The final day of our Blogger Summit began with happy eggs! Specifically, a presentation by Jen Danby, Chief Marketing Officer of the happy egg co., who described the differences between caged, cage-free, free-range and pasture-raised. She explained that the happy egg co. is the first free-range egg brand to be Humane Certified™ and give their hens ten times the living space of most other free range brands. Their mission is to spread happiness, from the hens it cares for to the consumer who wants to buy more humanely produced products, and their unique commitment to clarity and honesty in the egg aisle during an insider session with their happy teams. They provide consumers, as well as World Food Championships bloggers and competitors, with high quality, humanely raised eggs.
Next up, a panel of experts including Suzanne Clark, Darie O’Connor and Donna Benner teamed up to get bloggers thinking about how to take our knowledge to an audience beyond our blog space. Suzanne Clark, Lifestyle Expert and Television Personality, shared her strategies on how to approach a TV station with ideas, and how to be invited back on a regular basis. Darie O’Conner, of TryThisDish Radio, whose programming reflects a cadre of international stars of the culinary world and the people she has met in her culinary travels around the world, imparted her strategies for expanding our audiences to the airwaves. Donna Benner, founder of Swoon Talent, with decades of national television experience, gave bloggers some insights into the value of hiring an agent to take our blogs to the next level.
As the primary media partners for the World Food Championships, the kick-off Press Conference for the WFC was a priority. We heard from Orange Beach Mayor, Tony Kennon; President of Gulf Shores Tourism, Herb Malone; Owner of The Wharf, Art Favre; and, WFC President/CEO, Mike McCloud who told the story of how the ultimate food fight came to The Wharf at Orange Beach and how food sport is becoming a worldwide phenomenon.
As bloggers, we tend to be bystanders; reporters of stories, but this Summit gave us the opportunity to participate in the actual process of determining the outcome of the competition. We underwent the official E.A.T. Methodology training to become certified WFC judges. The acronym E.A.T. stands for Execution, Appearance and Taste, and each dish is judged individually on these criteria. Judges assign scores from 1 (awful) to 10 (spectacular) and the composite of the scores determines which competitor moves to the next challenge. The World Food Champ creates four winning dishes to take home the $100,000 grand prize.
With our newly minted certifications under our belts, we were escorted to the main event to take our seats in the judges’ tent to judge the first competition of the WFC: Desserts. And, yes, the life of a food blogger judge is tough! We sampled 5 servings of orange crepes in Round 1 and 5 signature desserts in Round 2. I must admit that judging was much more difficult than I originally expected. Knowing that each score that you give affects the competitor’s chances of moving to the next round is quite daunting.
After, another full day, we headed to Flora-Bama Yacht Club to close the 2016 WFC Blogger Summit and welcome the Food Champ Athletes as they prepared to throw down for a shot at the ultimate Food Champ Title. Delicious food, creative cocktails and camaraderie were the order of the evening and a great way to end my first WFC Blogger Summit experience. I’m really hoping it won’t be my last!