Project Food Blog - Challenge #1: Ready, Set, Blog!

2:48 PM

2000 bloggers | 10 challenges | 1 winner

So here we are. I’m throwing my “hat” in the Project Food Blog ring, where close to 2,000 food bloggers compete in a series of culinary blogging challenges for the chance to win $10,000 and feature on for a year. Think Top Chef, but for foodies turned bloggers.

So what is the first “elimination challenge”?

Challenge #1: Create a blog post that defines you as a food blogger and why should you be the next food blog star?

A challenge so broad it feels like a college essay question. Well thankfully SAT scores are not needed to enter. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to answer these questions and like many time-starved moms, I’ve created a list. So here it is - Top 5 Things That Sets Umommy Blog Apart:

1.    Growing up in the restaurant business
To me, food is family – literally. I grew up in my family’s Chinese restaurant. When I wasn’t in school, I was at the restaurant, watched under the careful eyes of my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. I learned how to make wontons before I learned how to tell time. I could work the fry station before I could drive. I learned all about food and the restaurant business from my family. 

As I grew older, I also learned to despise the restaurant business for its long hours and zero vacation days. But if it weren’t for the family business, I would not have learned that food is what brings a family together. From huge family gatherings over a 10-course meal on Chinese New Year to sharing stories about happy and loyal customers, food was what brought my family together – no matter the miles or differences between us.

It is this very important lesson that I hope to pass on to my own family and what the crux of this blog is about. Good food = happy family.

2.    Marketer by day, mom food blogger by night… sometimes late night
As a marketing and advertising professional, I understand how important it is to connect with your audience, to stand apart from the competition, and how to tell a story that people will remember. In other words, how to build a brand.

I try to keep these immutable laws of marketing in mind with every blog post. I’m my own demanding client, and building umommy brand is crucial. For more, check out the umommy facebook page:
(every brand must have a social media strategy, right?)

3.    Kid-tested recipes
When my oldest son was an infant, I kept a diary of what he ate.  I thought a food diary might come in handy when I have more kids and can refer back to this diary and learn from my mistakes when it was time to feed kid #2. Here’s what one entry looked like:

March 5
2 oz oatmeal and prunes
2 oz applesauce and blueberries
Cheerios and blueberries
8 oz formula (7/9:30am)
2 oz Apple/Sweet potato puree
2 oz vanilla yogurt
Puffs and melon
7 oz formula (12/3pm)
2oz pea puree
2 oz apples and blueberry puree
tablespoon tofu

I started this blog as my own personal food diary, chronicling new recipes I’ve tried, new products I’ve tested, and new restaurants I’ve dined in. I have one criterion before it makes it in my blog – my kids have to try it. I hope one day my kids can refer back to umommy and say “Oh yeah. That was a good. I’ll try that with my kids.”
4.    Sharing nuggets
And no, not necessarily chicken nuggets. Not only has umommy become a creative outlet for me, it has given me a chance to share nuggets of wisdom when it comes to feeding a family. Like so many parents, it can be a challenge to get your kids to eat at all, much less a wholesome meal. With everyone sitting. At the same table.
Just as I turn to other knowledgeable moms and dads, I hope to share some ideas, ways to save time, and commiserate with other parents when mealtimes are not going so well.

5.    Discovering umami

U-ma-mi (noun) |oo’mämee|
A category of taste in food besides sweet, sour, salt and bitter. Taste sensation that is meaty or savory.
ORIGIN Japanese, literally “deliciousness”

I started this blog as a way to chronicle my “quest” to find great food that my entire family would enjoy.

What parent wouldn’t want their kids to eat a balanced, nutritious meal? But if I’m going to take the time to prepare a meal, I need to be excited about eating it too. Since I was exposed to ethnic foods when I was a kid, I want to do the same with my own family. I am determined not to get into the vicious cycle of ordering chicken fingers and french fries for the kids every time we dine out so that the boys will expect that’s what they order when we go out to eat.

For me, there are few greater joys than sharing food that I love with my family.  My heart just smiles when we go out to dim sum and my boys are inhaling haw gow and shu mai faster than I can pick them up. And just the other day, I took my son to SOFRA for lunch, and while I enjoyed my falafel sandwich, he gobbled up his savory tart.  I was beaming. It’s about sharing an experience with your kids. And for me, that’s discovering and sharing umami.

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