Highlights of the 2019 GTBank Food and Drink Fair
At 10 am on Sunday, 28th of April, 2019, the doors to Africa’s biggest Food and Drink festival were opened. With bold rays of sunshine and a few angry clouds, the sky held the promise of light showers of rain – which it eventually delivered. The sun made a bright reappearance, and people poured in, in hundreds; solo, arm-in-arm, kids in tow.
Exhibitors and vendors of sweet, savoury, grilled, cooked, fresh, and all other kinds of food had set up and decorated their stands, waiting to greet and cater to festival attendees.
As popular music played consistently by the DJ belted out of the speakers, the festival was agog with vendors dancing at their beautifully decorated spots while calling out to the festival-goers, people taking photos of their food and friends, and family between mouthfuls.
At the centre of the food maze stood the Habari Experience Centre. Here, people were welcomed and offered a 30-day free subscription to Habari Music. At the right end of the atrium, people queued up ready to deliver their best full circle moves in the Habari Music 360 Camera booth.
Later that afternoon, festival attendees made their way to the first masterclass on the packed and exciting GTBank Food and Drink Masterclass lineup. Famous for their tasty burgers and food blogging, Chris Fynes and Tom Reaney headlined with a fun guide to making street food a global big deal in cuisines. Tom Reaney also topped off the masterclass by making mouth-watering burgers that made members of the audience who got to taste ooh and aah in gastronomic delight.
Chef Shota Nakajima followed shortly after. In his exceptionally bright personality, he excited the audience with his class on the Art of Sushi Making with locally-sourced ingredients. Members of the audience gladly volunteered to taste the Sushi.
Phil Howard thrilled his audience with key lessons in Building and Maintaining a World Class Restaurant. In his words, “My responsibility as a professional chef is delivering pleasure through a harmony of flavours.” He added, “Success, for me is all about teamwork.” While he delivered his masterclass, he whipped up a tasty steak, and it was divine.
Paul Wayne Gregory, the Chocolate Artist, wowed the crowd with his chocolate model of the GTBank Food and Drink Festival logo. He also made little chocolate treats for the audience to taste.
To draw the curtains on masterclasses for the opening day, Luke Whearty shared the importance of nature in original cocktail making, and his experience with drink creation and sustainable bar innovation.
While the masterclasses went on, other festival attendees enjoyed the buzz, amazing food from over 100 food spots, and electrifying music delivered by the DJ. Children were not left out of the fun as they had a great time bungee jumping, swinging, and dancing in the Play Area.
Celebrities were also spotted at the event; some at the masterclass, others at food stands, all wearing their best smiles and looks of exceeded expectations.
At 10 pm, the festival-goers gradually traipsed out of the location, as they made their way home to return for Day Two.
Enter Day Two of the festival, Monday, the 29th of April, people who couldn’t get enough and those who couldn’t make it on the first day trooped in to get a feel of the festival, and it followed through with excitement, mouth-watering food, thirst-banishing drinks, and beautiful music and people.
Food exhibitors and vendors switched up their menus and offerings to provide festival-goers with exciting variety. While the sun shone relentlessly, people made their way from spot to spot; in and out of the atrium. Taking photos of aesthetic food spreads, families copping a squat on the bright green faux lawn, and even candid shots of friends with mouthfuls of food, people enjoyed special moments and made lovely memories.
As evening drew close, more people arrived in time for the first masterclass of the day. At 5 pm, Matse Uwatse, the radio star turned spice creator was welcomed on stage to take her masterclass. In the masterclass, Matse shared the secrets to blending seasoning to perfection. She taught the excited crowd to create signature spices out of their favourites.
Chef Cristian Duhalde followed right after at 6 pm with his masterclass on Southern cooking. His class was an interactive cook-along session that explored the preparation and presentation of Ceviche, a seafood dish, from locally-sourced ingredients. Four members of the audience volunteered to help Chef Duhalde bring his recipe to life, and boy, was it was delicious!
After the masterclasses, the festival saw more of a rush as businesses had closed and people who were previously at work came in to get a taste.
The day ended in a dancing competition between vendors with great dance moves.