Wednesday, December 2, 2009

FOOD BLOGGER CONNECT 09

FOOD FOR THOUGHT, SOMETHING TO SINK YOUR TEETH INTO

Who among us wasn’t both nervous and excited? Scared to finally be revealing ourselves, exposing ourselves naked in front of others, wondering if our real up-close-and-personal self was the same as our internet persona. Nervous to be meeting those food bloggers whom we so admire, the friends we tease and laugh with, those talented cooks and writers who share information and tips with us, who leave us drooling in front of jaw-dropping stunning food photos, wondering if our ideal image of whom they are and what they are like will be shattered into a million shards, fragile like a crystal decanter. Yet so excited! Sure in our hearts that the friends we’ve made, those distant friends, will be all that we have expected and waited for, that meeting them face to face will simply confirm the ideas we have formed in our heads and solidify an already strong connection.

I finally got to hug my twin sistah Deeba!

And then it happened. Tumbling into it head first, I found myself standing in the middle of the London City Airport Hall, blue party hat perched jauntily on my head, and Mowie appeared, the first meeting. Both nervous and happy, hesitant at first, but only for a split second, then chattering like magpies, out of control, catching up a lifetime of information in the shortest possible time! After dumping suitcases at his place and meeting “The B”, off we trotted, neither of us able to contain our excitement, to our first meeting point, the “Great Meet Up”, under the Eros statue at Piccadilly Circus. Alessio, then Deeba and Pam, Beth then Hilda, screaming and screeching, arms flailing and arms thrown around necks, it was love at first sight, an absolute electrical current of immediate connection, a lifetime of friendship, and we were off and running!

I couldn’t have been more thrilled or honored to have been involved in the organization of the first Food Blogger Connect with Beth, Hilda, Mowie and Meeta, along with Jeanne and Kang. As the days drew us closer and closer to the magical event, the number of e-mails sent frantically back and forth escalated, morning, afternoon and night, speeches were recited nervously while brushing teeth, ironing, showering or preparing dinner, fingers flying over keyboards clackity clack or pens scratching furiously across the printed version towards that dreamed-of perfection that would sweep our listeners off their feet. As the days rolled forward, spouses slipped by us in hallways, avoiding all eye contact, not wanting to be sucked into the whirlpool of Food Blogger Connect Mania that was washing over us, out of control, as we dashed out in the cold and drizzle to buy that one last gift, as we checked and double-checked hotel and airline reservations, meeting spots and last-minute thoughts and ideas. Suitcases were packed, unpacked and reorganized to fit in those last minute buys, no more space left for clothes. Twitter was ablaze with FBC09, the excitement tangible, contagious. And then, all of a sudden the great weekend was upon us!

Sunday morning food walk: the rain didn't dampen our high spirits! And joined by Papoose!

The Food Blogger Event heard round the world! Indeed, I don’t need to add to the details, evoke the exotic tastes of the Lebanese cuisine, the warm, rich atmosphere or the wonder in the air. I don’t need to recount in detail the amazing speeches, Meeta and Kang, Jeanne and myself and how it all came together, how well we worked as a team to share our ideas, experience, passion and knowledge to a roomful of nodding heads and smiling faces who would later, in turn, teach us their tricks and share their own knowledge and exude their own passion for food blogging; or the energy and vivacity of Beth and Mowie, their talent for energizing and pulling us together towards action, or Hilda’s calming words, reassuring us and making us laugh just when nerves started to rattle, and always with that promise of a peek at Papoose. Nor do I need to repeat the stories others are telling of the time spent finally putting faces to names and blogs, completing the vision of each, the joyous “Oh it’s you!!”s, one after the other, more hugs and laughing, all packed in around the front desk, not daring to move, anxiously awaiting all the others, not wanting to miss one.

Kerrin, Solange & Beth, meetin' and greetin'

First, we ate!

Beth, Queen of the Ball

Meeta

Jeanne & Jamie (not our piece of meat)

Kang

Lucky Ozoz was there to make me laugh! No more nerves!

