1. Cuisine

What We Argued Over When Planning Food & Socialikes Connect #FSCsg15, the Inaugural Food Social Media Conference in Singapore: Converting Cynics Into Comrades

food & socialikes connect 2015Photo credit: Derrick (Sg Food on Foot)

The hardest thing when we were organizing this conference was not losing the original venue we wanted and having to find a new space in a short time. It was also not about sponsors and speakers, although some demanded more attention than others. These were troubles we had anticipated.

food and socialikes connect singapore 2015Photo credit: Derrick (Sg Food on Foot)

It is easy to solve logistic problems,  but it is harder to solve human ones. The hardest thing we encountered was to find people who share our vision. People doubted our sincerity. People talked behind our backs. Even on the conference day, someone came to me and questioned our motive.

We all have day jobs, and the conference was organized on our free time, after work and on weekends, out of a sense of duty to repay the society.

Why the hell would we spend 5 months of our lives organizing a conference, owing sponsors favors, forever in their debt now??  What good would it bring us organizers? Fame? Don’t be naive, a tiny conference like this wouldn’t give anyone fame. Money? We spent hundreds of our own money and received nothing in return.

We even hurt ourselves physically: Derrick was insomniac and I got gastric problems from worrying. (My medical bill was $105!) Both Derrick and I received bruises from carrying things up and down 3 storeys. But Derrick got it worse. His knees hurt and his face went pale from sheer exhaustion.

Our purpose is clear and simple: we want to build a community, we don’t want to network. The difference between networking and building a community is networking involves a bartering marketplace. You give, I take, tic for tac, quid pro quo.

Building a community is a two-way street of emotions, friendship, and loyalty. We give freely without expecting something in return. Quixotic, I know, but we have to strive to achieve. We want to create a safe, supportive, friendly space where no one maligns or picks petty quibbles with another group of bloggers to gain pageviews. In a way, our conference is created for the people who doubted us: to convert cynics into comrades.

Our aim is pure and simple. One of the ways we wanted to prove our sincerity was to get as few sponsors as possible, because if we were to make the event grand, people would start doubting our motives.

So we rejected many, many attractive sponsors including mobile phones, printers that could print straight from instagram, big milk brand, and huge canned food brand. Upon knowing we lost our original venue, a food website wanted to give us funds to book a venue. The offer, which could save us lots of time and effort, was tempting, but we had to reject it because it would go against the purpose of the conference.

Although we had countless “debates” over sponsorships, speakers, and tiny details of the conference day, all five of us remain great friends because we have an aim in mind–for the greater good of the community. In a way, our committee is a microcosm of what we hope to see in the community: we can bicker, we can fight, but in the end, we compromise, we reconcile, we forget about the quarrels, and remain good friends. We can exist in harmony even when we have different values and ideas.

Besides us always coming back together as a team, we make an awesome team, each with their talents. Nicole (Pinky Piggu), Nick (@stormscape), and I are instinctive while Derrick and Aries (@ironsage) are rational. Aries and I are anti-establishment liberals, believing in individual rights and privacy, while the other three conservative, reveling in communal values and consumerism. All these mean that there is a balance and diversity in ideas, in instincts vs reason, liberalism vs conservatism, idealism vs reality.

Nick, our social media manager, represents the opinions of youths. Nicole’s loveable personality makes it easier to get sponsors and win people to our side. Aries knows everything, from photography to design to microphones–very sexy in a man. And Derrick has all the connections, which made getting sponsorships very smooth. The diversity of our team rocks. Sometimes I wanted to strangle them but mostly I love them to bits.

One important group of people who share our vision are the speakers and panelists. I’ll be eternally grateful for their support: Dixon (co-founder of Burpple), Alex Ortega, Willin Low (Wild Rocket), Joshua Khoo and Dylan Ong (Saveur Group), Maureen (Miss Tam Chiak), Daniel (Daniel Food Diary), Bernice (Hungry Bunny), Catherine (Camemberu), Leslie (I Eat I Shoot I Post), Hoong An (Hungry Go Where), Seth (Seth Lui), and Tony (Johor Kaki). (Detailed program list here.)

