Food Blogger Connect 2012

In the 10 months since I started Mondomulia, I have learnt a lot about food, photography, social media, and I have also met many wonderful people. I had no idea that any of this would happen. I didn’t create Mondomulia to become a ‘blogger’. I was bored with my job and depressed about it, so the blog made me feel creative, it gave me a reason to use my camera and improve my skills, and it also offered a space to share my photos.

Many people around the world have a food blog, like me. They all have different motives: maybe a passion for cooking, or the dream to be a writer, or a need to promote a business or a book. Apart from the love for food, we usually have one thing in common: we like to meet up and share our knowledge and experiences in person!

That’s the purpose of Food Blogger Connect, a convention of international food bloggers, which takes place once a year in London. FBC12 took place in the last weekend of September and, as soon as I found out about it, I wanted to be there.

Blogging is a personal activity: even though a part of what we do is going out to restaurants or attending events, the work behind a blog post happens in our homes and in our kitchens. Our writing is personal, as we talk about food while sharing our lives, our fears, hopes, dreams.

Food Blogger Connect gives to food bloggers the opportunity to meet up over three days in one of the greatest cities in the world: London. Many bloggers are willing to travel from other countries just to be here for FBC. It is undeniably a unique opportunity.

This year’s convention took place at Beaconsfield, an art gallery located a few minutes away from the river Thames, close to Westminster and Vauxhall. The location was perfect for me, as I could reach the venue by bus. The weather was also kind to us, as we were blessed with a beautiful sunny sky and not a drop of rain.



Food Blogger Connect lasts for three days, from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. Several lessons take place in the main hall throughout each day, but there are also many breaks, so that all attendees can socialize, as well as learn.

While the lessons last only 30-60 minutes each, there are longer workshops with famous international speakers, which are the main attraction of Food Blogger Connect. One of this year’s highlights was Ellen Silverman workshop on food photography and styling (sadly I couldn’t attend, but have heard great things about).

Here are some shots I took of the props that were used during the 4-hour course.


Attending FBC12 was an expensive affair, with the minimum entry price set at £299. This gave full access to the convention for three days; there wasn’t an option to buy a ticket for one day only. Entry to the workshops was not included in the ticket and the cost varied from £35 to £99 (workshop tickets could not be purchased without paying the £299 ticket first). If you add travel and accommodation costs, you can imagine how costly it becomes and how it makes it impossible for many bloggers to attend.

Is it worth it? Yes, it is worth spending the money because FBC is a unique chance to learn about varied topics related to food blogging and to meet some really nice and interesting people.

Is the price fair? No, I personally think that the ticket was too expensive for what we received in terms of venue, food, quality of the lessons.

Will I attend FBC next year? I am not sure, I will make a decision when the time comes, based on the price, location and speakers.

I regret not taking part to the workshops, but I know that I simply could not afford spending the extra money.

What I loved the most about FBC was learning bits and pieces of every aspect of food blogging, some things I was clueless about, and yet they may well play a key role in the success of my blog: recipe writing, doing your own PR, e-Publishing, managing relations with PR agencies, self-hosting, blog security, publishing a cookbook, niche blogging and most of all…my everybody’s scariest enemy: SEO techniques! I must thank Judith and May for their incredibly valuable lessons!

I also enjoyed the lessons with Sarka of Cook Your Dream: even though I already knew about Lightroom and natural lighting, I still got some very useful tips from her.

Food played a big part at FBC12, as you can imagine. This year’s theme was “street food” and meals took place in the “Market & Social Playground”. Different street food stalls were set up every day in the courtyard, the smell coming from their grills and reaching our lecture hall every morning and afternoon! As I mentioned before, we were very lucky it didn’t rain, or else queuing for food in the courtyard would not have been much fun. Still, we were dry, but we were also cold.

That would be my negative feedback to the FBC organizers: the hall was too big for the small number of people attending the lessons (15-20 on average) and was not heated. The market and social playground were outdoor, so we were going from being cold inside the hall to being colder outside. Despite layering on clothes, I felt constantly cold and clutched paper cups of hot tea to warm up. It might be just my personal experience, but I know most of the bloggers spent the weekend with their coats on.

Every day started with breakfast in the Ragged Canteen, served by Urvashi Roe of Botanical Baker as part of Better Breakfast Week. The Wheat Bran, Baobab & Banana Muffins were delicious and I will attempt to make them at home soon!

There were hot and cold drinks available for the attendees: coffee by Nespresso, tea by Joe’s Tea Company, smoothies by Good Heavens and AMAZING apple juices by Cawston Press – my favourite discovery from the weekend! For those interested in booze, bubbly, cocktails and Wines of Lebanon were also available.

