Butterflies didn’t even begin to cover how nervous I was feeling. I was seriously putting myself WAY out of my comfort zone. Though, as I kept telling myself, it was for MY OWN GOOD!! A few months previously I had applied to be a delegate at the EAT DRINK BLOG national bloggers conference. Each year it is held in a different capital (this year Perth) and being in my home city, I was very keen to go. As well as myself, there were 80 bloggers from all around the country attending the 2 day event.
At 8.30 I arrived at Perth City Farm. We were treated to all sorts of breakfast goodies – 5 Senses Coffee, yogurt, coconut water and pastries. I got chatting to a few fellow Perth bloggers that I been following for a couple of years, Laura Mosely, Chi (Perth Scout), Michelle (Foodie Cravings) and Carly (Perth Munchkin). At nine on the dot, we took our seats as Ai Ling welcomed us all. The first Session was a panel chat between Chef Russel Blakie (Must), Ed Charles (Tomato) and Adam Roberts (Amateur Gourmet). This was focusing on “The current State of Blogging”. Russel said that he liked to engage with bloggers often. They are generally positive and create a buzz around new business and the hospitality industry. Generally the social media was good and that bloggers are now part of mainstream media.
Adam Roberts, who flew to Perth from US, was fantastic. He was one of the food blogging pioneers and has made a career out of blogging – leading to TV work and Cookbook deals. He kept the session humorous and shared his most popular blog post. Janet Jackson nipple cupcakes!! In the middle of “nipplegate” Adam made some boobie cupcakes and within a day of posting he’d had hundreds of thousands of hits on his blog. Brilliant!
We then had a session on Coffee, which was held by Five Senses. I found this really interesting and found out lots about coffee that I never knew, like coffee comes from a coffee cherry! We were treated to goodies from Littlesweet Baking for Morning Tea. Megan, is one of my all-time favourite Perth bakers (check out my Cookie Dough Post for more on her cupcakes). I tried a few of her mini cupcakes and slices; I was also excited to find a Littlesweet Brownie mix in our goodie bag, at the end of the day.
We then had sessions on Food Writing and Food Photography. I got some invaluable tips. Chefs Kiren Mainwaring (Co-Op Dining and Dear Friends) and Sophie Budd (Tate Budds Catering) and Paul Kilmurray (Urban Locavore) had an interesting panel chat about shopping for local produce. They both get most of their fresh veg from markets like Perth City Farm and Kalamunda Farmers Markets. People after my own heart!! I LOVE farmers markets, you can’t beat them!
Lunch was a delicious spread – created by European Foods. There were beautifully presented cheeses, Antipasti, Salads etc European Foods (in Northbridge) is a Perth food icon. They’ve been around for almost 80 years. In the queue for the delicious treats I chatted with Whitney (Dine Whit Me) and Sandy (Hungry Again in Perth). Again, I was blown away by how lovely the Perth (and Australian) blogging community is.
The sessions after lunch included; Mobile Blogging and Legal Issues. That was full of good tips by Michael Tucak from Creative Legal. Nobody wants to be sued for defamation!! Ethics and Working with PR brought up some interesting points of view. Cynthia (The Food Pornographer) often embraces PR opportunities; Phil Lees (The Last Appetite) on the other hand is what you would call a blogging “purist” and will not accept any freebies or invitations at all. The discussion was a little feisty and I loved it. It was something I hadn’t considered a lot myself, but I came to the conclusion that I’d consider every opportunity on a case by case basis, always disclose a freebie and be honest in my opinion. People can smell bullshit a mile away.
By this time were were very hot and tired, sitting in what was basically a hot shed – though I was still having a really great day. Sure, City Farm was rustic and a little rough around the edges – but it was real. That’s what blogging is all about – being real and authentic. It was amazing to put a face to the people I’d been talking to in cyberspace; like Peggy (Cake Crumbs and Beach Sand) and Bhavna (Just a girl from Aamchi Mumbai). And to meet people like Cynthia and Juji (Juji Chews) who’s blogs I’d followed for years was fantastic.
We were in for an absolute treat for dinner. In the grounds of Perth City Farm was a pop up mini hawkers market. It was fantastic!! All the fun of the Hawkers Market without the queues! We had Butty’s Burgers, Marcelita’s Empanadas, Jumplings, Delicious Ice, etc etc I have to admit I didn’t have my fave Butty’s Burgers. On this occasion I decided to try something new. But knowing Tam, chef and co-owner of Buttys I sang his praises and sent many of the bloggers over for his sous vide rib burger! And they loved them. I tried empanadas for the first time – which were delicious. The pork and Lime was the standout. I also tried the Jumplings – Wow!! They were divine.
I got a lot out of EDB13. I still consider myself a newbie blogger, and the conference was a big learning curve for me. Afterwards, I felt hugely inspired and I also felt like I had found some long lost friends. It was fantastic to meet like-minded people. People with the same interests and quirks as myself. It was somewhere where it wasn’t unusual to be taking photos of cupcakes, using copious amounts of hash tags and to pause a while before eating (to take more photos!).
Thanks to all the organisers and sponsors – it was an amazing day that left me feeling informed, inspired and very excited about the future for my own blog.
And that was just day one!! Day two post coming soon…