I am not a dedicated food blogger and my primary focus is on travel blogging and when you are an avid traveller and blogger it is bound that you start writing about the local cuisine also. Thus you can say that food blogging has become a part of my blogging adventure.
I have never been to any food blogging workshop and all my knowledge about food blogging was completely based on friendly advice from fellow food bloggers. When Zomato and Social Bong was conducting a special Food Blogging Workshop and I was specially invited to join the workshop as a guest it was something that I still find myself privileged.
It was Saturday the 24th of September and the venue was Black Lounge Bar at Auris Hotel. Being quite near to Park Street it was also easy for me to reach the venue considering its close proximity to Park Street where my office is located it was an easy walk for me. Auris Hotel is the new kid on the block and within a very short time, it has gained a word of mouth popularity due to its competitive pricing and quality food. Its location also plays a key part since it’s quite well positioned in the city making it easily accessible.
The event which was organised by Zomato and Social Bong are a perfect match with Zomato being the leading rating agency for a restaurant, hotel and other food and beverage outlets and Social Bong possible Eastern India’s only integrated cross social media platform marketing and promotion agency.
All the panellist were known to me from blogging circuit thus getting tips of the trade from them was something I really looked forward to as they are one of the best from their genre.
The event started with a brief introduction from all the guests and panellist, what was striking was that bloggers and food lovers equally participated in this event. This workshop was not restricted to non-vegetarian Bengali bloggers but also Marwari vegetarian bloggers thus truly making the audience the right mix from both ends of the scale.
The first session was taken by Anindya Sundar Basu and Madhusree Basu Roy the husband and wife food blogger duo who blog at www.pikturenama.com. This session was a very interesting session as they told their personal experience about their journey into blogging from a restaurant business background. It was interesting how they managed to get good interviews just by having casual and honest conversations with famous personalities. This session was to inform the audience how along with good food photography, content, and a good social media presence how they have managed to become one of the most respected bloggers in the city if not in the country.
The next session focused on the technical aspect of blogging and was taken by Debjani Chatterjee Alam (www.kitchenofdebjani.com). This session was important for the section of audience those who were new to blogging or were looking to improve on their technical side. Special attention was given to backing up of a blog which can be a life saver to choosing the right domain for your blog to give it a global appeal rather than choosing something which is very regional.
Zomato was represented by Samridhi Singvi who in a very brief session emphasized the importance of collective knowledge sharing through Zomato. How Zomato is slowly changing the landscape of rating by having multiple input parameter as a deciding factor and of course at the end how bloggers and food lovers are at the core of Zomato since at the end they are the ones to provide the content and photographs.
The lunch at Auris was the highlight of the day with the house chef showcasing their Special Puja Menu which they would be serving at Blu their in-house restaurant. The menu included Baked Fish in Mustard (Bhetki Paturi), Egg Chops (Dimer Devil), Mashed Potatoes (Alur Bhorta), Roasted Mashed Tomato (Tomato Pora), Fried Brinjal in Batter (Begun Bhaja), Lobster in Coconut Milk Curry (Chingri Macher Malaikari), Rice, Poori (Luchi), Mixed Vegetables, Mutton Chops (Mangsher Chop) and much more. This was followed by irresistible desserts like Yogurt (Misti Doi), Rosogolla, Lengcha and Chenar Payesh.
The next session was appropriately food photography which was taken by one of the very few food photography specialists in Eastern India Sayantan Sarkar and his wife Rani Sarkar who also happens to be a food photographer. This session was particularly was important to me as of late I am doing some food photography and his inputs really helped. The most important part of his session to me was the factor of DOF (Depth of Field) in food photography and how it should be handled carefully to bring a certain finesse to the end result.
The next session was on basics of food writing along with using the right approach to promoting your food blog across social media. This session was taken by Poorna Banerjee who is the owner and blogger at www.presentedbyp.com. Being one of the best in this genre of food blogging she shared some tips and tricks of the trade which actually helps in the long run and also helps you to establish oneself as a serious blogger by using words carefully and not become inventive.
Abhay Kewadkar from Four Seasons took an impromptu session as he was in town to promote an event of his company the very next day. He emphasized the seriousness of blogging and how in the western world bloggers are making serious money just by blogging. He advised the bloggers in the audience to be true and honest in their blogging by knowing the product a little better before blogging about it.
The last session of the evening was a panel discussion with Dolon Dutta Chowdhury & Sammya Brata Mullick. This session was both interactive with the audience as well as panel discussion which focused on the concept of making your blog popular and second to monetizing a blog.
Overall this workshop was one of a kind that this city has ever seen. I hope and I wish that similar events keep happening on a regular basis and involve a bit of practical also wherein the audience would get to improve themselves as and when the training is going on.