In recent months I have had a revelation, one that hovered around in my head since I was a teenager yet I couldn’t quite put my finger on it or put a label on it. Then I read an article by Kelly Exeter about introverts, and it instantly clicked. Even though I am sociable, and not in any way shy, I realised that a lot of the ways I act in a crowd or pull away from over stimulation brought about by social settings is down to the fact that I am an introvert. Surprising, yet not.
The idea of throwing myself in the middle of a room of 80-100 people that I have not yet met (bar one or two), one would think, would have been somewhat daunting. Yet when the gathering was a room full of food bloggers, food producers and food-passionates, this was not the case. I was excited for months leading up the Eat Drink Blog 2013 conference and despite my introverted ways couldn’t wait to spend the entire day with this like-minded group. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Eat Drink Blog is an annual food bloggers conference in Australia organised by volunteers on what I am told is no budget. And what an amazing job the organisers did. The day was perfectly planned with fabulous food by Jean Pierre Sancho, Brownes, West N Fresh, Littlesweet Baking, European Foods, Red Hot Spatula (and the nighttime event had even more!) and an endless supply of freshly brewed coffee from Five Senses. You may notice I often share my thoughts on gorgeous local products, and I am fully supportive of the small Perth food business getting its product out there. I noticed the food sponsors were all local producers, I suspect the careful selection wasn’t a coincidence. I like that.
Speakers included Emma Galloway of My Darling Lemon Thyme, Adam Roberts (who flew all the way from the US mind you) of The Amateur Gourmet, Max Brearley of Pub Diaries, Cynthia Chew aka The Food Pornographer, Simon Park from The Heart of Food and Ed Charles of Tomato, to name a few. Each panel offered invaluable tips and experiences that appeal to food bloggers on some level. All bloggers would agree that starting out can be very lonely, you’re entrenched in this online space you call your own with sometimes little or no interaction with others (aside from possibly your mum – HI MUM!). So to sit in a room full of food bloggers was enlightening and exciting to say the least.
Anyone that has sat with me over a meal will know I am, let’s just say, a little ‘greedy’. I may have told you before that I used to sneak the last chocolate biscuit as a kid when no one was looking, and get up in the middle of the night to sneak an ice cream while the rest of the house slept. I have little restraint when I am presented with food, rarely stopping myself from taking another handful of chocolate or another biscuit, and another (I know, it’s not a nice characteristic but it is what it is). So when I walked out at lunch time to see the vast spread of delightfully colourful food lined up on a long table my eyes, and stomach, quietly had a little celebration. I did however stand back and chat to other food bloggers and patiently waited my turn. Well the day was full of surprises.
Delicious offerings by European Foods included antipasto consisting of Greek olives, button mushrooms, chargrilled artichokes, peppers and feta, plus fresh salads, a huge selections of cheeses served with nuts and European fruit pastes and breads. I could go on, but it’s only going to make me hungry and you probably wish you’d been there. The Eat Drink Blog 4 committee did a fabulous job, I am positive arranging the day was a huge undertaking and not one detail jumped out as half-assed. It was a truly fabulous day, and even this introvert left after 9 hours wanting more. And not just the food.
The following day saw groups heading off to attend various workshops. I attended the Mastering French Pastries with Emmanuel Mollois. What a character! He can hold an audience captive not just by his baking skills but his sense of humour. A funny chap, he is liberal with sharing the secret to his success and offers wonderful tips to the non-professional baker. As I am a home cook with zero formal cooking qualifications, I took some great advice from Emmanuel but what struck out most was this – “The trick is to use great products and do simple things with them.” My ethos with my blog, and most aspects of my life, is quality in its absolute simplest form. I have absolutely no issue with spending money on great products but like to keep things simple. These words from Emmanuel hit home the most for me.
And of course, there were pastry treats. Say no more.
This was my first ever bloggers conference, I was chuffed it was held in my hometown. I will most definitely be putting my name down for next year’s event, and I suggest if you are a food blogger just starting out, you do too. Networking with other food bloggers is imperative not only for the fact we feel less alone online, but the information we can receive by interacting with like-minded others is something you can’t always find on google.
A huge and not so scary revelation for this introvert.