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Katie's Cucina

TECHmunch Tampa 2012 {Recap}

I attended TECHmunch in Tampa Florida yesterday, April 21st. A small and intimate food blogging conference hosted by Babette Pepaj founder of and Jeff Houck Food Editor of the Tampa Tribune  and food blog; The Stew.

 Friday evening, (April 20th) was the kick-off cocktail party at the Tampa Museum of Art. Attendees had the chance to network with others for a few hours and of course munch on delectable appetizers and tempting cocktails.

Driscoll’s Berries was one of the sponsors for the conference. It just so happened that our menu was berry inspired and all berries were provided by Driscoll’s. Pictured top left was the Italian Panini Bites, pictured top right was the sign-in table, pictured bottom left was the Dirscoll’s strawberries, tomato, basil gazpacho shooter, and pictured bottom right was the Arugula, Driscoll’s strawberries bruschetta.

Babette and I toasted to TECHmunch and a new friendship with our berry cocktails!

The next morning we arrived at Roosevelt 2.0 where our conference was being held. An eclectic and intimate venue that held about 60+ of us.

We were greeted with adorable “breakfast boxes” that contained freshly made english muffins, packets of nutella and jam along with 3 biscotti’s compliments of DATZ Tampa. We also had a cold coffee bar, juice, and smoothies from Driscoll’s.

Pictured left to right: Moderated by Erik Deutsch, Todd Sturtz of, Julius Mayo of, Brian Roberts of Roosevelt 2.0.

The men started off the morning talking about ways to leverage food trends in social media. My good friend Julius of talked about being the “go-to” source for a specific topic. In his case its the Orlando Food Truck scene. They also shared how they like to utilize trending topics on twitter and keep theirs fans updated on a daily basis on Facebook.

Pictured left to right: Moderated by Erik Deutsch, Sara O’Donnell of, Merry-Jennifer Markam of, and Sandi McKenna of

These three amazing ladies shared how they Develop, Organize, and Syndicate their Multimedia Content on a daily basis. A few key takeaways from this session:

  • Prioritize your life, week, day and most importantly make YOU a priority. The world will not end if you do not get a blog post out today.
  • Write about what you enjoy to write about.
  • Quality vs quantity

Towards the end of the session I spotted the Taco Bus out front getting ready to serve hungry foodies.

Our last session before lunch was my favorite session of the day; A Down and Dirty Conversation about SEO for Food Writing. Josh Unseth did a fantastic job explaining SEO in normal every day lingo. Here is what I took away from this session:

  • Content is KING!
  • Make sure you use words that people are searching for. Go to to help you assist in choosing the right words.
  • Learn to write good meta data. You can go to to learn how to.
  • Links don’t build themselves. Find ways to have great anchor text about you. The more food bloggers that link about you–Google will know you are food blogger.
  • You need to start growing your networks. Learn Google+ and add content daily.
  • Google has a 60 page document as to what they care about on your site.

After 3 dynamic sessions all of our stomachs were grumbling. We stepped out back and was treated to the Taco Bus experience! I’ve seen them on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and was so excited to learn that we would get to try a few of their fan-favorites for lunch. I opted to try one of each style taco they were offering for lunch; tofu taco, chicken verde taco, and a shredded pork taco served with flavorful rice, and homemade refried beans. Chef Rene, pictured bottom left, was so incredibly nice and had such an amazing story of how he started Taco Bus.

While Julie from The Little Kitchen and I waited for our food we chatted with and took a picture with Denise of Creative Kitchen Adventures and Merry-Jennifer of The Merry Gourmet.

Pictured left to right: Moderated by Erik Deutsch, Laura Baddish of The Baddish Group, Ray Lampe of, Jaden Hair of, and Jeff Houck of Tampa Tribune.

After lunch we learned from some of the best on how to Pitch Your Brand. I always enjoying learning how the pro’s do it and how the PR agencies would like us to work with them. Here are a few take aways.

  • Build relationships via social media before ever thinking about pitching to a brand.
  • When you pitch keep it short and sweet; 3 mini paragraphs.
  • Know your worth. Don’t start working for a brand for free if later on down the road you would like to be paid by them.

Pictured left to right: Moderated by Erik Deutsch, Babette Pepaj founder of; TECHmunch; and, Steve Wilson and Tom Setzer co-founders of Grilling Companion.

Babette, Steve, and Tom spoke about The Future of Food Content… The Digital Kitchen. This was a topic I was excited to learn more about. Babette is the founder of which is a website that easily allows you to publisher your own ebook and apps to allow the world to learn more about what you have to offer. You can charge per download or keep your ebook/app for free so anyone can enjoy it.

Pictured right to left: Susan Filson of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy and her peeps “Todd Sturtz of, Julius Mayo of

Susan presented the last session of the day giving everyone her Top 10 Tips to Boost Your Site’s Photography. I’m constantly working on improving my food photography so I always love hearing other food photographers tips. Susan stressed how every food photographer should know how to use manual mode on their camera (something I need to play with a tad bit more). She also stressed the importance of not allowing your food props to over-shine your food. The only time the props can out shine a recipe is when you have ugly food like risotto, that needs help looking good!

We ended our day with an hour of networking, taking photos and saying our goodbyes!

