This year, the annual Eat Drink Blog (EDB) conference was held in Brisbane. I was lucky enough to snag a spot to the conference, and really enjoyed my weekend in Brisbane catching up with blogger friends and making new ones!
EDB kicked off with welcome drinks at Kitty Bar, located within the Treasury Casino. The Treasury Casino is a large, old building and seeing as though EDB occurred during the annual Brisbane Festival, the Treasury Casino was lit with pink lights and had two pink bunnies out the front. Most of the Brisbane icons around the city were coloured pink, which just happens to be my favourite colour.
EDB delegates were treated to a range of canapes and drinks, including fresh spring rolls from Luke Nguyen’s Fat Noodle venue (which is where a group of us ended up having dinner later that night. Luke Nguyen’s Fat Noodle restaurant has a variety of Asian dishes all at a reasonable price).
The EDB conference proceedings occurred mostly on the Saturday and there was variety of presentations squeezed in with lots of food offerings.
Seeing as though our day started at 8.30am, I made a beeline to the Merlo coffee stand at the side of the Wandering Cooks venue for a coffee fix.
Last time I was in Brisbane, I ended up slightly in love with Merlo coffee beans. When it was announced that Merlo coffee was sponsoring EDB, I was very happy to try it again. I’m a fan of a strong coffee, and Merlo coffee is strong but with a smooth taste. Merlo coffee is supposedly how Italian quality coffee came to Brisbane originally (as this family business has been serving coffee to Brisbanites since 1958).
Apart from pastries, there were also ham crossiants and little quiches available. I opted for a mini quiche, which had big chunks of chorizo and lovely, thick pastry. Heaven!
The first presentation was from Nathanael Ho, a Singaporean blogger who came to talk about Food Blogging in the Lion City. His blog is one of the most popular Singaporean food blogs, Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow, and it was interesting to hear about the dynamics between food bloggers and media outlets within Singapore.
We broke for morning tea, which featured one of the most amazing chocolate cakes by Passiontree Velvet.
Melbourne food blogger and lawyer, Claire Davies from Melbourne Gastonome, presented an interesting presentation about ACCC Guidelines. The take away message – don’t mislead your readers, either by posting good reviews for negative experiences or vice versa. I always think its interesting when I hear from fellow bloggers that they don’t post negative reviews – that in itself can be seen as misleading. It was an interesting discussion, as you can imagine!
Off the back of that was a presentation from Damien Condon, a Director of a Brisbane PR company called Lucid Media. Damien spoke about the Evolving Media Landscape in Australia and what that meant for bloggers.
For lunch, we were treated to a vegan, paleo friendly lunch, courtesy of Wholesomeness.
I spent my lunch hovering around the The Australian Mushroom Growers Association stand, where there were Japanese pancakes, chorizo and mushroom delights as well as stuffed mushrooms. So good!
After lunch, we had two panel discussions. The first was about keeping motivated as a blogger, with the second being Chef vs. Blogger with Brent Farrell from 85 Miskin St, Phillip Johnson from e’cco Bistro, Josh Okorn from Prive 249, Tony Percuoco from Tartufo. [FOR PHOTO CAPTION- Angela Hirst – Director of Wandering Cooks, Nathanael Ho, Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow, Tracy Gray – Eat See Meet].
Of course, chef vs. blogger was an interesting discussion, seeing as though there are always going to be friction between chefs and critics – including bloggers. I found the take away message to be – if you don’t like your meal, mention it first in the restaurant. Chefs would rather have the opportunity to amend the issue then hearing about it on an online forum. That includes Urbanspoon reviews!
For the whole day, I was looking forward to afternoon tea, as I knew that there would be ice-cream sandwiches on offer. Bri from Eatmeetswest (a favourite Perth blogger) and I were the first to the box.
We both grabbed the vanilla bean sandwich first, but went back for a second, seeing as though there were chocolate sandwiches available. LICK ice-creams make a delicious ice cream sandwich!
From a personal aspect, I aim to eat ethically – which means for me, eating local produce and trying to eat a variety of meat and vegetarian choices (from the idea that I don’t eat too much of one animal). Brenda Fawdon, owner and chef at Mondo Organics, spoke about her thoughts on Ethical Food in Australia and also made a sustainable fish burger with head chef, Paul.
My favourite session of the conference was by Christina Soong, blogger behind the very popular Australian blog – The Hungry Australian. Even though she was asked to speak specifically about Blogger Economy AKA making money from blogging, I got a lot out of her session from a different aspect. I’m one of those lucky people who absolutely love what I do for my full-time work, so I’ve never thought about blogging as a full-time job. Even though Christina gave fantastic tips about making the transition, I reflected on why I personally started blogging. For me, it was as a hobby and to use my writing skills. Sometimes, however, I seem to see blogging as a chore, so next time that happens, I’ll be stepping back and just reflecting on whether I still want to do this time-consuming hobby.
Our day ended at Wandering Cooks with goody bags. One included a variety of food items, however the second was from Passionfruit Velvet chocolates, which featured a collection of some of their intriguing chocolates.
I fell in love with the Earl Grey, Basil and Espresso chocolates – which were possibly the best chocolates I’ve had in a very long time.
Some of the canapés on offer were:
The dessert was an amazing construction, which a variety of chefs came out to make.
Afterwards, it was lit and the end result was a chocolately, smokey dessert that featured a variety of different elements. It was definitely theatrical!
On the Sunday morning, I returned to Wandering Cooks for a Food Styling workshop, held by Sarah Bazar from Emotive Light Photography.
Thanks to this year’s EDB committee for hosting a fantastic event as well as the large array of sponsors. I’m already looking forward to the next one!
On a side note, I’ll also be posting three meals I had while in Brisbane – breakfast at Shouk Café, lunch at Esq and dinner at Matt Moran’s Aria. I can’t wait to share these meals with you!