I recently received an invitation to attend a free bloggers brunch, complete with Bloody Mary’s. A cynic might have concluded, “there is no such thing as a free brunch” and declined the offer…I did not!
The stated aim of the venue offering the brunch, was to test run the menu prior to the its launch date, scheduled for a week hence. They were keen for those present to comment on the quality of the food, the menu’s proposed pricing and service. I’d considered they might expect a favourable blog review. Didn’t they know I wasn’t a food blogger? I wondered how, as an amateur blogger, more used to writing about my ways of remaining well, I’d pitch my piece.
What I’d particularly liked about the invitation was that it stated the event wasn’t primarily about networking. The brunch was advertised as an opportunity for we guests to have a leisurely Saturday breakfast, with friends or family. The manager, and another very attentive member of staff, only interrupted discreetly to ascertain our viewpoint.
Other food blogging events, I’ve attended,…..(I like food)
had networking and brands as a significant part of the interaction. (not quite my cup of tea). Most in attendance at those previous gatherings were more concerned with eeking out an existence from small indie businesses, rather than making mega bucks.
At times I’d been hesitant to attend, would I be the only un-glossy person there? Although PR, food criticism and photography might be considered glam jobs, and professionals do frequent these events, I found them a decidedly unstuffy bunch. Their passion for food, writing blogs and photography was most in evidence.
Naturally enough discussions about mental health are not a feature of these events. It can be disquieting to step out of circles where discussions on lived experience of mental distress are commonplace. When I do attend, I try to dispel any discomfort I feel by reflecting that of the 20 or so present, most will have experienced life events that are equally difficult. Additionally I keep in mind, 1 in 4 members of the population are affected by mental illness at some point in their life, thus making it highly probable some in attendance are similarly affected. Appearances can be so deceptive.
Eating nutritiously, having an absorbing hobby, and sharing ideas with others has and remains part of my journey on the wellbeing route. Eating nutritiously is perhaps the one I do least frequently or well. I love tasty food and shopping for ingredients, but carrying them often sees me too tired to cook them straight away. Other interests, an inadequate kitchen space are all other excuses I make! Fortunately I know some quick fix recipes and some of Leeds cheap, quality back street eateries.
My companion and I were first to arrive for the brunch, a few blogging/foodie, cultural types sauntered in a bit later. I thought perhaps a nod of recognition would suffice, however many seemed more honed on the Bloody Mary’s, or Bloody Shames!.(all juice, no booze), Pleasantries were reserved for the farewells, perhaps it was the post brunch, soulful, bluesy live guitar music, or the affect of the Bloody Mary’s, but people did seem more convivial by then. More used to seeing some with their other hats on, it was nice to find out a bit more about them while in leisure mode.
I felt a level of obligation to write a blog about.Soul Kitchen, my friend and I both enjoyed the Johnny cakes with eggs that we had chosen, however writer’s block had me seriously in it’s grip. Other writing and reading goals had me challenged, but I recalled the comments of a professional writer who’d said they were dubious about people who say that writing is their passion. He quipped they couldn’t be doing it right, which implied he too found writing, his chosen profession, hard. These comments helped me to stick with my attempts to transfer the ideas which swirl in my mind, in to typeface or on to paper.
In summary eating from the Deep Southern, Carribean, Creole influenced menu was no hardship, it was a very pleasant experience. I’ve since returned, the quality and taste was just as good. The pricing might mean it will be an occasional treat. Those watching pennies and calories, might choose the Fruit Loops. The venue, Soul Kitchen is situated in the airy space of the The Wardrobe bar, (opposite the bus station), an aptly named place to slip into something casual….perhaps not your pjs.
Soul Kitchen also serve evening meals.