I must mention the Vitamix team, blending away amazing smoothies, soups and ice-creams in a few minutes, mesmerizing every single one of us with their amazing blender! Three lucky FBC attendees even won the Vitamix in a raffle!

Every afternoon we had the traditional English afternoon tea with scones, with clotted cream and jam…


…but also the special “High Chai” prepared by Pistachio Rose, a baker who creates wonderful Indian-inspired desserts. I loved her Chocolate Chai Tart and the Pistachio Naan dipped in hot chocolate, a re-inventation of the classic churros con chocolate.



I discovered a few London-based street food businesses that had escaped my radar until now. I only have a few photos from Sunday, but here’s a list of all the food I tasted at FBC12: salt beef bagels by Bel Brisket; pastel de nata and chocolate salame by Silmar Taste; homemade ravioli by Pasta e Basta; canapes by La Tentation; tongue on a roll by Tongue ‘N Cheek; mini-burgers by Mother Flipper; tasty potato salad by Russian Revels; Mexican flautas by Toma Mexicano.

And finally some delicious and spicy curry by Vinn Goute.



Italian focaccia sandwiches by Gurmetti.


Venezuelan food by Guasacaca

The thing that really makes Food Blogger Connect valuable is the people. Having the chance to meet face to face bloggers that we love and read about every day, people who may live in different countries and speak different languages. They come together in one place for three days and exchange ideas, get to know each other, learn from each other. At the end of the day, this is what makes it worth it.

And so it is sad to know that MANY MORE bloggers would have loved to come. The venue had capacity for a larger number of attendees and I personally know some of London’s best food bloggers, who weren’t at FBC12 because they were put off by the price.

If the best part of Food Blogger Connect is meeting bloggers, then it is a real shame that many of them cannot afford to attend it…it leaves a pinch of bitterness to an otherwise great experience.










60 thoughts on “Food Blogger Connect 2012

  1. Interesting write up – I didn’t go and have to admit that anything with a minimum ticket price of £299 would be a no-no for me simply because I couldn’t perceive how it could be worth it. Blogging is free to everyone!

  2. that was great round up of FBC, wish I could have been there, am just starting with my food blogging. Wish the ticket price could be reduced also, its quite prohibitive with hotels, etc. Still hope to go next year!

    • I was very undecided about going and still feel guilty about spending so much…But it’s something I felt I had to do to understand better which way to go with my blog now. It was very useful in some ways, but I still think it was too expensive!

  3. I just came for the evening bit of the Saturday and met you briefly, talking about how good Brockley market is. I really want to go now! Lovely to get your perspective as well as look at your beautiful photos :)x

    • You must visit Brockley Market, it’s not just about Mother Flipper burgers! The area is residential and lovely, there is a village feeling and the fresh produce is of great quality. I just love the atmosphere of the market. I will be working there this Saturday, selling Olive Branch products. Come and say hello! :)

  4. It was lovely to meet you Mulia.Your photos are amazing and have captured the spirit of the weekend.Great summary :-)

  5. Very well-written post, and you should be so proud of what you have accomplished in such a short time. Onwards and upwards for Mondomulia! x

  6. I totally agree with Char’s post!!! At this point, what I can do is only share it in its Italian version:
    “Post assai ben scritto, dovresti essere orgogliosa di ciò che sei riuscita a fare in così poco tempo. Avanti e sempre più in alto con Mondomulia!”
    A final comment on your pictures: fantastic as usual!!! :-))

  7. Thanks for the post Giulia, the food looks amazing and I am sure that meeting interesting people is invaluable. I am still undecided on attending #FBC next year. It’s not so much the price per se, as £299 is still affordable if worth it- but I think they should have a more flexible price structure, for example allowing people to attend a chosen day, or only the workshops they’re interested in. I’m a marketer and to me the fact that out of hundreds (thousands?) of food bloggers- quite keen on spending money on their hobby- only 40 attended is proof that something is wrong with the pricing ;)

    • I’m 100% with you on that! I was very surprised (and of course disappointed) to see that only few people were attending…and if you think that many of them did not have to pay (sponsors, volunteers, food traders), then how many attendees actually paid for the ticket, like me?
      I had a good time, met fantastic people and learnt valuable lessons.
      But I nvested the money with the purpose of meeting bloggers and connecting with them, and if they cannot afford to be there, then what is the point?

  8. Your images are so vibrant and capture the atmosphere so well. As to the cold – that’s the back of my head, including warm scarf (and glass of rose!)

  9. I won my ticket last year and while I enjoyed the networking and some of the talks, like you I thought it was quite an expensive option both in terms of money and time. Had there been a sensibly priced one day option that wasn’t just labelled ‘play time’ I might well have come along.

    • Thanks for the comment, Fiona. I must admit I was surprised not to see you at the convention, and I would have liked to catch up with you! Hope we’ll get the chance to meet soon!

