An unexpected honour at the AFMA

by Forager on November 4, 2010

It was surreal moment after I won the award for Best Food Blog at the Australian Food Media Awards (AFMA) – I stepped off the stage, returned to my table clutching my heavy award plaque,  accepted congratulatory messages from my neighbouring dining companions on Table 22,  and desperately tried to regain my composure and keep my anxiety induced indigestion at bay.

AFMA night gala dinner 2010

An abundance of food and wine at the AFMA (anticlockwise from top left): entree of mushroom risotto with white truffle oil & confit portobello mushroom; main of roasted pork cutlet with caramelised apple, bianco polenta and Calvados jus; an impressive Dairy Australia cheese station; and dessert display featuring amongst other things lemon meringue pies and a variety of macarons.

The Co-pilot was immediately informed about the surprise win as it was so unexpected it caught me completely off guard. There are so many Australian food blogs that I admire, with bigger audiences, better pictures and almost universally, better baking skills – the most I’d dared to hope for was a mention and a hearty slap and pat on the back. I’m not one to revel in the spotlight in fact, I hate being the unexpected center of uncontrolled attention. An impromptu speech was concocted on stage and my mouth moved, hopefully intelligible words came out as my mind was preoccupied by looped scenes of me stuffing up my uni graduation ceremony – both times. Spectacularly.

The Co-pilot’s family PR connection works with frightening speed as congratulatory messages start streaming through my mobile also instantly. Amongst the congratulatory messages was this one from my aunt:

What does this mean: “narrowing of the external auditory meatus noted”? Thanks.

The message made me laugh out loud in bemusement and possibly spark rumours of spontaneous madness. It was a very sobering and grounding hook back to reality. In my elated state I am reminded that my very own family have not the slightest idea of what I do professionally or otherwise. There have been repeated attempts to explain amongst many things that:

  1. I am not a medical doctor, I was trained as a medical researcher – there’s a difference. Your trust in me is seriously misguided – save your medical questions for your GP
  2. If you don’t know what it is, Google it. Chances are, that’s all I can do for you.
  3. I do not have access to a personal mass spectrometer at home that I can whip out to test your medication
  4. I do not have a some mice I keep handy for drug testing, and even if I did, no, I can’t chuck in a few pills into my experiment as that requires ethics approval
  5. And most importantly: I told you – I left medical research YEARS AGO. I work in digital advertising now.

Since my family can’t comprehend what I do professionally, I have no hope of explaining what a blog is, what my blog is about and why I invest so much of my personal time on my blog.

As far as I can tell, they think I’m a doctor whom dabbles in computers and runs an online restaurant at night.

I recall showing my parents one of my blog posts in a futile attempt to explain what my blog is about.

So, do people call you if they want to order this dish?“, my father asked, clearly confused.

And you say you don’t get paid for this?“, my mother asks, clearly horrified.

Well, I get a tiny bit of advertising revenue from running banner ads on my blog, but when I take into account the actual and opportunity costs of setting up and maintaining my blog – I’m in the red.

Like most other food bloggers, I blog because food brings much pleasure for me; I’m an opinionated, frustrated writer; and I want to share my thoughts with people who don’t mind and possibly might even enjoy reading my ramblings. This is not to say that it hasn’t been a turbulent journey in simply trying to maintain the blog. There have been many a late night that turned into many a bleary eyed day, and on a few occasions, when the passion for blogging was all-consuming and I was churning out posts – there were stern words said, mini-tantrums thrown, tears shed and eventually a new blog-life balance negotiated.

The majority of my family, many friends and most of my colleagues remain in the dark about the second job that I tend to during the twilight hours but there is now definitely satisfaction that I can seek some comfort in this award and the nod of recognition that comes with it. It goes some of the way towards justifying my blog madness. I had hoped it would increase the allowed blogging quota at home, but I have been firmly reminded of the importance of upholding that blog-life balance.

“Blog smarter, not harder”, the Co-pilot says. “Your posts are too long! No-one finds that interesting. Do you have to take a photo of everything? Are you STILL blogging? Pay attention to ME!”

This award is the perfect comeback and secondarily, its heavy weight might come in handy to silence critics and would-be editors.

AFMA Food Blog Award

The AFMA Food Blog Award. (I promise not to use it as a paperweight or a weapon)

Thank you to Australian Pork Ltd for sponsoring the category and prize and for the AAFP for recognising the category for the first time. A big congratulations also to Jules Clancy for winning the highly commended award for her captivating and informative blog – The Stone Soup.

And congratulations to all the other winners on the night, you can see the full list of winners and sponsors here.

