By Marco Santana
Dennis Littley doesn’t exactly like to prepare elaborate meals for himself. He’ll usually get by on a sandwich or some eggs.
But when the camera rolls in his makeshift home studio, the veteran chef — who has prepared food in executive suites, upscale restaurants and lunchroom cafeterias — comes alive.
“Chefs are definitely egotists and we perform for people,” said Littley, 61. “We love to make people happy. It’s where I get my joy from.”
Littley shoots the video footage at his Kissimmee home and posts them to a blog, Ask Chef Dennis, that attracts up to 150,000 page views in a month.
He has become part of a growing number of Central Florida residents who have turned blogging into a paying gig. It has become such a trend locally that a conference about blogs, FLBlogCon, that features several area bloggers returns next month for its fifth year.
Littley said the Web has created an avenue for more people than ever to get noticed.
“More are getting published that we would never have seen before,” he said. “There is a lot of talent out there. For just about every topic, there are people sharing things.”
In Central Florida, that has meant bloggers who cover topics as wide-ranging as Disney, food, fashion and travel, along with many others.
FLBlogCon organizer Bess Auer, who trains bloggers through her website Gotta Get Blogging, has watched the conference grow modestly from a 100-seat gathering in its first year to now selling 350 tickets.
An English teacher for 17 years, Auer started the conference, held at Full Sail University, when she failed to find any nearby blogging conferences. She said her transition from educating students to educating bloggers has been a natural one.
“Most who start blogging do so because they are passionate about what they blog about,” said Auer, who also runs the Florida Swim Network blog, which highlights swim programs across Florida. “They find some enjoyment out of it. They quickly find out that it’s a small world.”