IFBC 2013: was it worth it?

So I just finished my first trek to the International Food Bloggers Conference, which was conveniently held in downtown Seattle. (I can claim it was for my comfort, if only because I’m lazy.)

Anyone who looks up conferences is usually looking to get one question answered: if it’s it worth it for them to attend. Like any good graduate level question, the answer is that it depends.

Here I’ll break down some of the high and low points of IFBC 2013, so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth the time and effort.


Dorie Greenspan, ladies and gentlemen.

IFBC 2013

She is freaking adorable. I told her how the Baking From My Home To Yours cookbook was responsible for my descent into baking and avoiding my thesis. She told me to finish graduate school so my mother wouldn’t worry.

The Good:

We got fed. A lot. There were breakfasts, Cupcake Royale brought in ice cream, and then there were the receptions, tastings, and more snacking.

IFBC 2013

One of the first all-group sessions was a live blogging activity where we had 3-5 minutes to note our impressions of each item, so it felt like nonstop eating. And then California Olive Ranch had to go and hand out this seriously killer hummus that I gorged on, much to the overall confusion of nearby bloggers.

Epic swag bags are epic. Seriously, I wish we’d had the chance to pick up three small bags over the weekend rather than one giant haul, because it was rather hard to carry them.

Then again, I probably would have been content with a pound of finger limes. I’m easy to please that way.

IFBC 2013

Inspiration. I definitely left with ideas, and I’m looking forward to testing some out soon. I also met a lot of awesome folks who were great to bounce thoughts around with.

The Urbanspoon dinner. I got sent to Belltown, which turned out to be a trip to Spur Gastropub.

Spur built a custom tasting flight, which was extra adorable because they had menus set up with our names on them. We also had the option to order a cocktail, which most of the table followed my lead and ordered without alcohol.

The meal itself was fantastic, a true nod to the ingenuity McCracken-Tough pretty much lives by. Ronald Holden had told us to get the crostini, and it was our first fantastic bite.

IFBC 2013

The not-so-great:

The Urbanspoon dinner. You know how I said it was nice, right? It was.

The timing wasn’t.

Starting a dinner at 8 pm after literally twelve solid hours of being on point for the conference at some form was exhausting enough. Going until 11 thanks to a leisurely paced dinner had most of us yawning in our seats. While I loved the meal, I’m pretty sure that’s what left me weak enough to catch con crud.

The space. The W Hotel’s conference rooms often weren’t the right space for this venue. There was a lot of squishing, and weaving through crowds, that I wasn’t used to seeing at other conferences. This isn’t a slight to IFBC or the W, more that we needed room to photograph.

IFBC 2013

Not enough social time – or nap time. For those of us who were locals, it might have made sense to book a night at the W just to get a few hours in to recharge. Nap rooms are totally needed at all future cons.

Would I return again?

I’m honestly not sure. I do think it’s good for me to return to conferences, especially those in Seattle. That being said, there are a lot of conferences out there, and I missed out going to Feast PDX due to IFBC’s long hours.

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