Project Food Blog – Defining Who I Am?

Let’s be honest, you and I, because if we do not have honesty, what do we have?  I’m not sure about this whole Project Food Blog thing.

First, let me explain what Project Food Blog is.

Project Food Blog is a set of challenges that will test the blogging mettle of the 1,000+ contestants.  Each challenge will whittle down the contestant pool until one blogger reigns victorious!   This lucky blogger will get a cash prize of $10,000 and all sorts of yummy exposure on FoodBuzz.  Sounds great, right?

Yes it does!  I love the idea of a contest to celebrate food bloggers.   Honestly, as a group we seem to get more scorn than love (Yes, Christopher Kimball I’m looking at you).  The challenges themselves are interesting to be sure, and they will stretch the contestants outside of their blogging comfort zones.  That all sounds great … until you really think about it.

Our blogs are supposed to be our voice and our identity.  I can’t tell you how many times I have been told that the blog you write should be what you would read, and you should write a blog you love.  Passion tells, and if you create content with passion people will listen.  This is where you may wonder what, pray tell, is my passion?

I am a recipe developer, and my blog is devoted to the recipes I create.

Cooking and baking – along with belly dancing, playing with my hound dogs, and sleeping late with my husband on the weekends – are what I love most.  There is a lot of comfort in my recipe development routine.  From testing, tasting, tweaking, and final product I enjoy taking an idea from my imagination to your plate.  I take pride in what I create and I hope that shows.

Chocolate Orange Stout Cake'Big Evil' Cheeseburger

So, I guess I feel a little disingenuous blogging about why I ‘have what it takes to be the next food blog star‘, or posting about challenges that are not my true passion.  I never want you, dear friends, to feel I have sold out.  Yes, I would love to win this contest because I do feel I am good at what I love to do.  Otherwise, why do it?

The cons –

From my perspective the ability to succeed in a bunch of arbitrarily concocted challenges, created by people who may or may not share my vision or passion, doesn’t exactly equal blogging ‘greatness’.  If you take a restaurant review blogger and ask her to write a post about entertaining, including menu development and decorating, that does not seem like a challenge that fits into her blog vision.  Yes, she may be able to do it well, but how does that prove she is best in her chosen field?

How legitimate is a victory that does not judge the contestants based on the merit of their real vision?  Who is to say that these challenges really define a blog star?

The pros –

As I said before, I am just not sure about this contest, but does that mean I can’t learn something from it?

I do not claim to be an expert on blogging, and I know I have a lot of room for improvement.  Honestly, I have never blogged with an eye towards how many readers I have or how popular I am.  I am a take me or leave me kind of gal.  With me you will always know where I stand, what I think, and what I love.

There are things I can learn about myself from this contest.  From a personal growth perspective I think the contest will be engaging, fun, and provide me with a personal challenge.  I am not sure how it will impact my blog content.  Perhaps the video challenge, should I get that far, will inspire me to do a few more videos on actual cooking and baking technique.  Maybe the dinner party challenge will inspire a new series on planning a party, or holiday menu planning and timing.  Who can say?

The best thing about my blog is no one can tell me how to write it, what to post, or what my voice is.  If this contest inspires me to try new things that can’t be all bad as long as I really believe in it.

Coconut Curry Shrimp with Peanut NoodlesChocolate Mascarpone and Banana Crepes

My conclusion –

Readers are savvy and can smell fake a mile away.

With that said, I will be participating in Project Food Blog (as long as I am a contestant – see my profile here).  I plan to post my contest entries on the weekends so if you have an interest in what contest shenanigans I am up to you check them out.  My promise to you is that every contest entry will come from an honest place, I will not sacrifice my integrity, and it will be the best I am capable of.  I owe you that much.

I only do what I love, and I hope you love it too, and I will always be me. I don’t plan to change.   Take it, or leave it.

© 2010, Evil Shenanigans. All rights reserved.

Author: Kelly

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  • Can I just tell you how much I love this post? Because I do.You’ve summed up my thoughts on the contest perfectly.

  • Great post! I actually felt the same way, and although I originally signed up, I ended up deciding not to do it because it was really just the thought of $10,000 calling to me. And I realized that the minor likelihood of that happening was not worth sacrificing how I write my blog. With that said, I love that you decided to do it in a way that works for you, and I love that you were honest about your initial ambivalence. I’m a new reader, but will definitely be back!

  • It is interesting to read different people’s takes on PFB. There are many views, and they all have good weight. What we always say is “Do you”, and that’s what we plan to do with these challenges as well. Good luck. 🙂

  • You read my mind girl! This is the reason why I chose to not participate in the contest. I look forward to seeing your entries and wish you the best of luck.

