Mein kampf mit organisierendem abendessen für Nahrungsmittelbloggers (or herding cats)


Nom nom nom

A Singaporean food blogger once brought 4 friends (one of whom was another food blogger) to a newly-opened vegetable place near Thompson Road and asked for free food in exchange for a write-up on his food blog. The restaurant owner acquiesced and when the meal was over, the owner, naturally, asked when will the write-up be published. To which the said food blogger replied, to the effect, that it will be written when there’s time; very likely a single short paragraph.

If you love stories like that then you should have attended the Annual Food Bloggers Dinner 2010 at Michelangelo’s. No doubt other food bloggers will be blogging about the event and other stories. But that is their tale.

This is mine.


OMG! It’s a crab cake!

Organizing the Annual Food Bloggers Dinner can appear daunting to some and yet be easy as pie to others. I mean, when it was time for Colin (of Only Slightly Pretentious Food) to organize the event, he had to leave Singapore to become Oxford’s (England, not USA) top law student. Coincidence? It is not for me to speculate.

Anyway, it all started when we were having dinner at Michelangelo’s early this year. We (Yixiao and Cheryl) discovered that the food had moved forward in an unexpectedly good direction. And since the management was friendly to us, we decided that it would be great to organize the food bloggers dinner here.


I must confess that the “chunks of tuna” had me surprised

Visualize the paper calendar pages falling off the screen and soon it was July. Usually, around this time, a call by someone who is not me will go out to rally the food bloggers for the Dinner. So I took it upon myself, with some prodding by Cheryl, Leroy and Catherine, to ask someone else to organize the event.

Haha! Actually, I published a poll to see what’s the comfortable price range and to see if anyone’s interested.

I was pleasantly surprised at the results of the highly objective and scientific poll.


Artsy-fartsy shot of the sea bream in Brick Phyllo that conveys no usable information

Armed thusly with this extremely scientific data, I approached Michelangelo’s and asked for free food for food bloggers or we will spit on his mother’s grave.

Haha! Of course not. No sound businessman would entertain any Tom, Harry, Dick with big balls and no shame who walks in and makes such a demand.

Oops… 😛

Anyway, I talked with the management and we came, very quickly, to an agreement. And Chef Dennis Ong crafted a menu to suit the budget of S$50 nett/pax. We talked about logistics and, being mindful that Chef Dennis needs time to procure the fresh ingredients, I set the last day for RSVPs 5 days before the event.


The Veal Scallopine that defeated me because I was stuffed with the pasta

Of course, being the Annual Food Bloggers Dinner, merely sitting down and eating simply would not do. As it happened, I was approached by a close friend who wanted me to help her cousin who just set up an online shop called “Pantry Pursuits”.

So I thought it would be a good idea let Pantry Pursuits introduce themselves to the bloggers and provide 5 lucky draw prizes. Silly me, I forgot to include a Grand Prize, so in the end I paid for the German-made Slicer (from Pantry Pursuits) because personally, that would be something I’d like for a prize. 🙂


Do you think that for birthdays, they would light the gooseberry?

The last stretch was also the most difficult part. Unlike the movie, people won’t just come if you simply put out an invite. Nobody really reads any more. And it’s a sadder fact that nobody really reads my blog, so I had to leverage on the popularity and influence of Catherine, Brad, Leroy, Cheryl and the rest of the food blogging community to spread the word. Unfortunately, 3 days before the deadline, there were only 5 RSVPs; so much for popularity and Kum Cheng.

In the end, I pounded virtual pavement and did a lot of cold-calling.

The replies and inquiries were amazing; some wanted to know if the crowd was going to be large because they disliked large crowds, some wanted to know if the crowd was going to be small because it would be meaningless to attend small gatherings. In short, a veritable Mother Goose Treasury of Goldilocks which was fun to read and respond accordingly.

Bloggers tend to be very polite.


Lights! Camera! Action!

In the end, there were 19 attendees (poor Jer Lin wasn’t well) at the event.

Special mention must be made that Sylvia Toh Paik Choo almost made it to the Dinner. She once asked to be invited to the Food Bloggers Dinner so I decided to follow up on that.

