Friday, October 26, 2012

Blog Better Boston Food Summit at Stonewall Kitchen

Last Sunday, I spent the day at Stonewall Kitchen headquarters in York, Maine with a small group of Boston bloggers and food writers for the first ever Blog Better Boston Food Summit. From 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., I schmoozed, learned, ate and drank. It was clearly a very rough day. 

Our day started with a light breakfast, followed by a tour of the Stonewall Kitchen facilities. We also got to hear the story behind how Stonewall Kitchen got started, which was definitely an interesting tale!

Cooking School.

Giant freezer!

Where the magic happens.


After our quick 30-minute tour, the sessions for the day began. My first session was on food photography, taught my Stonewall Kitchen’s photographer, Michael Cabelin, in the company’s photography studio.

Over the years, the Stonewall Kitchen staff has collected hundreds of photo props from yard sales, antique stores, etc. The amount of props they had in this rather small room was more than impressive.

One of the key takeaways from this course, for me: You don't need fancy, expensive equipment to get a good food shot. As long as you have the right props, an interesting backdrop, and some natural daylight, you can almost always get a professional-looking photo.

Throughout the day, I also attended courses on writing restaurant reviews, recipe development and photo editing. The courses were taught by professionals in the business, and/or employees of Stonewall Kitchen. A full list of the speakers from that day can be viewed here.

In the middle of the day, we took a break for lunch. Our lunch was held in the Cooking School, where Patty Roche cooked each course in front of us before serving.

On the menu: Acorn Squash Soup with ginger...

Cheesy polenta with seasonal vegetables (chicken was also served with this)...

And an addictive Pear and Fig Cobbler with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Patty was hilarious, and her energy was contagious. Her food was also incredibly delicious, and we were all lucky enough to walk away with each of the recipes.

After lunch, we also got to sample some Stonewall Kitchen goodies. Despite how full I was, I was able to sample a few of the jams and mustards!

After the conference, we were encouraged to visit the Stonewall Kitchen store (we were also given a coupon that morning to use). I browsed the store for a while, but ended up not buying anything – you should see how many Stonewall Kitchen products we already have in our pantry. It’s a little insane.

As we were leaving, we were also given quite the generous gift bag, as well as an KitchenAid Immersion Blender, courtesy of Wayfair (one of the conference’s sponsors).

Overall, this was hands down of the best conferences I have been to. Not only was it held at Stonewall Kitchen – one of my favorite food products on the market – but it was also a more intimate conference, which resulted in being able to meet more people, and have more interactive class sessions. The speakers at the conference were also wildly impressive, and I learned a lot from each session I attended. Now I just need to get through all of my notes to make sense of it all!

What's your favorite Stonewall Kitchen product? I love their Wild Maine Blueberry jam!


  1. I wanted to go to this so badly, but I was in NYC for work! Thanks for sharing. Looks delish(and veg-friendly)!

  2. I was debating signing up for I wish I had!

  3. This sounds like it was such a great experience. I really wanted to go, but we just got back from Italy that Saturday night, and I knew I'd be in no shape to trek up there on Sunday. Maybe next year!

  4. this looks awesome. I love all the props they have in their kitchen!

  5. I so wish I could have gone! I'm Stonewall Kitchen obsessed and go as often as I can. Taking a holiday class in early Dec. and can't wait! I've taken classes with Patty before and hers are definitely some of my faves :)


  6. Great post! So glad you enjoyed your day at the Food Summit :) I am still gushing over that lunch too.