Camp Blogaway: A Boot Camp For Food Bloggers
There are two types of food bloggers, says Patti Londre, who runs Camp Blogaway, a boot camp for food and recipe bloggers. There are those who don't care all that much about how many hits they get but are more interested in the content, and there are those trying to make a few bucks. She predicts the food blogging craze will grow. "It will get bigger, but I don't necessarily think it will get better. Could get messy." After spending 15 years in the food industry on the public relations side of the business, Londre cultivated a food blog of her own, Worth the Whisk, publishing her 200th post this week.
The first camping trip took place in May, with a turnout of about 67 people. Londre expects about 50 people to attend her day camp on September 25th, and even more for the second weekend trip on April 29th of next year. The irony, and beauty, of Londre's camps, located in the San Bernardino Mountains, Angelus Oaks (for the overnight camps), and the West Coast showrooms of Viking Range in Baldwin Park (for the day camps) is that there is no Wifi. But some campers will sneak a tweet or two on their cell phones. "It's a commitment. You are in the mountains. You can't just turn around and go home," she says of the weekend camps. Unlike other food blogger conferences and workshops, Camp Blogaway is held at a "REAL recreation camp -- not a hotel, spa or convention center. Yes, like when you went to sleep-away camp as a kid," Londre writes on her website.
In addition to Camp Blogaway, Londre and a slew of bloggers meet every one or two months for a potluck get-together, where they discuss recipes, marketing, SEO (search engine optimization) and spend about a half hour taking photos of the dishes they've made. There are about 75 people on the "Food Bloggers Los Angeles" email list which Erika Kerekes of In Erika's Kitchen co-organized, but only about 12-15 people actually show up to the gatherings. What is food blogging doing for the current generation? "Encouraging people to learn how to cook again." It's becoming a fashion again, Londre explains. "People are thinking 'Oh my god, I can make sushi at home now.'" With the demise of Gourmet magazine, Kerekes explains, "there are a whole lot of different voices opening up. A lot of people who have something to say but didn't have a way to say it now can. We all eat. We all think about food."
Instead of thinking about Camp Blogaway as hardcore camping, think of it as "glamping," says Kerekes, or glamour camping. "It's 48-hours to talk about something you love to do. Think about the person handing out homemade chocolate chip cookies at work and then think about whether you'd want to talk to them for 48-hours about food." The next day-camp takes place September 25th, and runs $89. Registration closes tonight, September 17th, at midnight. Speakers include Kristine Kidd, food editor at Bon Appétit magazine on the cookbook process; Erika Kerekes on "how food bloggers score great gigs"; and Danny Jauregui of Food Bloggers Unite on food photography lighting. "It's a nice legacy that you leave part of yourself on the Internet forever and ever," says Londre.