Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Food Blogger Connect Dubai 2013 and more.

The last two months have been more than incredible. Happy.Inspiring. Busy.These three words pretty much sum it up. I’ve not been able to blog about it because you know how it is sometimes life just takes over. But the other day when I was going through my folder that contains all my little notes, to-do lists, menus, visiting cards and the monthly calendars for the last ten months (Yes, I still use paper to write down my schedule and assignments for the month) I realized I need to write it all down here before they begun to fade away this October and November. And I must do this now.

October began with the Food Blogger Connect’s writing,photography and styling roaming workshop on the 4th and the 5th. The month also gave me a chance to conduct not one but two cooking demonstrations; the first one for The Indian Trumpet Breast Cancer Awareness Event and the second one was all about cooking with organic ingredients. The demonstration was in collaboration with The Change Initiative and Down to Earth, Dubai.

Those of you have been following my food journey know how I go weak in the knees when I get to meet chefs who love food, who live food and who breathe food. These two months made me strike out many names that are there on my bucket list; an hour long opportunity to sit down and chat with MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor, an enriching masterclass with the Two Michelin ChefMarco Sacco and finally some time with the one and only Chef Marco PierreWhite.

October also brought with it happy news from the team at Scoop Empire choosing Orange Kitchens as one of their favourite Dubai foodblogs and some remarkable work opportunities that I am not allowed to share at present. But come 2014 I will be shouting about it for sure :)

A day prior to the FBC meet a bunch of us were invited for a blogger’s lunch hosted by the lovely Saba Wahid at Barbeque Delights. It was a great afternoon spent doing what I like doing best; eating and chatting with fellow foodies.

So yes! Amazing two months. In between all this, the usual work and the festival madness we took off for a little family vacation to Istanbul and I was literally in heaven. Its architecture, history and food had both the design and food blogger me going overboard with the camera.
So yes I have loads to share and that is exactly what I intend to do in the days to come. At least the intention is there :)

Let’s begin with the Food Blogger Connect Dubai 2013.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it let me start with by introducing FBC to all of you. FBC started in 2009 with an aim to bring together food bloggers. Today it is the world’s leading international food blogging conference where bloggers, writers, photographers and stylists all come together for the love of food. The meet up at Dubai brought with it a chance to observe and learn from the best. Dianne Jacob, author of Will Write For Food, Ellen Silverman, freelance photographer who has photographed over 25 cookbooks and ofcourse food editor, writer and consultant Martha Holmberg. Read all about them here.

The two day meet was held at the very green, open and gorgeous Safa Park’s The Archive. 

As I made my way in I could feel the room bursting with energy and enthusiasm. Lots of bright faces, some known to me and some new,steaming hot coffee,notepads and cameras; everywhere. 

Day one began with the writing workshop with Dianne. We discussed several aspects of writing and how fascinating it is that food is the perhaps only thing that can be connected to any, just anything be it history, traditions, politics, experiences and more. We talked about using specific adjectives and using the five senses when describing food rather the usual yummy and delicious that a lot of us are guilty of. We practiced writing and putting several techniques together that Dianne taught us. “Your job is to be storyteller” and not just using adjectives. Wise words there. We also looked at different forms of freelance writing since many of us bloggers were also already writing for a lot of magazines or were interested in doing so and so much more. 
By now tummies were grumbling and Chef Tom put together a lovely picnic for us outside. Though it was unbelievably warm outside I have to say I enjoyed both the food and the great company.

The post lunch session was dedicated to the art of writing a cookbook book proposal, a cookbook and also how to make sure that one works with the right publisher for that can make or break the book. Dianne’s started that session with the following words, “If you were to get a book contract…” Words that I am sure most of us sitting in that room want to hear one day. Words that I hope to turn into reality one day.
The day came to end with a memorable meal at the very colourful and vibrant Zaroob. 
Alright...what do you get when you put a bunch of food bloggers, their cameras and food stylist’s Fiona Archibold’s enviable prop collection? You get twenty adults behaving like three year olds on a sugar high.

Combine that with Ellen and Martha’s visual storytelling expertise. You get twenty adults behaving like three year olds on a sugar high and jumping off the walls. That would be Day Two. 

Fiona began the session with a very sound advice,"When styling food always try and get that sixth sense in; emotion” and introduced us to all the props.
After a quick session with her, Ellen and Martha took over. The first part of the day was dedicated to learning about different angles, using light correctly, bringing out the texture in the food and most importantly sometimes “you have to kill your darlings”. From there we moved on to how to treat one’s blog as a brand. We then started our “show and tell” (told you we were like little kids in a candy store :)) and began styling and shooting food. It was a great session with feedback from both Ellen and Martha on the styling and quality of pictures that we took there and our individual blogs.
The second part of the day was dedicated to developing, writing and capturing recipes. “You have to be hungry when developing a recipe,” was their advice. 

 The day and FBC came to an end with a fun filled night at Hakkasan.
I came back home making lifelong memories, learning from the best teachers, making some new friends and with an honest intention to put in more work behind both the blog and all the other wonderful food related work that I am already or will be a part of.

Big thanks to the entire FBC team, especially Bethany and Joslin. They all worked really hard to put it all together and ensured that we had a fabulous time. 

The complete album is on the Orange Kitchens Facebook page. I hope you enjoy going through it.

Images: Personal Album. While you enjoy reading this post with visuals.Please do not use them without asking. They belong to Orange Kitchens unless otherwise stated
The logo has been taken from the FBC site and the Map of the Safa Park from their website.


palwasha khan said...

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Manoj Sharma said...

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