  10. Great write-up. As an accountant by day, the only thing I would say is one cannot accurately judge the “fairness” of a price without looking at the actual expense sheet. I’ve been thinking of starting a blog and nearly booked myself a ticket but my husband whisked me to Spain instead. The price might be expensive but it’s not so much when you compare it to the other food blogging conferences around the world. You also require a lot of sponsors in order to level out prices especially if they’re still a young conference. Sounds like there was plenty of food.

    • It would be impossible for me to know what the “fair” price is. I simply noticed that that the current price structure is not feasible for many people.

      FBC is a great resource for food bloggers, especially those who are just starting out. My mind was buzzing of ideas on Sunday night! With my newly aquired knowledge, I know I can be a better and more successful blogger! :)

      • Exactly, so fair is not an the best word to use :) Who knows the organisers could be doing this for free. Also, for everything you get and the caliber of speakers on the programme, it still seems much cheaper than say Canelle et Vanille’s workshop. I was going to sign up for her workshop but frankly you seem to get a lot more at blogger connect.

  11. Really interesting post. When I initially heard about FBC I immediately wanted to go but I was stunned by the cost and the additional costs of the workshops. Who has that kind of money spare?? Even if it was worth it, I think I’d rather save my money and learn on the job or through other people/online. Also, expecting people to be able to take a day of their annual leave from work is a bit much too. If they broke it down a bit and you could choose to go for a day then I think I would definitely go next year, on the Saturday or Sunday. Its a shame really as the whole point is to gather lots of bloggers together and if they set this price so high it just alienates people.

    Your photos look great. Well done on a great post!

    • Thank you – your comment sums up my thoughts! :) I do hope you will be able to attend next year, it is a great experience to have as a food blogger. There are ways to get in for free via sponsorships, so maybe look into those options (I will!)

      • Yeah I’ll definitely keep it in mind for next year. I do think the organisers are missing out on a trick here. If they reduced the cost (substantially), they would get so many more people and then there would be a much bigger buzz about the event. Seems silly to leave so many people out.

  12. Hi Giulia,
    Lovely pictures, you captured the mood very nicely.
    However…
    The ticket price of FBC is a fair one. Did you know that other specialised conferences like for Example “Typo London” charge £465 for 2-3 days? And this doesn’t include workshops, the amount of alcohol, drinks and food we got at Food Blogger Connect.
    This years conference was even better than last year and the ticket prices didn’t go up. Do you know how hard it has been for the FBC team to find an affordable location during the Olympics fever? I know this because the founder told me she was struggling to find a location because she didn’t want to make the tickets more expensive.
    The team are doing there best to deliver a conference that has:
    1. a good set of speakers
    2. quality workshops with fantastic people who are flown in from all over the globe
    3. good and plenty of food and drink
    4. good location
    5. a fair ticket price
    Food Blogger connect provides all the above.
    I am not part of the organisation, I only know them closely and see how much hard work they’ve put into this. They do this Conference for the community, believe me when I say they don’t get rich by doing this at all.
    I know this blogpost will hurt them personally very much and I find this very sad.
    If this were a mega company like the ones who hold blogger conferences in the USA this might be another case. But this are people who are part of this community, they don’t stand above it. They do this for us -the food bloggers- and for that I am grateful.
    Food blogger connect have send a survey to every attendee to express your feelings good/bad about the conference. They do this every year and they take on board every comment.
    Yes it was cold, they can’t be held responsible for the weather. The Ragged School is a fabulous venue, they were very excited about sharing the location and I know many people who were excited as well. Including me, I loved the location and everything about the weekend. But as you point out, the community is the most important. So don’t forget that it is they -the FBC team- who gave us a food blogger conference in Europe. A place to meet and reconnect with the community every year.
    Love the pictures xxx

    • Thank for your comment, it is great to have feedback from someone like you who knows about all the hard work needed to create the FBC event. I was just a simple attendee and I don’t know the organisers, so I have written a review based on my experience and very personal impressions.
      It was very hard to express my thoughts, I didn’t mean to sound negative or hurt the organisers / speakers / sponsors. I imagine they all worked very hard.
      I wasn’t even planning to blog about FBC12, but many people asked me to share my thoughts about it, so I had to be honest.
      I had a great time and learnt loads, I think that comes out clear from my words.
      But, as I said in the post, I was left with a bit of bitterness which overshadowed the great experience: I can’t help but think that – with more bloggers – FBC could be even better.

