Receiving an invite to an event will never stop making me smile, especially when it is one that I am passionate about. Still cannot get over the fact that I was asked to come to London for The Happy Foodie ‘Blogger Breakfast’ at The Penguin Random House. Growing up I was always reading books created by this company, and little did I know that at some point in the future I would be going to their offices, directly overlooking the Thames.
This is home to authors of bestselling cookbooks from the likes of Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Mary Berry to name but a few. ‘The Happy Foodie’ gives opportunities to talented bloggers, writers, illustrators and photographers who love to share their love and passion for food. Their aim with this event was to begin a stronger connection with food bloggers (such as myself) and work more closely with them to showcase the creativity that the UK has to offer.
After a very early start to the day (5:30am) to catch the train to London, I managed to arrive right on time, to meet and greet new faces in the food blogging industry. There were so many talented individuals who all bring something different to the table (nice pun there). To be amongst them felt really strange, as I still don’t understand how I got to be there!
What really surprised me was just how spectacular the view is from The Penguin offices. Located on the 10th floor, opposite side of the Thames to the London Eye, and so close to my favourite city Landmark, Big Ben. A panoramic view like nothing I have seen before; it was a pinch-me’ moment.
After tucking into the little breakfast buffet they had on offer, along with my second coffee of the day, the event was ready to start. Julia and Lottie, who both work for ‘The Happy Foodie’ were a pleasure to meet and welcomed us all. The first of the mornings guest speakers was Shu Han Lee author of ‘Chicken and Rice’ and the lady behind the blog ‘Mummy I Can Cook’. The idea all originates from a personal documentation of her creativity in the kitchen as a international student in London, to show her Chinese mum back home, that she really can cook. Shu mentioned how her blog grew organically, and that is how she feels to became what it is. Her witty personality comes across in her writting style, and that is what attracks so many to her recipes. I love that she took control of nearly every aspect of the book, taking the photographs and drawing beautiful illustrations for it – something that I can relate to as a creative person.
Next up was a dynamic duo Sophie Missing and Caroline Craig who between them have a growing collection of well-known cookbooks such as ‘The Little Book of Lunch’ and ‘The Cornship Cookbook’. Both of them have such a wonderful attitude towards cooking, in that is should be process of enjoyment, sharing the delights that you take time to get just right. What struck me the most about what they said was that it is important to understand why you need to do certain things in a recipe, in order for it to work. So often we are rushing to get to the finished product, but that is where the magic fades. Iy really gave me food for thought (another funny joke) as I definitely need to slow down when ever I cook or bake.
Finally there was the undeniable talent behind ‘Symmetry Breakfast’ on Instagram, Michael Zee, who has recently published a book taking you around the world at breakfast time. I have fallen in love with his food photography, and the concept he has made. It really makes you think about the valuable chance we all have within our day to spend a little moment or two with our loved ones before we head off on our way. Michael really goes that extra mile to produce the stunning breakfasts he captures, researching historical, cultural and undervalued recipes to appreciate the diverse flavours of the globe. He emphasised that we shouldn’t be afraid to challenge diffcult subjects, which was reassuring to hear. He also mentioned that along the way, he has learnt to understand the importance in the power of ‘NO’, meaning that he doesn’t forget why he started and what the reasons are behind the brand.
One of the highlights of the event was being able to mess about and play around with props provided by Emily Quintion, which was every bloggers ideal dream collection! Here are the flat-lays that I created to showcase three cookbooks.
Definitely taken away so much from this event, and look forward to putting it all into practice. There is a lot to be said for the food industry in this country, and I am glad to welcomed as apart of it. Hopefully as this blog grows, so too will my skills as a baker and cook, even though it isn’t the main reason behind ‘The Growing Butterfly’.
Thank you to all at The Penguin Random House, ‘The Happy Foodie’ and every single one of the speakers who were there, it was a pleasure to be invited.