Experiencing GTB’s Food and Drink Fair

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Kids and teens who participated in the third edition of the GTBank Food and Drink Fair had real-time culinary experience and great fun, writes Peter Uzoho

Foremost African financial institution and lifestyle bank, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTB), staged for the third time, its Food and Drink Fair which succeeded in attracting tens of thousands of Lagosians to the bank’s event centre at the Water Corporation Drive, Oniru, Lagos.

Organised every year as part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility, the fair is designed to celebrate Nigeria’s vibrant food culture and promote enterprise in the small business sector of the food industry by bringing together SME operators, global renowned chefs and food lovers from across the world.

Held for two days in the last two editions, the third and 2018 edition was extended for three days and featured different activities. There were adult and children masterclasses in the art and business of foods and drinks where renowned chefs delivered a host of live cooking demonstrations of their favourite delicacies.

Arriving at the venue the first day, Sunday, this reporter was stunned by the heavy crowd on ground right from the outdoor area to the experience centre as people jostled to find their way in and out. However, having already anticipated this kind of multitude, the bank’s logistics team put up measures to ensure there were no issues. On the wall as one entered the experience centre was the floor map which helped everyone locate the different areas with ease.

Carefully curated section of small food businesses offered best culinary experiences in Lagos and beyond. There were spaces for street foods offering the best local delicacies, as well as Farmer’s market where SMEs involved in agriculture sold fresh and organic farm products.

Attendees enjoyed diverse range of gastronomic delight from restaurants and outdoor grills well-known for setting taste buds on fire with exciting mix of eclectic cocktails and pastries. Happening alongside eating and drinking were five masterclasses of 60 minutes each delivered by some of the finest chefs in the world.

Chef Imoteda took the audience on the art of plating; Chef Lorraine Pascale took them on making the perfect deserts; Chef Sunny Anderson lectured on home cooking made easy; Chef Scott Winston focused on support and advice for small food businesses; the last class for the featured first winner of the Great British Bake Off and TV presenter, Chef Edd Kimber, who took his enthusiastic audience on making pastries and sweet things.

On the second day, boisterous school children from different schools in Lagos appeared in company of their teachers to take part in the culinary classes. On their arrival, they were led to the children’s play area were they engaged themselves in some recreation activities. This reporter was actually attracted to the children’s play area where high octane actions were taking place. The area never experienced a dull moment as kids had ample time to have fun and taste familiar and new food and drinks. All the facilities needed for their play were available: the bouncing castle, the merry-go-round, the makeshift hospital and supermarket were all there for them to recreate a new school world.

They were tutored on how to use the ATM for cash withdrawals, how to bargain and buy items in the market, and how to prepare certain foods. This, as explained to this reporter, was to teach them, the future generations, all the good values and qualities they need to learn before they grow older.

As they were done at the children’s play area, the pupils and students were taken to the masterclass hall where one of Nigeria’s experts in the world of cooking, Chef Muneera Tahir simply addressed as Chef Muse, took them on how to make sandwiches, pancakes and how to bake chocolate cookies. Eager to understand every bit of the lessons, the children asked and asked and dozens of questions filled the arena, putting Muse on hot seat. But as part of her job, Muse took time to respond to all the posers to her students’ satisfaction.

The third day being a public holiday recorded an upsurge in attendance. Foodies and fun-seekers who couldn’t make it the first two days due to work and business schedules showed up. Parents took their kids to the show to have fun to their fullest. The kids were also engaged in a masterclass where Chef Crofie practically taught them how to bake cupcake. They were so excited and could not hide their joy.

With such awesome experience, the children shared their overwhelming joy with this reporter.

Master Ozezele Okharedia, 11 years old pupil of the Temple Preparatory School, Ilupeju: said: “I’m happy, I’m having fun here with my friends. We’re riding bicycle and I’m the director. I like this place, it’s so nice. I’d like to say thank you to GTBank for giving us this opportunity to have fun.”

Eleven-year-old Master Fola Odejano, from Readington School said: “I feel happy and glad and I think I just learnt how to use the ATM to withdraw cash. I’m so eager to learn how to cook because I normally watch my Mummy cook and I’d like to start preparing food myself. I also want to make some friends here. I say a big thank you to GTBank for organising this programme and I want God to bless them.”

