Chopped Conference began with a dream: to bring together different communities of people with a passion for food around the core ideas of love, family, and community, and finding ways to share that with a larger audience.

And guess what? We did it!

We thought it would be great to share a recap of the day for those who couldn’t be there and for those who just want to relive a little of the spirit of that special day.

ChoppedCon was a mountain-top experience.

I’ve always been a bit intimidated by blogging conferences because I felt like my blog didn’t have enough oomph or readership to make it worth going or to even tell people about it. Let me just tell you about my trip to Kansas City for Chopped Conference. It was out of control splendid amazingness! — Lynn Lovejoy

Chopped Conference was held at the River Market Event Place in beautiful downtown Kansas City

Carolyn O’Neil

The day began with a presentation by Carolyn O’Neil on the important topic of nutrition and how to communicate that to readers. Carolyn encouraged bloggers to focus on foods that are delicious, nutritious, affordable and safe.

Carolyn O'Neil speaking at Chopped Conference

Great words of advice for anyone who eats!

Instagram Panel: iPhones, Hashtags, and Filters, Oh My!

The morning panel was moderated by Dana Shultz of Minimalist Baker and included the following panelists: Bev Weidner of Bev CooksKristen Doyle of Dine and Dish, and Christina Lane of Desserts for Two.

We learned a lot of valuable strategies to better use Instagram as part of our social media outreach.


Lunch was provided by Chipotle where we had the exciting opportunity to test out Chipotle’s Sofritas. Chipotle provided delicious food that met a wide variety of diets. Everyone was satisfied and ready for more learning!

Jill Silva and the Art of Food Writing

Jill Silva with the Kansas City Star talked about the importance of knowing and growing our craft of writing about food. Learning about our authentic voice is an important part of this step, but also taking the time away from the computer, and experiencing food in different settings is important as well.

Jill Silva of the KC Star speaks at Chopped Conference

Bjork and Lindsay Ostrom: Taking Your Food Blog from Good to Great

If you’re into food blogging then you probably know about Bjork and Lindsay Ostrom, the couple behind the wildly popular site Pinch of Yum. And if you attended ChoppedCon, you probably loved playing along with Bjork as he warmed up the crowd a little.

Bjork Ostrom warms up the crowd with a fun exercise at ChoppedCon

Bjork and Lindsay walked us through some important steps on taking our blogs from good to great. A few things that really struck a chord with participants?

A rising tide lifts all ships. Bjork shared this age-old saying with Chopped Academy participants as a reminder that we all are in this together. When we help others improve, we are helping ourselves as well.

That’s what Chopped Academy was all about!

They also shared with us their four secrets for creating an income online including the types of online income, learning to become a teacher, and of course, the now famous 1% Infinity Improvement plan. Here’s how they explained it:


Find something to improve by 1% each day and do this every day to infinity and you will take your blog from Good to Great!

Lindsay Ostrom of Pinch of Yum speaks at Chopped Con

Milisa Armstrong

Milisa Armstrong spoke about how to work with a virtual assistant. And for anyone involved with a career in blogging, you know that finding a way to get more work done in less time is critical. Milisa shared her perspective of how working with a virtual assistant can make that possible.

Milisa Armstrong speaks at Chopped Conference about working with Virtual Assistants

 Afternoon Panel: Working with Brands

John Shultz of Minimalist Baker moderated a panel talking about the ins and outs of working with brands. Participants on the panel included Cheryl Sousan of TidyMomAli Ebright of Gimme Some Oven, and Kathryne Taylor of Cookie + Kate.

The afternoon panel at Chopped Conference covered the topic of working with brands

 Kristen Doyle: Blogging Beyond the Stats

Kristen Doyle shared with us her passion for finding balance and happiness in our lives as bloggers. It was a thoughtful and well-received discussion on how blogging can be all-consuming but finding ways to have a life and finding happiness in each day is important. It was a perfect end to an amazing day.

Marly McMillen: You Can Reach Farther Than you Think You Can!

Marly McMillen Beelman, the conference organizer, wrapped up the day by telling participants of her team building exercise where she had to climb a large log structure with wall climbing notches and a repel belt. All-in-all the structure was about 3 stories high with a platform at the top where successful climbers reveled in their accomplishments. Marly knew she wanted to make it to the top. And from the ground, it looked achievable. But about half way up, she found herself stuck between notches that seemed impossibly far apart. The coach on the ground yelled up to her, “put your right foot on the notch that’s directly next to your right thigh.”

Marly wraps up the day with some inspirational thoughts for Chopped Academy participants

Marly looked at that notch and then yelled down to the coach, while clutching tightly on that log, “I can’t! It’s too high!”

The coach yelled back, “Marly, you can reach farther than you think you can!”

Although she thought this coach was insane, Marly decided to take his advice. Trembling with fear she somehow managed to put her right foot on that notch and pulled herself up, one notch at a time to the celebratory platform. It was an amazing moment and one that left a mark on her life.

Marly encouraged everyone at the conference to keep these words close at hand for themselves – You Can Reach Farther Than You Think You Can!

Receptions and Parties!

Of course, it wasn’t actually the end of the day because there was still more fun to come. There were two receptions during Chopped Academy – one to kick the event off on Thursday evening and another one on Friday night, immediately after the conference concluded.

Chopped Conference Closing Party

 ChoppedCon Summaries

People are talking about ChoppedCon! If you’d like to learn more about the conference from the perspective of those who attended, we encourage you to check out these sites/posts:

Kansas City Public Television also published this story about the ChoppedCon, The Business Side of Food Blogging.

ChoppedCon14 Testimonials

Here are more testimonials from conference participants:

My blog has had a 291% increase in traffic since November 2014! Shout out to Chopped Academy and  all of the wonderful food bloggers and experts I’ve recently met there, who have encouraged and inspired me these past few months! — Alexis Abel of LexiBites

This was exceptional event and look forward to attending next year! — LouAnn Donovan of Live-Young

I’ve attended my fair share of conferences over the years but hands down, this one blew them all out of the water on every level. In just one day, I gained so many practical tips, tools and specific strategies that have already improved my blog and my business. — Liz Della Croce of The Lemon Bowl

The collective talent in that room was just astounding. I have so much respect for absolutely everyone there and can’t say enough how much I gained from talking to people both on and off the stage. — Lindsay Moe, the Live-in Kitchen

To say that ChoppedCon exceeded my expectations would be an understatement. I left the conference feeling motivated, full of new knowledge and with excitement over having met so many wonderful blogger friends! — Philia Kelnhofer of Sweet Phi

Although I was a speaker, listening to the other speakers was so informative. I picked up vital information for growing my business. I came away inspired and so encouraged! — Milisa Armstrong of Miss in the Kitchen

It was absolutely wonderful and exceeded all my expectations! — Dana of Minimalist Baker

It was absolutely incredible. I left feeling so encouraged, challenged, and inspired. Exactly what I needed this time of year! Not even a question whether I will attend next year. — Krista Rollins of Joyful Healthy Eats

ChoppedCon Participants receiving temporary inspirational tattoos!
Chopped Academy Participants receiving temporary inspirational tattoos!

You can check out more photos from the day on our ChoppedCon 2014 Photo Gallery.

We’ll end this summary with one of the temporary tattoos that participants wore during the conference. Believing in yourself is a crucial step to any creative endeavor!

ChoppedCon participants wore temporary tattoos - this one reminded participants to BELIEVE!