Southeast Louisiana cuisine will take center stage next week when food bloggers from across the country converge on New Orleans for the International Food Blogger Conference.
Creole and Cajun cooking are famous the world over, so it’s not terribly surprising that the Crescent City would be the site of, yet another, food-related gathering.
What is a bit different - and exciting - about this particular conference is that it’s a convention of food bloggers, a new genre of food writers who are changing the way we communicate about cooking and eating by posting food-related content on a digital platform that is immediate, fresh and ever-changing.
I’m a bit skeptical of many types of blogs, as they are often self-indulgent and filled with inherent prejudices.
I enjoy food blogs, however, because they are almost always informative and usually a lot of fun, too. After all, people who take the time to buy and prepare food then write about it, take pictures or videos of it and share it with the world - for little or no monetary compensation - are doing it because they love it, which typically makes for good reading.
There are about 10,000 active food blogs on the web, several created right here in Baton Rouge, and among those participating at the conference next weekend will be local food blogger Jay Ducote of http://www.biteandbooze.com. He’ll be serving on a panel discussion on writing about food and culture.
Ducote has a sizeable Web presence, averaging more than 17,000 unique page views a month. He has parlayed his new media venture into more traditional broadcast opportunities, including a weekly radio show and an appearance on Fox TV’s “Master Chef” series as one of the “Top 100 Amateur Chefs in America.”
Ducote hopes to use his growing following to increase awareness about Baton Rouge as a culinary destination that is separate and distinct from New Orleans, one of the bona fide food capitals of the world; and Lafayette, the mecca of Cajun cuisine.
“Baton Rouge is stuck right in between the two and is really a melting pot of Cajun, Creole and other Southern influences,” Ducote said. “But we really have a lot to be proud of and I think our food scene is getting better and better - and maybe that can be traced back to increased recognition of Baton Rouge restaurants on the Web though blogs.”
I continue to be impressed by Ducote and other 20-somethings of his generation who are passionate advocates of local food, local cooking traditions and local restaurants. They are some of our greatest ambassadors, and it speaks volumes about his credibility as a blogger that he has been asked to participate in a panel discussion at the conference.
He will be in esteemed company, too. Among the Louisiana-based presenters at the event are renowned chef John Folse, who will host a Cajun cooking demonstration, and New Orleans celebrity chef and restaurateur John Besh, who will deliver the keynote address.
“We were looking for a location with a unique, innovative and authentic food culture to host this year’s conference,” said Allan Wright, co-organizer of the event. “The rich tradition of Creole and Cajun cuisine and the passion of the local food industry convinced us ... Louisiana is the right place to talk about food, writing and technology.”
We’re glad the bloggers picked Louisiana for their gathering spot and hope they share with their followers in cyberspace the many wonderful stories of our indigenous cuisine.
• ON THE INTERNET: For more information on the International Food Bloggers Conference, go to http://www.foodista.com/ifbc2011/nola