Following the great success of FBC’s Roaming-Workshop series, first launched in Lebanon this past September, the pilgrimage marched on in October and the world tour of hands-on workshops continued in the astonishing and versatile city of Dubai –all part of the growing 5th anniversary celebrations of connecting food lovers and industry folk to learn and network around the globe!
Alongside local food bloggers, journalists, photographers, food stylists, writers and more, FBCDubai welcomed attendees from Beirut, Abu Dhabi, Berlin and vibrant South America to take part in this 2-day food writing, styling and photography workshop, on the 4th-5th of October 2013, which was fittingly held at The Archive: an inspiring art space located in the heart of Safa Park.
The fun began with Dianne Jacob (@diannej), author of “Will Write for Food”, taking everyone with her on an amusing and educational journey into the wonderful world of writing. Attendees were even given a chance to write pieces on the spot to explore their senses and the opportunity to receive one-on-one advice on ways to improve their script.
With guidance on recipe writing, how to pitch to magazines, the means and methods of getting a book deal and more, Dianne shed light on the inner workings of the freelancing world all the while driving in the value of paid work declaring the end of freelancing as we know it, and the beginning of ‘paid-lancing’.
The key speakers of the styling and photography workshop were none other than Ellen Silverman (@ellensphoto), freelance photographer with over 25 renown cookbooks behind her lens including Gwyneth Paltrow’s “My Father’s Daughter”, and Martha Holmberg (@marthaholmberg), food editor, writer and communications and content director of IACP.
Also up her sleeve were some quick tips on how to choose and use props to portray all senses into a shot – using hands, layers, texture and playing with cloth, while portraying a 6th sense: emotion.
With Ellen & Martha on board, the fabulous pair began by discussing trends in photography and strategies to develop further. Their advice? Treat your blog as a brand, by taking the necessary time to list what best describes you as a person and what you are offering in the aim of strengthening your voice, and therefore attracting a stronger targeted audience.
In this intimate workshop, attendees put the notepads away and got down to some serious hands-on work. Divided into groups, each selected their preferred props and styled their very own Baker and More (@BakerAndMore) macaroon and cake scenes, grouping up to create visually pleasing granola dishes and pastrami sandwiches supplied by the Archive (@TheArchiveDubai) in celebration of their just launched menu, and styling a warm homemade funnel cake and muffins: a delightful surprise brought by a generous attendee!
As the teams got styling, dexterous Ellen took pictures of each of their work, uploaded them onto her laptop, and gave a detailed analysis of each, studying light, angles, scenes and all the caboodle!
With a twist, Ellen later switched things around a little, took her own shot, synced it, and let the picture speak for itself. If that wasn’t enough, Ellen and Martha gave each attendee some valuable advice on their sites and Ellen, being the studious teacher that she is, stayed put all through lunch to browse some of the attendees’ blogs, check out their photography work, and study how they built each shot.
One thing was certain: everyone on board was in the mood for some good food, and here at FBC, we always treat our guests to a foodie blowout by showcasing splendid cuisine and beverages.
À table! Chef Tom (@TomTheChef) and his lovely wife Beth* served two tasty picnic-lunches at Safa Park throughout the workshop. Although the weather was dreadfully humid, there was no stopping the famished attendees from getting their hands on some BBQ chicken, chickpea salad in radicchio cups and other delicacies prepared by the amazing duo.
Friday saw a feast at Zarroob (@Zaroob247) restaurant that welcomed all upon arrival with goodie bags, which included a notebook and a Zaroob cooking apron. The mouth-watering traditional Arab food served at Zarroob is based on street-food but altered and adapted into elegant platters to fit the beautiful setting of the restaurant. The vintage ads, the funky art up on the walls and the bright lighting got everyone snapping away all through the meal; a truly picture-perfect day, which ended deliciously in creamy spoonfuls of hummus and hearty servings of man’oushe, halloumi sticks, shawarma and more.
Each attendee went home with practical multipurpose GIR spatulas (@GIR) from NYC, specially designed to assist in mixing, folding, and stirring; just as a sous-chef would. On top of the handy-aids, scrumptious locally handmade Baker and More (@BakerAndMore) macaroon boxes were up for grabs coupled with FBC Founder and food-blogger Bethany Kehdy‘s (@BethanyKd) aromatic Kishk recipe straight out of her debut cookbook, “The Jewelled Kitchen”!
With the final day coming to a close, the infamous Hakkasan (@HakkasanDubai) restaurant invited each attendee to gather around the man of the happy hour, Angus McGregor, for a cocktail master class for all to shake, stir, and sip away.
As all good things must come to an end, and since we like them sweet – everyone grazed a full selection of canapés and other relishes before parting ways with farewells.
Stay tuned for other upcoming roaming workshops all around the world and if this has left you hungry for more, do please join us at FBC14 in London between June 6th-8th, 2014, to absorb the ins-and-outs of the blogging world and acquire all the necessary skills to keep doing what you love, while enjoying many other sweet treats.