The auditorium here at the Leela Palace, Chennai, was abuzz with bloggers, Instagrammers, chefs, restaurateurs and media persons last Saturday and the word that resonated in the air throughout the event was, quite obviously, “food”. The first edition of The Times Bloggers Conclave organized by The Times of India in partnership with Wellgo Life Farms was an initiative to recognize food bloggers – about 150 of them – who shape today’s food trends and influence today’s millennials’ choice of where to eat what.
The bloggers handpicked by HungryForever were acknowledged with a Times of India certificate and the evening saw a string of events that engaged the audience with insightful discussions and interactions. The conclave began with a masterclass session with chefs from Courtyard Marriott – Chef Dinesh Kumar and Chef Kuldeep Singh, who whipped up dishes like Chemmeen Thoran and Sukhe Nariyal ka Kukkad while the host for the evening Sahithya Jagannathan wound her way through the audience exploring their culinary ideas and the tips the chefs were dishing out.
Ganesh Venkatraman, popular South Indian actor and television personality and Vikram Cotah COO – GRT Hotels and Resorts, the chief guests for the evening inaugurated the event along with the other dignitaries. Eminent personalities took to enlighten the bloggers with their own experiences with the food blogging network and the world of influencers. Mr. Cotah delivered his keynote address, addressing every possible aspect of influencer marketing.
One amongst the most awaited events of the evening- the panel discussions began with Tinu Terrenz as the moderator. The first discussion on the topic “3 Piece of the Puzzle – The Blogger, The Brand, The Media” saw panelists Chef Mathangi Kumar from That Madras Place, Mr. Siby Mathew – Founder and MD, Wellgo Farms, Mr. Sam Paul – Director, Paulson’s Lifestyle Group, Mr. Rakesh from Puliyogare Travels and Mr. Sameer Pitalwalla co-founder and CEO of Culture Machine discussing on the different aspects of branding from their respective field’s point of view.
The second panel comprised of Mr. Japtej from Double Roti, Chef Shriram from The Table, Mr. Santhosh from Kolapasi, Mr.Mohammad Ali from Chennai food guide and Mr. Siby Mathew – Founder and MD, Wellgo Farms. The discussion on “The Power of Influence” was quite heated with inputs from the bloggers, discussing aspects like ethical blogging, how equipped are bloggers and management on food waste.
Savour the South
The event wound up with the launch of the coffee table book “Savour the South” by the chief guests following which the audience and dignitaries were served with a delicious cocktail dinner that saw mobile phones being whipped out and tasteful pictures being shot all through the banquet hall with Instagram being app that trended in the room. The bloggers went home with a bag of goodies put together by the sponsors and several delightful memories and ideas that will soon go up for the world to see on their respective blogs and social media pages.