The first South African Food Bloggers Conference was held on 21st March 2010 at The Cooks Playground in Cape Town. It was a concept born out of my desire to attend one of the food bloggers conferences that I had heard and read about through international blogs. But, living at the southern end of the African continent, thousands of miles from any city where the blog conferences were being held, I pretty much knew that there was no hope of me ever attending one – unless the lottery fairy slapped me with her magic wand!! That is…..until I chatted with my blog friend Jeanne, from Cooksister! blog fame one evening in November 2009 on facebook and she said something to me along the lines of making it happen myself if I wanted it badly enough! That if I could dream it I could do it! WOW! I obviously wanted it badly enough and it was a big enough dream to do it. Jeanne, who at the time was about to speak at the London Food Blogger Connect, also mentioned that she would be visiting Cape Town briefly in March 2010 and that if I could put a conference together she would be willing to be the principal speaker! I got cooking (outside of the kitchen for a change!) and started investigating the possibility of putting such a conference together. I had never done anything like it before. My career life had been spent as a registered nurse and midwife and for the last 30 odd years as a stay at home wife and mom to my two children, a home baker and then grandmother to two little boys. Then I remembered that I HAD put together my daughter’s wedding and done all the organizing for that on my own and it had been a successful event….so I set to finding a venue and other speakers. Enter my then sidekick Nina from My Easy Cooking who helped me make plans and helped with the choice of venue etc. and also agreed to present about food photography at the conference. Jenny Morris, celebrity chef extraordinaire and South Africa’s Giggling Gourmet, came on board and agreed to host the event at her newly opened cookery school, and also to be the MC for the day. I am eternally grateful to Jenny for all the assistance she gave me and for helping me get onto my ‘conference feet’ so to speak. She didn’t charge me a venue fee, only the cost of food and refreshments for the day. Speakers on the day included Jeanne, Nina, Jenny who did a sterling job of MC’ing, Jane-Anne Hobbs from Scrumptious South Africa and Sam Wilson, Editor-in-Chief of Women24, Parent24 and Food24 over at 24.com Add to the mix some wonderful sponsors who decided to have believe in my concept and had enough faith to trust me with their products and it turned into a very successful event and proved that there was enough interest, and need, for it to become an annual event.
In 2011 the conference underwent a name change from conference to Indaba…a South African word from the Zulu language meaning “business” or “matter”. Current usage of the word simply means “gathering” or “meeting”. The second successful Food and Wine Blogger Indaba (commonly known as fbi2011) was held on 20th February 2011 at Monkey Valley Beach Nature Resort, Noordhoek, South Africa and was attended by over 100 bloggers and foodies. The one day event included presentations by Jeanne from London, Jamie Schler from France, Nina Timm, Samantha Linsell, Jane-Anne Hobbs, Abigail Donnelly, Phillipa Cheifitz (read about these doyennes of the food world in SA here), Michael Olivier (South Africa’s own Food and Wine Guru), Cathy Marston and Harry Haddon (SO much fun!), Andy Fenner and Denis da Silva from SAB. The following workshops also took place during the afternoon – food styling and photography, writing, food and wine pairing, food and beer pairing.
Planning for the 2012 event is well under way with the Indaba happening on 24 June 2012 at the Conference Centre, Pick n Pay Office Park, Kenilworth, Cape Town. There is an exciting line up of speakers and presenters and an impressive line up of topics and workshops including a WordPress and Plugins workshop with none other than the co-founder of WooThemes, Mark Forrester and an SEO workshop with a live blog audit by Neil Pursey of webgrowthSA We will also be having our first hands on workshop in the form of a cupcake decorating workshop, food styling and props, photography, photoshop, food writing, writing and publishing a cook book and also two pairing workshops, one with Graham Beck MCC bubblies and a Grappa one with Profumi D’Italia. Headline sponsors for this event are Pick n Pay Retail Store and Yuppiechef, online kitchen tools retail store.
To read more about me personally you can pop over to my regular blog “browniegirl” and take a peek at the About page. If you are wondering why I am so slack with the food blogging these days…it’s because I am here…working on the Indaba I would encourage anyone who is blogging or interested in blogging to seriously consider attending an Indaba. It is very educational and interesting, you get to meet such lovely people behind the blogs and you take away a lot of new information and knowledge with you.
Thank you for taking the time to visit and read. And remember that, like all bloggers, I love your comments