I don’t need to repeat, as others have described, the pure pleasure, the joy as we discovered the common passion behind each and every food blogger who attended, the passion that binds us together as one. Yes, we realized that we all do indeed share so much beyond that passion for food, the uncontrollable exhilaration we feel as we write about it, the giddiness that makes our head spin as we finally snap that one perfect photograph of the plated dish, the thrill that shoots and shivers up our spine whenever we step over the threshold of a new restaurant. Food Blogger Connect allowed us to realize that each and every one of us who attended the conference shared a wild sense of humor, an interest in everything around us, and as different as we all are as individuals, we meet in the center, this crazy je ne sais quoi pulling us together like a strange, inexplicable magnetism that strengthened our friendships, our commitment to excellence in blogging and a determination to continue along this shared path and better ourselves, better our blogs, drawing not only on everything that we learned from each other in this compressed space and time but on all the encouragement and support that we walked away with, the knowing that we are no longer alone, floating lonely and silent around the foodblogosphere, that this incredible, generous group of bloggers who gathered in London from all over Europe and beyond are truly one huge family and that they are always with us, watching over us, sending out virtual hugs and encouragement along with real-life advice over the waves.

Sexy Culinary Bond Girls ready for action: Jeanne & Jamie & Meeta

Saturday night post-FBC dinner among friends!

Deeba, Nicola, Davina & Sunita at Levant

Alessio, Deeba & Jamie Friday night

Next year’s Food Blogger Connect is going to be even bigger and better, spread out over 2 or 3 days to allow more time for workshops and round tables, talking and sharing. And eating. Have a hop around the blogosphere where you’ll find more write ups on Food Blogger Connect 09 and visit our Food Blogger Connect website for all the news, pictures, videos of the great event as well as all the information about Food Blogger Connect 10, now already in the making. Bigger and better! Onward and upward! Truly something that you will not want to miss! We may even offer a workshop for the spouses: “How to Live With a Food Blogger”!

FBC 10 Planning Committee!

I learned so much from the other bloggers and my fellow speakers that you may see changes, more or less subtle, in my blog over the next few weeks, so don’t be surprised. And if you, too, want and need to know more about optimizing your blog, improving your food styling and photography, finding your ideal writing voice, cleaning up your space and presenting your brightest self to the food blogging world as well as increasing your visibility and maybe even getting published, then keep your eyes open, follow the #FBC10 hash tag on twitter (follow me @lifesafeast) and visit the Food Blogger Connect website for all information and updates and mark your calendar! Be on the alert because spaces will be limited (and coveted)! Can’t wait to see you there!

Nicola, Davina, Sunita

Jeanne, Deeba & Pam

Lovely Mowie & Alessio

Also a quick shout out to Aoife, Ozoz, Sarka, Claire, Kerrin, Davina, Sunita, Sarah and Nic, special ladies along with my great friends who I grew even closer to!

A special thanks to Deeba, Mowie, Sunita, Hilda and Sarah for sharing their pictures!

57 comments:

Maria said...

Glad you had a nice time. I love all of the photos!

mathildescuisine said...

Great event! Shame I couldn't attend but will be there for the next one!

bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) said...

Beautifully written as always Jamie! It was amazing to meet you in person! the only thing is now I miss you even more :( But hey, we kicked it off and I know now we will start making more plans to meet up and well then there is FBC10! Can't wait! Bxx

♥♥♥Ria♥♥♥ said...

WOW! you guys had a GREAT time! I am so envious! :)

Happy cook said...

It is so nice to see so much pics of the people I have only met through then blogs.
And reading the post I felt i was feeling your joy in meeting Deeba , meeta and the rest.

Kang said...

Jamie - very poetic, and how very nice to have met you, and shared the stage with you. It was really rewarding experience, and I look forward to even bigger things in FBC2010.

