For the second 2017 edition of the GTBank Food & Drink, the experience is definitely bigger and better with particular attention to opening the Nigerian 'food market' to a huge and diverse consumers.
Currently underway today 30th April 2017 for day 1, It's impressive how many Nigerian food brands there are and GTBank Food & Drinkis exploring just that and impressively to vendors advantage.
The Water Corporation venue of the event tucked away in the heart of Victoria Island is abuzz with eager 'tasters', shoppers, sightseers, expert chefs, window shoppers, just name them.
A walk through the organized gate into the venue gives you a peek at what to expect, eager crowd hurriedly taking their 'branded hand fans' and a quick grab of water bottles heading straight for the farmer's market for a display of the freshest produce and then scattered mini diners of whatever whets your appetite then the journey to 'fooding' begins.
Entering the exhibition venue, you are in awe of how many people are inside -with vendors all over in one of the most organized cubicles settings ever- (there's a map to guide if you'd rather walk straight to your preferred vendor, you'd do that in a breeze despite the huge crowd) just happily going round nibbling at a snack at a baked goods corner or sipping on a cocktail or plain old shopping away in the most 'organized chaotic' shopping destination for everything food with music and activities going on around, it's awesome.
The Masterclass sessions were eye opening with Chefs who knew their onions, making cooking the most fun.
Chef Stone; Abiola Akanji an alumnus of the French Culinary Institute and owner of The Red Dish Culinary School held people bound to his demonstration in the most engaging ways with his detailed explanation and teaching skills -the time was spent in the most engaging way and boy was the hall filled with aroma that got everyone on their feet as tasters?
International food blogger Jehan Powell came right after with her special recipes for rich cuisines with a Caribbean edge, the hall was soon laced with a herb rich aroma.
The most engaging session had to be Chef Brian Malarkey, an award winning restaurateur and TV personality with restaurants across the US who made sure there was no dull moment with his (Salt bae) demonstrations while showing tips to the impressed audience.
Chef Brian Malarkey at his session hinted at taking "back a lot of ideas with me" after seeing the huge platforms and what the vendors had to offer loving the richness of the produce he saw on display.
The day goes on with Chef Lerato Umah-Shayor and Chef Tolu Eros of Cookie Jar Bakery and Eros & Gourmet Foods who are able to hold attendees attention with their culinary expertise.
My eyes couldn't stay off the mobile kitchen that beats most modern kitchen and made demonstrations seamless (workplaces could have been done in a way to get audience to actually see what's cooking) with bits as in-built ovens, fridges and attention to details with extinguishers oh and a clean up after everything leaving everywhere spotless, the financial institution again delivers on her promises.
133 exhibitors/vendors, 10 seasoned chefs, 'indoor children playground', lots of food/consumables and everything in between even the crowd and the seemingly over the top everything comes almost out of this world.
For the second time, -the 2016 edition was the first- GTBank means business...and definitely promoting enterprise, I haven't seen who will beat this yet and honestly the next five years, GTbank will still hold it down huge.