London Halal Food Festival 2019 with new faces (and old)
The strength of any annual event, particularly one in its fourth year, is to remain true to its ethos while making enough changes to keep things interesting.
The most impressive feature of this year’s event was the many new food and business vendors who heightened interest and helped add to the plethora of smells and colours at the Tobacco Docks.
Making their debut at LHFF, with an elaborate stand, was London-based international suppliers of premium Middle Eastern herbs, spices and blends, Greenfields, who’ve been going strong since 1982.
Currently available in Asda and Morrisons, as well as independent stores across the country, this company boasts an assortment of products which, aside from the ground and whole spices, peppers, blends, chillies, leaves and herbs, sell packets of Superfood such as Red or Black Quinoa, Linseed and Chia Seeds.
Arguably the most impressive section has to be their extensive Foodservice range with over 100 products, which are large re-sealable containers “distributed to the finest Michelin star restaurants and 5-star hotels around the country”.
According to co-director, Amir Ali, Greenfields’ purpose at the festival was “to raise awareness and position ourselves in the Halal food industry”.
With Halal food picking up momentum across the UK and Europe, Amir said that LHFF provides “a really great opportunity to show the market and industry that Halal food is a really important sector for the food and drink industry”.
Greenfields also marked their debut by launching an exclusive new range of honey that’s raw, unfiltered and unheated.
With their spices BRC certified (an internationally recognised mark of food safety and quality) and sourced from “very authentic suppliers”, Greenfields remained busy throughout the day.
Old and new faces at this year’s LHFF
Familiar faces who made last year’s event such a memorable one also made a return including the woman that puts ‘sunshine on a plate’ – 2012 MasterChef champion Shelina Permalloo – who tirelessly hosted the many live cookery shows.
Joining her to cook on stage was fellow champion, Dr Saliha Mahmood Ahmed (these two should consider doing a double act; the natural chemistry there made for some highly engaging demos), but also manned a stall to promote her debut cookbook Khazana (you’re welcome Saliha!).
The Tariq Halal Cookery Theatre also welcomed a new face to the LHFF, up-and-coming Chef Aida Khan of Shola restaurant in White City, who spoke of her desire in promoting upscale Pakistani cuisine to foodies across London.
The Ojos Foods was also quietly celebrating this weekend after being informed only this week that three of their products had been awarded Great Taste awards.
We can reveal exclusively that their El Abuelo Maragato is not just the only premium halal cured beef to achieve the Great Taste 2019’s highest accolade of 3-stars, but has also been nominated for the prestigious Great Taste Golden Fork Award – a rare privilege indeed.
In addition, The Ojos Foods’ El Buey Halal was awarded 2-stars and the Omeya Halal Beef Salami 1-star.
New stalls at the all-important food court
Moving to the all-important food court, then there were enough new faces here too to justify patiently traversing the many closed and rerouted roads no thanks to Sunday’s bike Ride London event.
From Steakout’s immaculately presented double-stand to the ever-popular Band of Burgers and regulars HS&Co, the newcomers appeared to hold their own piquing enough interest to have the hungry crowds spoiled for choice.
New kids on the LHFF block included Mexican Fried Chicken and Piddaji, the latter doing Turkish flatbreads and both regulars at lunch market KERB, alongside authentic Uzbek street food served up by Oshpaz, and Brooklyn Craft with their gourmet burgers.
And one stall that really was an intriguing one was Gimme Samosa, a newly established business who serve up premium samosas that are ‘baked not fried’.
It’s safe to say that this year’s London Halal Food Festival lived up to previous years’ standards with loads to do.
(Sponsored by Greenfields)