      • More bloggers would be fabulous! The more the merrier :) I do hope you’ll come next year so we can catch up again (or sooner over coffee!) I really love your honesty and your post is nicely balanced. Thanks for the pics x

  13. I have been reading the post and the thread of the comments with interest. First of all I would like to compliment you for a nice and balanced post where you tell us what your thoughts are, both positive and negative. I appreciate your honesty. I also enjoy your photos a lot, very nice and crisp and it is so nice to see my friend Alessio in the middle of all you women, he is a sweetie!
    My last observation is that this line in the comment above mine “I know this blogpost will hurt them personally very much and I find this very sad.” is very very disturbing. I’m sure they work a lot and try to make it the best they can but if they are so sensitive that they can’t take criticism (and judging by the rest of the comments here a view shared by many) they should do something else. Or maybe just listen and learn!

  14. You have lovely pictures. We’re sorry we were unable to extend the volunteer ticket to you by refunding you as you had hoped. We really did have more than enough volunteers to help out before and during the event. We sincerely hope this hasn’t caused any resentment, as we did realise you seemed a bit dissapointed to not receive a complimentary pass to the event.

    We thank you for your feedback and would greatly appreciate it if you were able to respond to the ‘feedback survey’ we sent yesterday.

    We’re eager to take on all feedback and do so each year. As with regards to price, it’s very much a representation of expenses, caliber of speakers, time, new, fresh, engaging content and of course quality.

    One thing we’re not very clear on, is how this post is meant to help FBC improve by attracting more food bloggers or sponsors to help reduce the costs and grow the community further, as you mentioned.

    Wishing you the best

    • Thank you for taking the time to read my post and leave a comment. I must clarify that I have paid for my ticket in July and I have never sought sponsorships or asked the organizers for a complimentary pass. I have decided to invest £299 because I believed I would get a lot in return, in terms of knowledge and connections. And I did get a lot from FBC12, but I also still think that the price was too high and prevented many bloggers from attending.

      In August I was asked by the organizers if I could work at the convention as a volunteer. Since I already had a ticket, I was offered a full refund of what I had paid, in exchange of working for 3 days for free. I was very excited to be part of the FBC team! I want to gain experience in the food and event industry, so this was a great opportunity for me to learn directly from the FBC organizers. Sadly, the day before the convention I was told that my help was not required anymore. I was disappointed of course, but I am not one to moan about things that don’t work out the way I want. I didn’t mention this in my post, because I didn’t want to play the victim. I had a ticket to attend the convention, so I left my disappointment behind and I came every day to make the most of it. I have written a blog post to describe my experience at FBC – not about what happened before.

      My blog is a place to share personal and honest reviews, not a platform to express my rants and frustrations. To imply that I was somehow “resentful of not getting a free pass” and therefore wrote a negative review, well that I find it short-sighted and offensive.

      You ask how my post will help FBC attract more bloggers and sponsors, but it is not my responsibility to do that. It is your job to attract people to the event. My job is to write an objective review of my personal experience attending FBC12. I have shared both positive and negative points and I do think my review was balanced.

      In particular, I have never meant to “stir negativity” between the sponsors and FBC organizers. I am not the kind of person who enjoys conflicts and believe me: I would never say anything with the purpose of making other people argue among themselves. On the contrary, I always stay clear of arguments, especially in my blog, which I’d like to remain a happy and positive place.

      Finally, I hope you will be able to take my criticism in a constructive way – as you can see from most of the comments here, my views are shared by many bloggers. I hope our combined feedback will help you improve the FBC business model and come back next year with a better, bigger and more affordable event.

      • Dear Giulia,

        I wanted to personally thank you for taking the time to put down your words about your experience at #FBC12. The issue of price has been one we have battled with from the outset and as you can imagine, we would love to make the conference more affordable for everyone. Since we’re being frank here, I’d like to say that it is disappointing to read that the #FBC12 was not value for money or “fair” as you’ve put it. Our ultimate goal is to create a valuable and inspiring experience and please know that as a team we take on your feedback and sincerely put it to work. I must also say that I’m left confused because the sentence before that you mention that your money was well spent and the conference worth it. So, does that not mean value for money or fair? I agree the conference is not affordable for most, something we wish to dearly change and as we continue to grow we will be able to eventually make that happen. To better help us and when you do get the time, we’d greatly appreciate it if you could respond to the FBC survey form we’ve sent out as there are plenty of areas we’d appreciate your clear feedback to help us truly improve for next year. We print these out and check-mark them as much as feasibly possible.

        I also wanted to take the time to say that I think you may have misunderstood the FBC team comment above, as the team was genuinely apologizing about not being able to extend the volunteer pass in the end. I hope you will accept it as our formal apology.

        Last but not least, your photography is splendid. I think you are very talented. Hopefully, we will see you again, perhaps you’ll join us at the next FBC potluck :)

        Warm wishes,
        Bethany x

      • Hi Bethany, thanks for your comment. I will of course submit the survey form you have sent out.