Robin from Simply Southern Baking, myself, and Wanda from My Sweet Zepol.

Michelle from The Village Cook, myself, and Denise from Creative Kitchen Adventures

Julius of, Julie of The Little Kitchen, and myself

Julie and I took one last photo before we left for the day. Thankfully, I’ll get to see her next weekend at our Central Florida Food Blogger Bake Sale!

Disclaimer: All photos were taken on my iPhone 4s and some were manipulated using instagram.


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26 Responses to “TECHmunch Tampa 2012 {Recap}”

  1. Carlos posted on April 22, 2012 at 11:21 pm (#)

    You posted this blog up quick! hehe It was great meeting you this weekend! Hope to meet you again in the future!

    • Katie replied on April 22nd, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      Well, you were quick to read this! Yes, I was trying to get my recap out as soon as possible since I have a jam packed editorial calendar for the next month! It was so nice meeting you. I’m sure our paths will cross again soon!

  2. Christine (Cook the Story) posted on April 23, 2012 at 7:39 am (#)

    Great recap! Makes me wish I could have been there for sure!

    • Katie replied on April 23rd, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      I think you would have really enjoyed the app development portion my friend. I think you need to take a good hard look at / 🙂

  3. Monica posted on April 23, 2012 at 8:01 am (#)

    Katie.. it was great to see you again! And like Carlos said you were quick… I have yet to start on my recap! Had way to much going on this weekend. Today work, work and more work and then hopefully will start to write about it there was just soooo much to take in – totally different format than the FBF conferences.

    • Katie replied on April 23rd, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks Monica! It was so nice seeing you this weekend and I sure wish you could make it to our bake sale this weekend. 🙁

  4. Angie @ Big Bear's Wife posted on April 23, 2012 at 9:09 am (#)

    ooo What a great little conference!

  5. Joan Nova posted on April 23, 2012 at 9:40 am (#)

    I don’t know how I didn’t know about this — I probably would have attended. Thanks for recap.

    • Katie replied on April 23rd, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      Bummer–we would have loved to have you. It was a small group and I don’t believe its sold out. Thanks for the kind words!

  6. michelle @ The Village Cook posted on April 23, 2012 at 9:47 am (#)

    Hi Katie! It was so wonderful to chat with you & get to know you at such an intimate venue. Hopefully we will see more of each other since we share the same state! Awesome recap.

    • Katie replied on April 23rd, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      Thanks Michelle! I agree. The past 2 times at FBF we’ve had so much going on that we didn’t have any time to really sit and talk with any one person. It was so nice getting to know you this past weekend!

  7. Maureen C Berry posted on April 23, 2012 at 10:37 am (#)

    Thanks for the recap. I sure wish I was there to hang with you. The first link (I think it’s for Google keyword) was an error and took me to a blank page on your site.

    • Katie replied on April 23rd, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks Maureen! I’ll go fix the link now! 🙂

  8. JulieD posted on April 23, 2012 at 10:54 am (#)

    I agree you’re quick!! I had so much fun hanging out with you at TechMunch! It was fun! We have to do it again! 🙂

    • Katie replied on April 23rd, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      I’m so happy we were able to room together! It was such a nice treat! See you this weekend (woah–2 weekends in a row!?!? I feel privileged)!

  9. Terri Truscello Miller posted on April 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm (#)

    Great recap. The food looked amazing. Wish I could have gone with you – maybe next year.

    • Katie replied on April 23rd, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      The food at foodie events is always amazing! Wish you could have joined us as well!

  10. Denise @ Creative Kitchen posted on April 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm (#)

    You go, girl! Super quick!! I had such a great time getting to know you better Friday night. It was a wonderful event and weekend! I hope to start seeing you before these bigger blogger events….such as central FL blogger things and other ways we Florida food bloggers can get together.

    If I weren’t headed to NYC this weekend, I’d be SO tempted to head up to your bake sale in central FL!

    • Katie replied on April 23rd, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      My editorial calendar is full for the next few weeks. I had to rush to get my recap up! 🙂 I agree–I’m so glad we had the chance to really hang out! Hope to see you before the next foodie event!

  11. Robin @ Simply Southern Baking posted on April 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm (#)

    Katie, you’re amazing! I can’t believe you got this up so quick. We sure had a good time and took away more snipets of knowledge. See you soon!

    • Katie replied on April 24th, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Robin! I’m just trying to stay on track with my editorial schedule. That’s all! 🙂

  12. Shaina posted on April 24, 2012 at 8:44 am (#)

    Looks like such a great time! I wish I could have been there to hang with all of you guys!

  13. Joyce Pinson posted on April 25, 2012 at 8:36 am (#)

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Great summation, and gives “the rest of us” a chance to see the conference through your eyes. Hope to meet you at one of the food conferences…one of these days! Are you going to Knoxville for the Food Writers Conference?

    • Katie replied on April 25th, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      I have no other food blogging conferences planned for the year. I’ll have to look into that conference.

  14. Wanda posted on April 25, 2012 at 9:41 am (#)

    Katie, it was a very nice an intimate group of foodies indeed! It was very nice seeing you again. I am still recuperating from my allergies from that day. But other than my bad allergies, I learned very important tips and got to meet new bloggers. It was a great and productive weekend!


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