The inaugural Scottish Food Bloggers Conference was held in Ayr on Saturday 1st September 2012. It was organised by Lisa Tennant on behalf of Taste Ayrshire, as part of Scottish Food Fortnight. The venue was Ayr Racecourse and the conference was held in the rather swish Princess Royal Suite, with stunning views across the racecourse.
We arrived at the racecourse just after nine in the morning and were lead to the conference suite, where we had a chance to mingle before the conference began. Lisa gave a talk about her hopes for the conference and introduced our first speaker who was Justin Galea, Executive Chef at the world famous Turnberry Resort.
He told us that what we should be doing is showcasing one ingredient and building a dish around it. Also, we should be looking for quality ingredients and buying locally when we can. He went on to tell us this could be challenging and that during the Olympics, 15 lorries full of Ayrshire lettuce were sent to London a day, which meant it was difficult for restaurateurs to source local produce.
- Justin recommends extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil.
- Last year the food trends were syringes and powders, this year the trend is humble food and it is all about the ingredients.
- Michelin are changing the way they award stars. A noodle cart on the streets of Hong Kong has a Michelin Star.
- When staying at The Turnberry, the CEO of Pepsi sends his own wrapped frying pans, by plane, as he has an allergy.
Our next workshop was with Colin Kelly, a broadcaster, journalist and social media guru. Colin spoke to us about how to promote our blogs on social media. Apparently 20% of businesses on social media get nothing from it. He told us that our readers don't trust adverts, but they do trust us.
This was a great workshop and really lived up to it's full potential for me. Really relevant for bloggers and I learned so much.
Colin showed us this video on Socialnomics, it is fascinating, I urge you to watch it.
- 23 Billion minutes a day are spent on facebook.
- The fastest growing membership of facebook is the 55 - 65 age group and they are women.
- Before you post on your blog's facebook page, re-read it. Would you read it & share it. If not don't post it.
- You should be able to achieve all your social media objectives a day in 20 minutes.
|Janice (Farmersgirl Kitchen) and me waiting for lunch.|
|Warm Beetroot & Butternut Squash Tartlet with a Piccalilli and Beetroot dressing. and Micro Herbs|
|Seasonal Vegetable Ratatouille with a Crunchy Granola & Cheese Topping|
|Chocolate & Toasted Almond Mousse|
John took us through different writing styles and told us how to 'clean up' our writing style. He also put us on the spot by asking us to write a piece in 10 minutes about the best meal we had ever experienced. My mind immediately went blank and all I could think about was all the bland vegetarian food I had been served over the years. I declined to read mine out.
- When you are writing, imagine you are speaking to just one person.
- Avoid cliches like the plague!!!! (whoops, must try harder!)
- Don't try to be funny, unless you are a stand up comedian, you probably aren't funny.
- Read your work aloud.
Our last workshop and one I was really looking forward to was the Food Photography Masterclass with food photographer Darren McKean.
After a talk about his business and how he got into food photography, Darren showed us different techniques and shared some photographers tips with us. He was very patient, with some of our very basic questions and took the time to answer questions individually. He also had a look at the cameras we were using and gave us suggestions. We all practised taking photos of a cheese board, as he explained different lighting techniques and exposures.
- You can make a reflector to reflect light onto your dishes simply with a piece of card covered in tinfoil.
- You can also use a sheet of polystyrene to bounce light onto your dish.
- When taking photos of food, wrap clingfilm around your camera to keep it clean.
|Louise, Janice & Stuart|
And so ended the conference and a long journey home. Congratulations to Lisa, for putting on such an informative and enjoyable day and thanks goes out to our guest speakers, for very interesting and relevant workshops.
|me, louise & Janice|
A big wave to some of my fellow bloggers at the conference:
Janice - Farmersgirl Kitchen
Louise - Please Do Not Feed The Animals
Stuart - Cakeyboi
Elaine - Fun as a Gran
Kellie - Food to Glow
Lucy - Food That Doesn't Hurt
A big thanks to Scotty Brand for sponsoring my place at the conference and for their continued support.