Foodbuzz Challenge #1: Ready, Set, Blog!

Things are definitely starting to heat up over in the Foodbuzz community as thousands of food bloggers prepare to participate in the first-ever Project Food Blog, an interactive competition comprised of a series of culinary related blogging challenges. At the end of the 12 week competition one blogger will emerge victorious and be crowned the next food blog star, winning the coveted grand prize of $10,000 as well as a yearlong feature on the Foodbuzz website.

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with myself and chat about my participation in this exciting contest:

Jasmine, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to me!
My pleasure.

So tell me, what made you decide to throw your hat in the ring for Project Food Blog?
I knew as soon as I saw the info for Project Food Blog that the competition would be fierce and challenge me to go outside of my blogging comfort zone, but I also knew it would be a wonderful way to meet new food bloggers and discover some great foodie websites. The idea of pushing myself and taking on blogging challenges that I might not necessarily have done on my own (a video post – yikes!) was instantly appealing. And let’s be honest – the grand prize up for grabs ain’t too shabby!

Stay-At-Home-Chef

Many blogs don’t survive their first year. Often people will start out strong with the best intentions, lose momentum, and then taper off completely. Your blog on the other hand seems to be growing exponentially! How do you manage? One person can only do so much. You seem at times over committed, under resourced and on the brink of insanity with the amount you have on the go.
Wow – I don’t think I could have positioned that any better! Yes I find it challenging to keep up to date on my blog while working on various freelance assignments, mothering two small children and trying to have a life of my own on top of it all. Yes there are days when I just sit and sob into my coffee wondering how I’m going to get it all done. What grounds me is remembering that I started this blog for me because food and cooking are my passions and where my interest lies. It also helps that I have a supportive husband who after a long day at the office doesn’t mind playing photographer, editor, and recipe tester!

An important part of my blog are the celebrity and professional chef interviews. Pictured above are my interview essentials.

There are so many food blogs! In your own words, what sets you apart and why should you be the next food blog star?
Because of the vast number of food blogs in existence, I think it is imperative to have your site be a true and honest reflection of who you are as a person. What you see on my blog is who I really am, not a carbon copy of someone else. The things that define me as a food blogger are my passion for food, love for cooking, and obsession with cookbooks. I am committed to providing readers with honest accounts of my culinary attempts in the kitchen when testing cookbooks, even if that means having to include humbling confessions of user error! I also try and include interviews with professional chefs and cookbook authors as often as possible. This is an extremely popular aspect of my blog, and is one that provides interesting insights into the food industry.

At the end of the day I would love to build my website to the point where it becomes a true dialogue; a place to exchange ideas, share passions, laugh at culinary mistakes and celebrate the successes.

Here are some of the cookbooks that have made it to my VIP Kitchen Shelf; a limited space reserved for my favourites.

You have been a big inspiration for me in my kitchen. What was your motivation for creating a food blog?
My out of control cookbook collection was the original impetus! With two small children at home I found myself searching for a project that went beyond my roles as wife and mother – something just for me. One night I found myself staring at my cookbook collection, thinking about how the majority of my obsession had never been used. It was at that point I decided to create a food blog as a means of actually doing something with my cookbooks besides simply collecting them. They needed a purpose in life! As a result, I came up with the idea of starting a blog dedicated entirely to the review of cookbooks. One by one I would make my way through the stacks of books taking over my house, testing three recipes from each book, recording the results and providing an overall review to share with others.

Mr. Spock (a.k.a. your husband) really wants a commercial grade meat grinder. Don’t you think that’s creepy?
Yes

In your blog you say cookbook reviews are from the perspective of an average home cook. Do you have any formal food training?
I am by no means a professional chef nor do I consider myself to be a culinary expert of any sort. Simply put, I am a stay at home mother of two who happens to be a food groupie!

How many cookbooks do you actually own?!
That’s a good question! While I have never done an official count, I somehow seem to keep having to buy additional shelving to house them all! It’s ironic because initially I thought my blog would force me to cull from my cookbook collection but instead it seems to just keep multiplying.

Voting for entries on the first challenge will kick off September 20th, and contestants will be whittled down over the next 12 weeks via exciting challenges related to food blogging. Follow Project Food Blog at www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog for contest updates and to find out who will be the next Food Blog Star! Oh and remember to vote. Preferably for me! (NOTE: you will need to create a Foodbuzz profile in order to vote. This just takes a minute so please don’t be deterred!)