Archives for the month of: September, 2013

Last week TableCrowd hosted dinner at Central Working, Google Campus, in honour of Social Media Week London – one of 250+ events which happened across London over the course of the week. Sorry there aren’t more photos, but I was too engrossed in the conversation!

We arranged “Tales from the Trenches – using social media effectively for your startup” to provide a front line view of how startups are using social media. We had a top class line up for our after dinner Q&A. We enjoyed a spread of delicious indian food and the format of the evening allowed everyone to engage in the conversation and ask questions relevant to them. Our wonderful expert panel included:

  • Ruth Barnett of SwiftKey – prior to joining SwiftKey, Ruth earned the title as the media’s first Twitter correspondent. Ruth had tremendous insights about using social media. One memorable point for me, was the importance of retaining a personal and human approach, even in a global and rapidly growing company.
  • Zoe Arch of Craft Candy – Zoe finds Twitter to be the most useful platform for Craft Candy, followed by Pinterest. She has grown her following through smart (and hard) work. She views Twitter as a database of potential users – and seeks out the relevant ones through searches and keywords.
  • WenLin Soh of Edible Experiences – Wen focussing her social media strategy around the wonderful chefs and experiences which she lists on her site, not directly on her own concept. This is the content her followers are interested in and this is effective for her to drive email sign ups.

It was great to see some familiar faces back again and to welcome lots of new faces to their first TableCrowd dinner. To mention a few, we were joined by:

Emily Hill, founder of blogging and social media agency Write My Site.

> Freelance writer Lauren Maffeo.

> Mike Bestvina of Compete Hub, a startup streamlining a triathlete’s world.

> Corporate lawyer Tim Bird.

> Chris Platts, founder of The Talent Rocket, who are shaking up recruitment.

> Jennifer Yong, founder of Jenius Social, a new popup hub in Islington where food and passion collide!

> Marco Ottolini, founder at Styloola, which is “Foursquare on steroids for fashion” (love this!)

Thanks to our panel and to everyone that made the evening a memorable one. Thanks also to our artwork sponsors nerv for their continued support.

Our next dinner at Central Working at Google Campus is for people working in e-commerce. If that’s you, check it out.

p.s. It is also important to mention that a new TableCrowd record was set last week. The last guest turned up 2 hours 17 minutes late. This smashed the previous record of 1 hour 45 minutes. Should we get a trophy made up for the holder of this title?

“A dinner for London’s e-commerce businesses to break bread, network, share contacts & experiences, with Q&A with Emma Watkinson, founder of e-commerce startup, SilkFred”

After a really successful sequence of dinners at Central Working, Google Campus, we’ve teamed up with Eyedea, a London-based society for young professional women that hosts speaker and charity events aiming to inspire and connect young female professionals. Together we are hosting an e-commerce dinner on Friday 4th October, 7pm.

From startups to established businesses, this will be a night of networking over dinner for people working in e-commerce. As well as delicious food & drink, there will be a presentation from Emma Watkinson, Founder of SilkFred followed by Q&A. Emma will talk about her roller coaster ride of establishing an e-commerce fashion platform.

Who’s invited: This is a dinner for people working in e-commerce. You can find out more and book your seat here.

For any questions about this dinner, you can reach us at hello@tablecrowd or @tablecrowd

I live just around the corner from Dukes Brew & Que in De Beauvoir, Hackney. Having walked by this place (leaving a wide berth) 100’s of times when it was in its former state as a local and pretty rough looking boozer, I was surprised to see it so quickly reformed as an gastropub, with every table packed pretty much from day one. There’s a lively buzzy atmosphere with friendly helpful staff.

I’ve been in for breakfast too, but my most recent visit was for dinner – American cuisine, BBQ and ribs. This time, I didn’t over order, but I did order the same – the beef rib. Yep, ‘rib’ singular, but there is no shortage quantity. The lesson I learnt first time around, when I also ordered sliders and chips. My comrade ordered 2 pork ribs and we shared a side of chicken wings in a medium hot tangy sauce. We both voted the beef rib over the pork – way less fatty. Disappointingly (not what my picture suggests), it was not as good as on previous visits. The beef rib was way less tender and I actually preferred the chicken wings to the rib this time round. Hopefully a one-off dip, I’ll be heading back again for sure.

