On five years of food blogging and marking it with a breakfast

A MacBook Pro, pretty much how all the food blogging happens. Photo: Tom Eversley
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Five years ago this weekend, I opened the doors of Any Given Food. Having spent a year firing photos of food all around me up on Tumblr, I took a notion during the inaugural Foodcamp in Kilkenny to register a domain name at the lunch break, pop up a post or two and thus Any Given Food was born.

In the time since, I’ve become a lot more involved in food, both personally and professionally and a lot of it was brought back during the Bloggers Breakfast at Anne Neary’s Ryeland House in Kilkenny on Friday morning to kick off Savour Kilkenny.

Anne Neary's Ryeland House cookery school at Cuffesgrange in Kilkenny. Photo: Ken McGuire/AnyGIvenFood.com

Anne Neary’s Ryeland House cookery school at Cuffesgrange in Kilkenny. Photo: Ken McGuire/AnyGivenFood.com

Having been invited along for the morning, I spoke to radio colleague and presenter of KCLR, John Masterson, about Any Given Food. As it happened, the PR company involved had written a number of biographies about those of us speaking on the show and it was the first time I’d read a profile of myself that I’d not written.

On reading, it summed up my writings on food pretty nicely (I’ll share it later) and speaking freely with John about Any Given Food, it reminded me that a lot of what I do today is down to starting the blog.

Some of those in attendance at the Bloggers Breakfast on Friday morning, hosted by Anne Neary (pictured left). Photo: Ken McGuire/AnyGivenFood.com

Some of those in attendance at the Bloggers Breakfast on Friday morning, hosted by Anne Neary (pictured left). Photo: Ken McGuire/AnyGivenFood.com

Over the past five years I’ve attended countless food events, conferences, gatherings, launches, hit restaurants, takeaways and ate more food than one should probably consume. I’ve taken hard drives full of photos, filled notebooks full of recipes, shared many a glass of wine and (more recently) many a beer with some of the country’s finest beer producers.

I’ve worked first hand with food producers in a web development capacity (that’s been my day job since 2005), assisted with marketing, planning, packaging design, photography, consultancy and more. That has extended to restaurants, hotels, event planning and beyond.

Costellos 'The Red', Kilkenny's first craft ale, now available in bottle form. One of a large number of producers over the years I've been able to share stories with. Photo: Ken McGuire/AnyGivenFood.com

Costellos ‘The Red’, Kilkenny’s first craft ale, now available in bottle form. One of a large number of producers over the years I’ve been able to share stories with. Photo: Ken McGuire/AnyGivenFood.com

I’ve spoken on local radio, national radio, have had photos pop up in magazines, articles appear in papers, have helped judge national competitions and all of it to do with food. Keeping in with the radio this year I had a 6 month run of food slots on Mondays and Fridays covering all things sweet, savoury and craft beer related.

Amongst all the chats that were had at the Bloggers Breakfast this morning (and there were plenty of them to be had) there were a few interesting takeaways, but one more than others.

The Bloggers Breakfast on Friday morning revolved around a two hour radio broadcsast that stirred up loads of fond memories of blogging over the past few years. Photo: Ken McGuire/AnyGivenFood.com

The Bloggers Breakfast on Friday morning revolved around a two hour radio broadcsast that stirred up loads of fond memories of blogging over the past few years. Photo: Ken McGuire/AnyGivenFood.com

One group chat happening outside the door of Anne Neary’s kitchen had us harking back to Foodcamp 2010 and to years previous, where the food blogging scene was really starting to kick off. Five years on and the landscape is certainly different. Plenty of those blogs I was reading five years ago have grown, some have become books, TV shows, some have abandoned food altogether or changed direction in their writing – as one would do quite naturally. Wendy Kavanagh (now of Irish Food Tours, with an added ‘Ltd’ at the end these days) mentioned one word in the conversation that stuck out.

Acorns.

“From small acorns do mighty oaks grow” or something along those lines is a well known phrase. Well, if Foodcamp, or registering a domain name, or starting this blog was the acorn, then things have certainly gone quite oak shaped over the years, and continue to grow.

The growth isn’t necessarily in food, but all the spin-offs from writing about food, having conversations about food, introducing different media elements to food coverage, have all opened so many other doors that it’s hard to count them.

Five years on and I come back to one word of my own. Thankful.

If there’s one thing that comes from the past five years of writing Any Given Food (through the busy times and the quiet times too I might add), it’s that I’m extremely thankful. Thankful for the opportunities, thankful for the contacts, the friendships, the relationships, the stories, the tastings, the travel and everything else that’s come with it.

If you’re reading this and you’ve been part of that journey over the past five years, then thank you too.

I’ve fallen in love with food again of late which a nice way of saying to myself that I reckon I can go another five years. Sure what’s another 592 blog posts, right?

 

Written by Ken McGuire
Writes and talks a lot about food, spending way too much time in the kitchen or behind the lens taking photos. Digital Media Specialist by day, broadcaster by night, living in Kilkenny with Mrs. Any Given Food and two crazy rescue hounds.