Miss Chantelle Offor, nine-year-old grade five pupil of Jewels and Pearls Private School: shared her excitement. “Coming here is so exciting, especially because I haven’t been here before. So I feel happy. They are going to be teaching us how to cook and I want to learn. I want to learn how to bake cake and how to make pounded yam and lots more. I say thank you so much to GTBank for this opportunity. It has been so good.”

For Miss Valencia Erediauwa of the Learning Place Schools, Lekki: “I feel good coming here because I’ve always wanted to learn the recipes for cooking and I’m happier because I now know how to make chocolate cookies. I enjoyed the teaching by Chef Muse. I would like to be a chef in future. I say thank you to GTBank for putting up this event for us.”

Miss Adaora Nwosu, 11-year-old Primary six pupil enthused: “It was a very fun filled experience, I learnt a lot which I didn’t know before and I got to taste the chocolate the chef prepared. I’m happy I came here, I’ve learnt new method of making sandwiches. This is my first time of attending this kind of event and it will certainly not be my last. I enjoyed Chef Muse’s class because she explained how to do a lot of things. She was very informative and she’s temporal as well. I say a very big thank you to GTBank because the event is full of fun and they planned it very well.”

Miss Chisaa Opara, 12, and JSS1 student of Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, said: “It was nice because I’m a girl and I have to learn how to cook and I was watching the chef to know how to do some of those things. I cook at home and I know how to prepare rice and stew very well. The way the pancake was done here was actually different from the way I prepare it, and for the sandwich, I’ve never prepared it before but now I know how to prepare it.

“I’m even more excited that the chef had to pick me to join her in the presentation, and when I came back my friends were like, wow! Her teaching was nice because you can actually understand what she was trying to say and you will like to put it into practice. Thank you GTBank for allowing us to have this experience and God bless them.”

Five-year-old Master Faizu Gombe of Meldow Hall Nursery/Pimary School, Lekki: “I feel happy that I’m here. They’re teaching us baking; Auntie Crofie has taught us how to make cupcake, cupcake is sweet. I can make it now when I get home. I say thank you to our auntie. I say thank you to GTBank.”

Master Ikechi Esiaba, nine, and primary four pupil of Child Ville School, Ogudu, said: “I feel very excited being here. This place is so amazing and nice and I like it. Thank you GTBank.”

Ten-year-old primary six pupil of Pelgen Primary School, Shomolu, Miss Ijeoma Ilochi, said. “I’m so excited, I’ve seen a lot of my friends here. I’ve learnt how to make cupcake and it’s not hard, so easy to learn and I’m glad I’m here to learn it. I came with my parents and they bought me food and drinks; they said I should enjoy myself. I want to say a big thank you to GTBank and God bless them.”

For Miss Abisola Akingbade, eight, and year four pupil of Caleb International School who came with her brother, Tobi said, “I feel happy, I’m having fun with my friends here. It’s so nice coming here. I’ve learnt how to make cupcake. My Mummy brought us here. I say thank you to GTBank.”

Giving her experience with the children, Chef Crofie said: “It’s nice teaching children. You know when you’re with them you find out that they can do better than what you think they can’t be able to do. So I’ve found out that they are so eager to learn and they paid much attention to instructions. They are lovely children, so I enjoy being with them. And I encourage parents to try and give them opportunities to do some things at home, especially cooking, to prepare them ahead of time.”

Earlier, a teacher at Readington School, Lekki, Mrs. Esther Akintimehin, who brought her pupils to the fair, said they wanted the children to have more experience and practicalise the things they were being taught in school.

“I believe today they’re also going to see different foods and drinks and I guess they will learn how to cook some of those foods at the end of the class. Apart from that, they are going to meet their peers from other schools, make friends, gist and have fun. So it’s going to be a lovely experience for them and for us as well,’ Akintimehin said.

She added: “Sincerely, I thank GTBank for organising this programme and making it possible for our kids to have some unique experience. They’ve done so well, so I encourage them to keep it up.”

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Guaranteed Trust Bank, Mr. Segun Agbaje, who was cornered by this reporter, expressed his gratitude to God for making the programme to happen.

“I’m really grateful to God because all these we can’t do without Him. Truly, I feel very fulfilled, I see lots of people, I’m seeing the small businesses who are the vendors, who are the people we do this for, to give them a platform; I see them sell things, I see people know them, I see great masterclasses where people have been very engaging, asking very intelligent questions. So truly I’m very fulfilled,” Agbaje said.

Explaining why the masterclasses were arranged for children, he said: “Children are the future. Children are the future of any society. So we’ve got to teach them all the right qualities and all the right things they need to know.”