I debated about whether I should write this post, because I am in the unique position to have had a foot in both the organisers’ and attendees’ camp at this year’s Eat Drink Blog conference. I made the very hard decision to pull out of the organising committee after a bout of health issues and was later given the privilege to come as an attendee. It was a very generous gesture on the part of the comm, who all welcomed me with open arms, and it just goes to show what awesome people they are.
But the experience is worth being chronicled and inevitably compared to previous years’, so here goes.
This year’s conference was held at Wandering Cooks, Brisbane’s first incubator for food entrepreneurs, such as market stall holders, caterers and gourmet food vans. While it wasn’t as fancy as EDB Adelaide or as hippy as EDB Perth, Director Angela Hirst has created an amazing space that was perfect for showcasing what can be possible when you pursue your passion at whatever stage in your life.
The committee definitely made the right call to hold it in September – the weather was perfect and we got a touch of delicious warm Queensland sunshine during the breaks. While the Weather Man forecasted showers, the skies only blessed us with the faintest of spits during lunch, so big thumbs up to the comm on that decision.
My sole gripe was that sitting in the back row meant the passing street traffic made it difficult to hear the presentations if the roller doors weren’t down and the volume of the speakers turned up higher.
The Program and Speakers
There were a couple of similarities in the topics between this year’s conference and previous years’.
The highlights for me were the chefs’ panel, which comprised of Philip Johnson (E’cco), Brent Farrell (85 Miskin St), Tony Percuoco (Tartufo) and Josh Okron (Prive 249), Claire Davie of Melbourne Gastonome‘s presentation on ACCC guidelines and Brenda Fawdon (Mondo Organics)’s presentation on Ethical Food.
Then there was the post-lunch activity. All the bloggers were asked to get in a line according to how long they had been blogging – the objective being that everyone would get the opportunity to meet other bloggers who started the same time as you. Anthony the MC gave the arbitrary 10 year blogger as the oldest, but as it turned out, I was the OLDEST blogger at 13 years. The next closest bloggers had been blogging for 11 years.
Where would the conference be without the sponsors’ generosity? Kudos to the businesses and organisations for taking a chance and working with the committee to bring together some amazing treats for attendees.
My favorites in the goodie bags:
- Dreamfarm’s Mini Supoon (this product has now become my go-to spoon for getting the last dregs at the bottom of jars.
- A trio pack from Roza’s Gourmet Sauces: the sweet mustard is divine
- Go Natural (the bar is still my favourite)
- Emma & Tom’s juices for keeping us hydrated (their green smoothie was a delicious start to the day)
- The Danishes from Flour and Chocolate (they make amazing cakes too)
- Chester Street Bakery’s goats cheese tarts and ham & cheese croissants
- Stella May Fine Foods – Black Truffle Duck pate (this was so good)
- Wholesomeness Personal Catering Service for a gluten and dairy free lunch
- Power of Mushrooms, cuz their cooking had us salivating way before lunch
- Lick Ice-cream for their gorgeous ice-cream sandwiches at afternoon tea
Unfortunately one of the biggest difficulties for this year’s committee was securing financial sponsorship to help with some of the running costs of the event. Perhaps it was due to the wide range of other food related events happening in Brisbane around the same time or the focus on the G20 in November. Whatever the reason, this has been the first time a committee had to request for donations from attendees. Now the question about whether the conference should become a paid event has never been more pertinent – She Cooks She Gardens has a very succinct blogpost on the issue and these might be some considerations for next year’s committee.
The Conference ‘Dinner’
This is the first time I’ve attended an EDB dinner function that 127 Bar and Bistro for a stellar canapé dinner (and apparently mind-blowing dessert surprise, which I missed out on).
The Sunday Activity
There were three Sunday activities to choose from, but as I’m off alcohol on doctor’s orders, I only had two options available to me and the comm allocated me to the Bee One Third session at Gerard’s Bistro. Read more about that session here.