Meeting Outside the Virtual Space
By Rajitha S | Published: 06th August 2014 08:39 AM |
HYDERABAD: The Indian Food Bloggers Meet 2014, the first such experience in the country, was more than just exchanging ideas
The last four months have been strenuous for blogger Arundati Rao as her long awaited idea of bringing food bloggers from the country under one roof was going to be executed.
“It was in the year 2009 that this idea struck me. Blogger meets are a huge business in the United States and I thought why can’t something like that be done here,” she says. She has been a food blogger for seven years now.
Virtually following people like her, taking inspiration from many along the way, she decided to conduct a meet up.
“There are food bloggers in the city and we meet for lunch and dinner. But I wanted to go beyond that. The idea was to enrich the blogger community,” she says, adding that every blogger has a different story behind creating their blog and sharing that is an experience in itself.
After discussing the idea with three other bloggers from other cities they decided to take it on board. Starting from the entries to the seeing off the participants, the two-day meet was euphoric. “We started sending out emails to all the bloggers with a criteria that they have to be recipe bloggers and also had an Indian connect,” informs Arundati considering the fact that every one today is a food critic and a food blogger, thanks to smart phones and social media.
Once the entries started pouring in, the organisers started decided on making Aloft Hotel, Bengaluru their venue
Along with filtering participants and deciding on the logistics, it was important that they all took away something of value. “It was not just a session that had bloggers exchange ideas,” she explains, where the meet had a total of 40 food bloggers across the country. Where one from the US, UK and even Togo in Africa were present.
Telling us about the various sessions through the two-days, she explains, “There was a master class where we interacted with a chef, because I think he brings value to the kitchen. Considering the fact that most of us cook out of experience, this master class provided a different perspective.”
This was followed by sessions on food photography, another master class that included a kitchen tour and also a session on food styling.
“We also had a wine appreciation session because a lot of us get intimidated by it. The session not only taught us how to identify and appreciate wine, but also how we could pair it with Indian food,” she says.
Apart from this, the sessions also focussed on the current trends, where more people are quitting their otherwise boring jobs to move into the more lucrative food industry.
Through their blogs and the number of followers, many people have managed to find plum jobs in the food industry.
“There are bloggers who have moved to food photography, there are a some who have landed up as columnists because they makes their blogs active on twitter, some of them have published books. So we wanted this bunch to understand all that is out there and up their scale,” says Arundati, who moved from being a corporate trainer to owning a culinary studio.
Other activities at the Indian Food Bloggers Meet 2014 included sessions on good food writing, how one can self publish their work, what role does Search Engine Optimisation(SEO) play in making a blog popular and how one can make it work in their favour. And all of these, conducted by experts from the industry.
This is the first meet and the organisers plan to make this an yearly event. “We would like to curate this across the country, so that more people can attend,” concludes Arundati.