This weekend - the first Gatwick International Food Festival

TV chef Zarqua Hamid (left) and  BBC MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo (right)
TV chef Zarqua Hamid (left) and BBC MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo (right)

Gatwick is about to have its first ever food festival this Sunday September 2, to celebrate the culinary richness of the area and the whole of South East.

“I love travelling and I am very passionate about food. I have lived in Crawley for 20 years and witnessed that this town is very diverse with multicultural backgrounds,” said the owner and chef of The Clubhouse, Azam Riyard, who is the organiser of the event.

Azam Riyard

Azam Riyard

“Every culture has its own culinary story and authentic recipes. So, why not bring all these beautiful food heritages together in one place and share the gem that we proudly have here with everyone else!”

If you are a foodie or passionate about cooking, then Gatwick Food Festival is a not to be missed event.

Expect a wide range of international cuisines including American, Malaysian, Pakistani, Uzbekistan and many more.

For the sweet tooths, there will be an amazing range of cakes, sweets and desserts too. Halal, vegetarian and organic options are available.

On top of that, BBC’s MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo will be hosting and introducing demonstrations and masterclasses by renowned celebrity chefs such as Chef Hamza Harrak a.k.a The Great British Halal Chef from HS&Co, SKY 727 TV personality and cook Zarqa Hamid, and young entrepreneur icon and chef Farah Dhiya of UPEH from Malaysia.

The festival will be held at Cherry Lane Playing Field, a massive open green field in Crawley. If you can’t find an empty table, it is definitely a perfect space for picnics.

Azam added: “Gatwick International Food Festival will be one of its kind that welcomes everyone of all ages. Apart from the food offerings, the festival is equipped with fun activities.

“I have four beautiful kids and they inspired me to add a little touch of ‘fun fair’ to the festival so that us parents no need to worry about keeping our children entertained.”

There will be child-friendly bouncy castles, assault courses and rides, as well as games for everyone to win exciting prizes.

“I also believe in doing good and helping the unfortunate ones. My mother is an inspiration to me – she is a hardworking single mother who has gone through all kinds of challenges to ensure that I am who I am today.

“That is why I would love to help women of the sort and hopefully get as many people to be part of the cause,” said Azam humbly.

This year, he has teamed up with Forgotten Women, a charity organisation that is run by women for women which aims to remove women from hardship, injustice and neglect due to war and natural disasters.

Forgotten Women’s current projects provide a solution for poverty and give women the dignity and self-respect they deserve by helping them set up with their own small businesses to help them rebuild their lives through generating their own incomes to support their families. Your money spent at all stalls will be partly donated to the charity.

All participating exhibitors are committed to donating 10 per cent of their on-the-day sales to the charity. An array of sponsors has joined on board as well to support the cause: English Tea Shop, Azanti, Metro Cars, Grange Hotels, Co-Ordination Catering Hire, SR Entertainment, Bookers Wholesale and Spotted Crawley. Don’t miss the food, the fun and the cause.