THA Spill: What the heck has been goin’ on? Plus my Top Eats of THA moment
For real for real, the last few months have been saaaahh bonkers juggling being an ‘authorpreneur’ along with speaking gigs, my day job (that in itself has made me age ten years I swear!), filming, promo stuff, the blog and eatuuuurng. Social life…..where are you? No seriously, where did you go?
I’m listening to Nat King Cole right now to help me piece together all the craziness that was and sippin’ on some honey lemon tea to mend my man flu. Now, I can’t possibly write about errrthang but I’m about to cram a whole heap into this one post so put the kettle on and make yoself a cup O tea chaaald!
Melbourne Writers Festival – how I published my book
Come to think of it, I’ve rarely spoken about being an ‘authorpreneur’ and the process behind producing the book. It wasn’t until I was approached by the Melbourne Writers Festival about whether I wanted to speak on self- publishing that this sudden realisation hit. Weird huh! Although I was a wee bit hesitant about getting up on stage to talk about my experience on this topic in front of nearly fifty people, Yas (Wandering Spice) was really supportive throughout the dealio ever since the time we had spoken on a panel together during the Emerging Writers Festival! Yas is just one of those people I automatically click with. We both love hip hop and obviously food – congratulations mama on yet another successful festival!
I spoke about why I chose to go down the route of self-publishing as opposed to a traditional publisher, the ins and outs of the publishing industry, the distribution channels I went with and the marketing that helped drive my sales. Thanks to Kate Larsen who was such a fantastic moderator.
I’ll tell you straightout – if you’re thinking about self-publishing, it ain’t easy BUT I would seriously do it all over again especially on a project so close to the heart. You have total creative control, set your own deadlines and you learn how to effectively, run a business which is priceless. I seriously think that 2014 is the year of the self-publisher – we now account for 31% of total daily eBook sales regardless of genre according to Amazon.com plus there are so many distribution avenues now compared to when I started the process four years ago. I promised I would keep things short so ‘m planning to write a separate post on the five stages (Research, Writing, Production, Distribution and Marketing) for those interested in my journey. My one piece of advice is to start a blog from the very start. Use it to document progress, build your personal brand, cultivate a following and most of all – keep up the momentum.
The crowd was really receptive and a large group came to see me afterwards telling me how inspired they were which was really touching – thank you. I have a tonne of emails I need to respond to as a result and hopefully, I can help others in their own journeys. That in itself makes it all worthwhile.
Filming two episodes for the Travel Channel
Something I don’t have is cable, so when travelling, I would always take up the opportunity to indulge myself in some trashy TV, Discovery channel and of course, the Travel Channel when the hotel throws cable in for free. However, never did I ever think I would actually end up on one of those channels! LOL. Does this mean I finally have a reason to fork out $80 per month for Foxtel? Kidding aside, when the producer behind the Travel Channel asked if I wanted to appear on an episode about Spicy Food, I gave a ahuh plus, they even agreed to let me bring along some of my favourite peeps to come support me on the show.
I basically had to devour some of the hottest dishes in town and describe how freakin hot they were and homeboy, I didn’t need to exaggerate. At the end of the first shoot, I guess they liked my acting (I was just my normal crazy self BTW), they then asked me to do another segment abut the best pies in Melbourne which I did on my own. I had heaps of fun and the crew was hella cool. They’re next stop is Europe!
Speaking at the Emerging Writers Festival – Food for Thought
When it comes to food – if I’m not eating it, I’m cooking it, if I’m not cooking it, I’m writing about it and if I’m not writing about, I’m thinking about it 24/7. Not kidding. So when it came to talking about all things food writing at the Emerging Writers Festival, it felt natural to me. Nervous at first, but eventually natural! I was super happy to find out that I was joining a panel of friends from the awesome Yas who asked me to participate, Lauren who was a fantastic moderator and Kylie who was really cool.
We each spoke about our own experiences when it came to food photography, blog platforms and design, how our blogs have evolved over the years, where food writing was heading, social media and how micro blogging has somewhat replaced commenting on blogs and the varying writing styles.
I mentioned that writing is just a muscle, so make it a habit to flex it throughout the week. Don’t stop writing. I’ve written about this topic several times on the blog, but never in front of an audience which was truly, an enlightning experience. When I was confronted with questions whether they were personal in nature or about my blog/book, unlike responding to comments on a blog post, I felt like I could open up more and to me, my responses were more raw, unrehersed and to the point. There wasn’t an opportunity to skirt around any tough questions or to rewrite a draft post. Sometimes you get so caught up in the blogsphere that you often forget that many folks don’t even know what a food blog is.
We also spoke quite heavily on how important it was to be your authentic self rather than simply copying someone else’s persona or style of writing. Basically, how can you get your blog to stand out from the millions of other blogs? BE YOUR TRUE SELF DAMMINIT!
We really gelled as a team and most importantly, we were able to inspire others to take the leap and write, write, write!
