Australia’s annual conference run by food bloggers, for food bloggers rolled around again – this time in sunny Brisbane. I ate, I drank, I [micro] blogged… I even sketchnoted! After last year’s exceptional Eat Drink Blog in Perth, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to go again, even it required flying across the country. Putting their own spin on the proceedings, Brisbane’s committee didn’t leave me disappointed.
I managed to miss most of the registration drinks at The Kitty, arriving just in time to down a glass of sparkling and rush off to dinner at the neighbouring Fat Noodle. Coming off of an all night flight doesn’t make me the best of company, but I managed to meet some lovely new people and not fall asleep head-first in my broken rice pork chop.
The next day the conference began at Wandering Cooks, a sort of incubator for food entrepreneurs, and a beautiful plant-filled venue for us 60 odd attendees. I managed to be late again, so grabbed a Flour & Chocolate danish and some Emma & Toms juice and took a seat at the back of the crowd. Being a food blogging conference, the food and drinks on offer were wonderful and very enthusiastically photographed. Highlights for me included coffee from Merlot Coffee, Passiontree Velvet cake, and Lick! ice-cream sandwiches.
We ended the day with drinks, canapés and the most ridiculous flaming (yes literally) dessert buffet at Bar 127.
Of course we weren’t there just to eat and drink (although as you can see there was a lot of that going on) – the day’s agenda included five talks and two panels, presented by bloggers, industry professionals, and chefs. This year I decided to try something different, so instead of attempting to photograph the speakers I decided to have a go at sketchnoting.
Sketchnoting has become common practice at tech industry conferences, and is a more refined form of something that I’ve done since childhood – doodling on paper whilst listening. Done properly, it’s not so much random doodles as a very visual form of note taking, and for many people is a better way of getting ideas down and remembering them than standard written notes. Plus, they look cool.
This was my first time sketchnoting anything so the results are extremely rough, but I did find it extremely useful and a good challenge for my handdrawn type skills! It’s certainly something I’d do again. For a more in-depth writeup of the speakers, I’d recommend heading over to Mimi Must Try who did a fantastic job of it.
A few interesting conversations came up whilst speaking with the other attendees (in between all the eating), and I really enjoyed being able to disagree agreeably with people without it devolving into something messy!
Should Eat Drink Blog become a paid conference? This year’s committee had its share of problems, chief among them being unable to secure government funding. From speaking to last year’s committee members, a general lack of funds and over-reliance on corporate sponsorship can cause a lot of pressure, reduce options and make it difficult to keep the conference going on the spirit that it began with. Whilst the exposure is worth it for some sponsors, others (my guess is venues) are more difficult snag. In my opinion, charging a small ticket price is something that should maybe be explored and I’d be happy to pay it for the standard of event that it is. Of course, that brings with it other issues and won’t necessarily guarantee quality – something for next year’s committee to explore!
Where are all the male bloggers? I didn’t even notice until GourmetMale brought it up, but the vast majority of attendees were female! This seems to be the case across the ‘blogosphere’. I think that the general consensus was that perhaps this is because men are too lazy to blog, which seems more than a little unfair. I wonder if it’s because blogging involves so many ‘soft skills’ that are so encouraged in women, and less so in men?
DSLR Instagrams? Another blogger I spoke to (whose name I managed to forget after drinking too much wine…) told me she felt people posting non-phone images to Instagram was insincere. I used to be a phone-only purist, but now I have to admit that about a third of my Instagram posts are taken with a DSLR and edited in Lightroom. With the new Instagram advertising and greater opportunities for brands (including bloggers!) to promote themselves, I think we’ll be seeing more and more professional looking images and videos. Personally I no longer think it’s an issue, unless you’re misrepresenting your images as phone ones when they’re not.
Next up was my chosen Sunday activity – hanging out with bees! Coming in a separate post soon…