Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Much awaited Food Blogger Connect 2011

I was looking forward to this year’s FBC for many reasons..one important being reunion with my plate2page buddy Simone. I was also super excited about the photography workshop with Béa from La Tartine Gourmande and the Video Recipe Worshop with the gorgeous Anjum Anand.  So stay tuned for more posts on my 3 day foodie roller-coaster ride to London.
My journey was a bit of crusade: with London in the middle of riots, most of us were a bit concerned about the venue & travel. Tweets/Facebook updates kept us going and I dragged my hubby along for more support {very dreamy me – thought he was going to rescue me if rioting starts near FBC ;-)}. We decided to take the train to London and when the train finally arrived, they refused to let us in as they were short of first class carriages and hence no space :).  Frustrated we waited for our next train and just then the board said ‘London Euston 11.20 train cancelled’. Now I had a mind of going and punching yelling at the man behind the counter, but he reassured that there will be a train and we will get our first class seats and it will take us to London. Sigh of relief.
Train arrived on time, checked into the hotel, all dolled up and ready to meet everyone at FBC.
I guess I was one of the first ones to arrive @ Hempel, was a bit nervous but it soon eased by the  big smiles & hugs of Beth & Sarka. So, Friday kicked-off with meet & greet over canapés, good Lebanese wine from Chateau Ksara to wash it down and SpanishOlives to snack on.
 Simone from JungleFrog
The sessions started soon, with bottomless Firefly and more SpanishOlives. We had some very insightful sessions from Jaden from SteamyKitchen, Mayssam from WillTravelForFood and skype session with Babette from BakeSpace. Skype sessions were a bit difficult to follow and some sessions were not possible to continue. I personally couldn’t make a thing of the sessions ‘What Does it Take to be a Kick-Ass Food & Restaurant Critic’ by Harden Bros or the The Writing Business-Magazines by Tim Hayward & Alex Mead. Some were really difficult to follow as the speakers were quite fast. But then again it’s my opinion and I understand that FBC targets bigger audience. Cocktail dinner started soon afterwards but unfortunately being a vegetarian I had very little choice, especially with mushroom allergy and the only dish being Mushroom Risotto L.

Next day was a bit of a mix up of sessions, with Nando from CucaBrazuca.com going first as Jaden was unwell and Fiona Beckett’s session on Writing Style Workshop next. Once again  I loved Nando’s session (gowd he can make you laugh-that Nigeando pic was hilarious) and found somewhat lost with the next session as compared to the writing style sessions in Plate2page. I found the later more hands on and insightful, but I do understand that Plate2page was more of a workshop and FBC is not. Before I was put to a permanent slumber it was lunch time and good food pepped & fueled me up for my much awaited session of FBC: photography workshop with Bea. Her photography and food styling have been a big inspiration to me and I was super excited at the thought of learning from her.
London sometimes surprises you; the dull cloudy day suddenly was bright and sunny for our session outside. Bea first patiently listened to our expectations from the workshop and showed us everything right from how she plates up, styles and photographs food. We got to work in groups and got to chose between cheese & fruits. We had to style and photograph using the lovely props that Sarka got for us, but I wish the session was bit longer so that we could review the group work. I felt it just stopped abruptly. 
After tea break lovely Jaden was all set to tell us how to build community and traffic and shared her experiences and the mistakes she learnt from.  Her energy and enthusiasm is absolutely contagious.
...stay tuned for part 2...More to come but here's the sneak peak..
Béa from La Tartine Gourmande @ Workshop
Anjum Anand's Cooking Demo


Simones Kitchen said...

it was so much fun meeting you again Arthi! Great write up and am looking forward to part 2... I still have to do my photos of the event!! (shame on me)

Jamie said...

Very interesting, Arthi. I think that once you attend something so hands-on as P2P it may be difficult to go back to a more traditional-style conference, especially where the writing and styling/photography come into play. Maybe it is useful for the business side of blogging? I'm off to a big conference this weekend and I'll report back! Thanks for a truly honest review and I'll be looking forward to the second half!

Debugcooking said...

Thanks Jamie..I agree big conferences are more for the business side of blogging..

Meeta K. Wolff said...

A great and very subjective review. The 2 events are two very different concepts catering to different levels of people, so a direct comparison would be very difficult. Plate to Page is really out there to reach into each participant (not necessarily only bloggers) and basically pull out the creativity that I believe is within each of us. A concept like the FBC is more attractive to entry level bloggers looking to get set-up and learn the basics of blogging in general.

Jeanne said...

Thanks for your lovely comments about P2P! I think that P2P and FBC target 2 very different audiences and have 2 very different sets of aims, so comparisons probably not really possible - but it is good to know we are hitting the mark with P2P! Wish I could have been there with you and Simone :(( Jaden is like a whirlwind of energy, isn't she!

Valerie of Love through the stomach... said...

It was great meeting you Arthi, and you actually managed to take a photo of me that I like, high praise! Can't wait for part 2!

Bethany said...

Lovely photos Arthi. Yes we're quite disappointed that the photography workshop had to be cut short but it really was outside our control as the wedding crew arrived early and refused to give us any more time. We really tried and pushed for it but to no avail. Really sorry about it. I noticed you've not had a chance to fill out the conference survey yet. If you do get a chance, we would greatly appreciate it if you could fill out the conference survey as we heavily refer to it when planning the following conferences.

neelima said...

Anjum Anand....;)

Unknown said...

Hi Arthi, lovely to see you the other week and to relive a bit of the weekend again here. Thankfully the riots had subsided by the time we were all at FBC!

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