The 2018 edition of the GTBank Food and Drink Fair, the biggest food experience in Africa, is a testament of the youthful zeal of the leading financial institution to revolutionize the lifestyle of her customers and most especially, young Nigerians. The creation of the Food and Drink Fair has given a platform to business enterprises can meet with their potential buyers and they can make great use of their contact to grow their businesses in the future.
The free event which started on Sunday, April 29th till Tuesday, May 1st had no dull moment; from the in-house Radio station; to the busy pop-up stores; to the Masterclasses; the Farmer’s market; outdoor Grills; the GTBank Experience Centre and the children play area. The audience were thoroughly engaged with various activities and it can be categorized as a community of the foodie and the drink connoisseurs.
There were opportunities to try something new for those who loved tasting; there were various veggies that people have heard the names before the fair but they have not been able to access; well packaged palm oil amongst many other food items were on display for sale. There were hundreds of processed and raw food outlets and there were thousands of buyers. The brand gave Nigerians the gastronomic experience that would remain unparalleled for the rest of the year.
Worthy of note about the fair were the various masterclasses that drew renowned local and international Chefs to engage with interested Nigerians who was to improve on their culinary skills. Chefs such as Chef Imoteda co-owner of Eko Street Eat and host of two popular TV shows, Urban Kitchen and Heels in the Kitchen, she tutored people on The Art of plating with Chef Imoteda while British Chef, bestselling author and TV personality, Lorraine Pascale, she is was the first Black British fashion model to appear on the cover of American Elle, her mastery of baking has earned her international appeal and accolades. She has been a judge on the UK version of My Kitchen Rules, Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship in the US and in March 2015, she co-hosted one of the UK’s biggest TV programmes, The Nation’s Favourite Food; she tutored on Making the Perfect Deserts.
Other headliner chefs at the 2018 edition of the fair include, Sunny Anderson, who began hosting How’d that get on my Plate; she also host the Food Network Programme, Cooking for Real and The Kitchen Show still on the same channel; she taught intending chefs on Home Cooking Made Easy with Sunny. The first winner of The Great British Bake Off, Edd Kimber, has gone on to become the resident chef on The Alan Titchmarsh show, after which he started his own show, Edd and John’s Christmas Bakes, and now regularly appears on a host of other programmes, such as Sunday Brunch, The Wright Stuff, Channel 5 News, BBC Breakfast, and Market Kitchen, he gave an insight into Pastry and Sweet Things with Edd Kimber.
There was a special catch them young session for children, Chef Muse, Muneera Tahir, gave his all while teaching these young participants of the Masterclass themed, So You Think You can Cook. The special two sessions aimed at grooming the chefs of the future. She was the Head Chef of L’Italiano Restaurant where she worked until September of 2017. Thereafter she returned to her Alma Mater, Red Dish Chronicles (RDC) as a Chef Instructor. Since returning to RDC, Chef Muse has been training budding chefs and continues to undertake several exciting culinary projects in her capacity as an Executive Sous Chef.
Chef Siba, the Food Network star and award winning chef, Sibahle Mtongana, facilitated a masterclass on how to succeed as an African chef on the global stage. Sibahle won 3 international awards at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in China and was recognized by US Film and Television Awards for her cooking show Siba’s Table. She is also passionate about ending global hunger and actively participates in global campaigns such as Rise against Hunger for which she is a Global Impact Ambassador.
Happy Hour with Tony was taken by the multiple award winning mixologist, Tony Conigliaro, shared professional tips on how to become a master in mixology Known for his unique perspective on the art of cocktail making, Tony Conigliaro’s creations bring together the realms of art, perfume, food and liquid flavor to create drinks that are anything but traditional. An authority in all things liquid, Conigliaro’s love for the art of drink making informed his decision to establish The Drink Factory; a collective of like-minded mixologists and other individuals outside the industry who come together and exchange ideas regarding research and development on drinks.
A Nigerian Internationally acclaimed Chef Patron of La Petite Maison, London Mayfair, Raphael Duntoye, has expanded the award winning restaurant to 5 other major metropolitan cities across the world; he spoke on The Making of a Chef. Other chefs that facilitated the masterclasses include Elizabeth Solaru, the baking aficionado and founder of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium, educated her audience on how to make Great Wedding Cakes. The regular guest on TV shows on BBC, Sky TV is the only three-time winner of the Great Cake Bake, a show which features the best wedding cake makers in the UK. Chef Benedict Okuzu of the Chef Benedict Culinary Experience gave an insight into the world of Italian cuisines to his audience and Chef Scott Wintson provided support and Advice for small food business with Scott.
Asides this, the brand also created a magazine that informed people about African restaurants around the globe; the Lagos Seafood Market; interviews with these chefs; movies for foodies among others. This has positioned the brand as a thought leader in promoting Nigerian enterprises and imbibing a new culinary culture in the Nigerians.
The capacity of GTBank at the fair was second to none as all the businesses were able to record their sales through their cash transactions and Point of Sales terminals. The fair happened to be a vibrant platform to connect with a wider segment of their target markets as well as experts in their business fields.
If you missed the 2018 edition of the fair, get ready for another experience the 2019 edition of GTBank Food and Drink Fair. The fair has enriched many lives and business while the bank has gone beyond the traditional understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility as corporate philanthropy by intervening in this major economic sectors to strengthen small businesses through non-profit consumer focused fairs. The saying is getting real from one edition to another, if you are not at GTBank Food and Drink Fair, you are not anywhere…
Olutayo live at the GTBank Food and Drink Fair