It is usually said that good food creates memories, forges friendships, makes the heart grow fonder and good dinner table conversation. Indeed, all of these were not lost at the just-concluded 2018 GTbank Food & Drink Fair which offered beyond the obvious.
One of the most rewarding food outings that featured varieties and combined business with pleasures, the three-day fair which held between April 29 and May 1 was indeed a moment to relishÂ African endowment and richness.
At theÂ Gt Centre, Victoria IslandÂ venue of the event, thousands of inquisitive food lovers thronged the colourful centreÂ to savour the excitement of the showÂ ranging from exhibition ofÂ Â trends and innovations in the food industry to the SKS kids centre which offered kids the opportunity to engage in fun and educational activities; the master class sessions which featured chefs from within and outside the country,Â engaged entrepreneurs in latest lessons on food cookeryÂ as well asÂ the farmerâ€™s market that flaunted assortment of local agro produce.
This yearâ€™s activity opened the door to about 150 food and confectioneries entrepreneurs to express their culinary ingenuities and of course learn new recipe, network with far and nearÂ colleagues in the over N1 trillionÂ food industry and equally make money from the nutritional and tasty delicacies dished in choice toÂ salivating visitors that squeezed into the venue. To the organisers of the fair, this was a mission accomplished as the whole idea was to promote enterprise and the richness in African meal.
Speaking earlier at a press conference which heralded the show, Assistant General Manager and Group Head, Communications & External Affairs of GTbank, Mrs. Oyinade Adegbite, maintained that the initiative which was purely driven by altruistic motives aimed to celebrate Nigeriaâ€™s vibrant food culture whilst lifting the industry by promoting and providing platforms for small and medium operators, bringing together SME operators, global-renowned chefs and food lovers from across the world.
â€œAs a bank interested in building SMEs and MSMEs, theÂ food & drink fair is aimed at promoting enterprises and giving free business platforms for small businesses.
â€œHaving received 2000 applications from farmers, street food vendors and food processing companies, we gave aboutÂ 150 businesses the permits to showcase the beauty and varieties of street food and confectionery,â€ she said.
With this yearâ€™s theme, â€˜Street Foodâ€™, Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Segun Agbaje, explained that the programme which held for two days in previous editions was made to run for three days this year in order to increase opportunities for participants as well as responded to demands from feedback.
Another major takeaway from the event was the Master Class sessions anchored by renowned local and international chefs. As promised earlier by the fair organisers, the session delivered latest cookery methods in a more exciting and captivating manner as the facilitators thrilled attendees to a host of live-cooking demonstrations.
Some of the chefs who graced and brightened the colour of the occasion included, Chef Imoteda, an alumni of Cordon Bleu andÂ co-owner of Eko Street Eat who stole the show with her stimulatingÂ lecture on â€˜the art of platingâ€™, Chef Muse and Chef Benedict.
Others were Lorraine Pascale, Sunny Anderson, Elizabeth Solaru, Scott Winston, Raphael Duntoye, Edd Limber and a host of others.