By YUSUF MOHAMMED
This year’s edition of GTBank Food and Drinks festival had more people in attendance than previous editions.
Thousands of Nigerians looked forward to the just concluded edition of the festival not just because attendance was free but also because of the success of the first three editions.
Nigerians from all walks of life were gathered at Plot 1, Water Corporation drive, Oniru, Victoria-Island, Lagos fort this event. It was a very colorful event that lasted for four days, between April 28 and May 1.
The exhibition hosted more than 70 food exhibitors across 2,400m2 of exhibition space within the Food & Drink Centre.
The bank’s annual food and drink festival is an annual exhibition and sales event that aims to project the diverse angles of the food industry by connecting various businesses involved in the production and sale of food related items to a cosmopolitan audience of food enthusiasts. In short, it was all about promoting enterprise.
There was a wide variety of food exhibitors showcasing and selling food products ranging from fresh organic groceries to dry foods, confectionery and pastries, ready to eat consumables, top quality crockery and wine & champagnes.
In addition to the exhibition and sales, the GTBank Food & Drink event also offered culinary experiences such as food and wine tastings, cooking master classes with renowned International and Nigerian chefs, outdoor grills and thrilling entertainment.
Business Hallmark was able to identify the international chefs that flew in for the event. Kinorah Awini a Ghanaian-based African food connoisseur, food blogger and founder of Teleande, a culinary company wich means “Eat with Me,” was on hand to show her skill. She said she has been to Nigeria before and that “the people are amazing. “Nigerians don’t joke with good food that I can tell you.”
Chef Christian Duhalde, the owner and creative director of La Taverna, anesoteric Latin America and Spanish restaurant, based in Lagos, Nigeria. The restaurant is famous for offering the ‘best Pizza in Lagos was also at the event.
All the way from France, Chef Raphael Duntoye, the Chef Patron of La Petite Maison, a popular upscale French Mediterranean restaurant with outlets in London, Dubai, Miami, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi and Istanbul was also available to show his cooking skills.
Tregaye Fraser, a seasoned chef with a passion for the unconventional. Following her graduation from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, she quickly became known for taking everyday foods and turning them into whimsical cuisine. Chris Fynes and Tom Reaney, beyond being close friends, are two of the fast-rising names in the United Kingdom’s culinary scene. Paul Wayne Gregory is a chocolate expert with over 20 years experience in the catering industry.
Chef Duff Goldman, a widely celebrated pastry chef and star of Food network’s hit TV Shows, Ace of Cakes and Buddy vs. Duff.
Melina Hammer is a renowned photographer and food stylist with over a decade of experience in delivering some of the most exciting pictorial of food.
Phillip Howard is not known as the “Chef’s Chef” for nothing. He is one of Britain’s most celebrated culinary experts. Angus Kennedy is Britain’s chief chocolate expert and founder of the London Chocolate forum. Jeff Mauro is the host of the Emmy nominated series Sandwich King and co-host of Food Network’s popular show, The Kitchen.
Chef Shota Naka Jima is the owner and chef of Adana, a Japanese restaurant located in Seattle, Washington DC. Thitid Tassanaka john, also known as Chef Ton, is a rising star of one of the most exciting restaurants out of Bangkok.
Matse Uwatse-Nnoli is an award winning radio presenter and prolific food blogger renowned for her innovative African spices and stunning food photography. Luke Whearty is a bar operator, restaurant innovator and drink creator with a decade of experience presiding over some of the most progressive drinking programs.
Attendance was free so it gave room for thousands of Nigerians to have a feel of continental dishes. Another attraction was free wi-fi. As soon as you are at the venue you could connect your phone to the internet and browse for free.
The prices of food there was no far different from what is obtainable outside. Business Hallmark gathered that bread with a plate Ewa agoyin (beans) goes for N400. Chicken and chips N14, 000. Amala and Ewedu goes for N100. With beef is an additional N100 which makes it N200.
According to Tayo who runs mood diary that makes smoothies with fresh fruits, he said, “The event is open to everyone. It has nothing to do with your bank. For instance I bank with Diamond but I was selected.”
Nkechi Taribo-Joseph CEO of Flour nuts said “I thank God I was given the opportunity to showcase my chin-chin. “
When asks what makes her chin-chin special, she replied, “It is easy on the mouth. Everything in it is moderate. The milk, sugar, flour, just the right way. You’ll never get tired of eating it.”
Pointing to her bags, she said, “Look, all the bags I brought are empty. I have made mores sales here in a day than I make in two days in my shop. People have also collected my card, promising to patronize me in the future. I give thanks to GTBank.”
There was also a master’s class where the foreign chefs taught people how to make different types of food. Dolapo Akintola said, “I am amazed by the skills of these foreign chefs. They make it look so easy. I have really had the fun of my life. I will be here again next year.”
Nigerians surely cannot wait for another GTBank Food and Drinks festival.