Friday, December 02, 2016

A little note on the FBAI/ IFBA Awards #IFBA2016

Image courtesy Saransh Goila
Its that time of the year again. The IFBA Awards and FBAI Dialogues are here! And I think there is just a little more excitement this year than there has been in the past. We are all anticipating meeting with friends in the food fraternity. 

I have been associated with the FBAI in various ways for about 4 years now, and I thought it was time I wrote about them.
As one of India's first food bloggers, I’ve watched the title 'Food Bloggers' go from being a nonentity to profanity (grist for a whole other blogpost). But, I will say this, however you look at us, Food Bloggers are here to stay, our tribe has grown and like all tribes we count good, bad, likeable and unlikeable amongst us. It is for the reader to pick the wheat from the chaff.  

Now that that’s out of the way, lets return to the topic of this post. The FBAI.

I credit blogging for setting me on the path that has brought me to where I am today. But I remember a time when food blogging was unrecognised. Way back in 2012 I also began to organise blogger meetups, the idea was to get us meeting, talking, coming together because I believed than as I do now that for Food bloggers to be a voice, we needed to come together. It was slow progress. Often frustrating. Then FBAI short for 'Food Blogger’s Association of India' came along in 2013. And changed the game.

I must admit here, that when the FBAI first began, I was skeptical about it. In fact I was possibly its biggest critic!

FBAI, spearheaded by Sameer Malkani, a former strategic marketing professional as it shares on its website, today is India’s leading food, drink and hospitality online medium. A news channel that reports, reviews & disseminates information on F&B products & services, restaurants, chefs and food events across India it has also been coming together as a cohesive and engaging community of food lovers, bloggers, chefs, writers, restaurateurs, hoteliers, F&B photographers, stylists, brand and service stake holders over the years.  Sameer reached out soon after FBAI began, he was planning the first FBAI Awards and needed some inputs. We connected, I was happy to help. As I write, we are a few days away from the 3rd IFBA awards. I have been part of these every year. And I wanted to stop to say something.

Over the years, I’ve watched as Sameer along with an able backup team of volunteers (Saloni, Bhisham and so many more!) have all worked together to give the FBAI shape and credibility. Our friendship has also grown in tandem. Sameer, to his credit, has also patiently heard me out at every turn, when I've been frank with criticism (ALOT), complained (a fair amount), made many, many suggestions, ranted (on the rare occasion), thrown fits (just 1 or 2) and generally driven him up the wall over the years (constantly!).

In my current avatar as head of A Perfect Bite consulting and APB Cooks studio, I curate events for a living. And I know how much energy even the smallest of events require. I have also learned over time, that it takes GUTS to stand up, year on year and orchestrate an event of the magnitude of the FBAI and IFBA.

So Sam, Saloni, Bhisham and everyone at the FBAI, this is my 'Hats off' (very sexy Aussie Akubra type hat, just so we are clear…) to all of you. Seriously, ‘Thank you’ for giving Food Bloggers a platform. For bringing the food fraternity together. And for pulling up those boots year on year to pull together a bigger and better Dialogues, IFBA and more. (Though Sam you could STILL get started on planning earlier!) I am glad to be a part of it. And I’m looking forward to FBAI dialogues and IFBA awards 2016!

And now a little more on FBAI, IFBA and its many initiatives for the ones who want to know!

FBAI began with organising blogger events, then the FBAI awards and over the years added on some  intellectual properties of note. The ones that I have been part of include The Great #FBAIFoodHunt (a food themed treasure hunt), The Stirring -  one of my favourite initiatives in which the FBAI bring together people from different streams of the food industry to debate and discuss topics like, ‘Going beyond traditional dining experiences,’ ‘Multiple Roles of Food Bloggers’ and ‘Farm to plate’. Discussions we as food people need to have. Earlier this year I was also happy to be part of a new initiative by FBAI #HomeChefMatters a one day conference for Home Chefs and Home Cooks to connect with leading voices from the food industry. There is lots more FBAI does, you can find out on their website.

Of course the Annual IFBA awards is one of their most recognised initiatives, closely followed by the FBAI Dialogues that usually precede the awards. This year #IFBA2016 is more exciting then ever!  

Here is an overview.
The #IFBA2016 Awards are later (Saturday, 10 December 2016 - 7 pm onwards at the Maahi Banquet and Poolside JW Marriott Juhu). But I will talk about them first as there’s less to say. #IFBA is the only such award platform in India to date. As the title suggests this is the annual Award ceremony that aims to recognise and celebrate the finest in food blogging, felicitating Food Bloggers whose blogs have won awards across 15 or so categories every year. And let me tell you, #IFBA2016 promises to be the largest showcase of food bloggers yet!

And now for The FBAI Dialogues (Sunday, 04 Dec - 10am-6.30pm at Enigma, JW Marriot Juhu) 
FBAI Dialogues, is FBAI’s annual showcase conference that addresses trends, learnings, and innovations in the food, drink and hospitality industry. A platform on which food bloggers, restaurateurs, chefs and other food industry stakeholders come together. The day features panel discussions, individual Master Perspectives and more, covering current, relevant and compelling trends in India's culinary landscape.

This year's line-up of panels and speakers is so promising!
The Panel Discussions include "The journey towards becoming an informed and ethical food blogger" Chaired by Bhisham Mansukhani and featuring Chef Ashish Bhasin, Antoine Lewis, Rushina Munshaw- Ghildiyal and Kalyan Karmakar. Another on "The Rise of the Weekend Chef Vikhroli Cucina" Chaired by Antoine Lewis and featuring Mohit Khattar, Ashwin Suresh and Gitika Saikia. And there is another on "Baking Trends 2017" chaired by Pooja Khanna featuring Chefs Sanjana Patel, Irfan Pabaney, Himanshu Taneja, Anees Khan and Neha Sethi.

There are also some very promising Master Perspectives; Chef Rahul Akerkar (The next chapter in the Indian restaurant business), Chef Ajay Chopra (Evolution of a Chef – persistence, innovation, creativity), Chef Varun Inamdar, (The Chocolate Story- innovations, palate, cooking),  Saransh Goila, (Creating a niche out of India’s Famous Dish), Ranveer Brar (Cultural Responsibility and the Food Ecosystem), Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal (My affair with Indian Ingredients), Kunal Vijayakar, (The 5 big Indian food trends in 2017), Vicky Ratnani (5 big International food trends in 2017),  Nikhila Palat (Successfully managing food brands & personalities), Sonal Holland (3 key trends in wine that Impact the Hospitality Industry) and Sweta Mahanty (Global Cocktail Trends).

There are also quizzes, contests and more to keep things getting too intense. If your appetite is whetted and you are looking for more information or want to register, go to or email

See you all there!


Kalyan Karmakar said...

Well put. I think quite a few of us were sceptical in the beginning. I did too. I think its great to not hold to one's biases and be open to changing one's mind. Credit also goes to Sameer Malkani and Saloni Mirchandani Malkani to sticking on to what they had set out to do. Has been great to be a part of this. I do miss your early bloggers meets Rushina

UK Fashionablefoods said...

Wow. Looking forward to the awards in which I have participated the first time this year and got nominated too. Very well written and descriptive post. :)


Anonymous said...

As a doctor who blogged , I had never really met another blogger even though I had been blogging in my own little cocoon since 2007. Proudly so, my personal blog is 10 years old, but when I decided to do a niche food blog, Kalyan and you were my first Go -To. Back then there was no concept of making a living out of food blogging, but you guys did I it! I met both of you at IFBS 2014 and that was a huge moment for me .