Where is the Best Place in the Food World?

This past weekend the world (of food bloggers) came to Portland for the International Food Blogger Conference. Now that my hometown is a well-known foodie destination, it re-raises the question of where is the best place in the food world? But while it pains me to say it, Portland is not it, and I’ll tell you why.

Photo With Harvard Common Press

Adam and Bruce from Harvard Common Press joined me for lunch before the conference at the only Fortune 500 company based in Oregon (another great place, opinions are my own).

You can also cross off New Orleans, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Rome, and San Francisco. Actually I haven’t been to Tokyo, so I can’t be absolutely sure. But my strong belief is that you can’t find it on a map at all. The International Food Blogger’s Conference (IFBC) convinced me that the best place in the food world is wherever interaction is happening.

We all know that food possibilities are essentially infinite, an endless permutation combining all the varied ingredients, methods, regions, traditions…which are being constantly pondered by chefs, writers, readers, publishers, growers, home cooks, brands, thoughtful eaters, and so on. Our interaction, and the internet of course, accelerate this exponentially.

Photography Workshop with Affogato and Dry Ice

Dry ice was brought in for us to experiment with fog against a black background. The fog on the left is sharp, like my understanding of the best place in the food world. The fog on the right is more mysterious, like the well-guarded secret location for IFBC 2013, revealed during closing remarks (psst: it’s in Seattle). This was all part of an amazing food photography crash-course from the New York Times’ Andrew Scrivani. Holding the ice is Foodista’s Barnaby Dorfman.

Blogging is so incredibly interactive by nature. And as I wrap up my first year of The Spinning Cook I can tell you that’s the best part about it, as compared to newspaper food writing in my past. I do miss having oversight from a professional editor, and city-wide readership. But my own readers and other bloggers are always there with feedback, ideas, questions, appreciation, and a lot of brilliance really, all of which contributes to a better world of food. Being there when those sparks of inspiration fly is a real thrill:

“My kid’s actually eating broccoli. Thank you!”

“What if we angled the light differently in this shot?”

“You should try using brown butter in that.”

“Your workshop really inspired me. This might be the breakthrough I needed.”

You Are Here: The Best Place in the Food World

And you are part of it all, which I know because you’re still here reading. So as year one comes to a close, I’m sending out a big broad thank you, because I love being in this place where interaction happens. It’s the best, don’t you agree? Just one request: anybody been to Tokyo? Please chime in, as I’d love to know for sure.

Photos with Friends at IFBC

You’re among friends: [Left] With my chief food writing mentor Diane Morgan and her stunning upcoming cookbook Roots [Middle] Comparing notes on brown butter recipes with Jodie Ostrovsky of new local creamery What’s The Scoop [Right] Bloggers Kristy (@thewickednoodle) and Julie (@dinnerwithjulie) exemplify the near-universal friendliness of the modern food blogger.

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Posted in Food Articles, Fun, Philosophies, Thanks
4 comments on “Where is the Best Place in the Food World?
  1. Nice hook! I came here expecting a debate and you landed me like a fish, lol.

    Totally agree!

    I also think that food, at it’s best, has always been a relational, communal experience, of which the food itself is only one part of the equation. What we’re seeing (creating?) now, because technology allows it, is that those experiences of communion aren’t dependent on proximity. In other words we can share the experiences of the meal, as they occur, without sharing the same table.

    Great post!


    • Avatar photo Ryan says:

      You’re absolutely right Perry – the walls are coming down, on collaboration. And even beyond the internet factor, brick-and-mortar concepts like the Kitchen Cru “culinary incubator” (http://kitchencru.biz/) are allowing collaboration like never before. Fun time to be alive…and in the kitchen!


  2. As your writing workshop teacher, I commend you on doing an excellent job on hooking your readers!

    I’ve been to Tokyo. You’ve got to see the fish market.

    • Avatar photo Ryan says:

      Thanks Kathleen, that means a lot, especially coming from you! Your workshop was brilliant, and heartfelt. It felt like a solid hook, I just hope I didn’t overdo it! Great weekend!

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