        To clarify my points: I didn’t say that my money was well spent. I said it was worth spending the money, because I did learn something and I did connect with a few bloggers.
        It would not have been worth it if I hadn’t learned a thing; which thankfully was not the case. :)

  15. Sounds like it was a great event – though the cost is outrageous and clearly goes beyond the average “blogger”. I love your people photos In this one Giulia, lovely smiles from foodie people

  16. There are many of us who read reviews, whether of a restaurant, a book or a conference, hoping to get a very clear and honest impression and opinion of it in order to be able to judge whether we ourselves want to spend the money and time on the same. Too often we find ourselves swept away by a totally positive review simply because people either are afraid to say anything negative or because they feel that it isn’t their place, so we thank you for your balanced and honest review, giving us both the negative and the positive, the better to judge ourselves. I have recently heard negative things about various workshops coming from attendees, yet they give only glowing reports in public. How can we, as future participants, know which one is the best value for our money?

    I myself have been on both ends: both as a participant at conferences and as an organizer of conferences and workshops and I do want to say that ticket price is always a top priority. As participant, I have to add onto event cost, airfare and hotel, which often pushes it out of my budget. As an organizer, we do always want to offer the best quality event and speakers, but these conferences and workshops are for the participants and their needs must be taken into consideration; ticket price is often a deal breaker. Since it is the participants who make a conference or workshop work, make it a success, they do need to be able to afford to attend. Ticket price should not be a selection process. As an organizer, as I said, this is always taken into consideration. Of course, costs from one event to the next, from one location to the next do vary, and costs, whether for venue, food, speakers fees, etc must be covered. But although we would always love luxurious surroundings and fabulous food (and lots of it), if these increase your ticket price to the point that many will not be able to attend, then best take it down a notch or two to something more reasonable and affordable. That is, if opening up your conference to the largest number of people is a priority or desire. For a conference like FBC, as you point out, a large number of participants is an important part of the experience.

    I am somewhat astonished by FBC’s rather ungracious comment here. Of course we can and should always learn from our participants’ feedback, both the negative and the positive, in order to make changes or adjustments for the next event. Personally, I think your overall review of FBC was extremely clear and informative and I, as a workshop organizer, would know exactly how to use this post.

    • Hi Jamie, thank you so much for your comment. It is very helpful to receive an opinion from someone who has experience in event organization.
      I agree with you that it is impossible to have it all: content quality, five star location, fantastic food, free drinks, affordable price, etc. A successful event is one that finds a good balance and focuses on the top priorities.
      In the case of FBC, the purpose is to “connect” food bloggers (it is in the name, afterall), therefore the top priority should be to create an affordable event that MANY bloggers are able to attend. This belief is at the core of my criticism and I can see now it is an opinion shared by many.
      The blogsphere is not a place for negative reviews, I am the first one to avoid writing a bad restaurant review just for the sake of being negative. I don’t like a place, I won’t blog about it. But if I am asked for my opinion, I won’t lie either. In this case, I was asked by many to share my experience of attending FBC12 and I have done so in the most objective and honest way. I am happy so many of you understood and appreciated that.

    • Hi Jamie, I don’t usually comment on blog posts, but here I felt compelled to. I am considering starting a blog and was doing some research into potentially attending a conference on the subject to learn more about various skills that I would need to make me more successful. In my research, which was quite thorough as I like to know what I’m spending my money on, I came across Plate to Page, which I assume is what you’re talking about when you refer to being a ‘conference organiser.’ At £650 for two and a half days, for a conference boosting ‘renowned’ speakers such as yourself, it seems very odd that you have turned around and started criticising another conference, which is over half the price and is based in the very expensive city of London. To quote from you “ticket price is often a deal breaker.” Well, I know which one I’ll be attending then.

      Not only that, but I noticed that this year Food Blogger Connect had a large variety of experts from the food world giving talks and workshops such as all time favourite food photographers – Ellen Silverman – who I know is based in the US. I assumed that she was flown in especially for the event. Having spoken to a number of friends who spent the weekend in London at FBC this year, without fail, everyone had positive things to say about their experiences. When considering the fact that the food listed above sounds amazing, with some of my favourite street food traders in attendance, on a personal level it seems that the conference probably does represent good value for money. After all, one of the reasons for starting a food blog would be to further a career in an industry that I love. You can’t really put a price on that can you?

      Furthermore, as for your comment ‘I am somewhat astonished by FBC’s rather ungracious comment here,’ I think what is more astonishing is that you have levelled a thinly veiled insult at someone who you are clearly in competition with. If I had to hazard a guess I would assume that your remarks are made out of bitterness and malice aimed at someone who is doing what you do, better than you…if that makes sense. It smacks of resentment and is fairly pathetic…something that I might expect from my seven year old daughter, rather than from a ‘conference organiser’ herself!

