Unless you count the time I pretended to be busy with a fax machine behind Jeremy Kyle in his Central News reporting days, I’ve never been on TV. Coming soon however, on a download device near you, will be dozens of food bloggers, including myself, confessing their darkest culinary horrors on film. We’re talking serious bones in cupboards. Only it’s more spatchcock than Hitchcock.
These Kitchen Confidential interviews were the parting shot of the inaugural Food Blogger Connect held in Levant Lebanese restaurant, London on Saturday 28th November. Bribed with goodie bags put together by our wonderful hostess Bethany Kehdy of Dirty Kitchen Secrets bursting with olives, cheese and pannetone, we had to get past a film crew on the way out and they wanted to know all about us. We were softened up with easy stuff first. Why were we food bloggers? Tell us about your blog. Who were our favourite bloggers? What was our favourite food? Then came the killer question: What is your dirty kitchen secret?
Worryingly enough, none of us seemed to struggle to come out with anything. I’ll let you wait until the short film is available to hear what my skeleton was but let me tease you with this: one of us cooks Pot Noodles in their underwear – no hang on, that doesn’t sound right – one of us eats Pot Noodles and the other one cooks in their underwear. This is how rumours start. I should shut up and just tell you about the day.
As I looked around the restaurant I had the strangest feeling that I kept recognising lots of people yet I’d never met any of them before. Everyone was checking out name badges before exclaiming “Oh hello! It’s you!” We had some time, but oh so short, to mingle and chat, eat our food before we sat down to the presentations.
Other people have taken far better pictures of the table laiden with food. Mine either looked really dark or horribly bleached out with the flash. Here though is a semi-presentable shot of the delicious Lebanese goodies we were treated to; felafel, roasted courgettes, fresh pittas, garlicky hummus, pastries filled with minced lamb, fatoosh salad. Everything was very tasty and lots of us went up for seconds.
After our food I did a scout round all the tables to take pictures of as many people as I could so you can all see who was there. Apologies to anyone who I missed.
From left, Sarka “Cook Your Dream“, Carla “Can Be Bribed with Food“, Kavey “Kavey Eats“
Nora “Nora the Kitchen Splorer” and Christina “The Thorngrove Table“
Abi “Food Rambler” and Jassy “Gin and Crumpets“
Catty “The Catty Life“, Su-yin “Bread and Butter” and her partner Ray,
Bethany “Dirty Kitchen Secrets” and Mark “Food by Mark“
George “Culinary Travels“, Kerrin “My Kugelhopf“, Oz “Kitchen Butterfly“
Hilda “Saffron and Blueberry” and Jamie “Life’s a Feast” checking out the baklava
Wonderful toblerone cupcakes from Lola’s Bakery.
Not sure if this hand belongs to Davina “The Sugar Bar” – sadly unphotographed otherwise
Not sure who lady on left is – identify yourself and I’ll amend this!
Next is Sarah “Simply Cooked“, Alessio “Recipe Taster” and Jamie “Life’s a Feast”
Deeba “Passionate about Baking“, Nicola “Cherrapeno”
and Sunita “Sunita’s World”
and Sunita “Sunita’s World”
After our food it was time for getting down to business and listening to talks on different aspects of food blogging. Jeanne from “Cook Sister” spoke to us about the BloggerAid Cook Book, writing style alongside Jamie of “Life’s a Feast” and also copyright issues.
Meeta of “What’s for Lunch Honey” spoke about food photography and styling.
She’s really into her props.
Kang “London Eater” gave two talks on the more technical side of photography and social media. He was apparently nervous but this didn’t show and he was very entertaining.
Jamie “Life’s a Feast” talking about writing style and where she finds inspiration.
It was all very good stuff and there was lots of scribbling in notebooks going on. We were starting to run over our time slot with the restaurant so there were some hurried hip hip hoorays for Bethany and the team behind her who had pulled the day together; Jeanne, Jamie, Meeta, Mowie, Hilda and Bethany’s husband Chris who did all the filming. Apologies if I’ve missed anyone out.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable event and within the hour people were tweeting “When’s the next one?”
Next morning, a smaller group of us went to Marylebone Farmers Market and then for lunch at The Natural Kitchen. Sadly it poured with rain but this didn’t dampen our appetite to chat and we were in the cafe for over two hours still talking about food, blogs, more food, more blog stuff. I haven’t had so much fun in ages and came away with lots of new friends who were now “real” and not just 140 character cyber chums.
I will leave you now with a final photo emailed to me by Sunita. I didn’t manage to take any photos of myself on Saturday and on Sunday I only took my titchy camera which promptly spat it’s battery out. So here below I can prove I was there!
From left, myself, Pam “The Cooking Ninja“, Deeba, Jamie, Chris, Hilda,
Bethany, Meeta, Alessio, Oz, Mowie (with camera naturally) and Sarka.
Picture reproduced with permission of Sunita Bhuyan
faithy, the amateur baker says
Thanks for sharing! Love to read about food bloggers' events & to look at photos and connect the faces! 🙂
Kitchen Butterfly says
Wowwwwwwwwwwww Sarah. Your photos are FANTASTIC and you did a great job capturing everyone on film. Superb. It was SO much fun wasn't it. Now I've got Bloggers Connect Fever….. LOL.
