Last month, eighty food bloggers from around the country descended in Perth for Eat Drink Blog, an annual food bloggers conference. I was stoked when I first heard that this year’s conference was to be held in Perth. It gave me an excuse to stock up on Corica apple strudels, perve on FIFO workers and FINALLY visit the other side of Australia.
And learn more about food blogging, of course. So with that in mind…
Here are the top 10 things I learnt about food blogging – and Perth – during my two nights there:
1. Perth is the only city in the world where planes can land in the CBD. Not particularly interesting to most people but hey, I’m a bit of an aviation geek (blame my dad).
2. There are no Krispy Kreme donut stores in Perth! Being an east coast ignoramus, I assumed that Krispy Kreme stores could be found all over the place. WRONG! No wonder why there were more boxes of Krispy Kremes than passengers on the QF481 flight from Melbourne. I shouldn’t smirk though – I was the loser carrying four boxes of Corica strudels back to Melbourne that Sunday afternoon!
3. There are a LOT of food bloggers in Perth. For some reason, I was under the impression that most of Australia’s food bloggers lived in the eastern states (with the majority coming from Melbourne and Sydney). However, I was surprised to find that a good portion of conference attendees were locals. And that’s a great thing.
4. You should NEVER tell food blogger to ‘stop taking photos of chocolate, salted caramel and peanut butter cupcakes.’ Unless you want all eighty of them to turn sharply towards you and give you a greasy that could slaughter a lamb.
5. When it comes to taking food photos, Simon Park from The Heart of Food says context is important. It’s all well and good to take a photo of a bowl of bacon candy using your super slick EOS 5D but what would make the photo more interesting is if you had someone in the background looking like they were about to attack the candy. Or something like that.
6. You can never go hungry at a food bloggers conference, especially if lunch is being catered by European Foods Wholesalers. They are an amazing local business and not only do they import a lot of cool food from Europe, they also put on a mean catering spread.
I enjoyed everything from giant Scotch eggs and truffled aioli to smoky pork hock terrine to heirloom tomato salads with basil pesto and marinated buffalo Mozzarella. If I wasn’t so set on having an Asian banquet wedding, I’d happily get these dudes to do my wedding catering (somehow).
7. Lining up for food at a buffet spread at a food bloggers conference is very different to lining up for food at Smorgy’s (vale). YOU HAVE TO WAIT FOR FRIGGIN’ EVERYONE TO TAKE PHOTOS OF THE FOOD BEFORE THE LINE ACTUALLY MOVES! Thankfully, everyone at this conference was a food blogger so there was an unspoken air of understanding.
8. Polka dotted-attire seemed to be popular at the conference. In fact, I saw more polka dots than I saw ‘hot lawyer’ and ‘#EDB13’ mentions on Twitter that weekend.
9. The PR and ethics panel starring Phil and Cynthia sparked more fervour than a Collingwood supporter watching their team being only a goal behind in the last 2 minutes of the fourth quarter. ‘To work with PR or NOT to work with PR?’ would be the #1 question on any food blogger’s mind, just ahead of ‘Canon or Nikon?’ Ultimately, I don’t think it matters whether you work with PR or not. But if you do, you MUST disclose it on your blog. Don’t be the asshat who attends freebie events and dinners but does not let his or her readers know that said event or dinners were freebies – and THEN go around Twitter etc, telling people that you don’t accept invites and that people who accept invites suck. PEOPLE WILL FIND OUT.
10. Perth is full of amazingly nice people (and I’m not just talking about the conference organisers and attendees, and my friend Dave either). It is also home to some pretty cool restaurants (24-hour pho restaurants and Marmite chicken, anyone?). That said, getting decent coffee on Sunday mornings is more difficult than trying to get the elderly luddites in my workplace to stop complaining for ONE DAY.
The conference organisers did a fantastic job and whichever city gets the gig next year will have a tough act to follow. I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to learn, to make new friends and go to Scarborough Beach on a 37-degree day without being attacked by sharks. Plus, Perth itself is fantastic. The city is only a four-hour flight away from Jakarta so the next time I book a flight up north, I’ll make sure I’ll stop in Perth for a couple of days.