They have a couple of walk-in tables but it’s best to book ahead as it gets very busy! There’s a small bar area to meet or whilst waiting for your table as well as a good number of seats outside. Oh, and it ain’t cheap. A pear cider set me back a fiver at the bar and my beef rib was just shy of £22.

Fancy trying out? We’re planning a dinner there soon with our Man vs Food Crowd.

We are really looking forward to Social Media Week 2013 in London. Organised by Chinwag for the 4th year in a row, we know they’ll put on a good show.

Here at TableCrowd, we like food and tech (we like other things too, like surfing and cycling, but I’m not sure they will be options at Social Media Week). As food tech lovers at a rapidly growing startup, we have put together our must-do diary for the week. Including of course, TableCrowd’s event.

** “Tales from the Trenches” – Using Social Media Effectively for your Startup – Tuesday September 24.

Dinner, in usual TableCrowd style, followed by Q&A with 3 carefully selected startups that have used social media effectively. Real examples, experiences, ideas and tips.

Hosted by Kate Jackson of TableCrowd

Q&A with:
Ruth Barnett of SwiftKey
Zoe Arch of Craft Candy
WenLin Soh of Edible Experiences

** The Impact of Social Media on the Food Industry – Monday, September 23rd.

Looking at the impact of social media on the Food industry and how the different players are responding and adjusting to the ‘social’ opportunity. Moderated by Karen Fewell, Digital Consultant @digitalblonde featuring Michelin star chef Tom Aikens and a panel of industry thought leaders, including Ed Butcher from Square Meal Magazine, Nick Holzherr, founder of Whisk, and Mecca Ibrahim of Great British Chefs.

** How Social is Shifting our Relationship with Food  – Monday, September 23rd.

Discussing how social media is shifting our relationship with Food and the Food industry, and the effect of consumer behaviour above and beyond marketing – and what the future holds. Moderated by Karen Fewell with a panel of 5 industry thought leaders, including Jamie Spafford, founder of @SortedFood, Louisa James from Jamie Oliver, Ollie Lloyd of Great British Chefs, and Nathalie Nahai.

** ‘Sex-Up Your Start-Up: Q&A with Richard Branson & Network with Virgin’ – Monday September 23

1 – Q&A with Richard Branson – how to take your new business to the next level

2 – Network with Virgin – socialise with a team of Virgin business and investment experts

Richard will be on video link from New York to answer your questions, then Josh Bayliss, Virgin Group CEO, will host a networking session with a team of experts from across Virgin and their network – including corporate investors and business mentors.

** Demo Day comes to SMWLDN!  September Friday 27th.

SMWLDN Demo Day is an opportunity for firms and startups to showcase the products and innovations which will drive the future of Social Media. Firms will face questions from an audience of leading brands, agencies, investors, analysts and press.

It goes without saying we’ll be at the opening and closing parties as well as cherry picking from the full line up of events that will be taking over London from 22nd September.

Get your VIP pass here.

See the full line-up of events here.

Our guest blog today comes from ICUK.net. Have you ever thought about how science could change the way we eat? Well Becca Taylor has and she tells why!Think of the words ‘food technology’ and you might conjure up images of modern-day home economics, rather than cutting edge ways to eat your dinner. But there’s plenty of innovation in the food world that could start to change the way we eat and interact with food in the not so distant future.

Imagine organising a dinner party for a group of friends. Setting the table and picking the wines is the easy part, but say you didn’t need to decide a menu or cook for the evening. With 3D food printing, taking guests’ food orders to their own specification on the night is possible. Ingredients, like carbohydrates, proteins and fats would be selected, a recipe put in, and the food would be printed in layers from the machine. Alternative ingredients are possible and include algae, grass and plants, which would be stored in powder form and mixed with water and oil as required. The first trials included printing chocolate, and pizza is soon to join the menu. With dietary requirements easier to cater to, would we ever order takeaway again?