My monologue ends here and we will return to the normal posts shortly. I have a few curious experiments boiling in the background so stay tuned!

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Helen (grabyourfork) November 4, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Congratulations Trina! Your award is well-deserved and only a small acknowledgement of the time and effort you put into your blog. And lol, I love your parental confusion. My mother, too, was initially perplexed by the notion of blogging!

It’s a great leap forward that the AFMA has a category for food bloggers. So good to see that even your view was obscured at the beginning of the evening, you had prime position at award acceptance time :)
Helen (grabyourfork) recently posted..La Paula- FairfieldMy Profile

2 OohLookBel November 4, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Congratulations, Trina, the win is so well-deserved. Keep the fascinating posts coming. And you should consider getting a mass spectrometer for personal use!
OohLookBel recently posted..Pohs Kitchen Steamed egg custardMy Profile

3 billy@a table for two November 4, 2010 at 3:39 pm

congratulations! Truly well deserved. I think you have one of the best blogs in Australia no doubt. Despite I seldom leave comments, I actually do “stalk” blogs. I particular love your travel logs, especially the mushroom hunt in Oberon, I am still dreading to go next autumn!

All the best!

4 Christine ( November 4, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Trina, huge congratulations. I love your blog, you so deserve the award :)

5 Sara (Belly Rumbles) November 4, 2010 at 3:49 pm

That is wonderful news Trina, congratulations. The award is well and truly deserved.

“As far as I can tell, they think I’m a doctor whom dabbles in computers and runs an online restaurant at night”, truly priceless!
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6 Tina@foodboozeshoes November 4, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Congrats – and I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who struggles to explain what I do to my parents – blogging and otherwise…
Tina@foodboozeshoes recently posted..Fair playMy Profile

7 Trissa November 4, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Congratulations again Trina. I actually enjoy your “ramblings” as you call it so tell the co-pilot to stop bugging you so you can blog more! :)

8 Jacq November 4, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Congrats on the award Trina! You definitely deserve it – I love reading about all your foodie adventures and your scientific spin on things as well!
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9 Katherine November 4, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Congratulations Trina. Well deserved. Cheers to many more awards to come.
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10 mademoiselle délicieuse November 5, 2010 at 2:28 am

Congratulations once again! And no, do not use that sparkly award as a weapon.

Aren’t all ethnic parents the same? My parents have no idea I have I blog as I can’t be bothered taking the effort to explain it to them. My mother has only a vague notion of “the internet” and finds it completely odd that I take photos of food. Maybe one day…
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11 Tracey Meharg November 5, 2010 at 8:10 am

Biggest congrats to you – and extremely well deserved! Love reading your blog and can’t wait to see what unfolds..Best, Tracey
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12 john@heneedsfood November 5, 2010 at 8:28 am

Congrats Trina, this award is fantastic and well deserved!

13 Corinne @ Gourmantic November 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Congratulations Trina! :) Your comment about blog-life balance is very important in maintaining sanity and a fresh outlook on a hobby that can be consuming no matter how much we love it.

I had to chuckle at the explanations to the parents having recently been asked by my mum what Twitter is all about, thinking it was something rude and naughty!
Corinne @ Gourmantic recently posted..A Foodie Guide to Sculpture by the Sea- Bondi 2010My Profile

14 penny aka jeroxie November 5, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Congras! Love your blog. And so well deserved :) I will be looking forward to what else is up your sleeve :)
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15 Oggie Bad November 7, 2010 at 5:30 am

I might be on the other side of this crazy world, but I can visualise your triumphal moment so clearly in my head, that it makes me proud and hysterical at the same time. Congrats lady, you are and always will be the best in my eyes!

16 chocolatesuze November 8, 2010 at 1:10 am

congratulations dude! definitely well deserved!
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17 panda November 8, 2010 at 11:19 pm

congrats trina! you very much deserve this award – keep up the great blogging!
panda recently posted..cream cheese browniesMy Profile

18 Conor @ Hold the Beef November 9, 2010 at 12:18 am

Massive congratulations Trina, and a hearty slap on the back (a gentle one) 😀
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19 Richard Elliot November 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm


I had 18 months of my family knowing nothing about the blog, but for the past year or so they’ve been readers. There are some things I don’t write any more as I know my mum is reading. I think you’re better off that they are living in ignorance!
Richard Elliot recently posted..Art &amp Restuarant Review- Lennox St Studios and Soffritto- NewtownMy Profile

20 Simon Food Favourites November 11, 2010 at 12:19 am

hi trina, i was curious to know who won this award so did a search and found out it was you. that’s great news. congratulations! well deserved i’m sure. couldn’t happen to a nicer person too. looking forward to reading more of your blog posts :-)

