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.
The third event was held on Sunday 24 June 2012 at the Conference Centre, Pick n Pay Office Park, Kenilworth, Cape Town and was a resounding success. With almost 130 delegates filling the auditorium to listen to talks on all aspects of blogging, monetizing your blogs, building your blog brand with social media, writing for the web and Pinterest for bloggers, speakers/presenters included once again Jeanne from Cooksister.com, Paul Raphaely from NoMU (who did a superb job as the MC and co-ordinating the event as it panned out on the day), Paul Galatis from Yuppiechef (one of our headline sponsors), Alida Ryder from Simply Delicious, Linda Harding from The Squashed Tomato, Carine Visagie from Fresh Living Magazine, John Gardner from John Brown Publishers, Mark Forrester from Woothemes, Neil Pursey from webgrowthSA, Grace Stevens from Cupcakes By Design, Sam Woulidge from Confessions of a Hungry Woman, Sarah Graham from A Foodie Lives Here, Sam Linsell from Drizzle and Dip, Garth Almazan, exec chef from Catharina’s Restaurant and Gorgeous by Graham Beck, the first brand-exclusive bubbly bar in South Africa, Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira, cellarmaster extraordinaire from Graham Beck Wines, Jacqui Thatcher from Profumi D’Italia and Tasha Seccombe from Tasha Seccombe Photography. New workshops this year included WordPress and Plug-Ins, Writing and Publishing a Cookbook and a cooking dem, Cake Decorating hands on workshop, Photoshop, Grappa and food pairing, SEO and a live Blog Audit and a Gorgeous Champagne and Canape pairing workshop. The day wound down with everyone enjoying a glass of delicious Tangled Tree wine and supporting the Lavender Upliftment Trust through an auction which raised almost R16,000 for the project. A wonderful day indeed, heavily sponsored by our fabulous product sponsors, with everyone leaving heavily laden with THREE stuffed goodie bags! The stunning bright red Kitchen Aid Mixer, main prize of the day sponsored by Yuppiechef, was won by Roxanne Abrahams who was the most hated person in the auditorium at one stage 🙂
During 2012 I finally took the plunge and registered my baby as a company, taking on board Jeanne as my business partner. The name of the company has also been registered and is awaiting the final trade-marking process. As you can see, a massive year for the SA Food and Wine Blogger Indaba!
Planning is now under way for this year (after a very slow start because I had to take a long absence due to health issues) and the next Indaba is being planned for mid August 2013. Watch this space for date, venue and agenda information! UPDATE: The 2013 event had to be postponed and the 2014 event to be held on Saturday 22 February 2013 at the fabulous and trendy DoubleTree by Hilton Cape Town – The Upper Eastside Hotel in Woodstock is well on the way to becoming a reality now. Tickets are selling well and we have a super agenda of speakers and workshops lined up.
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 or social media 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, we love your comments 😉
Colleen and Jeanne xx