I was disappointed that she couldn’t make it in time at the end. This is because I am a huge fan; it would not be far off to say that Sylvia was my earliest influence in writing and I daresay that all Singaporeans who write in Singlish owe her a debt of gratitude for it was her who made it cool to write “Cow Peh Cow Bu” or “Outa” with her Pasar Patois.


Dinner went by without a hitch. I must say that service was smooth as silk and I was stuffed to the gills by the 2nd course. For that, I must thank Michael, Janice, Seelan, Chef Dennis and the rest of the Michelangelo’s crew.

We should also thank Lynette and Soo Meng of Pantry Pursuits for providing the lucky draw gifts.

And of course, we musn’t forget the food bloggers who took time out from their busy posting schedule to post a blurb about this event. Much appreciation and big up to you all.


Micro-blogging is the new blog

Someone once described bloggers (in Singapore) as “loose sand” in which we, as individuals who are not united, are easily manipulated. It is a flimsy excuse; you might as well form a union of stamp collectors to protect them from accidental glue-sniffing.

Having said that, organizing the Annual Food Bloggers Dinner for such a diverse community of fiercely independent people was fun and I was enriched by having made new friends as well as getting reacquainted with old ones.

So I must say most emphatically: let someone else do it next year.

* * *

As an epilogue, someone suggested that we should do this more often; so make you views be known with this very scientific poll:

How often do you think the Annual Food Bloggers Dinner should happen? free polls








White balance is important


Crab cake – Innards


Posted on 15th Sep 2010 in Food Bloggers Dinner, Singapore


There Are 12 Comments


stargirl commented on September 15, 2010 at 8:10 pm

for birthdays, they should douse the cake in alcohol and flambee it!


Meng Teck commented on September 15, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Hey Ivan,

Just want to let you know that there are people like me who still read your blog entries and look forward to your blog posts when we look into our feeds every morning.

Keep writing!



alkanphel commented on September 16, 2010 at 2:21 am

Thanks very much for organising the dinner Ivan! I really enjoyed meeting up with you and the other food bloggers for the first time and chatting with them.


Nicholas commented on September 16, 2010 at 6:56 am

Man, you know I would’ve gone in a heartbeat if I lived in Singapore… and stuff haha.


maureen commented on September 16, 2010 at 8:21 am

ur post is up!

so fun to read! humorous ivan!

such a pity that Sylvia Toh Paik Choo cant make it 🙁


azarael commented on September 16, 2010 at 8:23 pm

hey ivan, who says no one reads ur blog i read ur blog often too u know, i am a fan of the way u write.

wanted to go for the dinner but not a blogger so felt very paiseh..


azarael commented on September 16, 2010 at 8:36 pm

isn’t mein kamp the name of Adolf hitler’s book “My struggle” ? haha =)


Ivan commented on September 16, 2010 at 11:12 pm

@stargirl: …and dance naked widdershins around it!

@Meng Teck: Thanks! It’s nice once in a while to hear a shout-out.

@alkanphel: You’re welcome. It’s was a fun ride and I got lot’s of support from friends and the community.

@Nicholas: I know man. I know. You and Rob make a trip down soon yeah?


Ivan commented on September 16, 2010 at 11:14 pm

@Maureen: Sometimes protein, in relation to carbohydrates, appear enlarged.

@azarael: Thanks dude. It’s nice to get a shout-out once in a while. And yes it is.


Azarael commented on September 17, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Seriously, have u considered a career in food journalism ?

i find ur comments witty and humourous, yet with attitude. Do continue to write in same way.

For someone else to do the annual food bloggers dinner next year ? tough to find someone but i would nominate the skinny bespectacled guy with four stomachs and loves to eat his own kind.

would love to catch up with u and chat one day, perhaps at one of the makansutra events !


ivan commented on September 17, 2010 at 1:19 pm

@azarael: Camemberu just tweeted that SPH fired a senior exec for corruption. Such a position is always on a slippery slope I guess.

But to answer your question: Nah; you either end up with an inflated opinion of yourself or because of the OB Markers, practice unimaginative churnalism.

Blogging is a medium that allows me to play expressively. I like it.


ivan commented on September 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm

@azarael: Rewrite – Blogging provides an eternal false front from which we can write rubbish. I am told some demand for free food but I’ve yet to verify it.

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