Beautiful sunny weather greeted the first Gatwick International Food Festival, as more than 2,000 people flocked to Cherry Lane.
Festival founder Azam Riyard, who is owner and head chef of The Clubhouse, said he was very happy with how the festival had gone, and plans to bring it back next year, only bigger and better.
“I’d like to thank everybody who helped to make it happen,” he said.
There were 24 stallholders, bringing culinary traditions from a range of countries, including Pakistan, India, Japan, and Uzbekistan.
“I came all the way from Malaysia just for this festival and it is definitely worth my investment,” said stallholder Farah Dhiya, owner and chef of UPEH.
“The turnout is astounding and they are very diverse too. I sell PERCHIK, authentic Malaysian grilled chicken showered with flavourful coconut sauce served with my grandma’s recipe of sweet and spicy chili sauce on the side.
“It was sold out within just four hours!” She added that UPEH is opening soon in London.
The event was more than just a food festival – it was a day of fun field activities for the whole family of all ages. Bouncy castles, mega slides, assault course, jet rides, bungee trampolines and The Sweeper were the children’s favourite to-do activities on the day. Their laughter filled the air which was music to their parents’ ears.
“The atmosphere is full of energy and excitement! I enjoy every minute of hosting this event as I see how the crowd is really enjoying themselves with not only the food, the fun fair, but also the cook-off and the challenges which we put for them to win exciting prizes by our sponsors,” said Shelina Permalloo, BBC’s Masterchef winner and cookery author.
Visitors also had the opportunity to taste the amazing food prepared and demonstrated by legendary chefs: Chef Hamza Harrak of HS&Co, television chef Zarqa Hamid and Azam Riyard.
“I am very happy of what we have achieved here – Gatwick is now on the map as a culinary hotspot,” said Azam.
“Not only that, the stall holders and everyone who took part in this event are donating to our charity partner, Forgotten Women that aims to remove women all over the world from poverty, hardship and neglect.
“This charity is close to my heart as I was raised by a single mother and this achievement shows that humanity still exists. I aim to make this into an annual event. Expect bigger and better celebration next year!”
He also thanked all of the sponsors for the success of this event: English Tea Shop, Azanti, Metro Cars, Grange Hotels, Co- Ordination Catering Hire, SR Entertainment, Bookers Wholesale, Spotted Crawley and Cake Box Langley Green.
- Make sure to visit The Clubhouse at Cherry Lane to meet Azam in person while he serves you with Halal premium steak, philly cheese subs, homemade beef burgers, creamy milkshakes and much more. It is open every day from 11am to 11pm. For reservations, call 01293517777.