      • Steven, I will answer your comments and your assumptions about my motivation behind my comment. First of all, I was one of the founders of FBC and, along with Bethany and 3 other bloggers, was one of the organizers of the first two, so I know how it works and how decisions are made. So you see, I have experience organizing both conferences and workshops, which are not quite the same thing because what is being offered is not quite the same thing. When it comes to planning Plate to Page, affordability and best quality for money are one of our main priorities. A lot of thought and careful consideration goes into P2P cost for the attendees and I can assure you that we add up every single cost and then price the ticket accordingly, as does FBC. The difference is, and this is something I brought up when organizing the second FBC, our price includes not only hands-on, private workshop with only 12 people, one-on-one coaching, time not only to learn but to experiment with coaching, as well as all meals AND board (bed & breakfast, villa, manor house, whatever) so the participant is not required to pay both workshop fee AND hotel. All of that combined, we find that we offer the least expensive WORKSHOP that is being offered.

        With all of the conferences and workshops now in existence, each one offering a different choice of speakers and different range of topics, not to mention location and price, every food blogger can and must make their own choice of what they are looking for and what they want to get out of it. Just like every organizer must decide what to offer, where to hold it, and, ultimately the cost for the participant. My comment stressed that while certain things, like great speakers and vital topics, cannot and should not be stinted on, other things, such as location, food, etc can be rethought IF – and I stressed IF in my comment – having a large attendance is a priority and an important aspect of the event itself. As I said, ticket cost is seriously taken into consideration in the planning of P2P and you can see that while we select comfortable, interesting and inspiring locations, we are far from choosing luxury venues which would unnecessarily hike up the cost for the participant and we do much of our own cooking (which happily we incorporate into the exercises); we make a concerted effort to make P2P affordable for the most people. Our belief is that participants in general come for the content of a conference or workshop even more than they come for the location.

        I will stress here that P2P is in no way in competition with FBC because we do not offer the same thing.

        I personally did find FBC’s comment above ungracious. First of all, I found that this blog post was very positive, well balanced and the criticism was offered in a kind spirit, not as an accusation. I think it is important for participants to be able to give their honest opinions and thoughts about an event, and all the better if they are given, both the positive and the negative, in this spirit. As the organizer of these kinds of events, I found FBC’s comments to border on the rude, almost accusing Giulia of being ungrateful. As a workshop organizer, we always ask for feedback and press our participants to make sure they include both the positive and the negative as this always helps us learn and improve the workshop and what we are offering. When I read the comment from FBC, I decided to comment myself out of some sense of trying to defend Giulia or offer her support. As an event organizer, I felt some sense of responsibility to excuse the ungracious comment by FBC and give an organizer’s point of view. Not out of bitterness and malice, but out of anger and compassion.

      • Oh sorry here I am again. Just two more points, Steven. As I said, comparing a conference to a workshop it like comparing apples and oranges, but if you insist on making that comparison than you should actually compare like to like: You say at £650 P2P is over twice the price of FBC, yet you should actually compare P2P to the full price of FBC with workshops included since ours is a workshop, which is £499 which is only a difference of £150. And P2P runs Friday morning before lunch to Monday morning. Second, some of your points baffle me. I don’t see where the whole “boosting renowned speakers” comes from nor where you see I criticize FBC at all except in their response to this post. And I am also wondering where you pulled out the remark “doing what you do, better than you”. Not sure what makes you say this or how you know. What I did point out, which you don’t seem to mention, is the whole point of Giulia’s criticism: many people could not attend FBC because of the cost and, according to her “the purpose is to “connect” food bloggers (it is in the name, after all), therefore the top priority should be to create an affordable event that MANY bloggers are able to attend. This belief is at the core of my criticism and I can see now it is an opinion shared by many.” (her quote)

  17. Thank you for a clear, and honest opinion of the workshop. I found this to be refreshing and to the point and kudos to you for speaking your mind. Often people are not critical enough of things like this and I have read so many reports ooohing! and ahhhing! that it makes you wonder.

    I am rather stunned at the comment made by the organizers of the FBC in this thread insinuating that you are providing your critique due to the fact that you did not receive a complimentary ticket. That is rather under-the-belt.

    Your posts points out the pros and cons which is very fairly done. It touches on the price as a critique point and that is your opinion (but also the opinion of a few others as it seems). Obviously, from their comment, the organizers fail to see that this does indeed help if they are willing to listen and actively improve the conference based upon the critique people give. Instead they seem to be rather offended and respond by suggesting false things.

