Corridor Kitchen and I met in London and headed to Battersea to attend Food Blogger Connect (FBC) – an international food blogging conference – held at Battersea Arts Centre. It was great to meet bloggers from the northern hemisphere and see what they are doing.
In the lead up to FBC, attendees were able to select from some additional workshops and while I couldn’t do then all, I was particularly interested in the food photography and styling session with charming Irish food blogger Donal Skehan and food stylist Sharon Hearne-Smith, the lovely author of No-Bake Baking.
We all sat in a large hall with high-ceilings listening to Donal sharing lots of handy advice and tips about shooting food, and then we split up into two groups.
The group I was in huddled around a long table at the front of the hall watching Sharon prepare a platter for a white chocolate slice she’d made, cutting it into squares to display the different coloured jellies inside. Sharon decorated a wooden board with pastel-coloured props – with different textures, shapes and sizes – while talking us through how she interprets a brief and how she then decides what to use and how to make the food look its best. When she was happy with the presentation, it was time for the groups to swap.
Our group then moved into the hallway where Donal had a table set up by the window, with his camera ready on a tripod, to take advantage of the natural light. Donal placed Sharon’s board on the table, moving it around to find the best angle for shooting. He then talked in detail about camera functions and settings, how to bounce light back onto the subject with boards and mirrors and how to hold the camera. We all then had a turn, with our own phones and cameras, at photographing the shot. This session was really valuable and gave me a lot to think about for my own photos.
The conference breaks were held in a side street where local producers set up stalls to serve food and drinks. One of my favourites was caterer Vegan Peasant who offered a variety of tasty canapés. I must admit I ate quite a lot of their risotto balls!
I also really enjoyed Maple Moose Butter, made very simply with maple syrup, butter, sea salt. It’s so great on bread – it would be amazing to cook with!
Another favourite find was Oatly dairy free milk which is made from oats. A cold glass of their chocolate milk made for a handy breakfast. They even have cream too! I managed to get some home but I haven’t used it yet.
The conference highlight for me, as I’m sure it was for many other attendees, was to hear chef, writer and vegetarian food hero Yotam Ottolenghi and co-author and chef Sami Tamimi talk.
In an unmoderated session, Yotam and Tami candidly spoke about how they work together, the process of recipe testing – both for the restaurants and for cookbooks, their favourite ingredients and dishes.
Afterwards I was lucky enough to get up close with the lads. I went a bit fangirl which is a little embarrassing. I did the ‘HiI’mvegetarianandIloveyourbook!’ Apologies for the awkward ‘I’m so excited, YOTAM IS HUGGING ME!’ face.
In another session, Australian chef and author Greg Malouf was on a panel discussing pitching a cookbook idea, dealing with publishers and the challenges of getting published.
I had a good chat to Greg, he’s a lovely fellow (and I think he was happy to see another Aussie!). I’m really into the new book by Greg and Lucy Malouf – New Feast: Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian. It’s a beautiful book with loads of bright and fresh home-style dishes.
Exhausted from all the holidaying and conferencing, my travel pal and I popped across the road for an early evening of prosecco and pizza at Donna Margherita.
Having recently returned from my trip to Italy, I was well impressed with the quality of pizza here. The staff were also very helpful – I didn’t realise how much I missed the dreamy Italian accent!
At the end of the conference we were sent home with heavy goodie bags featuring loads of local products. Unfortunately, as I was only part-way through my trip, our lucky AirBnB host ended up with a lot of these! I did manage to bring back some of the goodies like the box of Maldon Salt and the Mortimer dark chocolate powder.
Up next: My journey continues with some of the pub grub in Battersea.
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