  • I am doing this contest and believe me it is coming from an honest place. I really don’t know how else to do it. This is why I will probably get booted on the first entry.

  • Janis – You and me both! 😀

    Eliana – I struggled with it, but I figure I should give it a shot as long as I stay true to who I am. I feel this post is as honest as it gets.

    Duo Dishes – Good luck to you, too!

    Iris – Thank you so much!

    Lauren – Thanks sweetie!! *muah*

  • AMAZING! This is really one of the best I’ve read. Stay true to yourself and I definitely think you can win!

  • Great entry! Love what you wrote about being true to yourself. So true!

  • That’s why, my dear, we are ALL winners. Know that sounds corny… but I love your blog and I think you really are fantastic!

  • I did wonder what all the #pfb buzz was about (you should excuse the expression!). Not being a “FoodBuzz-er”, I didn’t have a clue.

    I wish you the best of luck, Kelly. I love your blog, I love your style, and I love you! I hope whoever the “judges” are, appreciate you as much as I do.

  • I guess I’m a little confused by the “I don’t agree with this contest, and I don’t like a lot of it, but I’m doing it anyway” posts I’m seeing from bloggers.

    I don’t believe you have to sacrifice your creativity, your vision, or your voice to participate – I think part of the point of the contest is to see who can stay true to themselves while fulfilling the (very general) guidelines of the challenges. On my blog I don’t work with companies I don’t agree with and I don’t see why this could be considered different. Is it the prize at the end? I don’t know.

    I appreciate your honesty, I really do, but because this sort of post is becoming a trend, I’m scratching my head over it.

  • Megan – My point is that the challenge, while fun and interesting, are not typical fodder for my blog and likely never will be. I post recipes, really evil and often times bad for you recipes, and I feel the challenges themselves are not the best way to judge if a blogger is a ‘star’ or not. If I am being judged on what I do best, that is one thing. To judge me based on things I never do, that seems slightly off to me.

  • this is awesome. i agree with your mindset, as many of these types of challenges are more of a popularity contest than anything. however, i am also a believer in learning how to improve food blogging, no matter how minute the improvement may be. good luck! 🙂

  • You’re voicing a lot about why TopChef is so off for me. These chefs are given challenges to do things they would never do in a restaurant they own. And it makes me crazy most of the time. That said though, I do think there is learning in doing, even if it’s not something that you necessarily would do, and given that “doing” you can still be true to who you are.

    Me. Honestly. It pains me to compete. I can’t join all the “biggest sites” and play along because it makes me crazy. So I bask in the sunshine in other ways. Will it win me $10,000? Of course not.

    But someone will win it.

  • I really enjoyed reading this post. I was weary of the challenge too and opted not to participate. I just don’t like that 1,000+ gets whittled to 400 in the first round. That’s telling more than half of the first round entrants that they’re not good enough. I’m shocked they make that drastic of cut. And I agree with you that people have their different focuses and angles on their blogs, and not everyone has the experience or desire to do all of the challenges. I could certainly get behind a baking challenge!

  • I’ll take your honesty! Your blog’s always fun.

  • I guess I have a competitive nature. I love the idea of learning, stretching and, yes, trying things that are foreign to my abilities and blog’s style. I don’t believe that’s a sell-out or changes my blog’s mission in any way beyond this challenge. Plus I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s entries.

  • Great post Kelly! I see this competition as an opportunity to grow and improve myself as a food blogger… whatever happens, happens.

  • As I said on my post, que sera sera. Good luck, friend.

  • This is an awesome post…wonderfully written. I also undertand that creative passion. Best of wishes and good luck with the contest.

  • Well, hello cupcake! Love the post. You make fabulous points and I wish you very well. Definitely looking forward to reading more along the way. 🙂

  • I think that’s a great post!! And, I think you’re going about PFB in a honest and genuine way, which is fantastic. I wish you the best of luck!

  • Um, your pictures are making me REALLY, REALLY hungry!

  • If this would be a contest about honesty I think you would win hands down :o) Looking forward to seeing you grow from this without compromising who you truly are! Good luck :o)

  • BRAVO! This is such a well-written post. I always love reading your posts, because more often than not I catch myself “talking” back to you because your writing is so engaging! I can’t agree more with your pros and cons, though I have to admit that I am really looking forward to reading your challenge posts! Here’s hoping that you go far so that I have many to read!

  • I agree with you completely that we need to stay true to ourselves in this competition, and that is why I submitted a post that was about food that I would have posted anyway and that I thought represented me and my blog well. The guidelines are general enough I think, and I am glad you will still be participating, esp with all that beautiful food you share! 🙂

  • You did very well in the 2009 Challenge. Best wishes this year!

