By Kelly Senyei

The past five years have represented an epicurean explosion in the online world, where countless new food blogs are launched every single day. Whether you’re new to the digital food space, or are a seasoned pro, there are inevitable lessons to learn about the pros and cons of pushing your passion from the confines of your kitchen to the public pages of the Internet.

When I launched my food blog Just a Taste, I admittedly had little understanding of what was needed to maintain a successful blog, from technical knowledge and financial resources to photography skills and social media prowess. Four years later, my blog has become more than a casual hobby, inspiring me to author Food Blogging For Dummies to share my experience and knowledge with others. Although I learned by trial and error, there’s no need for you to repeat my same mistakes. Here are three things I wish I’d known before launching my food blog:

1. Embrace Editing

The concept of wordcount seems to disappear faster than a tray of hot chocolate chip cookies in an online world where page space is seemingly endless. But it’s important to remember to never fear the red pen! As a blogger, you’re your own editor, and the biggest advantage you can give yourself is to embrace the editing process. Remember my editing mantra, “Follow your gut and never be afraid to cut.”

2. Avoid an Obsession with the Numbers

It’s easy to get lost in measuring your blog’s success by the numbers – be it ad revenue, pageviews or unique visitors. But the more you stress about traffic, the less authentic your blog will be because you’ll spend more time trying to read your audience’s mind than producing high-quality content.

3. Back Up Your Blog

It may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but backing up your blog is one of the most crucial steps you can take to avoid the devastating realization that a technical glitch has somehow erased all of your days/weeks/months/years of work. It takes all of five minutes to back up your blog, and it saves you potential heartache.

These three things are just the start of a long list of lessons I’ve learned, fortunately or unfortunately, via trial and error. If you’re interested in learning more about mastering the art of food blogging, including food photography and styling, how to increase traffic and making a profit from your blog, join me at ICE for my course, Taking Your Food Blog to the Next Level, on Thursday, December 6 for an intensive 3-hour training on transforming your blog from a casual hobby to a successful business.

Food blogs have rapidly become the online medium for anyone looking to increase their food knowledge. From recipes, to restaurant reviews, new food trends to celebrity chef-tell alls, food blogs are the news source for all things food!

With thousands of blogs to choose from, starting your own food blog can be a challenge. Brooke Parkhurst, author of Belle in the Big Apple and co-author of Just Married and Cooking, is a pro when it comes to blogging. Aside from publishing two books, Parkhurst recently relaunched and manages the blog Just Married & Cooking with her husband ICE Culinary Arts Chef Instructor James Briscione.

Parkhurst shared her knowledge of food blogging in the ICE Center for Food Media Course, How to Start Your Own Food Blog. In this workshop, Parkhurst lead the class through an informative, workshop-style seminar on how to get your food blog up and running. More…

Last week, ICE hosted a party to celebrate the launch of Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home, a new book from ICE Pastry & Baking Arts Chef Instructor Kathryn Gordon and the former Director of ICE’s Center for Food Media Anne E. McBride. The book demystifies the delicate, delicious pastries with a thorough look at macaron techniques and a veritable trove of recipes and ideas for fillings and decorations.

The party brought together many macaron enthusiasts and professionals to celebrate the book — we even spotted Chef Michael Laiskonis in the crowd. We wanted to share some of the photos with you. Congratulations to Chef Kathryn and Anne! More…

Regular readers of DICED will know Chef Instructor James Briscione from his many adventures around ICE. In April alone, he went to Italy to study sous-vide, starred in the Celebrity Apprentice and gave us a recipe for potato-crusted halibut.  What you may not know is that he and wife Brooke Parkhurst’s book, Just Married & Cooking, will make its debut next week.

While Chef James can usually be found teaching in one of ICE’s professional Culinary Arts kitchens or cooking pork in a recreational class, Brooke is also an ICE Instructor who leads classes in ICE’s Center for Food Media. In addition to all this, they teach couples cooking classes together. As a newly married couple with a strong background in food, they created e a compendium of delicious recipes for any occasion — from weeknight meals to special moments.

Just Married & Cooking
is jammed packed with over 200 recipes for couples to prepare affordable, seasonal meals at home together — a venerable guide to life together in the kitchen. They say, “We think it’s simple enough not to intimidate beginners yet inspiring enough to entice first-timers into the kitchen.” Ted Allen, the host of Food Network’s Chopped (which Chef James won twice!) praised the book as “an instant classic that every young couple should put on their gift registry. Yes, it’s a great collection of recipes, as easy as they are delicious and interesting. But, more than that, it’s an owner’s manual for the heart of the household, as inspiring to (ahem) older couples as it is essential to newlyweds.” For an example of some of their great ideas, check out these Derby Day recipes.

If you are in the New York City area, you can catch them at Williams Sonoma at Columbus Circle on May 11, or catch one of two “Cook the Book” classes they will be doing at ICE on May 14 or May 15. The book will be available in stores on May 10, but you can preorder online in the ICE bookstore.

For more from the duo, check out their Twitter and Facebook or their website.

Last night, ICE hosted former Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Barbara Fairchild in a small, intimate discussion about her experiences and her lessons for would-be food media professionals. The class was part of the ICE Center for Food Media’s “An Evening With…” series, designed to give students a chance to have a casual, informal discussion with food media luminaries. During these classes, professionals such as Saveur Editor-in-Chief James Oseland and New York Times writer and editor Amanda Hesser discuss their lives and careers, as well as the challenges and rewards of their jobs, changes and trends in the industry and much more.

As a successful editor and food world star, Fairchild is a unique position to comment about the world of food media. Fairchild joined Bon Appétit as an editorial assistant in 1978, and after rising through the ranks, she was promoted to Editor-in-Chief in 2000. The same year, she was also inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.” At the helm of Bon Appétit, she authored three books: The Bon Appétit Cookbook, The Bon Appétit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh and Bon Appétit Desserts: The Cookbook for All Things Sweet and Wonderful.

Now, Fairchild has taken a turn in her career. The world of magazine publishing is in a state of flux, changing rapidly to new formats on the web and social media. In September, it was announced that Bon Appétit would move their offices from Los Angeles to New York, and Fairchild would step down. Just two weeks ago, her 32-year stint at the magazine came to an end. She said, “Right now, I guess I’m just goofing off. I’m going to be tweeting and writing on my blog, but I also want to explore radio, television and teaching.” More…

On October 5, Dorie Greenspan is coming to ICE to teach a class for ICE’s Center for Food Media, a unique program of classes for anyone looking to learn more about food writing, recipe testing, food photography, food styling, self-publishing a cookbook or even starting your own food blog. Greenspan’s class, An Evening with Dorrie Greenspan, will cover a range of topics. The multiple James Beard Award–winning author will discuss her experience writing for magazines as well as books. Her most recent book is Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. Her book, Baking with Julia, won both an IACP and James Beard Award. She also worked closely with Daniel Boulud and Pierre Hermé on The Café Boulud Cookbook, Desserts by Pierre Hermé and Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé, respectively.

Greenspan’s recipes are so well loved that every week a group of over 300 bloggers picks a recipe from her book Baking: From My Home to Yours. Everyone in the group makes the same recipe and blogs about the experience on Tuesdays. “Tuesdays with Dorie” (TWD), as they’re called, has grown so popular that the group had to close until they finish baking their way through the book. Last week, they opened a second group, “French Fridays with Dorie,” that will cook their way through Around My French Table.

This week’s TWD recipe was Peanut Butter Crisscrosses, selected by Jasmine of Jasmine Cuisine. Although the group is closed, the cookies sounded too good to resist. More…