    The comment by Regula is typical of the friend who has received a free ticket and therefore cannot voice her thoughts openly as you have done. I say Kudos to you! I agree with Ilva in her comment that while there is no doubt the team work extra hours to make it a successful conference, the truth is that is falls or rises with what the (paying) participants really think and the willingness of the organizers to listen. And as FBC is not a non-profit company I cannot imagine that it is only about “a representation of expenses”.

    • I’m very sorry, but I payed my ticket fully out of my own pocket.
      It was hard for me to get the money together too, so this really hurts my feelings.
      I’m prepared to show my bank papers on this, sorry this is really very unkind.
      I even tried to find a sponsor, because although expensive I do wanted to attend.
      Mondomulia is a friend, and we talked about this. I also said her post is very balanced and honest on this page.
      Suggesting that I am not honest, well… you clearly don’t know me at all.
      All the best.

  18. Hallo Sam I would be interested in your URL since I can only see the name Sam.
    As to Mondomulia’s post: I thought it is well balanced and as Jamie points out it is always hard to see conferences and their costs from both sides.
    This was my third FBC conference – I was the one posting criticism last year but then I also turned in 6 pages of notes and suggestion directly to the organizers last year before I posted.
    I feel that FBC has enormously improved and that is due to the effort put in by the organizers and the sponsors, the speakers and the volunteers. It is something that evolves with the needs and wishes of food bloggers. FBC is not an organization like TBEX (who put on a dreadful conference 2 weeks ago in Girona) who do it as a business or Blog Her with thousands of attendees.
    Maybe the thought that should be passed from this year is to break it into parts to make it more accessible to a wider public.
    I know that 2 of my main gripes from last year were 100 % fulfilled this year: more food and another venue!
    Now if they could take it out of expensive London I would be happiest!
    I thought it was great and I know Mondomulia did too!!

  19. May I suggest we stop all the mud-slinging! Mondomulia did a great post of HER opinion and it was balanced in all parts. What is taking place here is well below the foodie community spirit belt!!
    Thanks again Mondomulia for capturing the good and the improvable garnished with such lovely pictures. xox Karin

      • Yes, thank you dear Karin!
        I’m truly very sorry Giulia that this has turned out this way, your post was very balanced as I said, and I know there was no intention to stir things up!
        We’ll see each other soon x

    • I don’t see mudslinging anywhere. It seems we are having an informative and thoughtful debate on blogging conferences. There are more and more conferences and workshops popping up for food bloggers all the time and we all want to attend, but how to choose? This is why we appreciate posts like this one which is indeed very well written, well balanced and thoughtful and obviously interests and affects many of us food bloggers thus the interest in the discussion.

      • I am happy that my post triggered a discussion among bloggers, though of course I wouldn’t want it to become about slamming each other! ;) Healthy constructive criticism is what I stand for!
        Thanks again for taking the time to read my post and leave your feedback. x

      • My ‘hear, hear’ was for Karin by the way! Mulia’s post was a very good one, well balanced and incredibly fair. At the end of the day, this is all about personal opinion and the fact that so many other food bloggers have agreed re the high price must mean that there is something in this. I know I certainly couldn’t afford it, as much as I wanted to go. Whether it’s ‘worth it’ or not, that doesn’t magically put £300 in my bank account to spend on an event such as this.

  20. A FABULOUS write up and very well balanced and candid, which is your right, as this is your blog! I LOVE the photos you have posted, even the one of me!! (May I copy it and send it to my family and use it on my blog, with credit to you of course?) You gave captured the atmosphere perfectly, and it was a PLEASURE to meet you over the weekend…….I was lucky enough to be sponsored, otherwise I could not have attended, and I loved the weekend, as I had the chance to meet new bloggers, try amazing food and also learn from International experts, especially in the field of food styling and photograpy…….a great post, love it, Karen

  21. Fabulous write up and pictures! It sounded great. I was one of the people that would have loved to attend even some of FBC12 but was put off by the price!

  22. Late to the party I see – lots to digest in the comments thread above.

    Firstly to Mulia: I really enjoyed your post – the pictures are just glorious and capture the spirit and people beautifully. At the risk of entering into the fray, I thought your post was pretty well balanced – I am oh so tired of reading reviews of events where people rave about it on their blogs, but then tell you privately that the event sucked. To me, your blog seemed mostly positive, other than mentioning concerns about the temperature and the price – both of which were well-reasoned and lucidly explained – it was certainly not some rant, nor a personal jibe at the organisers as some commenters have grossly unfairly tried to imply. This is a personal blog and if you can’t express your personal opinions here, then were can you?? As the organiser of an event you have to be able to take positive and negative comments with equal equanimity. Freedom of speech – anybody heard of it?!

