The Essential Ingredient, Prahran;
St. Ali, South Melbourne
Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the inaugural Eat.Drink.Blog food bloggers conference. I was one of 45 bloggers who came together at the drool-worthy foodies store, The Essential Ingredient, went upstairs to their demonstration kitchen and discussed all things blogging - from how and why we blog, making money, ethics, and photography, to copyright and other legalities, being more social in the blogging community and SEO.
Receiving this invitation was thrilling for me as realised I would get to mingle with some of my favourite food bloggers, such as Ed from tomatom.com.au and Claire from Melbourne Gastronome. When I arrived it was evident that many of the bloggers knew each other from online or from previous events, and as a relative newcomer to the food blogging scene it was a relief to find each and every person was friendly and welcoming.
There were so many highlights, so many funny moments throughout the day, and one was the Twitter broadcast that was projected up onto the wall. Even if you didn't make it to the event, if you followed #eatdrinkblog or #eatdrinkblog2010 yesterday you probably felt like you were there as we furiously tweeted everything that was said, as well as updates on the temperature of the room and our current hunger/wanting booze status.
Lunch was provided by St Ali - a selection of sandwiches from which I chose the smoked salmon and chicken package.
We returned from lunch for the "how to be social" panel which I found particularly interesting as a fairly new blogger. Armed with a fat notebook I took down notes from the experienced bloggers and particularly took home this message: Be involved in the community - be active online as well as in the 'real world'. Interact with your fellow bloggers. If you are using your blog to simply upload and update information, your blog will only go so far.
Next stop: the food photography exhibition, sponsored by SBS, which featured some stunning pieces I'd love to have hanging on my walls - including the ice cream photo by the lovely Linda from buttersugarflour.com. We were served cocktails in brown paper bags and old poison bottles courtesy of Der Raum - I wasn't such a fan of a chamomile cocktail, but we all agreed that the beetroot juice mixture served in a wine glass was delicious.
After two hours of drinking and mingling we all had rumbling tummies and I know I was very excited when Ed yelled "FOOD!" - time to enter the very cool ST. ALi for a six course "Bloggers Banquet".
I ate scallops, oysters, wontons, Chinese broth, mushrooms, kingfish head, lamb rump and fresh fruit with chili sugar. Michael from myachinghead.net told me that he basically lives at this restaurant; I can see why. Each dish was stunningly presented, perfectly portioned and the flavours very balanced. It was an incredible meal, accompanied by a very passionate and knowledgeable waitress and beautiful fellow bloggers to chat to. I would consider a large majority of my friends and family to be very into food, but these people are absolute food geeks, and it was such a pleasure to be surrounded by people who also wanted to keep talking and talking about food and wine and coffee.
To top it all off, us bloggers woke this morning to discover our event had made it into the "Melbourne Life" section of The Age:
The Age, Monday 22nd March
The event was fantastic and it was so exciting to be a part of the first one. From it, I gained invaluable knowledge from long-time bloggers, met wonderful people who share my passion and got to eat some incredible food. I thank all those responsible for bringing the idea to life and look forward to next year's event.