Volunteer Perks Result in Lamb and Good People

wpid-20131116_120540.jpgOne of my favorite things about volunteering at food & wine events are the people I get to meet. As a volunteer in The Local Palate Celebrity Chef Kitchen at the inaugural Savannah Food & Wine Festival this weekend, I helped greet guests, set up and break down the stage in between talents, collected trash and even got to be a sous chef for Food Network Star finalist, Linkie Marais. I got to interact with festival guests from neighboring coastal towns like Hilton Head S.C., culinary students at Savannah Technical College and Virginia College, and walked away from the event with a 4-pound leg of lamb, a package of mushrooms and one big red onion because I was in the right place at the right time.

Linkie was a finalist on Season Eight of Next Food Network Star. It was awesome to meet someone I had watched on TV last season. She was extremely personable and very friendly. I helped Linkie and her manager clean and chop mushrooms for her cooking demonstration. Plus, they gave me $40 worth of lamb that would have otherwise been discarded. Thanks for the meat and vegetables that you had an overabundance of Linkie…I will make great use of them. What an awesome, unexpected volunteer perk!

Mrs. Martha Nesbit is a long-time food writer in Southeast Georgia. I got to work with her in the Celebrity Chef tent, and later purchased an autographed copy of her cookbook, Savannah Celebrations. I have no doubt that it will become a favorite resource, and I can’t wait to dive in to her recipes!

wpid-PhotoGrid_1384698105700.jpgI first met Culinary Producer Libbie Summers at the Inaugural Saint Simons Food & Spirits Festival in 2012. This year, she was signing her Whole Hog Cookbook in the Celebrity Author’s Tent. We couldn’t see my phone screen and didn’t know if we were getting a good picture or not, but looks like we did pretty good Libbie! Ha. It was great to see you again! We’re officially old pals.

wpid-20131116_143745.jpgI also ran into local Brooklet farmer, Del Ferguson of Hunter Cattle Company at the event. It’s always good to see a familiar face when you’re out and about. Way to represent Statesboro in The Hostess City Del!


Other presentations included Executive Chef Shaun Doty from Atlanta’s Bantam & Biddy, Savannah Technical College, Virgina College and Food Network’s Anthony Lamas from Extreme Chef. My favorite presentation of the day was Chef Jean Yves Vendeville from Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Arts program. He and his team operated like a well-oiled machine and in his 40-minute cooking demonstration, cranked out three different dishes for the audience to try. He was funny, engaging, educational and entertaining. When his presentation was complete, I told him I wanted to be his student one day.

Food&WineFestFor Savannah’s first ever food & wine festival, the turn out was impressive. Nearly every event during Nov. 11 – 17 was sold out. The Southern, culinary shin dig was definitely a team effort and took the hard work of many. I am confident that it will only get better with time. I was honored to be a part of the experience and fortunate to have made such great connections while volunteering! Thanks to everyone who made it happen.

*Special thanks to my awesome boyfriend Kurt, who brought me my blog business cards that I forgot at home during the event.

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My Year in the Blog-Sphere

Some Kinda Good is one. Happy Blog-iversary to me!

I began blogging at a time in my life–the year was 2011, the month was November–when I needed to be fully engaged in something. It’s amazing how the landscape of your life can change in a year’s time, and who would’ve thought blogging about crab legs and barbecue would’ve filled a hole I never knew was missing?

Blogging allows me to combine many of my favorite things like eating, food and cooking but also writing, taking pictures, being on camera and sharing my personality and passion for coastal culture and the South. I really didn’t have any expectations when I set out to blog, other than not being one of those people on Facebook that share nothing but food pictures–because unknowingly, I was that girl for a long time. The moment became very real to me when a friend commented on one of my food pictures with this: “Facebook: Rebekah’s Food Diary.” I thought, ‘Wow, he’s right. There’s a better way.’

Enter Some Kinda Good.

Some Kinda Good’s original design by my friend, Amanda Hudson.

With a background in web writing and PR, I had all the skills in place. I set out to learn WordPress and gathered up some photos of the food I’d cooked. Not surprisingly, I had plenty of content at the ready, as though it had been stockpiled for its moment in the sun.

Some Kinda Good has evolved over the year, and I’m kind of embarrassed at some of my earlier posts. You’ve got to start somewhere though. As one of my favorite quotes says, “The expert in anything was once a beginner.”

Some Kinda Good’s current design by my friend, Tori Sprankel.

Throughout the year, I’ve built relationships with restaurant owners, food and beverage connoisseurs, food writers and other bloggers. I’ve gotten to meet notable cookbook authors, culinary producers, well-respected chefs and colleagues at food & beverage public relations firms throughout the Southern seacoast.  I’ve also subscribed to Bon Appetite Magazine and become a sort of amateur kitchen expert among friends and family. I’ve worked with ingredients I once considered foreign like, heirloom tomatoes and pimiento-cheese. I’ve sampled restaurant dishes I thought I would never order like fried chicken and waffles or an open-face whole egg omelet topped with goat cheese, sautéed shrimp, spiced pecans and arugula….for breakfast!