    Secondly, the pricing of an event is always a thorny issue. Everybody wants a beautiful venue, excellent speakers, some pampering, and lots of amazing food. But I understand that all of this comes at a price. Together with Jamie who commented above, I am one of the organisers of Plate to Page workshops and pricing is something we struggle with each and every time. More than once, attendees have told us that if we had not done as much as we did to keep the price down, they would not have been able to attend – and to me, this makes it worthwhile keeping our prices at a minimum. There is no greater reward than hearing an attendee saying “your workshop changed my life”. No, I will never get rich thinking this way, but that’s my choice. I have no idea what the FBC overheads were, and of course neither do the attendees, so it is always hard for people to judge whether the price represents good or bad value – it’s also dependent on the means of the individual attendee and what they feel they get out of the event. I think it is true, though, that for almost all bloggers, this is a hobby and unlike other professional conferences where your employer pays for you to attend, the FBC (or P2P) fees have to come out of an individual’s pocket, and in the current economic climate household budgets are getting ever tighter – so complaints about the price should not be taken lightly by the organisers. £299 (plus workshops) might well represent good value for money, but if you do not have the disposable cash, that becomes a pointless debate.

    And as a fellow-organiser, I feel I should also respond to Steve’s rather accusatory comments earlier in this thread – P2P and FBC are not “in competition”. A 12-person residential focused writing and photography workshop consisting of back-to-back practical exercises is not the same as a large conference like this with lots of formal presentations, dozens of speakers, and the chance to network with large numbers of bloggers from all over the world. They are, at most, complementary and not offering the same experience at all. Secondly, I am not going to get into a debate with you about pricing, but as Jamie said, the P2P fee of £650 is inclusive of three nights’ accommodation as well as all meals and beverages (including alcoholic) during those three days, as well as 2.5 days of hands-on workshops where the ratio of trainers to attendees is one to three – a very different pricing structure indeed to FBC where some meals and all accommodation still have to be added over and above the conference fees. Pointing fingers at the P2P pricing structure in no useful way addresses attendees’ well-documented concerns about the price of FBC and merely serves to create the impression of conflict between the two events where none exists.

    • Dear Jamie & Jeanne,

      For someone who didn’t want to ‘get into a debate about pricing’ you’ve certainly done a good job of getting in to one…

      Anyway, there’s no point getting stuck into a war of words…all I was saying it there seems to be a conflict of interests here – namely, stirring up a debate about a conference that you didn’t attend, clearly have no intention of attending in the future and, furthermore, that you used to run – something that you failed to mention when you first joined in the discussion.

      This is regardless of whether or not the two are in direct competition with each other – and I struggle to see how they are not, at least to some extent. I mean, both offer workshops about food blogging. Whatever format these takes, there’s clearly a crossover. Hence, why I felt compelled to question your motives.

      While it may be nice to believe that it was your noble spirit and thirst for good, ‘out of some sense of trying to defend Giula,’ in the face of these ‘ungracious comments,’ I’m not sure I buy it. As a ‘conference organiser’ yourself (and thanks for pointing that out eight times just in case we missed it), surely your role should be to do the opposite, no? As a ‘conference organiser yourself’ I would have thought you would understand the financial constraints that your ‘fellow conference organisers’ are under.

      I mean, when you are charging £650 – whatever this might include – as I said, it seems ridiculous that you can even question the price of FBC. I don’t want to get into a debate about pricing either (and you’ll like what I’ve done here Jeanne, because I’ve pretended I don’t want to but I’m going to do it anyway). I live in London so I don’t need a hotel. I’ve also become quite accustomed to eating on a daily basis and, I generally pay for this food – except when I’m feeling really stingy. Then I just hang out behind my local Tesco and root through the bins when they’ve closed – so that doesn’t seem to come into the equation either. Not only that, but judging from the fantastic photos above and from people I know who attended the event, it doesn’t look as though anyone went home hungry.
      Perhaps I have, indeed, ‘served to create an impression of conflict between the two events,’ but surely not half as you both seem to have done with your comments. As I said, I’ve done a fair amount of research on the idea of attending a food blogging conference – and have read glowing reports about FBC from others. I don’t see your comments anywhere on there…

      Thanks for contributing…

      Steven

      • Steven,
        It’s hard to respond when I can’t even tell which points are directed at me and at Jamie, and this is all very wearing. No matter how many hours we spend trading comments, we’re not really ever going to agree on anything, are we? All the best and have a nice day :)

  23. A wonderful and honest review. I think there are some really valuable points in here which I hope the organisers take away. It was so lovely to have met you (albeit briefly). If anyone fancies a regular meet up in London for food and photography, I’m up for it! Urvashi xx

  24. Really interesting to hear and see more about FBC. I didn’t go because I live in Cornwall and it’s just not practical for me in terms of cost and time too. I’d love to have been able to attend, there is so much to learn both on workshops and from other bloggers. Sounds as though you had a good time though, despite the price and cold.

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