21 angie November 12, 2010 at 12:09 am

Congrats again! I don’t tell my family (more specifically mum and dad) about my blog, only because my translator in my brain can’t seem to string together any words or sentences that will make sense to them. At first they found the camera in the kitchen a bit confronting but after all this time they’re used to it, I kinda just tell them I post the photos on the internet and leave it at that.
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22 Bonnibella November 17, 2010 at 9:06 am

Congrats Trina!! I just read the post so sorry for my belated congrats. I’m a newer reader than your other audience but I find you style in writing and what you choose to write interesting. In addition, I love how much time, energy and detail you have for each cooking post. Keep it up!
Bonnibella recently posted..Wasabi Deviled Eggs with Salmon RoeMy Profile

23 Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul November 19, 2010 at 10:50 am

Sorry I’m a little late to the party…but you deserve a big congratulations Trina! Well done and well deserved. I have to say that’s a very humble acceptance speech/post. Your parents confusion is quite funny (in a good way)…it brought a smile to my face!
Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul recently posted..Photo Friday-Ice CreamMy Profile

24 Forager November 19, 2010 at 11:16 am

Hey Helen – Thank you! And though you’d think I’d remember what happened on stage I truly can’t. I think I glazed over abit. So, no view either way.

Hey Bel – Thank you and I’m starting to think that I do need to invest in a personal mass spectrometer!

Hey Billy – Thank you so much :) We can compare mushroom preparation notes next Autumn

Hey Christine – *hugs*

Hey Sara – Thanks! Ah, I’m glad my parents can at least make others laugh and smile. 😉

Hey Tina – Thank you! And nope, you’ll not be alone there.

Hey Trissa – Thank you! It’s really lovely to know others enjoy my vacant ramblings! Take that Co-pilot!

Hey Jacq – Thanks! Hopefully lots more of both adventure and science to come!

Hey Katherine – Thank you! And I’m not so arrogant to think there are more! I’m more than happy with one :)

Hey mademoiselle delicieuse – Aww. no? Not just a little bump of the head? Yes, it appears all ethnic parents seem to be the same.

Hey Tracey – Thank you and thanks for reading!

Hey John – Thank you!

Hey Corinne – Thanks – and sage wise words.. Your mum is very advanced to have heard of Twitter! My folk are still trying to grasp the concept of email.

Hey Penny – Thank you! I have a few experiments on the boil that will hopefully come to fruition and not kill me first. Posts to come!

Hey Oggie – I can’t believe you’re on the other side of the world and not here with me..

Hey Chocolatesuze – Thank you! :)

Hey Panda – Thanks & will try to!

Hey Conor – Cough, splutter – Thanks!

Hey Richard – Thanks and I know exactly what you mean. My own parents will never read the blog, but the rest of my family & friends.. well it’s very well edited just in case..

Hey Simon – Thanks for the kind words *blush*

Hey Angie – Thanks again. That’s actually about the extent my folks understand too!

Hey Bonnibella – Thank you! Yes, it’s a time intensive labour of love. Sigh – need to learn the meaning of succinct.

Hey Peter – Thank you! I was actually really confused as to whether to write this post. My first instinct was to hide it as I don’t handle compliments well, but then that’s not very respectful of the awards, the other bloggers or the sponsors. As for my folks – I told them I won some sort of award and left it at that.

25 James Vongdara November 20, 2010 at 4:24 am

Hey Trina,

I have just now stubbled onto your blog and this is the first post i have read – Congrats!
I also love your note on parental confusion; my mother thinks I’m a journalist at BBC haha.
This post is gold – your views have always made me laugh. I’ll be sure to delve in the site (clicking banners along the way) to figure out why i left Sydney!

Well done,
James V.

26 The Foodologist December 8, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Hi Trina

Congratulations again. A totally deserved prize as your blog is wonderful and certainly an inspiration to me as it is one of the blogs to which I benchmark myself against. It was also great to meet you on the night and I look forward to meeting you again at future events.


The Foodologist recently posted..Winner of 2 tickets to meet Adelaide’s top chefs is…My Profile

27 andrea December 9, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Congratulations! What awesthomeness you have achieved =)

So SBS was promoting a new season of Gourmet *Farmer* but started repeating the last season and I got all excited for no reason. Then I thought of the other Gourmet ____ I know which is YOU!

Much rapturous applause and so forth and so on =)

28 Leona December 10, 2010 at 3:59 pm

congrats my lovely!!! much deserved. Youve always written your articles very beautifully and thorough and interesting. Big big congrats on this awesome achievement!

Leona recently posted..Rocket Restaurant- ChatswoodMy Profile

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