Cool mentions – The Age, The Filipino Australian, De La Salle College Alumni magazine and HotelClub
As a self publisher, you don’t have a machine aka a major publishing house with a marketing budget and a project team, so any form of promo is super cool to help drive awareness and to keep up the momentum for your product. I’m happy to say that even two years after the release of What the heck is Filipino Food, it’s still selling and going strong but that’s not without alot of self effort.
Although getting a mention in The Age and HotelClub’s Top Blogger series were great, it was the actually the latter two publications that was pretty special. Being recognised in your own community means alot, so when I was asked by uber cool writer and food blogger Anna if I she could write a piece on me for The Filipino Australian, I gave a hells yasss. My high school, De La Salle College also ran a piece on me for their Alumni magazine which was also rad. I’m still shocked that it published because never in my high school years did I ever think I would end up where I am and neither would my old classmates. To put it lightly, I wasn’t exactly the the best student! waaaah
What have I been eating? Top Eats of THA moment
It’s been a while since my last Top 5 EATS of THA Moment post, so I thought I’d give you a an extra sumthin’ sumthin’!
312 Drummond St, Carlton VIC 3053
Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella came down to Melbourne to speak at the Melbourne Writers Festival so Daisy got us blog folk Sarah, Shellie and Ewen together for a feast at The Town Mouse. We put down $70 each and took the waiter’s recommendation of selected dishes. The funniest thing was when we THOUGHT the mains were over, there was yet another onslaught of even bigger mains that caught us off guard. It was like as if lamb and steak bombs were being dropped. Ricky ended up dusting it all off for the team because even I couldn’t deal.
Biggest highlight? Dessert. One stood out for me: Lime posset – apparently, what was once a medieval drink has made a revival as a dessert. Oh, and there was match in there too which is what I really cared about. Refreshing as hell but decedent made possible by the white chocolate inclusion.
A totally rad night full of inappropriate chatter and was it was finally great to meet cha Lorraine in person after so many years of commenting on each others blog! Thanks again for some of the best chocolates I’ve had all year.
Group pic thanks to Lorraine!
I’ve been making batches of Filipino aka Jollibee style Spaghetti lately with banana ketchup. So good – sweet, spicy, tangy and porky. Blog post coming soon.
#TTVN Night at Bomba
103 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Oh the Trashy TV crew did again. This time round Ash, Wince and crew decided we do an Italian theme so of course, we made a heap of pasta whilst we watched too much trashy TV. Think Love and Hip Hop, Real Housewives of Atlanta etc…so bad but so good.
The next #TTVN night was not spent watching trashy TV but something of substance… for once! We hit the town for the long awaited Les Miserables and of course, we had to find a swanky place for our pre-theater draaanks and dinner. Ash recommended Bomba and having tried some of Anada’s dishes some months ago, I was keen.
Rhubarb ice cream with apple jelly. What I didn’t expect was for the candied walnuts to match but it was a perfect play of tart vs. sweet flavours that we all went crazy for. It was actually a recommendation by the lovely @nolamjames
The whole meal was a stonegroove and they were really nice to take into consideration our Les Mis theater obligations by rushing out the food for us. We were happy campers.
San Telmo – one word: MUUUUURRRRRT!
14 Meyers Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000
The smell of charred meat just hits you as soon as you walk in. Although it was hard to decide, my fav would have to be the beef asado. It was meat perfection – fatty in all the places teamed up with spoonfulls of chimmichurri, hello! I can’t believe I waited this long to eat at San Telmo but it was certainly worth the wait.
Yeonga Korean BBQ
1 Cobden St, North Melbourne VIC 3051
I reckon this year alone, I’ve been to Yeonga 20 times…at least! I’m obsessed. You can’t go past their marinated beef rib and their spicy seafood hot pot. Actually, errthang is top quality and you won’t find any frozen meats here either. My number one rule when it comes to Korean BBQ is: if it ain’t pure charcoal, it ain’t worth a visit. Know that.
50 Albert Rd, South Melbourne 3205
There’s only one savoury dish I order at Kettle Black – Ocean Trout Tataki. Over and over again, without fail. Surrounded by a forest of lightly dressed shredded kale salad and two poached egg boobs (hihihihi!), the ocean trout having having being sous vide for 12 hours, is rich and buttery in texture almost as if it was meant to fall apart as soon as you make that first incision, but it keeps it’s form. Another bonus about the trout is that you definitely have room for dessert – hotcakes anyone?
Napoleon Cake at European Flavour
823 Glen Huntly Rd, Caulfield South Victoria 3162
How I found about European Flavour was totally random and I don’t feel like like telling the whole dayem story but, I will mention that I have since been back and forth so many times and I would usually buy a whole Napoleon Cake cake just for myself.
Layers of custard cream, this Russian Vanilla Slice has certainly been worth the drive from the westside. And no, I will not share!
And whoop, there it is! That’s it for now. I’m working on a few other cool things that I’ll hopefully update you on soon but for now, keep eating!