Keep it simple.
Don't put on airs.
Keep to the point.
Don't use words that you would hate to read yourself.
The first ever Underground Conference titled "How to be a successful food blogger", which was held this weekend by the clever MsMarmiteLover was just what I needed to stop my ramblings and start making my blog the best that it can be!
To stop waffling is going to be a big challenge for me!
Cut to an Underground restaurant in rainy London. Just a hop, a skip (and a jump onto my first ever experience of a traditional London Routemaster!) to Kilburn.
Armed with a password at the door and knowledge that the days' service would be "Teenage Goth"....certainly not expectant of a dreary business location with a few dry sandwiches! On the contrary!.....
...We were greeted with a smile from said teenager, and shown to a beautiful dining room with walls covered in Black and White photos taken by MsMarmiteLover, which would be full of approximately 30 food loving strangers, all here for one reason... to meet new people with similar interests and to soak the knowledge of four food experts, ready to divulge their deepest and intimate food-related secrets!
It was the ultimate Underground event!
Alongside our morning coffee and home made Pain au Chocolat (as well as Plain and Almond Croissants), we had a humorous speaker in the form of Daniel Young of Young and Foodish fame.
Now, I say Speaker.
He was more of a Whisperer due to a lack of voice. So his charming wife spoke for him, whilst he stood and nodded in agreement and tried with all his might to add extra points where he could.
I had already read his top ten burgers in London, which is well worth a read if you live with a Burger Fiend, as I do!
(This list will keep us busy for months with our intermittent trips to the capital!)
He said that many great food writers now want to become bloggers... What a thought to end his session on!
Thank you so much Daniel, you were so much fun and a great speaker to get things going. Check out his Burger Monday Video to really get you salivating!
Likening blogging and food writing to dating, she shared her rules and thoughts on how to write a recipe, even asking us to write up our own in 5 minutes....eek!
How to approach publishers and agents, and brutally honest about how little she had known about this world until she got there herself.
Hearing that without her agent, she would not have become huge in Korea was such an eye opener for anybody thinking about writing for money. Her best advice was to never sell a product that you don't like!
What a gem she was too!
Lunch was then served, giving us a chance to meet other people in the room and enjoy the famed food, which was one of the most exciting elements of being here!
A starter of pea shoot and fennel salad with a vinaigrette dressing, with warm home made sun-dried tomato focaccia.
The main course was Spaghetti Vongole...and it was amazing! Garlic and Clams, the perfect partnership.
I didn't leave a morsel!
Dessert... A sweet and tender Rhubarb and Custard Clafouti, slowly baked in the famous Aga!
The third speaker of the day was the confident and professional photographer, Paul Winch-Furness who gave us a lesson in food photography. You can also view his photos from the day here.
He helped us look at the technical side of photography, as well as the fun of taking the picture. The best advice being that to get the best out of the picture you are taking, shoot into the light and try not to use the flash or artificial light where possible.
This workshop also gave us a chance to explore The Underground Restaurant and we were permitted to snap away at anything we liked, which was such a unique and exciting way to see behind the scenes. What an honour.
A relaxed view on the day had meant that our last speaker, the passionate Tim Hayward of Fire & Knives was so entertaining that it really didn't matter. He was worth the wait.
Listening intently, the entire room enjoyed his stories and view on the world of food and literature. He had stories to tell and that would mean a whole new blog just to recall them all!
His enthusiasm is infectious and he finished the day off on a perfect high. He had the room in fits of hysterics.
His advice was honest and real, and on the subject of writers block, he said: "Write rubbish if nothing at all!".
The evening ended with a swift toast with a glass of champagne and a goody bag to take home with us. I know for one, I was very tired by the time we had finished, so I can only imagine how our hostess must have felt!
All I can say is thank you to everybody who made this day happen, especially to Kerstin!
I was so pleased to be a part of this, and if you get the chance to go to a future event, then make sure you go!
And if you attended the conference, and you would like to link your blog, please do leave a comment below and say hello! - I know that we did not all get the chance to get to know absolutely everybody in the room, so do come and say hello, I would love to hear from you!
Miss Sue Flay
Miss Sue Flay