Food Blog Forum

Building a Better Community, One Blogger at a Time

Asheville 2014 — Speakers


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

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

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 local Asheville food photography & styling team of Lynne Harty and Chris Bryant,  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


Pam BrandonPam Brandon is a food blogger for the Disney Parks Blog for Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort, as well managing editor of Edible Orlando magazine and a food columnist for and the Palm Beach Post. She has written 12 cookbooks, including Field to Feast: Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs, and Artisans and the upcoming, Good Catch: Recipes & Stories Celebrating Florida’s Waters, and the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Cookbook (both to debut in Fall 2014). She also is a writer for the Disney Birnbaum guidebooks. Her travel and feature stories have appeared both on-line and in numerous local and national publications, including Southern Living, US Airways magazine, Child magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times. Pam was a senior publicist for Walt Disney World Resort prior to creating her own company, and continues to work for Disney Parks & Resorts worldwide as a consulting publicist.

LynneLynne Harty seeks creative collaborations, loves photographing people, food and places, and enjoys the spontaneous moments that happen when you’re trying for one thing but discover something else instead. Her quirky point of view comes in handy when photographing the ordinary, and her friendly southern demeanor puts people at ease, as evident by the common response to a portrait shoot being “Thanks for making that painless”. Recently Lynne has been focusing on her food photography shooting several cookbooks including A Year of Pies by Ashley English and The Cake Ladies by Jodi Rhoden and has another book of all things Chips yet to be published. While equipped to use whatever lighting is required to capture the subject in the best way, her preference is to use natural light when possible and to shoot food that is real, even edible! Visit her website at

Chris BryantDuring a long run as Senior Art Director of Lark Books in Asheville, Chris Bryant became the in-house food authority and applied his knowledge of cooking and food trends to guide development of Lark’s food titles, including the Homemade Living Series, Cake Ladies, and A Year of Pies. Chris also took every opportunity to lavish his love on food photography. “I’m totally addicted to food on film. It’s the second most stimulating thing to gawk at, picture-wise—the kind of porn that’s acceptable in polite company.” Another great thing that happened to Chris while working for Lark is the close professional bond he and photographer-friend Lynne Harty developed working as a photographer-stylist team. Now Chris works as a freelance food- and photo-stylist specializing in cookbooks. His projects include Crackers & Dips (Chronicle Books), The World of Doughnuts (Egg & Dart), and the Daisy Cakes Cookbook (Starbooks). He’s also a recipe developer and food writer with a cookbook of his own, Chips: Reinventing a Favorite Food to be published by Lark Books (his alma mater,) in October 2014. That book’s ambitious photography plan gave Chris and Lynne a chance to rekindle the dream team. Chris is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, Slow Food USA, and Culinary Historians of Piedmont NC, and his highly anticipated blog,, is slated to go live in June. Chris lives with his husband, Skip Wade, in West Asheville, the city’s happening food hotspot.

Kathleen PurvisKathleen Purvis has been the food editor of The Charlotte Observer since 1989, and a daily newspaper journalist since the late 1970s. She is an active member and former officer of the Association of Food Journalists, and a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. She also is active with the James Beard Foundation, where she has served as chair of the foundation’s book awards, founding chair of the Leadership Awards, which recognize sustainable food policy and agriculture, and she is currently chair of the humanitarian and lifetime achievement awards. She has been a speaker for the Greenbrief Symposium for Professional Food Writers, and her food commentaries have been featured on “The Splendid Table” on radio. She is a regular contributor to Our State magazine. She is the author of two books, “Pecans” and “Bourbon” in the “Savor the South” cookbook series from the University of North Carolina Press.

Chris ChamberlainChris Chamberlain is a food, drink, wine, spirits, travel and personal interest writer based in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has lived his entire life except for four years in California where he studied liberal arts at Stanford University and learned how to manipulate chopsticks. He is a regular writer for the Nashville Scene and their “Bites” food blog. He is also the Southern correspondent for, a national website dedicated to “Drinking, Eating, and Living the Way a Man Should.” He has also contributed to the Nashville City Paper, Nashville Lifestyles, Her Nashville, Relish, Julep, Local Palate, The Bourbon Review, 2001 Edgehill, the SFA’s Gravy newsletter and as a kitchen gadget reviewer at His travelguide and cookbook, The Southern Foodie: 100 Places to Eat before You Die and The Recipes That Made Them Famous was released in 2012 by Thomas Nelson Publishing, and he is currently working on a sequel, The Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig for 2014.

Lisa LeakeLisa Leake is a wife, mother, foodie, blogger, and (future) author who chronicles her family’s journey on 100 Days of Real Food as they seek out the real food in our processed food world. What started as a simple pledge has turned into a valuable and practical resource that’s now read by millions around the globe. Lisa has appeared on Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, CNN, and The Doctors TV Show. Lisa lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband Jason and two daughters aged 7 and 9, and her first cookbook will be released on August 26th through Harper Collins. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, traveling, gardening, sewing, running, craft projects with her girls, entertaining friends, and throwing an occasional party.

Jason LeakeJason Leake was able to leave his technical sales career behind and began working with his blogger wife, Lisa Leake, full time in August of 2012. He is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to professional experience, skills, and responsibilities over at 100 Days of Real Food, but he primarily handles monetization and business operations. Jason started his own blog, Pro Blog School, in November of 2013 to share the monetization and operations tactics he has learned through his experience. Outside of work, Jason is a very involved husband and father. He loves adventure, mountain biking, camping/backpacking, live music, traveling, home improvement projects, rock climbing, running, meditation, truthful people, and of course real food.

Jaden HairJaden Hair is a television chef, food columnist and award-winning food blogger at You can watch her cook twice a month on Daytime Show, syndicated in 120 markets. Jaden is a food columnist for Discovery Health, TLC and for Tampa Tribune. Jaden is a cookbook author of The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. With 90,000 followers, Jaden is one of the most influential people in food on Twitter. She has been featured on the Today Show, CBS Early Show, Martha Stewart Living Radio,, and Parents Magazine. Jaden was recently named one of the hottest women in food by SlashFood and also one of the best food bloggers on

Todd Porter & Diane CuTodd Porter and Diane Cu-Porter are professional photographers and filmmakers specializing in food, travel, lifestyle and they produce content for editorial, advertising and cookbooks. Their work has been seen in national advertising campaigns, magazines and newspapers for clients including Food and Wine Magazine, Sunset Magazine, People Magazine, Williams Sonoma, Whole Foods Market, Los Angeles Times, Nestle, KitchenAid, Thermador and Dole Bananas. Todd and Diane are also authors of their own cookbook Bountiful: Recipes inspired from our Garden, which was selected as one of the top cookbooks of 2013 by editors at Amazon and The Guardian. Fueled by their love of storytelling, love of local people and culture, they capture and document powerful food stories from around the world. Diane and Todd share their personal food stories, recipes and snippets of life around them on their food and photography blog, They also love their dogs, great cocktails, home cooked meals made with love and are geeky gardeners with about 40 fruit trees to their backyard collection.