Friday, August 8, 2014

Indian Food Bloggers Meet 2014- what I take back with me

Those of you who follow me on some networking sites would have also seen that I have been actively commenting, liking and retweeting as many posts that show up with the label IFBM 2014.
The first Indian Food Bloggers Meet, in India was an event conceived by four bloggers, Aparna, Arundati, Revatii and Nandita, all of whom have worked hard to make their idea work and have included forty others who write food blogs. The event was held on the 1st and 2nd of August 2014 at the attractive Aloft Bengaluru, Cessna Business Park.
I had already voiced my excitement about being able to attend this Meet. In the same post I had put my thoughts out as to what I looked forward to and what my apprehensions were. Once in the company of those friendly forty others who had registered, my apprehensions were put to rest. Blogging has given me some good friends, a few of whom were also present. The others whom you read about and knew through their blogs and other networking sites were there too. It was great to connect with them face to face and share mutual interests.
There is much to talk about how meticulously the organisers planned this event out. They had put in hours planning and talking to people and sponsors. They had thought it out thoroughly and made each session an experience to nurture. They had hoped to make a recognition for food blogging, what we bloggers as a community look for and strengthen ties.They had planned sessions to help us take what is  hobby bordering on passion to newer levels. I am grateful that they included all of us in that vision.
The first day brought us sessions in food styling by Deeba, whose photographs are something every food blogger wished to present their food. I must admit, though shame faced, that I missed this session stuck in traffic that moved inches while the minutes ran faster. However, there was time enough to catch up and I am looking forward to having a digital copy of her points. Overall, there was an aura of awe soon after, needless to say how the participants felt.
Next session was somewhat familiar to me as I had attended Aparna's basics on food photography. Yet, there was new learning there too with points thrown in from others. Aparna discussed as much as possible in detail, racing against her given 45 minutes and made sure we did not miss anything, however trivial.
This session was followed by KitchenAid India's Masterclass with Chef  Surjan Singh Jolly from JW Marriot. He whipped up two dishes using three KitchenAid appliances. Kitchen Aid India had conducted a contest and prizes were distributed at this point.
 



Now please allow me to stray a bit and introduce our venue partners, Aloft Bengaluru, Cessna Business Park. As much as our organisers had planned the speeches and interactive sessions, they had put in thought to taking a break and having refreshments. Team Aloft CSB, outdid themselves with each break. We were thoroughly spoilt with choices of refreshments served with a smile. I can only talk about the teas endlessly, for I chose to have servings of all they had to offer, giving up on the food. The lunch on the first day was an array of chaats beautifully laid out giving one the experience of having it somewhere in the corner of a street. I may have well slept through the next session after this meal, but for some more refreshing flavoured tea.





Lunch was followed by Nandita's thoughts on harnessing the power of social media, where she took us through how to make ourselves 'social', what, where and how to go about it. She invited Archana Doshi to share a few of her experiences and give tips on how the tools work.
























A wine appreciation and pairing session that Mr. Aneesh Bhasin of Hipcask conducted was next. I sat nursing my tea with no clue of what this was about. For those who know anything about wines that may have been useful when they entertain guests.




It was time for tea and as though the lunch was just a small affair, Aloft brought us along with tea some wonderful Eastern Indian food and flavours.
Deeba interviewed Husna Rahaman on her Spice sorcery a story that is food centric and a family traditional one at that.



Next morning it was one of the most awaited sessions; trapping the SEO. Mr. Asish Verma took us through tools that you may optimise best. A bit more technical than I could quickly follow, he spoke of  plugins, algorithms and such. I apologise for not having much to explain, as I do not intend to make light of such an intense learning opportunity. I am determined to read and take notes from Siri who has so much more insight to it.



Rushina took us through good writing and presentation of your thoughts that can hold the reader captive. She spoke of simple language usage and what is being not followed by many of us. Good writing, use of words to show your connect to the reader are important. Coming from a cookbook author, this point is to be taken well.

 
















Aparna Jain was our next guest speaker who told us how to self publish a book, if you intend to. what to do and what not to expect, how to keep it all within your control and limited capacity were her key thoughts.That she did with some light hearted fun, the session was well received.




The panel discussion that followed was very useful, as one could easily relate to the people on it and their stories. They were ones who started blogging, like me, simple and on a hope of good time pass and hobby, and have successfully nurtured their passion to take it beyond. Sanjeeta, Harini, Ruchira and Ranjini, Rushina, and Kalyan Karmakar,  with Arundati moderating, took us on a discussion on beyond blogging.



Every possibility, and how to turn it to advantage, every hurdle and how to overcome and gain out of it were core topics of this discussion. This session was very participant interactive for there are many of us hoping to make something worthy out of blogging.
A sit down lunch at The Nook was most enjoyable. There was food, food and more food to relish. And if that was not enough we were taken through a Masterclass on Western Cooking by Chef Sameer Luthra.

Team Aloft led by their General Manager Mr. Faiz Alam Ansari, were commendable in their hospitality. A big thanks is due to them.
Many thanks are due to all of the sponsors who generously gave away goodies in form of food and food related stuff that we were overwhelmed. I may be cooking and blogging them in my next few posts. This generosity was quite humbling.


In all, these two days were a  upward trajectory on my learning curve, yet a fun one at that.
I acknowledge with thanks the awesome four people who just made it happen and the other participants who showed much comradeship. The two days were educative with all of us pooling ideas in.  We have evolved as a community, a voice and we are food bloggers.
Our Facebook and Twitter pages have updates that we are losing count of reading and commenting. There are more fun pictures, good pictures (I apologise for some poor quality ones in this post) that of the participants, guest speakers, venue and the food. Check out the Indian Food Bloggers Meet page on facebook for many updates.













7 comments:

  1. Lovely to read about this experience akka and so glad you could be a part of it and share with the rest of us - definitely seems fun and informative :)

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  2. Posts like this make all the efforts, the sleepless nights and bordering on loony days of planning, completely worth it. Im most touched by the fact that the experience has thrust your learning curve upwards -- to have been able to somewhere contribute to that makes me feel very happy. Im so glad you came all the way, and that we could meet. Cheers to having you cross the seas every year to join us at IFBM!

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  3. You came all the way from Togo. Wow and hi

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  4. Thank you for such a beautiful write-up on the Meet, Lata. It wouldn't have been a such a success without all of you being there. It was indeed so good to meet everyone there, some old friends and some new.

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  5. Lovely and detailed write up...Almost felt like we were there. Already we saw most of the meet through all the beautiful pictures posted on Facebook!

    Shobha

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  6. Your blog is very informative and gracefully
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Hello,
Welcome and thank you for taking time to drop by.
I appreciate your valuable comments and tips.
I sincerely hope to improve with them.
Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.