  • I meant Blog awards, not challenge. Well, it was a competition of sorts – lol..

  • so would it be wrong on MY Project Food Blog Post to link to this and just say….”What she said” ?

  • Okay – I’m in. Your honesty is refreshing and I share some of your reservations. But seeing you jump in has inspired me to do the same. Let’s do this!

  • I love how honest you were, but I didn’t think entering was being fake at all! It was very hard to be that brutally honest. Bloggers are real people too with real feelings. I just hoped I could learn new things and try things I’ve never done before. I do wish you the best of luck, I love your amazing recipes.

  • whatsfordinneracrossstatelines – I don’t think that entering the contest makes you ‘fake’ off the bat, but I do have reservations about what the challenges represent. My blog is strictly a recipe blog, so a restaurant review is not something I would ever post, yet one of the challenges is just that. What I am suggesting is judging someone to be the best blogger based on content they would never post outside of a contest feels wrong. I felt I needed to explain in my first entry my reservations, and explain my motivation to participate in challenges that have little to nothing to do with my blog’s focus.

  • Congrats on your first post, and I love that you are staying true to you! That is definitely what the judges want to see. As long as you know at the end of the day that your contest posts are you, then that is all that matters!

  • Love your honesty and will be very interested to see how you progress. For me…and this is just my very own personal take – I hate contests about blogs. I know a lot of good blogs and I see a lot of mediocre ones and the content just doesn’t seem to equate to whether they are considered good or bad by the viewing public so the end result often has absolutely no meaning to me as I’ve seen VERY mediocre blogs garner a lot of attention if they ‘play the game.’

    I know this contest is a blend of readers votes and editors input…can I say yada yada yada…but still feel they all end up in that same old same old routine. Please vote for me? Please? Daily? Please?

    The day there is a contest with writers and food critics and industry professionals determining the best based on the quality of the content, period…that’s a contest I’ll find myself capable of getting behind.

    In the meantime…you know I adore YOU…and know you will honor staying true to YOU and for that reason am excited to see how you blend the expectations with your own independent personality. What can I say? YOU GO GIRL!

  • Well said. I share some of your same concerns. Nonetheless it should be an interesting “growth experience” – maybe 😉

  • *snort* love the reference to Christopher Kimball ;). I will say, the whole PFB thing gave me a lot to consider and I decided against it. I am a relatively new blogger with a busy life besides and I am just not up for what might easily become a popularity contest. I am glad to see that a lot of others feel the same and that some have entered the competition for the challenge to themselves, and not necessarily for the glory of winning. Good luck to you!

  • I find your nonconformist approach to your entry very interesting. I too am in the contest, but I am true to myself, not my blog because my blog is an extension of me. I would love the prize money, but in reality I would love to make it to the second round as that would be an achievement in my book. Best of luck you. I will be back to visit again!

  • Came to check out the competition and found a super interesting read. I totally agree with Megan on this. The fun will come by finding your own spirit in the thing. And your spirit in the blogosphere is and always will be top notch. With that in mind I say, you look strong! Stay true, you’ll do great. Good Luck! GREG

  • I find it so interesting and wonderfull to learn about all my fellow foodie bloggers. Good luck!

  • A great post. I had signed up, but gave up once I saw the challenges since it mostly involved things I don’t do on the blog! Wishing you luck 🙂

  • Great post! I can definitely see where you’re coming from. I had my doubts, too, but I think part of the point is to put your own spin on the challenges. Otherwise, why would they be so vague? Anyway, good luck in Project Food Blog! Hope to see you in round 2! 🙂

  • Loved your story! True! Funny! You have my vote!

  • As always, <3 ! (And although I have a real soft spot in my heart for CI & ATK, I giggled outloud at your CPK comment.)

  • Great post! And gorgeous photos. I voted for you! =)

    Good luck!

  • agreed… whole heartedly.

  • Amen….you get a vote from me. Great site, tasty food.

  • you’ve got one of my votes 🙂

  • You got our vote!

  • You’ve articulated a lot of what had been going on in my head about PFB. I decided to enter, though I so very nearly didn’t. I think that the best that I can do for my blog, challenges or not, is to always be me (even if some of the challenges are like shoes that don’t exactly fit) and I think it’s clear from your post that you will always be you. Everyone, I think, is the better for that.

  • I really love the honesty in this post. It’s easy (and I have myself) to get caught up in this whole thing. It’s kind of a cool way to discover new blogs I hadn’t been reading however, so I suppose it’s a win in that regard. Good luck!

  • I love your blog! Great entry. I just gave you a vote.

  • Yum! Your food looks delicious, especially your cupcake. 🙂 Best of luck in the competition. I can see you are going to go far. Best of luck. 🙂

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