Food Blogger Connect 2012 – We Came, We Saw, We Presented (again!)
Posted 30 October 2012 22:28
Following on from a successful three conferences, Food Blogger Connect was back for its fourth appearance.
The venue this year was at a former Victorian Ragged School in Beaconsfield, London. As you can tell it’s not like most schools. It had a fun, quirky atmosphere about it – and was perfect for the food conference.
Canteen – this was a general area, with a kitchen (fully stocked with free drinks and freshly made nibbles) and seating.
School Hall – which was perfect for presentations due to its front-facing desks on an upwards angle.
Railway Arch – it reminded me of Batman’s ‘Batcave’. It was home to some of the workshops and stalls.
The unofficial hub of the whole event was the courtyard. This is where people flocked to at every opportunity (breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the breaks), to get a taste of the amazing food that was being served by street traders throughout the weekend.
The conference ran for 3 days, starting on Friday 28th September. My presentation was at 3.30pm on the Friday, so I got there nice and early and was able to test my laptop out with the projector – it worked first time, so everything was looking good.
When it came for me to do my presentation, I got up, plugged my laptop in and started talking. I had 18 slides to show in less than 15 minutes and I talked about how food bloggers can achieve more, in less time with the aid of food plugins, such as our recipe plugin for WordPress. I find presenting great fun and I genuinely hope that I helped some people understand that they can achieve more by automating parts of their blog. Afterwards, I got a really nice round of applause and Karen from Lavender and Lovage even stood up to tell everyone that she was really happy with the technical support that we had recently given her (thank you Karen!!!). Several people approached me later that day (and the weekend) to ask about GetMeCooking and our recipe plugin for WordPress.
The format this year allowed for up to three things to be happening at the same time. Some of these things were workshops (such as food photography), which participants had to pay extra for. I was happy to just watch the presentations, so I spent most of the conference in the school hall (and the courtyard of course). Having said that, I did get the opportunity to watch a couple of the workshops from afar (between presentations) and it looked like the participants were getting a lot of value out of them – I could see the look of concentration on people’s faces!
Vitamix were one of the sponsors of the event and were demonstrating their blender throughout the three days.
I must say, it is a very nice bit of kit – and well thought out with the plastic plunger which can be used to push ingredients down without touching the blades.
Besides being able to blend food really well, they also demonstrated its ability to use the friction of the blades to heat water (and ingredients) to make a soup or curry sauce, or frozen fruit to make ice-cream (as demonstrated in the video below):
For me, the highlights of the event were:
- Presenting. It really is great fun and I genuinely hope that I helped some food bloggers understand that they can achieve a lot more by using plugins to automate parts of their blog. I got a really nice round of applause and several people approached me later that day (and the weekend) to ask about GetMeCooking and our recipe plugin for WordPress
- Watching other presentations. I particularly enjoyed the talks on writing style and how to treat your blog as a business
- Meeting food bloggers. This might sound obvious – but really, I learn so much just by chatting with food bloggers at events such as these. Plus (more importantly), I have fun! Food Bloggers are the nicest people (nicest people – with cake!!!)
- The food stalls. Being a Food Blogging Conference, where people blog about, you know... food; it was important that the food provided was at a very high level – and it really was. Bethany and her team must have vetted hundreds of food stalls in order to whittle them down to the ones that attended and they didn’t disappoint at all
- The organisers and helpers. It’s the fourth event and it was certainly the best run. You can tell that the organisers are learning each time and it’s just going to get bigger and better. The helpers were so enthusiastic, professional and eager to help – it was a joy to see
Other People's Reviews
The Next Food Blogger Connect...
I’m looking forward to the next one! Speaking of which, if you’re fast; you can make use of their early-bird two for one offer. Maybe I'll see you there? :-)