I’m also grateful to Lime House for helping us in our hour of need. Their generosity knows no bounds; they provided the venue, miscellaneous things (like trash bags, plates, cutlery), storage space, ice, amazing jerk chicken sandwiches, rum vouchers, and mocktails for afterparty.

We were rejected by five coffee brewers because of the tedious day-long commitment. Derrick and others wanted to bring in N——– brand of home coffee-machine, because that brand would surely agree and it would save us a lot of trouble. But I was adamant about getting independent coffee makers because we need to support local small businesses and because getting N——– is equivalent to eating McDonald’s. This was a food conference, no way was I gonna compromise on this. And Kafve Coffee and Gentlemen’s Coffee came to our aid and were with us THROUGHOUT THE DAY. They must be exhausted. Thank you.

Our food sponsors: The catering branch of Soon Huat Bak Ku Teh provided pork-free bento for lunch. And a new cakes-and-pastries online shop, The Palette Knife, sponsored tea-time snacks, including an amazing lemon cheesecake with a chocolate base. I didn’t know chocolate could go with lemon! Fiji and Cold Front kept us hydrated.

Our foodie bags–the bag itself was sponsored by Brand Cellar–were full of The Entertainer App; food from Dancing Chef, Garden Picks, Huiji Tea, The Laughing Cow, MyKuali, and Win Win Food, and vouchers from Alfero Gelato, Miam Miam, Oceans of Seafood, and Spicy Thai-Thai Cafe. We also held contests with prizes from The Fullerton Hotel, Sunrise Bistro, and The Entertainer. (Detailed sponsors’ list here.)

You may also want to read other bloggers’ experiences:

Chue On It – “Of Food, Social Media, and Ethics”

Easily Satisfied, Hard to Please – “Togetherness in a Community”

Eat Food. Live Food. – “Food & Socialikes Connect 2015”

Ivan Teh – Running Man – “Food & Socialikes Connect (FSCSG) 2015”

Pinky Piggu – “A Food and Social Media Conference For and By Food Bloggers and Instagrammers”

Sgfoodiary – “Where SG Food Bloggers & Instagrammers Come Together As One”

To Roam the World – “Food & Socialikes Connect 2015”

Here are some perspectives from instagrammers (apologies that I cannot put everybody’s photos on this limited blog space, but you can check hashtag #fscsg15 on instagram):

cold front co singaporePhoto credit: Sg Food on Foot

Fellow foodies in the house at @fscsg #kafvecoffee #gentlemenscoffeeco

A post shared by KAFVE COFFEE (@kafvecoffee) on

@larvitar x @eileenongxt.

A post shared by Shawn (@larvitar) on

• Nasi Lemak | Karma Cola • #soonhuat #FSCsg15

A post shared by ♤ LiangYu Goh (@spadely) on

One shot wonder #soonhuat #fscsg15 Plate credits to @kevin_the_snitch

A post shared by ⓔⓘⓛⓔⓔⓝ 🐙 (@crappysotong) on

The behind scene of a good photo at #fscsg15

A post shared by Derrick Tan (@sgfoodonfoot) on

lime house x fscsg15Photo Credit: @stormscape

limehouse x fscsg15Photo Credit: @stormscape

🍈Rock melon rocks! #thepaletteknifesg #limehousrasia #fscsg15 #hzfooddiary

A post shared by Hazel (@hazeldiary_) on

Square-Circle-Triangle #FSCsg15 #thepaletteknifesg #limehouseasia

A post shared by HungryHungryMonster (@evanezer) on

• Overflowing of Good[ies]ness • Attended the first ever 'Food & Socialikes Connect 2015' – a food and social conference for foodie Instagrammers and Bloggers! Really blessed to be part of this event, I've learnt a lot from the guest speakers and panelists & it was really an unforgettable experience! Fun fact: Took @ortega_sg's advice while taking this photo ☺️ 🔅lighting lighting🔅 Shoutout to the heroes and heroine who made all this possible ~ This event wouldn't have been of such great success without these awesome organizers!! 🙆 – @ironsage @pinkypiggu @rubbisheatrubbishgrow @sgfoodonfoot @stormscape && of course with the support and generosity from our dear sponsors! 😚 #fscsg15 P.S it still feels so surreal that we actually get to meet and hear from every one of them!! 😁#thankful #kafvecoffee #thelaughingcow #thepaletteknife #coldfrontco #limehouseasia #winwinfoodsg #soonhuat #entertainersingapore #oceansofseafood #alferogelato #sunrisebistrobar #fijiwater #gardenpicks #gentlemenscoffeeco #huiji #brandcellar #miammiamsg #spicythaithaicafe #dancingchef