Sustainability has been a big part of developing these food innovations – most importantly, how do we solve world hunger in a way which isn’t harmful to the environment? Creepy crawlies seem to be the answer, with many people touting them as the next big thing in the culinary world. Cooking with insects has already made an appearance on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, where experts likened the crunch to popcorn. American food company Exo has successfully raised funds through Kickstarter to launch their own protein bar, made with the unlikely ingredient of cricket flour, which has more protein per gram than beef.

We could even be growing our own bugs at home – Austrian industrial designer Katharina Unger has successfully created a product which harvests around 500g of larvae protein each week. The bugs offer a relatively good source of protein, especially considering how few resources are needed for their production. Ms Unger favours hers with a tomato risotto, but there are easily accessible recipes for mealworm burgers and cricket fried rice. Tasty.

Technology can play a huge role in the future of food, helping to create more sustainable methods of cooking and eating. It may take a while for attitudes toward eating bugs to change, and 3D printers will need to be considerably cheaper before there’s one next to every microwave, but we could see a total food revolution in the years to come!

Thanks Becca and ICUK.net. If you’re interested in writing a guest blog post for us, please get in touch at hello@tablecrowd.com or tweet us to @tablecrowd.

I took the olds for lunch at Fifteen in East London a few years back so thought I’d check out it’s little sister / big brother in Watergate Bay, Cornwall. This is one of my favourite spots in the UK, photos included to show why, which is a good start to the experiences. It’s a tiny bay, with everything you need to eat, drink, sleep and surf within 100m.

After a full explanation from our efficient and friendly waitress, we opted for the 5 course taster menu. There was also a 7 course menu for those with a bigger belly than mine. You could choose to have each course paired with a different wine, but we opted for a bottle of Brokenwood Cricket Pitch. Two factors influenced this decision. I was with an ex-professional cricketer and I like sauvignon blanc. A light wine, very easy to knock back (that’s as technical as my wine descriptions get).

Olives and bread were a pre first course course. First up was ‘Newlina’s ricotta stuffed zucchini flowers’. Otherwise known as, deep fried courgette stuffed with ricotta. A small, tasty bite but nothing to write home about.

The next course was a choice of venison carpaccio or prosciutto with melon and hazelnuts. We ordered one of each. The carpaccio was fresh, clean and delicate with a peppery edge from the rocket. The prosciutto was delicious and the melon fresh and juicy (Sicilian apparently). A great start. Both were good, but my vote went to the prosciutto.

Next up was raviolo of lobster or potato gnocchi. Again we ordered both and shared. This time the winner was the gnocchi, a surprising victor, we had assumed the locally sourced lobster would romp home, but it was just a little rich for us.

The forth course was either lamb loin or crispy seabass fillet. If you had opted for the 7 course menu, you would have been served both! Despite seabass being one of my favourite ever fishies, the lamb just trumped it. Melt in your mouth succulent slices of pink Bre Pen Farm lamb loin with lentils, wild mushroom and lardo. Delicious.

Last course (well apart from the after dinner chocolates), was either a cheese board or a super rich flourless dark chocolate torta with cherries. I love a cheese board and this one was no exception but didn’t find any of the cheeses that distinct in flavor or particularly strong, I hoped one of the four would have been. The torta won this final battle.

Being more a regular at canteens and BYO restaurants in East London, a dinner that lasted the whole evening was novel. A memorable and thoroughly enjoyable evening. Due to the location, an extra bonus for me was that you could rock up with wet hair, shorts, flip flops and no make-up and not feel out of place! Beautiful sunset too!

Why not check out Fifteen in East London with TableCrowd on 26th September hosted by Jay of our Fine, Wine and Dine crowd? Details here.

It’s been a while since we updated you on business at TableCrowd and what we’ve been up to, so here is a quick roundup.

Kate joined the Advisory Board for Social Media Week (“SMW”). SMW is returning to London in September 2013 and is hosted by Chinwag for the fourth consecutive year. This year’s theme is Open & Connected reflecting on the global impact of social media and its role as a catalyst in driving cultural, political, economic and social change.