I’ve learned to be true to me, that you can’t pursue a food trend because it’s a trend. When I did that, I only did it for the sake of being popular, to show that I too was up-to-speed with food on a stick, kid food for adults and all things local and organic. While it was fun to experiment, those ventures lacked passion.

And we all know without passion, the fire dies.

All along, my philosophy has been guided by one thought from Julia Child who said, “Find something your passionate about, and keep tremendously interested in it.” I’m a firm believer that it’s never too late to do the things you love, and when you do the things you love, success comes.

Some Kinda Good was ranked #2 on Urbanspoon’s Leaderboard of Top Georgia Food Blogs September – November 2012.

These are the successes I’m celebrating…a few highlights from my year in the blog-sphere:

Most Popular Posts:

Most Searched Post:

Favorite Search Term:

  • Faulk Some Kinda Eating

Accomplishments:

  • Held #2 spot on Urbanspoon’s Leaderboard of Top Georgia Food Blogs: September – November 2012
  • Currently ranked #3 on Urbanspoon’s Leaderboard of Top Georgia Food Blogs
  • Featured as an Editor’s Pick of the Day on Bloggers.com
  • Featured as a Tweep of the Week on Atlanta Dish, the company blog of Melissa Libby & Associates
  • Becky Sue Hits the Big Time: Special feature on Kudzu Dad Blog
  • Featured in numerous editions of Paper.li, an online newspaper
My Farmers Market Fun and One Souped-Up Strawberry Shortcake post was featured in The Atlanta Moms Daily on April 30, 2012.

Relationships I’ve Built as a Result of Blogging: 

I got to meet Nathalie Dupree (bottom right) at the Inaugural Saint Simons Island Food & Spirits Festival in September 2012.

Without sounding too much like I’ve won a Grammy, I couldn’t celebrate my successes without acknowledging a few special folks:

Thanks to my mom and best friend Charity, who without fail were always the first to comment on my posts, even when the content lacked interest or when no one else cared. Thanks to my graphic designer friends, Amanda and Tori for giving my blog the exact look and feel I envisioned, as it progressed throughout the year. To Angela and Jennifer, my other best friends, thanks for all your encouraging words…your affirmation often kept me going. To my former co-workers and friends in the PR department at Floyd Medical Center, your belief in my abilities blows my mind. Thank you for your constant reassurance, for calling me out when my posts aren’t well beyond expectations and for holding me to the Class of Style standard.

And finally, my favorite Twitter friends: @Golden_Isles, @VisitSavannah, @ClassicGeorgia, @Grocerize and @ChefCourtney13–y’all are always faithful to retweet my posts and I’ve gained many followers as a result of your influence. Thank you, really.

With nearly 15,000 hits and a healthy following through social media, I’m pretty stoked. Not too shabby for my first year in the blog-sphere. Some Kinda Good is bringing my dreams to life. Maybe year two will include The Cooking Channel or Food Network. Dream big or go home!

Follow @SKGFoodBlog on Twitter or find me on Facebook.

Culinary Event Celebrates Georgia Coast Bounty, Benefits Local Non-Profit

I couldn’t be more excited to tell y’all about the Inaugural Saint Simons Food & Spirits Festival happening this September at Gascoigne Bluff in my favorite vacation destination…the beautiful Golden Isles of Georgia.

If you’re like me and love seafood and Southern cuisine, this is an event you won’t want to miss. Headlined by James Beard – award-winning television personality, cookbook author and grand dame of Southern cooking –  Nathalie Dupree and her co-author, Cynthia Graubart, the festival will highlight the talents of many major players in the culinary world.

Nathalie Dupree was a household name when I was growing up and like many of you, I am a very big fan of her cookbooks. Other participants will include Atlanta chef of No. 246 Restaurant, Ford Fry; food blogger and cookbook author Libbie Summers and Saint Simons’ own beekeeper, Ted Dennard, founder of Savannah Bee Company.

Think wild Georgia shrimp & grits. Crab cakes. Local honey. Fine wine. The food is sure to be Some Kinda Good, but the cause is even better.

While celebrating the bounty of Georgia’s Golden Isles, the Saint Simons Food & Spirits Festival will raise dollars and awareness for Hospice of the Golden Isles, the only community-based, non-profit hospice serving the area. A variety of ticket prices will cater to every budget.

Culinary talent, bluegrass musical performances and local, coastal cuisine–what’s not to love? I hope you’ll join me and area restaurants, regional farmers and artisans at the first event of its kind September 21 – 23.

Find out who’ll be there, learn more about volunteer opportunities and get the full event schedule by visiting The Saint Simons Food & Spirits Festival website.

Never been to the Golden Isles? Check out my photo gallery to get a glimpse.

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