With well-fed tummies, arms weighed down with hefty goodie bags and minds buzzing with inspiration, 250 attendees waved good-bye to one another, departing #FBC14 after three fabulous days to head home, get cooking and implement all that they had learned. Yet, despite #FBC14 drawing to a close, it was clear that the memories would last for many years to come (as long as a few too many of Patron’s tequilas didn’t have their way)…
To accommodate our growing community from the 6-8th June in the nation’s capital, FBC’s main events were held in the Grand Hall of Battersea Arts Centre. Our chosen theme for this year’s event was ‘pushing boundaries’ and, in keeping with this, in addition to food bloggers, we were delighted to welcome travel, technology and lifestyle bloggers et al to the conference for the first time; an epicurean love connecting all attendees. News of #FBC14 reached over 28.5 million impressions on Twitter alone!
Despite adding to the party, we maintain that food is for sharing and the expression of a passion for all things culinary is accessible to all. So this year’s strEAT party continued to serve as an ideal opportunity for traders to really interact with an increasingly important target audience, whilst also connecting with like-minded people and those just as passionate as they are about great food.
With a varied line-up to cater for everyone’s tastes and preferences, some of the UK’s most innovative and exciting street feeders including @Deeneys, @PaellaandTapas, @Pulled_Uk, @FlippinNell and @Santanagrill dished up their delights throughout the weekend as we fervently devoured each bite!
@VeganPeasant and @Vegandisguise were on hand to showcase their vegan and vegetarian food, while @NatviaUK came to highlight a natural alternative to sugar with samplings of cake and cocktails using Natvia and @2ChicksEggWhite with a convenient batch of egg whites to go!
After connecting with attendees at FBC in 2013, Explore Canada introduced 4 bloggers to the East Coast to Explore Canada in May and returned to the FBC strEAT Party with a #CanadaTasteTrail showcase of food and beverage from around Canada highlighting the flavours of Canadian wines, beers and even Icewine martini’s! Food Network TV Chef Anna Olsen grilled Canadian salmon drizzled with an ice wine syrup and surprised the masses. The sweetness of Canada shined through with Nanaimo Bars and inspired attendees to make their own.
FBC strEAT Party Alumni Feeders @TerraRossaUK, @AfricanVolcano and @CoconutChili returned with new product ranges and recipes to tantalise our taste buds! In addition, one of the stars of last year’s show, Moose Maple Butter @FarrahMoose, returned to spread the Moose after a year of connecting with bloggers, highlighting their sweet recipes and getting the product onto shelves from launching at FBC in 2013.
From morning Bloody Mary’s to Patronic and cocktails, the mixologists behind Patron offered a refreshing treat with tequila on tap all weekend long!
Meanwhile, the strEAT’s Krackin Kitchen, hosted by comedian Kelley D and Patron, was home to eclectic demos, giggles and @GIR spatulas giveaways!!! Joined by Mixmag’s DJ of the year Seth Troxler and the Smokey Tail’s team, they sizzled up a BBQ pop up like no other, showcasing Seth’s secret sauce with a serious bite! Even DJ and BBC presenter Annie Mac had to come and see what all the fuss was about!
Martin Morales from @CevicheUK came to share his story and connect with a ceviche tasting and playlist to dance to! Crumbles made their debut and had the crowed abuzz with their take on the Scotch Egg ‘a la prawn’.
Brand partners swooped in with hands on activity to connect with the bloggers. While @CrostaMollica brought out the fun with finger food, attendees got to try their Grissini! Bloggers had a break with spoonfuls of @MornflakeCereal, and a range of flavours from @OatlyUK to showcase recipes with Oat milk, including their lovely cinnamon bites.
@Liberation_Nuts, @RaniMix, @GoodyGoodStuff, @Clearspring and @PopcornKitchen kept us fuelled during community breaks, snacking throughout the weekend with @LoveColdBrew and @BeyondtheBean who took refreshments to another level with cold pressed coffee and a range of Sweetbird juices and smoothies!
Yet, while the weekend was certainly about eating, drinking, having a laugh, catching up with old friends and making new ones, it was as much about learning and honing new skills and furthering the blogs, hobbies and careers of those committed to sharing their passions with others online.
Internationally acclaimed speakers, exciting star names and rising talents were on hand to give a series of workshops and sessions throughout the weekend. Monica Bhide (@mbhide) kicked things off by giving tips on how to enhance food writing and stand out from the crowd, whilst opening up the discussion about why food and travel writing matter with food historian Bee Wilson (@KitchenBee)! Julie Falconer (@aladyinlondon) illuminated the mechanics of travel Writing; and the first day also saw Anne Fabre (@anneskitchentv), Luisa Weiss (@wednesdaychef), Regula Ysewijn (@MissFoodwise) and Urvashi Roe (@BotanicalBaker) taking part in a variety of inspirational talks, and Babette Papaj (@BakeSpace) crossing the pond to debunk all things tech and inspiring us to get working on our next eBooks and apps.
