Bon Appetit Open Shelves
Gorgeous open shelves at Bon Appetit.

This has been an amazing week! I was beyond fortunate to have been selected, along with some other East Coast food bloggers, to tour the test kitchens of Bon Appetit Magazine, The Daily Meal and Food 52. So, imagine this…just seven months ago, I posted my first recipe. My blog was supposed to be just a hobby. It was going to feed my hunger for creativity that I’ve neglected for too many years. I had no idea how much I’d fall in love with the challenge of food blogging and the exhilaration of learning more than I’d ever expected. Most of all, the connections I’ve made with my readers and the relationships I’ve made with fellow bloggers have been heartwarming. So, finding out that I’d been selected by Cookbook Create, based on blog content, was incredible!

The day began for me in Penn Station, where I met up with Jennifer Farley, a Washington based blogger at Savory Simple. Jen is one of those bloggers I’ve reached out to when I’ve been completely overwhelmed and baffled and she’s always been there to point me in the right direction and help me out. I felt like I was meeting up with a friend I’d known for years (except, if it had been that many years, she’d have been a baby. Me? Well, I’d have been her Great Aunt!). It was so neat that we’d both been selected for this opportunity!

We made our way up to Conde Nast where we met with all of the other bloggers, some I knew from chatting with online (like the awesome Carrie from Poet in the Pantry!) and some new names and and new faces.  There, to lead us through our busy day,  were the generous organizers from Cookbook Create, Anna, Leiti and Emily. As they led us up to Bon Appetit, images from my childhood of my Mom’s Bon Appetit magazines scattered on a table went through my head. And there I was…

Bon Appetit Dining
Beautiful Dining area where recipes are taste-tested.

We were warmly greeted by Food Editors Dawn Perry and Matt Gross. We chatted a bit (we found that Lucini is one of several brands of Olive Oil that they love to use regularly!), then we made our way into the test kitchens!

Bon Appetit sign
On our way into the test kitchen!

The kitchen was divided into bays where chefs have their own dedicated areas. Most surprising was how small each bay was and how closely each kitchen resembled any small apartment kitchen. In fact, they purposely used standard kitchen appliances to be able to replicate what their readers will experience when cooking at home. They test their recipes anywhere from three to twelve times to assure best possible end results.

Bon Appetit Test Kitchen
Bon Appetit Test Kitchen

Not far from the test kitchens, is the Demo Kitchen. It’s gorgeous. It’s a balance of dark and light and a mixture of textures that’s just elegant. There we met Restaurant and Drinks Editor, Andrew Knowlton and Editor in Chief, Adam Rapoport. They discussed everything from favorite restaurants to the direction of the magazine. They both brought a lot of humble humanity to these discussions. I think, as food bloggers, we could all relate to Adam’s chat about how they strive to improve with each of the magazine’s issues and how they learn more and more about what their readers want with each issue. We were treated to Crostini, Deviled Eggs and a delicious Gingered Soda. The environment at Bon Appetit was very warm, inviting and much more intimate than I’d expected.  I kind of didn’t want to ever leave…ever!

Bon Appetit
Bon Appetit Demo Kitchen

From there we headed to The Daily Meal. The Daily Meal is an online source for everything and anything food related: food and drink recipes, restaurants, travel, healthy eating, food trends, cookbooks…you’ve got the picture. They’ve recently built a new test kitchen equipped with impressive appliances. Instead of many bays of kitchens, they use this one in-house kitchen. They used to test recipes off-site, but their goal is to utilize this new kitchen as much as possible. They’ve already had several celebrity chefs cooking in it just in the several weeks it’s been completed.

The Daily Meal
Welcome to The Daily Meal!

We were treated to a really delicious mix of fresh fava beans sautéed with spinach, onions and garlic and a nice glass of wine. We chatted with Coleman Andrews, Editorial Director, Executive Editor Arthur Bovino and a really lovely group of chefs.  Everyone had the opportunity to discuss their favorite current ingredients (yes…I did say Sriracha!), we talked about food trends, their recent renovations and the direction of The Daily Meal.

The Daily Meal Test Kitchen
The Daily Meal Test Kitchen

Similar to Bon Appetit, the atmosphere  was so warm, so intimate and very casual.  I felt very relaxed (from the wine, perhaps?), well, until I heard we’d have the opportunity to be on video.  Yeah, I’m not an “on camera” kind of girl.  I’m completely dorky and as much as I’m OK with that, I don’t feel a need to share it with the world…until now…

 

 

 

Tips for Blogging

 

 

 

OK, so now that you know the goofball with no business cards that you’re dealing with…let’s move on and forget you saw that!

The Food 52 Office
The Food 52 Office!

We circled our way over to our next, and sadly, final stop at Food 52. Food 52 is a place to find some amazing recipes. They began as a place to encourage cooking at home, sharing recipes and buying locally. They drive that enthusiasm with their contests and their site full of great information on anything food related. They’ve recently moved into their new office this past February and it’s gorgeous! It’s not a large space, but they utilize it beautifully. It’s surrounded by light and a gorgeous view of the city. It had to be one of the most serene offices I’ve ever been in. The hues were completely neutral with reclaimed wood shelving that housed some highly envied kitchen utensils. A food blogger’s dream!

The Food 52 Test Kitchen
The Food 52 Kitchen

We all gathered in the kitchen area and watched while their two chefs made us a silky Chilled English Pea Soup with Garlic Cream and Pickled Ramps. It was so fresh, herby and delicious! While we ate we met with Merrill Stubbs, Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of Food 52. She talked about the growth and future plans for her company. I was really excited to hear that they will soon be launching a new store within their site called Provisions. They’ll include the best of those items they use themselves in their kitchens.

Chilled English Pea Soup with Pickled Ramps
Chilled English Pea Soup with Garlic Cream and Pickled Ramps

So, this busy day came to an end with Jen and I taking a quick walk into Koreatown for some Bibimbap. I can’t pronounce it, but I can type it! It was so delicious that Jen and I decided it would make a great recipe to try to recreate at home. So keep an eye out for that sometime soon, perhaps!

It was really interesting to hear the many similarities and differences between these three great icons of Foodie-ness. The bottom line is the same for them as it is for us bloggers. We want to give our readers the content that they are looking for. Could it be that simple? I think so. We just use our own unique map to get there. And I think it’s that creativity that keeps things interesting and makes room for all of us to become a resource for foodies.

Tabletop at Food 52
Tabletop at Food 52

I met so many amazing and inspiring food bloggers throughout the day, I wish there was more time to talk about each one of them. I want you to see for yourself just how talented they all are. Take some time to visit their pages too and see more of our trip through their eyes!

And finally, our very gracious hosts from Cookbook Create, Anna, Leiti and Emily.  Thank you so much!