May 31 2011

Life changing it was – Part 3

Posted by     18 Comments    Posted under: Reviews

Hey now.

Sometimes being the mother-of-four-kids-and-having-a-needy-husband-and-baby-ducks-and 18+ hens/ducks/chickens-to-feed……………phew, take a breath –  get’s a little exhausting.

My blogging brain went on strike this past weekend and it has taken quite the push to get me back in the saddle again this morning.

Photos do it for me every time though. I just load up some images and run a slide show on the computer and before you know it I am tapping away at the keys hoping someone is waiting to hear what I have to say.

** waves frantically and squeals with utter surprise to find someone waving back **


Photo courtesy of Simone van de Berg (

This is a photo (above) of the fab-four instructors from the ‘Plate2Page‘ workshop I attended a few weeks ago (sigh) courtesy of Bord Bía.

From the LEFT:  Jamie SchlerJeanne Horak-DruiffMeeta Khurana-Wolff and Ilva Beretta

So there we all were. Sitting in a very warm attic in Weimar, with four lovely lassies (our instructors) for the weekend. Little did I know that I was in for some pure and utter torture. Ok, maybe torture is a little extreme. The enjoyable kind of torture.

These gals are kick-ass teachers. To start with, they appeared not only to be Best-Friends-Forever but more like sisters. You know the kind I am talking about. They have years of inside jokes that they giggled about and they kept each other ‘on schedule’ by giving furrowed eyebrow looks, by tapping on their time pieces and — when all else failed — calling a big fat -TIME OUT!

Once the workshop had gotten well under way on Day 1, the Powerpoint presentations were whizzing by and the words were flitting in and out of our ears faster than lightning. We were traipsing (in smaller groups) upstairs to the attic to food style and shoot and then downstairs the sun room to ‘pink-post-it-note-hell’ where we had to (in less than ten minutes!) write on any whimsical topic the teachers had come up with earlier that day. The pressure was on.

I was terrified. A little terrified of the teachers ‘Take notes!’ ‘Hurry up’ ‘You are out of time’ ………ah, ladies, I know you want to run this like a silent-swiss-time-piece, but please check the registration paperwork.

I, am from Ireland. You know, that little island to the far far west of the continent where we take everything easy. Everything a little slow…..

Finally, I picked up the pace with an ‘eat or be eaten’ kind of feeling. You know, everyone else seemed like they were well able to keep the pace so I just pretended it was a drinking game, and hullo – the Irish know how to do that all to well!

One of the nicer assignments was the following:

This is a description of caviar.

Re-write it being careful with the adjectives you use to describe it.

This is what they gave us…

“Caviar has always had a hold on me. It is a mysterious ingredient, almost otherworldy; the individual eggs look like jewels from an alien planet. Caviar tastes briny and vaguely floral, and the textural surprise of the pop in your mouth has led more than one writer to liken it to pop rocks for adults”. 

Now, I am no expert here guys and dolls, but I have a feeling that whoever wrote this just did not like caviar. So, I thought I had a shot at this one, because I love me some caviar. Only the good stuff though. I don’t do schwag. Remember our motto at the restaurant about our draft beer ‘no crap on tap’? Same thing goes for caviar. The first thing I did (in 3 milliseconds because we had to hurry!) was pull out all their ‘bad’ words.

If you are describing something you want me to eat then these words do not belong in the description:

Alien, planet, briny, vaguely.

It just killed the essence of what I think caviar tastes like. (I think that above piece was written by someone very famous and well done to them!)

I wrote………


Baby Bellini’s strut themselves on lavishly lacquered trays; enticing your taste-buds, and intriguing your soul.

Lilliputian onyx orbs of beluga-black sit invitingly on scottish smoked and double cream.

Each perfect little globe presents itself to your tongue forcing you to attempt the impossibility of savoring. One.By.One.

Firm and subtle they fight your urge to chew and gobble.

They teach you patience as they linger on your lips before releasing their ebony selves on to your longing tongue.

I really wanted this blog posting to be all about the fabulousness  of our Plate2Page instructors. If you are ready to develop your writing skills/photography/food styling skills then look no further.

I provided links above to all the instructors websites/blogs and you should sit down later with a bottle of wine and your laptop and troll though their sites. Not in a hurried fashion. They are so talented and so generous with something we all want more of.