Kitchen Butterfly aka Oz is so right about all of us having Bloggers Connect Fever! Great write up and great pics and I hope you don't mind my stealing the last one for my write up!
It was fabulous meeting you and you are cuter and more fun in person than even on twitter! Thrilled you spent Sunday with us even tho you had to painfully pull yourself away from us way too soon! Vive le next FBC!!!
Great pictures, lovely write up. Wish someone could organise something like this in the North. Perhaps I should try and get down to visit the next one. Best Wishes to all you Bloggers.
Sarah, Maison Cupcake says
Arrr thank you Jamie! It was agony not coming on Sunday night. Next time my husband will be braced to expect a total 3 day food blogging fest and I will either stay whole time or bring him and Ted with me!
Bakelady59 – you are welcome to stay in Walthamstow if you come next time!
sarah this is a grand review! you were brilliant and loved meeting with you! i so wish we all lived closer!
Sarah, it was so good to finally meet you and get to know you a bit better over the weekend. You're such fun and I feel we could chat for hours, so we must meet up soon and do just that! So sorry you couldn't make it over to mine with the others on Sunday night, you were missed! You are welcome to come over any time though =) Great photos and great post!
I didn't go because I always feel like a ridiculous imposter at these things and can't bear to describe myself as a 'food blogger'. But maybe I should get over myself – looks like a lot of fun!
Hi Sarah – what a great review! I'm sorry we did not have a great deal of time to chat on Saturday – maybe a sign that we should plan an informal get-together in the new year 🙂 Great photos ) And your unidentified lady is the lovely Solange from Pebble Soup.
Chow and Chatter says
great snaps and what an amazing event hope i can come next yr
Hi Sarah, you did a wonderful job identifying all bloggers! It will hugely help me when finally writing my post! Thank you! 🙂 I was great meeting you!
Barbara Bakes says
Thanks for the post! Sounds like a wonderful weekend!
Aaargh, red wine teeth! But apart from that, great photos and write up, Sarah. Really wish I could have made it on Sunday to have more time to chat to you and everyone – it went so fast!
Hey Sarah. Thanks for the photos and the write-up; you have been very thorough. 🙂 Hasn't it been fantastic meeting everyone?
What a great write-up and wonderful photos. Well done for going round and taking one of everyone.
It was super to meet you, wish the day hadn't gone by so quickly though. Roll on the next FBC!
Daily Spud says
"More spatchcock than Hitchcock" – I had to pick myself up off the floor after reading that, I was laughing so much!
So great to see pictures of so many people (well done you!) and so many I didn't meet. A pity I could only be there for Saturday but the experience has just whetted my appetite for FBC10 🙂 Lovely to meet you (if only briefly) and I'm sure our paths will cross again.
Madame Sucre says
oh I am sooo attending the next one!! this is so much fun.. so happy to see everyone enjoyed the gathering and the chatting!! .. 🙂
What an amazing event it was.
Here's to next year!
I am stunned though you got a pic of me with my mouthful (blush, blush, blush).
Sarah, Maison Cupcake says
Thank you everyone, readers old and new! I so look forward to all these new blogs I have to check out.
@Mowie – thank you! I'm sure I will see you before FBC 2010!
@Hilary – you really should have come, a couple of other people didn't have blogs either and they had a great time. Maybe now they'll start blogs!!
@Jeanne – thanks for identifying Solange, I must update that. Hope to see you soon.
@Nora @George – sorry about that, it's so hard getting pictures of people when they're in the middle of conversations or eating isn't it
@dailyspud – you better hide if I come to Dublin because I'm going to hunt you out
@Madame Sucre – thanks for coming to my blog and introducing me to yours, it's beautiful
ah, those cupcakes….
That looks such a fun and fruitful event. I hope I can join the next Food Bloggers event.
I read this yesterday and was sure I left a comment, but in having to come back to get your link for my post I realized I didn't. So it was a pleasure to meet you Sarah, this is a fabulous write-up, and I hope we'll see each other the next time you come into town! =)
Gourmet Chick says
Sounds like I missed a lovely event – great write up
Heavenly Housewife says
This looks like so much fun. I've actually been to Levant before. Its a great place with a lot of atmosphere. So wonderful to see that everyone had such a fab time!
Sooo lovely to meet you!!! 🙂
As for the two of us who talked about Pot Noodles and cooking in our underwear, be grateful it's the way around it is! Am not sure ANYONE but my husband should ever be subjected to the sight of me cooking in mine! 😉
Deeba PAB says
Was absolutely wonderful to meet up with you Sarah…a surreal feeling making it from twitter to reality. I loved the 'connect' and am still reliving the good memories. I have some pics of you. Do send me your email address so I can get them across! xox
That looks like so much fun!
That is me in the corner, examining my food so it seems. It was great fun wasn't it, can't wait for the next one
Solange as in Pebble soup
Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) says
Hey! Well I thought I'd already left a comment but that could just be and my craziness these last few days! A fabulous round up and so lovely to meet you! Hope to meet up before FBC10