On Sunday I was very pleased to participate in the first (hopefully annual?) Australian food bloggers conference, Eat. Drink. Blog. There is no question that the day was an outstanding success, thanks to the hard work of the organisers and presenters Ed, Reem, Mellie, April, Jane, Jess, Tammi, Gill, Zoe, Ellie, Nola, Matt, Claire, Penny, Michael, Brian, Jules and Phil (apologies if I have missed anyone!). The fabulous day of chattering together with lunch, drinks, cocktails, wine, dinner and goodie bags could not have occurred without the wonderful sponsors – The Essential Ingredient, St.Ali, SBS Food, Der Raum, Prentice Wine, Red Hill Brewery, Daylesford and Hepburn Mineral Springs Co. and Street Smart. (Phew, that’s a lot of links – Michael will be proud, all this linking should really assist with SEO!).
As a new blogger, there was so much to learn and I really enjoyed the robust discussions. Sessions covered how and why we blog; practicalities of photography; copyright, ethics and legalities; SEO and how to be social and making money through blogging. I particularly enjoyed:
- the session on how and why we blog – the comment that a blog serves as a kitchen journal really hit home to me, I’ve already been referring to the blog for my own recipes!
- on food photography, the panel gave some great tips – practice makes perfect, read the manual, check your light source and use a large aperture lens for photography in low light.
- the legal discussions on ethics of blogging were also interesting – particularly the discussion of the US position on attribution of ‘freebies’ and the food blogger code of ethics, which can helpfully be distilled (thanks to Chef John of Food Wishes) to the following:
- Don’t Be an Asshole
- Don’t Make Shit Up
- Ask Before You Use Someone Else’s Stuff
- Dude, Karma
It was also great to meet some fellow bloggers in the real world!
After our day of talking at The Essential Ingredient, we headed to St. Ali for the photo exhibition, boozing and eating.
The SBS food bloggers photo exhibition showcases 40 food photos from blogs. The exhibition runs until 28 March, and some more details can be found here on Ed’s blog.
While we were ogling these beautiful photos, it was cocktails a-hoy from Der Raum. I thought Der Raum’s chamomile infused vermouth with elderberry and dry ice was pretty spectacular (loved that they were served in ‘Poison’ bottles!):
I loved that the non-alcoholic cocktail looked seriously dodgy:
… and the beetroot cocktail was something different altogether!
On to the bloggers banquet from the wonderful St. Ali, below are a couple of pictures from our feast. First up, scallops with sweet fish sauce, cress and lime and steamed oysters with spring onion, cress, coriander, soy and mirin dressing:
Pickled Asian mushrooms with cucumber, fried garlic and smoky chilli dressing:
Green mango salad with chilli and coriander:
Coconut and gapi Lamb rump with sautéed green beans and a dry red chilli and cashew sambal:
Also on offer (and sadly pictureless) were braised oxtail wontons in a Chinese five spice broth, grilled kingfish heads with ponsu and shiso cress (there was some fighting over the eyeballs!) and for dessert, fruit with three kinds of chilli sugar.
All in all, it was a brilliant day and kudos to the organisers for their hard work. Cannot wait for next year!
If you want to read more about the conference, loads of bloggers have written about it (including the SBS Food Blog, Confessions of a food nazi, Progressive dinner party, Ravenous Melbourne, Berry travels, At my table and My aching head).