A post shared by ♤ LiangYu Goh (@spadely) on

The idea of this meal was to use everything in the goodie bag to cook up one set meal (other than coupons 😁😁😁) . | Main: Fried Hokkien Mee by #mykuali. I used the soup pack to make a broth with fresh prawns and 150ml of #fijiwater then cook the noodle in it. . | Side: Cordon Bleu Chicken. #thelaughingcow cheese wrapped with chicken breast then wrapped with the smashed #winwinfoodsg. . | Sauce: Laksa Paste Sauce by #Dancingchef. Cooked the 2/3 pack of laksa paste with 330ml of coconut milk and 30ml of #fijiwater. I spread it on the cordon Bleu chicken or you could just use it as a dipping sauce. . | Dessert: Cheese Set. The laughing cow Cheese with nuts and dried fruits by #gardenpicks and crackles (optional) . | Drink: Finished off the meal with a glass of #Huiji dissolved in 150ml of fijiwater. . | To make things interesting, I limited myself using just the 330ml of fijiwater to cook the entire set meal. . | Side note about this event: I do believe that IGer and food blogger can come tgt. Maybe I don't take fantastic picture but I used app like @burpple to post my recommendations. . | Once again Thank You for the organizers and the generous sponsors. . | Unfortunately I was not able to get the geo tag. Specially thanks @limehouseasia providing the location and refreshment for this event. . | Lime House Asia 🏠: 2 Jiak Chuan Rd, 089260

A post shared by Fat Boy (@fatboygoodeats) on

In order to do justice to the fantastic goodie bag, I decided to cook a seafood theme lunch for the family using the sponsored goodies from #fscsg15!🙆🙆 1) Appetizer – Tuna cream cheese cucumber canapés(Using the cream cheese spread from #thelaughingcow), topped with almonds from #gardenpicks. 2) Main course 1 – Laksa Seafood Stew(Using the laksa paste from #dancingchef). 3) Main course 2 – Crispy ramen omelette with spring onions(Using #mykuali penang hokkien noodles) and a side of fresh local prawn soup(Using the seasoning from the same package). 4) Dessert – Soft chocolate molten cake with meyer lemon curd cream cheese filling(Using the cream cheese spread from #thelaughingcow). 5) Drink – Strawberry infused tea(Using #Huiji fruity lite tea and #fijiwater). A big thank you to all the sponsors and organizers once again!Definitely looking forward to FSC again in 2016! . | Haha..Ran out of creative juice le, thus this super aunty Eileen had to make do with what she has..But niah mind lah!what's important is to have fun and enjoy the whole process..☺️ Advance congratulations to the winner first ah! Love cooking for the family, and they finished everything!I would want to do this more often!!Woo hoo! #EileenOngCooknBake #Homecooked #Homemade #FSCSG

A post shared by Eileen Ong (@eileenongxt) on

#Photography #workshop with Alex Ortega at #fscsg15 at #LimeHouseAsia! With a full house!

A post shared by Ivan Teh (@ivan_teh_runningman) on

daniel food diary and camemberu at lime house fscsg15Photo credit: Sg Food on Foot

dylan khoo and joshua ng saveur at lime housePhoto credit: Sg Food on Foot

@ironsage at fscsg15 lime house Photo credit: Sg Food on Foot

2015-05-25 01.09.39Photo Credit: @stormscape

miss tam chiak @ lime house fscsg15Photo credit: Sg Food on Foot

2015-05-25 01.07.57Photo credit: Sg Food on Foot

fscsg15 lime housePhoto Credit: @stormscape

fscsg15Photo Credit: @stormscape

fscsg15 lime housePhoto Credit: @stormscape

I was too busy moderating the discussions to take photos. But I attended a very useful FSC conference on plagiarism so I hereby attribute the copyrights of the photos to the respective owners. Please don’t send me an invoice. Thanks.

See you all next year!

If you like to know more about FSC or join us next year, follow:

FSC facebook
FSC Instagram

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