Food Blog Forum

Building a Better Community, One Blogger at a Time

Asheville 2014 — Schedule

Tentative conference schedule (all times/details subject to change):

Sunday, August 17th

  • 6:30-8:30PM – Welcome party at DoubleTree Asheville. Cocktails, appetizers, and live music!
  • A limited number of companion tickets will be available if you’d like to bring your spouse/significant other to the party.

Monday, August 18th

All-day conference at Biltmore.

  • 8:00AM – Doors Open/Light Continental Breakfast & Coffee
  • 8:30AM – Welcome!
  • 8:45-9:30AM – DON’T DO IT ALONE: Create your Tribe – How to use teamwork to create, sustain and monetize your food blog. Learn how we balance life while working together full time on this accidental family businesses. Hear our candid stories of how Jaden and Lisa inspired the husbands and kids to join the food blog business. Learn how you can create a “tribe” or team of your own – whether to stir the creative juices, collaborate on a bigger project or have a “board of directors” for emotional support, advice and guidance.
    Moderator: Jaden & Scott Hair, Panelists: Lisa & Jason Leake
  • 9:50-10:40AM – PITCH IT: Working with Publications – If you’re interested in working with or networking with print and journalist publications, our panel has a wide breadth of experience and will share advice on how to set yourselves apart from others, how writing for publications and how writing for local publications can springboard into other opportunities.
    Moderator: Diane Cu, Panelists: Pam Brandon, Chris Chamberlain, Kathleen Purvis
  • 11:00AM-12:00PM – STORY ON A PLATE: Food Photography and Food Styling Insights For Crafting Your Unique Voice – Todd and Diane of White On Rice Couple along with a panel of a professional food photography/styling team will share behind the scenes of their cookbook/editorial/advertising shoots to show you how to achieve quality images in your home set-up. They’ll also share their process on how they craft images with story, meaning and individual voice. Don’t feel like you need to own thousands of dollars of photo equipment to make a beautiful photograph because this panel will show you how beautiful images can be made on a budget.
    Moderators: Todd Porter & Diane Cu, Panelists: Lynne Harty, Chris Bryant
  • 12:15-1:15PM – Buffet Lunch
  • 1:15-4:00PM – EXPERT ROUNDTABLES: Dive deeper into the topics that interest you most. We’ll have our speakers available to you during a series of  “speed-networking” sessions. Ask questions and get advice from our experts in a more personal setting.
  • 4:00-4:30PM – Closing & Final Words
  • 4:30-5:00PM – Short Break (you will NOT have time to return to the hotel before the house tour). 
  • 5:00PM – Shuttle for Culinary Tour of Biltmore House (Don’t be late as we cannot accommodate stragglers).
  • 5:30-8:30PM – CULINARY TOUR & EVENING RECEPTION: If you like your food history with a side of Downton Abbey, you are in for a treat! Join us for a special behind-the-scenes tour of Biltmore House with a focus on culinary traditions at the turn of the century. Among the highlights will be the Butler’s Pantry, the Vanderbilt’s original china, the Banquet Hall that served as the center for feasting and entertaining, and how the staff of Biltmore House made entertaining look easy. To follow, indulge in a feast for the senses during an evening dinner experience. The menu will be inspired by Biltmore’s production garden, our free-range beef and lamb program, the estate’s 94-acre vineyard, Biltmore Winery and locally-sourced ingredients.

NOTE: You are responsible for your own transportation to/from the conference venue (we’ll post a carpool list as the event draws closer). It is about a 20-30 minute drive from the DoubleTree hotel to the estate. Please present your conference badge to the admissions gate attendant and proceed into the estate; there is plenty of parking at the venue.

Tuesday, August 19th

Meet the Foodtopians: Full Day Tasting Event & Farm Tours

  • 10:30AM –  MEET THE FOODTOPIANS: Tour departs promptly at 10:30 from Doubletree Biltmore. Handcrafted cheese, craft beer, wood-fired bread, cooking demos and mountainside berry picking are just a few of the tasty adventures to experience on this day-long tasting and tour event brought to you by Explore Asheville and spanning the local food, farm, independent  restaurant and brewing culture.
  • 10:30AM-2:00PM – TASTE & SIP: Experience the flavors of Asheville at a tasting event at the legendary Highland Brewing Company, celebrating 20 years as Asheville’s first brewery.  The event showcases tastes from some of the city’s best restaurants and provides the opportunity to interact with local Asheville food personalities.  Brewery tours also available.
  • 2:00-5:30PM – BEYOND FARM TOURS: Join us on an outing to nearby farms, Hickory Nut Gap Farm and Looking Glass Creamery for tours, tastings, demonstrations and special guests that include local artisan food producers.  Hickory Nut Gap Farm’s fourth generation farmers raise 100% grass-fed animals for over 30 restaurants and Looking Glass Creamery, also family owned and operated, is an award-winning producer of handmade cheese and traditional goat’s milk caramel. Vendors offering tastings at the farms include Farm & Sparrow, Blue Ridge Mountain Creamery, Sunburst Trout Farms, Blue Kudzu Sake Company and Buchi Kombucha.
  • 5:30-6:30PM –  Short break. Freshen up back at the hotel for an evening downtown.
  • 6:30-10:00PM – INDIE RESTAURANTS & ART DECO DOWNTOWN: With more Art Deco buildings than anywhere outside of South Beach, downtown Asheville makes a colorful backdrop for a casual tour of Asheville’s independent restaurant scene. Follow the provided map or join a local expert as you explore Asheville eateries offering  Food Blog Forum specials and tastings via the Asheville Independent Restaurants Association.
    – Pre-registration for the “Meet the Foodtopians” event is necessary, please RSVP with your conference registration. Space is limited so this event is for bloggers only.
    – This is an all-day event; transportation will be provided to/from the farms and venues, departing and returning to Doubletree Biltmore. There will be a 60-minute break before the evening portion resumes.
    – Please wear comfortable clothes, sunscreen and walking shoes for exploring life on these working farms.
    – These farms are not wheelchair accessible, so please contact us if this is an issue.
    For Asheville travel information & insight into the culinary scene visit
    - Please direct all questions regarding this event to