#SweetHomeTalks: devising the first online pastry conference

How did we come up with creating the first digital pastry congress? It all started one morning, on Thursday, March 26. Jordi Bordas and “The Martas” were discussing how could we adapt our communication strategy in times of COVID-19. A situation in which a third of the world’s population lived completely confined, the school was closed to the public, the course calendar was hanging by a thread and all our planning had ceased to make sense almost overnight.

During that conversation, a simple but risky proposal emerged: to organize the first online pastry conference and broadcast it through Instagram Live. A format that we had already seen in other areas, but no one before had applied it to the pastry world and giving it a conference format: an established schedule, carefully selected subjects and a solid communication plan.

Only four days later – on Monday, March 30 – the 1st edition of #SweetHomeTalks kicked off, a wonderful conference where we have experienced incredible moments and which has started a massive movement to share knowledge in the sweet world. Two editions later, we will always be grateful to the 47 speakers and more than 13,000 followers who have made possible the overwhelming success of the initiative.

Organizing a pastry event fully confined and in such a short time can seem mad – it was actually crazy, trust us. Perhaps that is precisely what made us come onboard on that adventure: challenges appeal us. As we did not have enough with just one, in less than a month we jumped to organize the second edition.

The madness of organizing an online pastry conference

The first edition of #SweetHomeTalks was held from March 30 to April 1, with a more informal character than the second edition would have. We didn't set any guidelines, each speaker being responsible to decide the theme of their talk. Luckily, they took it very seriously and most opted for a didactic and not so conversational aspect, which allowed us to offer truly valuable content despite having been organized in just four days.

Being free of charge, it had a very strong viral effect – we could not have imagined that it would be so successful. In less than a week we were already over 8,000 followers on the Instagram profile, created specifically for the occasion. In that first edition, the speakers did not receive financial compensation. Even so, and despite having centralized communication in our account, the fact that each talk was conducted live from the speaker’s profile, it allowed them all to gain between 1,000 and 3,000 followers each throughout the three days that the conference lasted.

In the closing talk of the first edition – held by Jordi – we already announced that we would seek a way to make the project sustainable. Not only with the intention of recognizing our trade colleagues, showing the value of their time, knowledge and effort; but also, to cover the generated expenses and organization and production costs – the first edition involved more than 200 hours in one week and the second, in which we continue to work, went over 500 hours in just 20 days.

Therefore, the second editionintroduced the symbolic price of € 29, the equivalent of paying for a coffee to each speaker. This, not only granted a reward to the participants for their time and baggage, but also make the leap from a free platform such as Instagram to a paid one like Zoom. In addition to significantly improving the quality of the image and audio, it allowed the viewing on a wider range of devices, and the use of educational material such as keynotes, pictures or videos. On the other hand, we have created a platform with exclusive access for those registered, in which all content can be consulted, from re-viewing the talks to downloading the documents shared by the speakers.

#SweetHomeTalks, a community is born

Education breaks mental patterns, opens new worlds and helps to motivate and get the hopes up, something very necessary in times of general crisis. For this reason, our goal was to share knowledge and learn through useful and quality content all along.

Unintentionally, a very beautiful international community of sweet world lovers, both professionals and amateurs, was created around the conference. Many of you have told us that thanks to these formations you were able to escape from reality while taking advantage of time. Meanwhile, the speakers, who had been forced to take a break on their day to day – Jordi included – have been able to delve into what is happening in the sector through the talks of other professionals.

For the first edition we reached for friends or people closest to our environment, but in both conferences, we tried to go worldwide and turn it into an international Spanish-speaking pastry happening, being able to enjoy emblematic speakers from Spain (such as Carles Mampel or Christian Escribà, for example) as well as from Colombia(Melissa Coppel), Argentina(Luciano García or Belu Melamed), Mexico(Fernanda Covarrubias), Venezuela(Betina Montagne or Ángel Betancourt), Puerto Rico(Antonio Bachour) and even France(Julien Álvarez or Stephanie Vastel) or Holland(Marike van Beurden).

When choosing them, gender has been another determining factor. Female professionals are often kept in the background of the media environment and we wanted to give them visibility. On both occasions we have been able to enjoy amazing presentations given by women:  Andrea Dopico, Carito Lourenço, Stephanie Vastel or Ester Roelas are just a few examples. We hope that our gesture encourages and motivates the female sector to stand out, to make themselves their work known and valued.

We also aimed to reach, when possible, all disciplines related to the sweet world and we looked for experts in their field. In the second edition, related suggestions made by you were also very important, incorporating topics such as bread making (Xavi Barriga and Jordi Morera), science in pastry (Adrianna Jaworska), sugar work (Mayte Rodríguez), travel pastry (Eric Ortuño from L'Atelier), liquid nitrogen (Martin Lippo from Vakuum), panettone (Yann Duytsche) or the privileged vision of pastry in a Palace by Julien Álvarez.

Subjects that were added to others that had already been present in the first edition: shop pastry (Miquel Guarro and Luciano García), bakery and viennoiserie(Daniel Álvarez, Lluís Costa and Rocío Arroyo), chocolate (Josep María Ribé and Saray Ruiz), restaurant desserts(David Gil and Jesús Escalera), ice cream(Jordi Roig and Antonio Sirvent and Albert Roca), vegan pastry(Toni Rodríguez and Lore Salas) and our B·Concept with Jordi Bordas.

Will there be a third edition of #SweetHomeTalks?

If we said it has not crossed our minds it would be a lie. In fact, we had not finished the second edition and you were already asking for the third, in English, please. But for now, we need to focus again on Jordi Bordas and the school, we have a thousand projects in mind! What is certain is that when we celebrate the third edition we will incorporate novelties, in addition to some suggestions from the inscribed that we really liked. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Instagram or Facebook to stay tuned, we hope to be able to surprise you again someday.

As you have read, this initiative – devising, landing and carrying out the first online pastry conference – has been a complete success. But what we have not told you (at least openly), are all the emotions that it has generated on us. There have been nerves, tears – both of rage and joy –, paralysis and exhaustion among others. However, the best feeling has been gratitude, in a two-way road. You have sent us hundreds of support and appreciation messages and we can only thank – that is it, thanks again – all those who have trusted us and taken the plunge with us, both speakers and spectators. The whole thing would not have been possible without you.

We have proven that we are better, stronger, and more able to do amazing things together. There are no words to describe the feeling when everything falls into place, that there is a goal and– side by side – we have taken advantage of the resources at our disposal. We will do it again! (at some point :P). While the time comes, you can enjoy both the first and We have proven that we are better, stronger, and more able to do amazing things together. There are no words to describe the feeling when everything falls into place, that there is a goal and– side by side – we have taken advantage of the resources at our disposal. We will do it again! (at some point :P). While the time comes, you can enjoy both the first and second edition of #SweetHomeTalks again It has been a pleasure sharing this adventure with you.

Videos from the first #SweetHomeTalks edition via Instagram

New online pastry courses