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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Look, I was at IFBM (Indian Food Blogger Meet) | August 2014


It has been almost a week since #IFBM2014 happened. I am still feeling the joy & warmth that fills you up inside after meeting a bunch of talented bloggers, who inspired me over the past many years. Their blogs were the faces I knew until yesterday. Now, I can proudly call them my friends!. Blogging will never be the same for me again and this event is hands-down the BEST thing that took place in my seven years of blogging. This post is my attempt to chronicle and put words to my experience at IFBM. I know for sure that when I look back at these photographs couple of years down the line, I will still smile with glee and cherish all of its memories!.  


The Venue | Aloft Cessna Business Park (Bangalore)

What a glorious, beautiful day it was when we all entered through the glass doors of Aloft for the first ever Indian Food Blogger Meet. And I thought there couldn't have been a better place to host it. Would you not be excited if there was a toy plane stuck to the the roof and big glass windows with sunlight streaming through them? :-) It instantly sets the mood - a good, cheery mood. 


A quick stroll across the lobby and you will see striking artwork, exuberant color and sophisticated design that is very appeasing to the eye. I could literally sit on those comfortable chairs all day long, reading a book, listening to live music and eating to my heart's content at Nook. Guys at Aloft, you listening? ;-)



The Diligent Organizers | Who spent sleepless nights to make it ALL worth it.

These four ladies according to me are the superstars who worked tirelessly day in and day out for IFBM. It was an idea that was casually bounced in a cosy cafe at Goa, found momentum and organically grew over time to such impressive scale. Applause to Nandita, Aparna, Revati and Arundati. If IFBM ended with such raving reviews, it is all because of the thought and love that has gone into each and every aspect of it. Read this post from Revati and promptly written exclusive IFBM blog to know how much of time and effort went into this event. Kudos ladies and a Big Thank You for keeping us hooked with those innovative contests and surprising goody bags. Keep smiling and looking forward to much more in coming future. 


The Amazing Food Bloggers | Who made IFBM super duper fun!

It has been a week and the endless conversations of 39 other bloggers that started during the days of IFBM are still high, thanks to the social media. I knew most of them virtually and have been following their recipes and stories. IFBM gave each blog a whole new personal dimension to me. That calls for a toast and a Big Cheers to exciting beginnings to friendships - old & new!

Click here to view these pictures individually.

The Sessions  | Informative, Insightful and Inspiring

The two days of IFBM were action packed with sessions led by people who knew their craft the best. Day One started with Deeba sharing tips & tricks of effective Food Styling, moving on to Aparna's session on Food Photography, a live KitchenAid's cooking demo by Chef  Surjan Singh Jolly from JW Marriot, Nandita sharing her secrets of harnessing the social media effectively, a much appreciated wine session by Aneesh Bhasin of Hipcask and ending with a live interview of author Husna Rahaman on her recently released book - Spice Sorcery


Day Two started with a bang as Ashish spoke about SEO, its importance and tools to use it to our advantage. Next in store was Rushina talking about good food writing. Don't we all know how big a role it plays in a food blogger's life. After a quick tea break, it was time to know how to self publish a cookbook by Aparna Jain, author of The Sood Family Cookbook. I especially liked the honest Q & A session which had many insights on what to do and what not to do when it comes to jumping the bandwagon of becoming a cookbook author. A panel discussion by Sanjeeta, Harini, Ruchira and Ranjini, Rushina, and Kalyan Karmakar compered by Arundati led to many knowledgeable discussions on how to go beyond food blogging and start something on your own. Each session had something unique to offer and lively participant interactions made it even more engaging. 


The Food | A True Passion because of which we all gathered together.

It was a conference of food bloggers (read as people who have an opinion on every aspect of food) and it was expected that Food would be not only good, but the very best. The amazing team at Aloft did put a lot of sweat and took that extra mile to make sure the food experience was impeccable. There was thought put into every meal and each dish was tastefully created. 


Would you believe - I was so smitten by the whole experience that most of the times, it completely skipped my mind to take photographs. It was an euphoric effect I guess on meeting good people and eating incredibly good food.  The below picture sums it all - a perfect ending (kala khatta gola) to a Mumbai Street Food themed lunch of Day One with vada pavs, cutlets etc. 


On Day Two, the food was convenient and consistent. Nook, the restaurant downstairs had an expansive feel and a relaxed setting. Being a food enthusiast, it excites me when a simple egg salad (picture left below) is styled so beautifully that you would want to gobble up almost immediately. It was a wonderful spread with favorites from Kashmiri Pulao to Gulab Jamun. The service was prompt, crisp and non-intrusive. 


The Masterclass | by Chef Sameer Luthra

Day Two ended with a masterclass by very talented Chef Sameer. He is the brainwave behind the food served over the course of IFBM and am mighty impressed at his passion to serve splendid food in exciting new ways. He demonstrated how to make a perfect Potato Rosti with Eggs and Fish En Papillote during the masterclass. 


The Goodie Bags | Wohooo!

Around 23+ sponsors across the board generously sponsored our IFBM goodie bags. Very carefully hand picked by the organizers themselves, there was hand crafted coffee from Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters, spiced honey from Food Tribe, an exclusive goodie bag from Tupperware, cute little Bite Me cupcakes, assorted chips & drips from Cremica, gourmet tea bags from Sublime, drinks from Paperboat, the must have book New Concise Larousse Gastronomique by Jamie Oliver sponsored by India Food Network and much more!


..and these goodies are just for Day One..
For me, personally the icing on the cake was winning a KitchenAid chopper for my Plum Crisp with Dried Raisins recipe. It was an absolute honor to be appreciated on such an amazing platform and it gives me that much needed boost to cook, learn and write more. Thank You!.

Blog Smiles... Cheers to new beginnings!
Post event, we got media love too. The New Indian Express ran a front page article on its City Express (Hyderabad edition). Preethi and I shared our hyderabadi experience too. :-)

Click ton the image for a larger version.
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Wanna read what others wrote about IFBM? -
Here is Harini's detailed post on the sessions and other action happened there.
Lata Raja came all the way from Togo and read on to know what she thinks about IFBM.
The Food Connection - A Hindu feature on the event.
Kalyan (Finely Chopped fame) wrote a few honest words on what he is expecting out of the event.
See what Nandita Iyer, one of the organizers wrote on her blog.

For more updates on such future events, don't forget to 

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8 comments :

  1. Well structured post Siri. It covers the emotions and intent of IFBM thoroughly. It was so lovely to meet you finally after all these years! Hugs and love!!

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    1. Thanks Anjali. It took me almost a day to edit, write and compile this post. Well worth the effort as I didn't wanted to miss anything. :-) It is such a pleasure to meet you in person. :-)

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  2. Great round up Siri!
    Locing the pictures :)

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  3. enjoyed reading the post Siri... last week we all were at IFBM :)

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    1. Thanks Raksha. I know. Isn't it? It feels like yesterday that we were all in the same room, laughing and having such a good time.

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  4. Great work Chipotle buddy! :) I totally loved it words, pictures, flow of thought et al! I am yet to put in words my experience. Hope I do soonly!

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  5. arrey! how did i miss this? fab post... and thanks for the review of IFBM. also congrats on winning so many prizes!

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'Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it' ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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