Saturday morning was picture perfect with some attendees enjoying the first of two photography labs held by Donal Skehan (@DonalSkehan) and food stylist Sharon Hearne-Smith (@ShearneSmith), and others being taken on a visual trip by travel and lifestyle photographer Marte Marie Forsberg (@Mmforsberg), before hearing from Food Network TV chef Nichola Smith (@HealthyYummies), along with TV producer Kelley Ralph (@TheKelleyD) discussing how Nichola trucked her way onto TV.
Later in the day the excitement was palpable when celebrity duo Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi arrived to chat about their motivations and inspirations and to answer some of our burning questions. These two foodie heroes also stayed on after with a swarm of fans nabbing an autograph, portrait and book signing, to accompany other award-winning authors including Greg Malouf, Anne Fabre (@anneskitchentv), Luisa Weiss (@wednesdaychef) and our very own @Bethanykd to sign books at the FBC bookSTORE brought to us by Hardie Grant, who also showcased a selection of cookery book titles from their blogger authors! A talented volunteer team from Leith’s accompanied Greg Malouf in the kitchen to create a sweet Middle Eastern dessert, while Bethany cooked up her Venison Cherry Kebab’s from The Jewelled Kitchen cookbook to showcase at the bookSTORE!
After another jam-packed day, Saturday’s sessions came to an end after a talk on how to create a life of travel with @aladyinlondon, @thetravelhack and @loveplayworkuk, and a vital session on creating a media pack with @mbhide.
Sunday saw plenty more opportunities for food bloggers to learn from the best with a rounded discussion on cookbook publishing with @wednesdaychef, @bakespace, @HardieGrantUK and Greg Malouf; an unsugar-coated talk on ‘going back to school’ with @jaxies; and last but certainly not least, an informative discussion into practising presence online with @homeofsocial, @mmforsberg and @TheTravelHack.
Over the weekend brand partners including @mysterydesign, @travizeo, @UKGlamLifestyle, @burgerbeartom, @eatwholegrain, @homeofsocial and @DanSuh_KF from @KoreaFoods also took the chance to promote their brand message, offering helpful and valuable information for attendees while interacting and explaining exactly what they do.
Yes, all of that was crammed into a whirlwind three days and that’s without mentioning the Goodie Bags, famous for weighing attendees down as they make their way home at the end of the weekend, only to boost the bloggers into the kitchen to get cooking with a range of ingredients.
We are buzzin to have partnered with Great British Chefs to bring you the heavy tots of flavour from @FusionTasteTeam, @Nog_UK, @OBrienPress, @Mextradeuk, @Aspall, @MortimerChoc, @popchipsUK, @Steenbergs, @VogelsbreadUK, @lachinatacom, @Patron, @Pelagonia_Range, @maldonsalt, @AmysKitchenUK, @TotalGreek, @Koreafoods, Kahla Tea and @TheChiaCompany who all took advantage of this hands on way to promote their products, as bloggers returned home ready to fill the spheres of social media with Tweets, Instagrams and blog posts with all their lovely goodies!
Giveaways this year were abound with selfies! From Terra Rossa’s gift basket giveaway to Alma De Cuba’s selfie with a farmer, attendees were snapping away for the crème de la crème of all prizes, a new KitchenAid Artisan 4L Food Processor!
Pushing your boundaries does get you places and FBC alumni Jo @CandidsbyJo took this year’s theme quite literally and snapped herself a KitchenAid selfie with none other than Sami and Yotam Ottolenghi himself, winning the giveaway through and through!
For those that couldn’t make it to this year’s event or for those just wanting to relive such a fantastic weekend, then check out this short video filmed by Bashar Alaeddin of Adasat Studios for a true flavour of the FBC spirit! Capturing our ethos as well as the wonderful international community of bloggers and attendees who made the weekend what it was, it’ll keep you occupied until next year’s conference…let the countdown begin!
Connect and discover what other attendees experienced with their posts below!
Cakey Boi – Nanaimo Bars
Writen by Olivia Righton (@nourishingp)
Olivia is the author of Nourishing Philosophy. She grew up on a farm in Oxfordshire and was born with an unbounded interest in food. She studied Psychology at university and is planning to start a Masters in Human Nutrition in the autumn. Her mission is to inspire others to cultivate a loving relationship with food and to get back to basics, escaping from the madness of modern life as often as possible, and experiencing the simple pleasures of cooking with whole foods, and sharing with loved ones, meals that nourish both body and soul.
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