A conference on a topic I am actually really interested in, at a great venue with fabulous food and lots of lovely attendees? Now that’s a novel idea......... The last conference I attended was years ago in London, about finance. Well I think it was finance, I was slipping into a boredom induced coma by morning tea so cant be sure.......
No such danger on Saturday, at the First New Zealand Food Bloggers Conference, aptly named
For the Love of Food. Doesn’t that sound just so much more appealing? Organised brilliantly by Alli over at Pease Pudding, it was fun, informative, and for me, inspiring. And what a corker of a goodie bag (don’t fib, you would dive in like a kid in a candy shop too!)
With visitors, work & illness inspiration has been in short supply in Plum Kitchen of late, so it was great to talk to other bloggers and get some new ideas from the presenters. After a welcome intro from Alli, Andrea at d'lish talked about website design, which particularly interested me as PK is in the process of getting a makeover.
This was followed by Jaco Swart talking social media. I find all the different forms of SM a bit overwhelming to be honest so it was refreshing to hear murmurs in the room telling me I wasn’t alone…!
After morning tea we listen to Alessandra talk food writing . This is the talk I was most looking forward to, as it the part of blogging I enjoy the most, and what I look out for in other blogs. Alessandra is a great presenter, honest & informative, she knows what she is talking about and is happy to share.
Next up was Emma from Fisher & Paykel. I suspect Emma may have the best job in New Zealand, not only does she & her colleagues produce a fantastic blog, they do it during working hours. Needless to say there were plenty of volunteers to fill her shoes should she ever decide to hit the road…….
Lunch was fabulous, no boring buffet here. The Tasting Shed is a beautiful spot in Kumeu, and the food was just delish. My top pic would be the Pork Head fritters, like eating crispy crumb Pork Belly, and the Beef, which was tender with a moreish onion jam on top, mmmmmmm.
The afternoon session can always be a tough sell, when everyone has a full tum, but a Q&A panel discussion was the perfect choice. It is fascinating to hear different views on why we blog, for the most part it is financially a thankless task, but rewarding in many other ways. For me personally the buzz is when someone cooks a recipe I have shared, or learns a new technique. Or just has a chuckle. Everyone has their own inspirations, hearing so many different approaches reiterated to me there is no one fit, as the song says “you cant please everybody so you’ve got to please yourself”….or something along those lines!
Louise Fawcett from Pacific Harvest gave us a really interesting round up on sea vegetables, of which I can say my prior knowledge was nil. I have found some of the Kelp which I am looking forward to experimenting with on my return from holiday
A wine tasting at Coopers Creek was next on the agenda, but nursing a wee headache I stayed behind, by all accounts it was delicious.
Last up was Bron Marshall who gave us all some great tips for food photography and styling. I must admit this is the area of food blogging I struggle with the most, so any/all help is greatly appreciated. Bron had a slide show presentation, and had props set up for those with cameras to have a play. As you can see from the spectacular lack of pics for this post I only had my iPhone, and I am no great shakes driving that. But avoidance cures nothing, so more practice required , hopefully my pics will look half as good as Bron’s!
There was a dinner kindly sponsored by Cook the Books that evening, I was unable to attend, and was very envious as it did sound like a lot of fun, and a perfect end to the day.
For MUCH better pictures of the whole day, here are the blogs of all the attendees, who will have there own top picks from the event:)
Alessandra Zecchini –
Alli Pirrie-Mawer –
Andrea Wong -
Bron Marshall -
Carmella Lee -
Rowan Bishop -
Saya Hashimoto –
Shirleen Oh –
Vanessa and Ingrid Opera
Thanks again to Alli for making it all happen, all the great speakers, and the following list of sponsors, what a generous bunch!
Cook the Books
I Love Pies
New Holland Publishers