TableCrowd is hosting a dinner for startups for Social Media Week, “Tales from the Trenches” – using social media effectively for your startup. Dinner at Google Campus, in usual TableCrowd style, followed by Q&A with 3 carefully selected startups. Real examples, experiences, ideas and tips. We’ll get down to the dirty detail and the nitty gritty of what actually works – and what doesn’t! Ruth Barnett of SwiftKey, Zoe Arch of Craft Candy & WenLin Soh of Edible Experiences will be our after dinner Q&A panel. You can book onto the table here.

Kate was invited to speak at the rapidly growing #Croydon #TechCity event at Matthews Yard. A thriving startup and digital community that is starting to make its mark on the map thanks to its champions Jonny Rose and Nigel Dias. A great event and wonderful opportunity to connect with entrepreneurs and founders. The first Croydon Citizen dinner took place a few weeks after.

Food Tech Wednesday launched with a bang. A meetup for London’s Food Tech Startups. Everything from food subscriptions services, restaurant booking sites, mobile loyalty apps, social marketing programs and more – everything high tech related to the food and hospitality businesses. The purpose of the meetups is to get together to share notes on the market, exchange knowledge and inspire each other. They are the last Wednesday of the month – you can get involved here.

After re-launching our site using Responsive Web Design earlier this year, we added our first responsive email template. You may have received it, we hope you liked it! Next steps for our whizz development team is our iPhone app. The planning and scheming is well underway – we anticipate a super fast turnaround.

And of course, we’ve had some really interesting dinners, particularly startup dinners. Our Fashion Startups “Meet & Eat” was a great success with a great line up of startups and press / blogger guests. We also had dinner with Benjamin Southworth (pre his departure from UKTI) and dinner with Simon Menashy of MMC.

That’s all folks! You can see what’s coming up and join in the action, by browsing dinners here.

I’m a TechBiker! I’m joining 60+ other techies at the end of September to ride from Paris to London to raise money for Room to Read.  Over the 3 day, 200 mile ride we aim to raise $75,000+ for the charity. A big challenge and I know I’m not the only member of the Startup Engine taking it on. Ringo Moss from digital agency, nerv, who sponsor a number of our dinners will be there, and our friends from Tech City News, amongst other familiar faces.

As well as buying in some brand new lycra for the occasion and stocking up on chammy cream, TableCrowd has arranged a fundraising dinner. With the help of our friends at Tech City News, we have secured the amazing private dining room at Eight Moorgate for a dinner with Olympic Champion, Rebecca Adlington.

During a stellar career, she won multiple Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth Games gold medals. She competed in four Olympic finals, winning two Gold and two Bronze medals in Beijing and London respectively. She remains the current world record holder in the 800m Freestyle, and undoubtedly the greatest swimmer that Great Britain has ever produced, not to mention one of the most successful female athletes in British Olympic history.

Diners can enjoy an intimate and memorable fine dining experience with Great Britain’s most successful ever swimmer. The dinner will take place on 19th September, 7pm at the Eight Club Moorgate’s private dining room overlooking the City of London.

Unfortunately, it’s too late to join the ride, but if you would like to support TechBikers you have many choices:

  1. Sponsor me to help me meet my fundraising target here.
  2. Book a seat at dinner with Rebecca Adlington here.
  3. Join one of our other profile raising events.
  4. Share this post!

Thanks for your support.

Even though we have been to many festivals this year, a festival based on burgers was something we couldn’t miss. The ‘Glastonbury of food festivals’, it sold out in no time at all – we were excited to be part of it.

Roughly 10 or so burger chefs and restaurants were showing off their grilling and filling skills and producing some mouth watering burgers for 100′s of hungry diners. The smell as you entered the Dalston Yard Street Feast London site, was enough to get your juices flowing. The beer included in the price of the ticket was a nice touch and the perfect start to the occasion. I started the evening with a Yakima Red Beer from The Meantime Beer Tank. With the free beer token quickly sunk, I was easily convinced to purchase another, one more and then a case of the stuff online when I arrived home, cheers. A real fruity, hoppy, sweet and trendy brew.