:)

diva said...

so moving! and can't wait for FBC10. it was lovely finally getting to meet you. i know i'm practically saying this to everyone but it's true. u're an inspiration and to meet you in person was absolutely wonderful!

will look forward to following your blog and baking wonders! hope we meet again soon xxx

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

"Connect" is the key word here isn't it, there wasn't one person on Saturday who I didn't feel I connected with, everyone was so lovely and friendly and eager to chat about each others' blogs and back stories.

It was so lovely to meet you too and I cannot wait for FBC10.

Deborah Mele said...

Lovelt post Jamie, wish I could have been there to join in the fun!

Alessio Fangano said...

Jamie, thanks for these nice memories... The realisation of how deep our passions for food and blogging bring us close to each other was quite stunning. Friends since ever and forever!

catty said...

Great post Jamie :) again, lovely to have met you and hope to spend more time with you next year ;)

Mowie @ Mowielicious said...

My darling Jamie, what a great post. You summarized it all so perfectly.

I am so glad you stayed over at mine and I won't forget all those early morning (and late night) conversations in our pyjamas over coffee, tea and breakfast. I hope to see you again very soon. Paris? =)

Can't wait for FBC '10! xxx

Aparna said...

Wonderful indeed. One big happy food blogger family! :)
Good to see all the pics and smiles!

Sari said...

Wow Jamie, wonderful post, you really are a master of the English language! You are so gorgeous, it was great to meet you! And thank you so much for helping me to find my voice! :) I can't wait to see you soon again!

Barbara Bakes said...

Congratulations for hosting such a wonderful event! I hope I have a chance to meet some of these wonderful ladies one day!

George@CulinaryTravels said...

A beautifully written piece Jamie. I wish we'd managed to meet, really must do next time.

Hilda said...

You worded it all so beautifully Jamie, I'm feeling particularly lazy to try when I can just direct people here! ;) Yeah it's definitely a downer now that everyone is gone but it's also good to go back to the routine for Papoose so her head doesn't get big from all the attention.

Asha @ FSK said...

awesome!!!! :))) so much fun!!! Hurray to it being such fab event!!!

Colloquial Cook said...

Great narrative Jamie, as always :-) and being part of it makes it even more thrilling!

Deeba PAB said...

Jamie...you make my heart sing. What a great roundup of this wonderful wonderful event! Seems surreal, like a blissful dream. Loved it, loved finally giving you a 'real hug', finally meeting the 'gang', sad I missed the last days meet (GREEN with envy)...fun fun fun!London was beautiful, just awesome. Even more awesome with great company! Much love dear girl...until FBC10!!

Jeanne said...

Oh Jamie - a wonderful, wonderful post! I think you encapsulated the feelings that many of us felt - the nerves that gave way to exuberance and fun! Great pics that remind of of a fantastic day. I think Beth is right when she says it was great to meet everyone but now it's sad because we miss each other even MORE!

And next time on your way to Mowie's you will HAVE to stop by my place, seeing as it's right by City Airport :) Can't wait for FBC10 (and I can see the pressure to join ET (Evil Twitter) is only going to get more intense... ;-)

The Cooking Ninja said...

Great post. Can't wait for the next meeting.

Gosh! I looked like I was high on drugs on the last pic. lol!

Peter M said...

Looks like the gathering was an immense success and lots of fun. I do hope you have all made lifelong friendships!

Bethie said...

Awesome! I know you guys had a blast!

Nora said...

Great post Jamie. I was so sorry only to say 'hi' quickly - would have loved to have a proper chat. Glad to hear that next time round it'll be a longer affair - I'd love to make a weekend of it, rather than dashing back to Cambridge in the rain on the Saturday night! But it was a fab event - so well organised and interesting. Well done to you and everyone else! Can't wait for the next one. @D

Cristie said...

I love your happy faces, it was clearly a fantastic success. Congratulations!

theUngourmet said...

How fun! I hope I can get in on one of these sometime! Glad you all had a nice time getting to know one another.

Nicisme said...

Great write up Jamie, super photos and yes - it was a wonderful event!
I really enjoyed meeting you, the time went by so quickly and I never got to say everything I wanted. Oh well, roll on FBC10!

Sippity Sup said...

