Foodie and scoping out the vegetarian options—and desserts, of course!
I’ll leave you with a photo of one of my favorite signs in Tacoma, found inside Shake Shake Shake, a burger place in the Stadium District. It commands you to “EAT,” and I plan to do plenty of that this weekend!