The New Zealand Food Bloggers Association’s inaugural conference took place at The Tasting Shed in Kumeu on the 12th November. 26 food bloggers from around NZ came together under the auspice of Alli Pirrie-Mawer (peasepudding.wordpress.com) to mull over food, writing, photography, and commentary over what makes us pursue this time-consuming, sanity-sapping, low-paying (and that’s for the lucky few who actually derive an income from this) craft.
The conference was a fantastic day of camaraderie and commiserations, knowledge sharing and new friendships. Andrea (www.dlish.co.nz) started off the sessions with a journey into web design. I learnt about the secret language of typography; a fascinating world which I had been totally oblivious of. I am embarrassed to admit that I was probably the only person in the room who did not know the difference between serif and san serif. Next, Jaco (rainbowcooking.co.nz) delved into blogging and social media.
Alessandra (alessandrazecchini.blogspot.com) who recently published her third cookbook (!) gave us some insider tips on writing for magazines and other clients, and nudged us on the path of developing our own recipes, the first step in writing a cookbook.
Emma (Fisher & Paykel: Our Kitchen) made all of us incredibly envious. Imagine being paid to blog about food as part of your job! Emma and the rest of the team’s initiative in starting a food blog at F&P which then became part of the company’ culture was enthralling stuff.
What’s a Food Bloggers conference if lunch wasn’t the headliner event? Alli had picked an amazing venue. The small plates at The Tasting Shed were the perfect way to dine and continue conversations with new blogger friends. The food was scrumptious, beautifully presented, absolutely flavourful. My favourites were the braised and rolled (and crumbed) pigs head and the romesco marinated chicken served with israeli couscous and harissa.
We continued the sessions with a lively discussion about food blogging in NZ with Bron, Saya, Rosa, Jemma and Vanessa; how they started, challenges, what they hoped to achieve. Fame. Fortune. Of course. I jest. Really. We all blog for the love of food (the aptly named theme of the conference); each of us is fanatical about food, and want to share what is good, be it recipes, restaurants/shops or just to discuss food. And the big question most of us have silently wondered: what is considered to be a ‘decent’ daily page view?
Louise from Pacific Harvest gave a lesson on NZ seaweed. Red karengo is absolutely delicious on its own, and kelp puts a delicious spin on salad.
The photography session was a highlight (yes, pun intended) of the event. Bron (bronmarshall.com) gave an illuminating (I’m sorry, I truly cannot help myself) talk about the mechanics behind the art of food styling and photography. And the secret is, light, light and more light! How to follow it, how to bounce it, how to balance it.
We ended the day at Cook the Books, where owner Felicity cooked a seemingly never ending array of foods. The corn fritters with the homemade pesto were truly moreish.
What a fantastic day. We came, we savoured, we blogged. And I loved every moment of it.
Thank you Alli, and much thanks to the sponsors:
The Tasting Shed | Coopers Creek | Cook the Books | Annies | Bell Tea | Cuisine | Gravity Coffee | GU Puds | Hubbards | I Love Pies | Kohu Road | Kokako | Loaf Handcrafted Breads | Mad Millie | Photo & Video | teza | Whittakers | New Holland Publishers | Pacific Harvest