Do not waste your money on going to the large blogging conferences unless you want to make a tiny amount of (maybe) decent contacts and learn a lot about how isolating blogging conferences can be unless you are part of the ‘in-crowd’.

Spend more money on participating in a teeny tiny workshop (15 students/5 teachers – max).

The value for money is outstanding and let’s face it, how often do you say that about something when you spend a chunk of money for a weekend away?

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today.


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18 Comments + Add Comment

  • Mona, can I fly over and hug you now please?


    It’s hard from an instructor’s perspective to tell whether participants are having as good a good time as you are, and having read some of the none-too-positive reports of delegate experiences at recent large blogging conferences, I did hope that nobody felt that way at Plate to Page. Thrilled to hear that you certainly didn’t!! I do think that large conferences have a place, but for hands-on experience and developing creativity, I do believe that the Plate to Page model is the way forward, and it’s great that you agree.

    Love love love your description of the relationship between the four instructors – wise you are indeed, and perceptive too 🙂

    • Jeanne,
      I really wish I could pop up to Dublin to see you this weekend (to claim my hug) whilst you are on the island.
      Next time – better planning on both our parts, I hope!
      It is all true. I do agree, large blogging conferences have their place.
      Like, if you all were going to one I would join you there for a mini P2P reunion!
      Looking forward to our next rendezvous……
      Móna xx

  • […] Weimar Móna – Life Changing, It Was Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 2 Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 3 Móna – All in a Days Work Simone – Plate to Page – Experience of a Lifetime […]

  • Very well said Mona. Without knowing – tho we sat side by side all three days – we had quite the same feelings about this workshop.
    And I’d never want to miss the experiences and the things I learned this 5 days.
    I am so with you about small workshops as opposed to large conferences!


    • Thank you Astrid. I am not good in large crowds at all.
      And now, we are spoiled to be sure!

  • We were all so nervous going into this, our very first Plate to Page. Coming out of it (much too soon) we were blown away by the way things went and by the incredible dynamics of such a group of participants: generous, smart, talented, funny and really wanting to learn and work. You guys made the weekend what it was! We are thrilled and inspired by the first workshop and wish we could keep you forever!
    Oh yeah, I love your description of the four of us and how we work together! LOL!

    • I love that list Jamie ;0)
      You are right, though. A very unique group of people in attendance and all so bloody talented and creative.
      Looking forward to your Huff Post piece
      Móna xx

  • I second that hug Jeanne wants to give. I am loving these posts and feel great knowing that from a participants point of view you benefited from Plate to Page. It was hard as instructors to put together a curriculum (!) that would be valuable enough for all to learn. But from what I am seeing and reading we were able to provide something of value to each of you. In return you gave us so much. Mona you are a rock star. Thanks and I look forward to meeting you again!

    • Thank you Meeta!
      I do think that all the participants got a unique lesson from you ladies!
      Móna xxx

  • Nice to see the end of the 3-parter… Was on the edge of my seat for the past few days 🙂

    Love the blog… Keep up the entertainment.

    • Well now Shane….
      Nice to see you popping in for a visit.
      Thanks. There is one more ‘part’ but I am going to wait for the right momenton for that one…
      Don’t be a stranger bro..
      Móna xx

  • Again a lovely piece Mona and I could not agree more!

    • Thanks Simone.
      Looking forward to our #coldcoffeeclub blog posting next week.
      Móna xx

  • Love your description and so looking forward to your book 🙂

    • Thank you Lorna.
      I am looking forward to my book too.
      Right now, it is just a smattering of pages and photos all over the place.
      Trying to reel it all in before the kids are off for summer and all hell really breaks loose.
      Móna xxx Give an extra cuddle to baby goat for me. Poor little fella.

  • […] into Workshop Móna – Life Changing, It Was Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 2 Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 3 Móna – All in a Days Work Simone – Plate to Page – Experience of a Lifetime Simone […]

  • […] into Workshop Móna – Life Changing, It Was Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 2 Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 3 Móna – All in a Days Work Plate to Page – Weimar Impressions, the first Plate to Page […]

  • […] into Workshop Móna – Life Changing, It Was Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 2 Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 3 Móna – All in a Days Work Plate to Page – Weimar Impressions, the first Plate to Page […]

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About Móna
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
You can find me here
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