The 2019 GTBank Food and Drink Fair held closing sessions on Wednesday, May 1, saving its best acts for last. The final day had the most sessions, with a star studded cast of six world-renowned chefs from around the globe, whetting the appetite of their audiences.
The day’s proceedings was led by Duff Goldman on the theme, ‘Acing your cakes’, while Jeff Mauro inspired his audience on how to ‘Make the ultimate Sandwich’. Next was renowned food photographer Melina Hammer, who left her audience in awe with her breath taking pictures of dishes.
Nigerian-born Raphael Duntoye, whose session was originally billed for one hour got a 10 minute extension, to the delight of his audience. He prepared and served 8 mouthwatering dishes to his guests. Amongst his audience were business mogul Femi Otedola and Mo Abudu who had front row seats and couldn’t resist the lure of having a taste of his recipe. Mo was full of praises for Chef Duntoye who has participated in every edition of the fair.
Top rated American chef Tregaye Fraser who has cooked for notable personalities such as Former U.S. President Barrack Obama, rapper T.I. won the hearts of her audience with her bread pudding menu. Tregaye who is visiting Nigeria for the first time shared her excitement about visiting Nigeria and announced her Nigerian name Jamila to her guests.
The parting session was hosted by Thai chef, founder of LEDU, Thitid Tassanakajohn, who served shushi curry recipe. The Thai-born chef was delighted by a female Thai national living in Nigeria who attended his class. Chef Thitid expressed openness to the possibility of launching a restaurant in Nigeria. As part of his Nigeria experience, he ate the Nigerian Jollof rice and went on to share his experience on Instagram, describing the dish as ‘smoky delicious’.
Participants expressed satisfaction and lauded GTBank for hosting another successful edition. A guest at one of the masterclasses Chimmy said, ‘I am really impressed by the top quality masterclasses held this year. I am a good food lover, I love to learn new things and this platform gave me the opportunity to ask questions and get professional advice on best practices. I am taking all the pleasant experiences and hopefully looking forward to the next edition. I want to thank GTBank for putting this together. They are the best. Keep on with the good work’.
Also, exhibitors at the fair counted their gains after four days of sales. SMEs were offered free stands at the GTBank Food & Drink Centre, Oniru. There was a wide variety of exhibitors showcasing and selling food products ranging from fresh organic groceries to dry foods, confectionary and pastries, ready to eat consumables, top quality crockery and wine & champagnes.
The CEO of Sabana Foods Adeleke David, whose brand specializes in providing affordable staple food for Nigerian households shared his experience at the fair, he said, ‘It has been a wholesome experience. People have been trooping in and making inquiries. The interest shown by visitors has been overwhelming. Some potential customers had the opportunity to see our products for the first time having been seeking them for some time. I will say it has been an engaging experience’.
When asked if there are opportunities beyond the fair for GTBank to collaborate with exhibitors in order to scale up their businesses, he stated, ‘I must give credit to the bank for taking the initiative to put this together. This is a good step forward for GTBank in Nigeria. However, I’d love them to look into supporting the growth of SMEs, there’s so much to do.
A lot of the businesses here have sourced for funds to make this happen, banks owe the economy the responsibility of supporting its growth’ he concluded.
Another exhibitor Itunu Rotimi CEO of Rhed’s Indulgence an online confectionery business located in Lagos gave credit to GTBank for supporting SMEs by giving them the platform to connect their businesses to both old and new customers free of charge. Sharing her experience Itunu said, I have met a lot of people, met a lot of my customers who have been patronizing the business online but have never met them personally. It has been an amazing experience. The publicity was huge, despite the stress that comes with the rush, I’ll say it has paid off, it’s been worth my time and energy’.
She also discussed sales at the fair describing it as, ’incredible! The previous day we sold over 75 percent of our merchandize. As you can see customers are coming in to make purchases. It’s been amazing. I didn’t know I was going to make this much sales’.
According to the exhibitor’s directory obtained by BizWatchNigeria, 249 SMEs participated in the 2019 GTBank Food and Drink Fair. The organizers wrapped the event with colourful fireworks and serenade the arena with scintillating Nigerian music.