It's fun to put face with names. I am glad you had a blast. GREG

Debbie said...

Looks like you had a fabulous time Jamie!!! What a wonderful group of friends you have made from sharing your passion for food and cooking :)

Aoife aka The Daily Spud said...

What a wonderful telling of the story that was FBC. It was a pleasure to meet you in person and the thought that we may do so again at FBC10 fills me with much joy. xxx

Chef E said...

You helped us feel as though we did attend! I wish you had a pic of Aoife, since her and I talk, and follow each other! She spoke of the great time and things you guys did...somebody needs to get something going here!

Wow how the world is connecting...

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Loved all the photos. It's great to put faces with the names. So glad you had a great time. You're gorgeous Jamie. You should show yourself more often.
Sam

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Thanks for sharing! A great meeting that was!

Cheers,

Rosa

Katherine Aucoin said...

Looks like all of you have a wonderful time. what a way to seal friendships!

Baking Soda said...

Great write-up Jamie! Although I wasn't there I do recognize the jitters and the fun of meeting "unknown dear friends". Wish I could have peeked in!

sarah said...

Jamie--I'm so thrilled to have met you. Knowing everyone personally is a great treat in this internet hobby world! I was nervous when I turned up at FBC, but everyone was so friendly that I really feel welcomed into the food blogger community. Thanks!

The Cooking Photographer said...

How amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy, and you do look like twins if I close my eyes. :)

Laura

Barbara said...

Jamie you have expressed the spirit of food bloggers so well. A beautiful post and congratulations on a successful event. Good luck for 2010.

Elra said...

What a wonderful gathering. You are so lucky to have met some of my favorite blogger, like Jeanne and Deeba. Would love to meet you and them one day.

mlaiuppa said...

That looks like a really happy group of people. I'll bet you had a blast.

I've been to a few Highlander (TV) conventions and met people I'd only talked to online. Same thing.

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

I'm glad you had a great time! It was wonderful reading about it from afar!

Chow and Chatter said...

wow what fun, I am truely blessed to also know you Jamie you all did so well organizing the event with everyone

Rebecca

Nanette said...

Did someone say Paris?

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

What a wonderful time! Everyone looks so happy!!

TKW said...

Can't wait to hear some good stories!

Mary said...

Oh, my! It looks like you all had a grand time. Your pictures give us all a sense of what went on and the comradery you shared. I so happy it well. Imagine what it will be like next time.

Katy ~ said...

My throat got all tight with emotion as I saw how happy you all were. It looks like one of the best times ever. Thank you so much for sharing these fab pix.

5 Star Foodie said...

Wow, what an amazing event, sounds like you all had a blast!

Sophie said...

What an excellent post this is, Jamie!!

It looks that you all learned a lot & that you all had great fun meeting & greeting!! I think this FBC rocks!! What a neat idea to finally meet your foodie friends!!

A great review of the past weekend & lovely pictures as well!

Helene said...

What a fabulous group. I wish I was there.

Bron said...

What a dream weekend! Thank you for sharing, like many others I'm green eyed with envy, hopefully one day!

Paul - GetMeCooking said...

Good report and the presentations were great. I'll see you at the next one :-)

Madame Sucre said...

I can see you all had a great time!! I wish I can join you .. probably next time FBC10 ? .. choose France please ! LOL

I love that pic with u and Deeba.. so cute twins!

Junglefrog said...

Wow Jamie! That sounds like you guys had a world of fun and I would have soo loved to be there, but count me in for 2010!!! I actually managed to get away for a few days to relax a bit in Spain which was - well let's say - very much needed... :) So if you haven't heard from me much that was the reason.. Trying to catch up with all the news!

heidi leon said...

Oh my darling, looks like you were the queen of the event!!!.

It seems like all the attendees had so much fun + great food.

I think with you around everything turns instantly in a wonderful feast. Congrats to all the team who made it happen.

asiangrrl said...

Everyone looked like they had a blast! Great narrative and great pics. I am so proud of you, Jamie, for pulling this together (with help from friends, I know). A job very well done.

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