Four people was the perfect size group, as queuing for nearly 15 minutes at each burger joint was something you could not avoid (the only frustrating part of the evening). In order to be more efficient we divided into two. This worked perfectly, enabled us to queue at two burger stands at the same time, then divide the burgers into halves and share. A well thought out plan!  In total we munched through 8 sliders, 5 burgers and 4 ribs!

Our burger marathon started with a slider from the Slider Bar and Dirty Burger!

Short Rib Slider: Aged beef patty, orange habaneros, mushy short rib, American cheese, hot sauce, lettuce salsa.

Verdict: A spicy start to the evening but a real tasty, moist burger. The salsa gave it a fresh and healthy zest to ease that fiery tang.

Dirty Burger: British beef, lettuce, tomato, gherkin, mature cheddar cheese, home made mustard mayonnaise

Verdict: One of the more simple burgers of the evening, with a focus on the rich flavour of the meat and well suited condiments.

After devouring our two starters, we scoured the venue, where next? Our next port of call was the classic Meat Liqour. Even though all four of us had had this burger numerous times, we couldn’t really say no. We just had to give it another go. Oooh a little poem!

Meat Liquour Dead Hippie: Two beef patties, cheese, lettuce, minced white onion, pickles, Hippie Sauce.

Verdict: Good! double the beef, double the flavour. I was glad that the light had started to fade, as the rich gravy-like juices from the burger made a right mess of my top! With the mustard and chopped-up gherkins and extra secret ingredients, the hippie sauce was outstanding.

Off to the most anticipated burger of the evening, the #NextLevel Disco Bistro’s Roller Disco Burger.

Disco Bistro Roller Disco Burger: Rare breed beef and bone marrow patty, cheese, bun sauce, pineapple and bacon jam.

Verdict: Wow, everything we ever imagined and more. Almost kind of romantic, as each of us took our first bite we seemed to stare at each other longingly, as if to say, now that’s a burger, let’s get it on…?!?! This extra juicy burger held together by a sweet brioche bun was definitely worth the queue. Once tweatup had announced the full burger line-up pre festival, this was the most anticipated. The finishing touch was the pineapple and bacon jam, which gave it a real salty, sweet edge! What a combo!

picture by burgerac.com

The final (well, almost final) burger of the evening was from the newly-relaunched Roti Chai St Kitchen slider.

Toddy Shop Burger No.5: Aged Ayrshire Angus chuck steak infused with flavours of ‘Keralan Beef Fry’.

Verdict: So fresh and delicious! I can’t wait to have this again. The taste almost resembled a tandoori mix grill, the curry spice and flavours mixed with the quality meat was fantastic. Roti Chai St Kitchen we now know where you live and we’re coming to find you.

The final FINAL burger of the evening…

Two Night’s Only: Fillet tail, rib fat and bone marrow patty with braised onions and torched cheese, pickle slaw and burger sauce.

Verdict: Ask my house mate, but by the sounds of it, he absolutely loved it! I couldn’t manage another bite. It looked and smelt great though……!

There you have it, my in-depth analysis of each of our burger choices. As we had basically eaten our week’s calorie intake in 2 hours, we had to find a way to settle our stomachs. What better option to wash it all down than a shot of Jose Cuervo tequila chased with a shot of breddos tacos pickled habanero juice. Pickled juice you say? Correct, try it, you’ll love it.

I might sound a little OOT when describing the tastes and flavours of these burgers, as after all it’s only a glorified sandwich… but it really was a fun, tasty experience and each trader at the event put on a cracking show, each with their own unique take on a burger. As I hadn’t been to many of the restaurants and venues represented at the event, I now know which I will be making a beeline for next time I fancy a tremendous burger!

Well done to the organisers on a great evening! Thumbs up from TableCrowd.

Fancy a burger? Check out Red Dog Saloon and our Man v Food crowd.