Birmingham’s inaugural British Halal Food Festival a hit!
A great, fun, food-filled festival absolutely heaving with people. – Ali “The Great British Bake Off” Imdad
Grey clouds overhead couldn’t stop thousands of hungry food enthusiasts attending the inaugural British Halal Food Festival yesterday.
People from all over the UK thronged to the heart of Birmingham to enjoy cuisines from all over the world at the open-air Digbeth Arena.
With celebrity chef cooking demos and the festival’s very own bake-off judged by The Great British Bake Off contestant Ali Imdad, there was plenty of entertainment too.
One unique feature of this festival was the categorisation of food stalls into two camps: HMC-certified vendors, of which there were ten, with the remaining 23 making up the sum total.
From the latter was the founder of the non-subscription meal kit delivery service Halal Fresh, Saima Duhare, who not only conducted a live cooking demo, but said of the event: “The festival exceeded my expectations with over 4,500 in attendance and some great food stalls.
“The camaraderie and how the community came together made this a very inspiring event.”
Despite the somewhat miserable weather, the community pulled through, and overall it was all a successful and wonderful time. – TV chef, Zarqa Hamid
Meanwhile, Islam Channel TV chef, Zarqa Hamid, who presented most of the cooking demos, said “it was an honour to be part of the first ever British Halal Food Festival”.
She added that “despite the somewhat miserable weather, the community pulled through, and overall it was all a successful and wonderful time”.
As for the bake-off competition, then Ali Imdad awarded the prize to an amateur baker for having made “a delicious red velvet cake with a mirror glaze”.
With a Kids Zone that remained busy throughout the day, and a designated prayer area, some of the city’s top Halal food businesses participated.
Among them was healthy doner advocates German Doner Kebab, leading Halal burger restaurant Fargo’s, and of course dessert specialist Cocoa by Ali Imdad.
With over 5,500 people registering initial interest on their Facebook event’s page, the festival didn’t quite meet its projected ticket sales of 8,000.
Nevertheless, Halal Fresh’s Saima was more than satisfied with her day out: “With so many lovely people, everyone was so inquisitive of everything happening around them. Mash’Allah, it was a really good event and I’m glad I went.”
While Zarqa said: “We need more events like this for our communities. Not only is it a wonderful day out for families but it’s a great way to network.
“Food always brings people together from all parts of the world.”