The recently concluded fifth edition of the yearly Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) Food and Drink Festival 2022, was a memorable and celebratory event that showcased the best of African and Nigerian food culture. Held between April 30 and May 2, at Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos, it was an harvest of rich fun, featuring different activities that were not only geared at exciting the people and promoting excellent food culture, but it was also an occasion that offered teaching and coaching moments for the crowd of young and enthusiastic prospective Nigerian chefs, that were treated to sizzling master classes by a number of world renowned chefs.
The roll call of the master chefs include: Yui Miles, Raphael Duntoye, Ed Baines, Eden Hagos, Gason Nelson, Rico Toress, Diego Galicia, Alberti Twins, Daryl Shular, Moe Cason, Aldo Zilli, De’bora Pangni, Calum Franklin, Femi Oyediran and Miles White. Each took time to showcase their culinary expertise and skills that have made them the best in the act of cooking and offering curated world class cuisine experiences for people. For the hordes of prospective chefs and even professional chefs that were in attendance, it was a teaching experience of a life time from the anvil of some of the best and experienced master chefs.
The Group Chief Executive Officer of GTCO, Segun Agbaje, in his presentation underscored the essence of the three days food and drink festival put together by the bank: “Africa’s history and rich cultural heritage is beautifully reflected in its cuisines. The primary objective of the GTCO Food and Drink Festival is to showcase our diversity and industry as a people while delivering a sumptuous culinary experience to food enthusiasts across the continent. ‘‘As our contribution to the development of local SMEs, we want to see our retail customers who also own small businesses thrive by giving them more opportunities to connect with consumers from around the world.”
He further added: “At GTCO Plc, we are committed to offering our customers and communities great experiences with every interaction and will continue to promote viable enterprises particularly in the food and fashion industries, given the massive capabilities and countless multiplier effects inherent in these critical industry segments.’’ One of the master chefs at the event, Gason Nelson, a seasoned chef with a great sense of humour, also spoke on the event: “When you are cooking, you build flavours, cooking is an expression, cooking is how you feel. You all will agree with me that if I put you in the same room with the same ingredients, you all dishes will taste different.”
The well organised festival witnessed the participation of both small and medium scale business enterprises, with the exhibition of food art, consisting of fresh farm produce, which offered varieties for people while different food vendors from across the country enthralled the people with unique food with some offering live cooking stations.
The cuisines on offer were a wide selection of Continental and a rich blend of colourful African and Nigerian dishes. Local Nigerian dishes which are easily found on the streets were on display, such as the popular Suya, Palm wine, Akara and Puff puff, while fanciful display of desserts as such a Iced cream, Fancy cakes and different type of pies, cocktail and wines were not left out.
The three-day festival drew people from different parts of the country of different backgrounds. The atmosphere was carnival – like and was enlivened up by the colourful display and setting, affording occasion for people, including families, as children were specially curated, to interact and share in the different offerings and convivial environment created. According to one of the attendees; “I had massive fun today at GTCO food. As a proud African child, I couldn’t miss out on one of the finest palm wines. Thanks to GTBank for a wonderful festival.”