“We bake our samosas mainly because everyone is becoming a lot more health conscious."
The spacious halls of the Birmingham NEC were filled with stalls from big brands such as Wing Yip and Italian Coffee favourites Lavazza, on November 27, 2014 for the BBC Good Food Show.
The Winter edition also saw the likes of Belling, Hotpoint, and Lakeland who were sponsors of the large Saturday Kitchen stage, a popular feature of every year.
Each vendor sold their products with discounted show prices and offered delicious food samples and product demonstrations.
If you attended, you would have surely left the venue with a belly full of chunky soups, world cheeses and a variety of spiced curry pastes, all washed down with any vodka, gin or beer of your choice.
The Saturday Kitchen stage was presented by a number of hosts throughout the weekend, including our very own Brummy Glynn Purnell and co-host Ben Tish.
Audiences could get involved with the omelette challenge and go head to head with Glynn himself to win a prize. This free of charge stage certainly created a buzz throughout the day.
Company, Hotpoint used Brit-Asian chef and family member of the famous Pathak’s sauces, Anjali Pathak alongside Celebrity Masterchef winner Lisa Faulkner, who cooked up a treat, shared tips and took selfies with the crowd.
Continuing on her family’s cooking legacy, Anjali told DESIblitz that she has always been lucky to travel around the world and pick up influences from different countries:
“I think you end up picking things up from different places in the world and actually as a child, we did travel quite a lot to all sorts of different parts of Asia, and also to Australia. But a lot of my influences will always take me back to that taste of home, which is spices and Indian cooking.”
Her new cookbook, out in February 2015, features classic Indian cooking with a healthy and western twist.
Other favourites known for putting Desi cooking on the map also attended the Good Food Show, such as Sabrina Ghayour, Michael Caines, Shelina Permalloo and Cyrus Todiwala.
However, it was not only the big chefs representing the Asian community, small companies from around the country came to the show to offer their unique products to the market.
Indian Herbal Tea company, Praana, showcased a delectable array of fruity and herbal beverages. Their flavours include Sweet ‘n’ Chilli, Spicy Cinnamon and Ginger and Lemon.
They told DESIblitz: “The name ‘Praana’ means ‘life force’ or ‘root to all life’, and that is something which is really close to our heart because we want people to have balance of being and harmony. So take a break with this herbal tea which is organic and be good to yourself!”
Curry Sauce company, Dhaniya offer a range of spice rubs and curry pastes that promise authentic Indian cooking. Founders, Roy and Usha Verman, told DESIblitz:
“What we wanted to create was something that was homemade. We did a lot of research and we felt that people weren’t getting the true authenticity of Indian food.
“So we created curry paste and spice rubs which taste like home cooking. Everything has got fresh ingredients, fresh ginger, garlic, chilli and basically what you taste in an Indian household.”
Also in contention for our taste buds was curry sauce maker Harj Dhillon who is the founder of Little Turban. Harj admits that he uses unusual ingredients to create new curry paste combinations including whiskey and melon: “Basically I started it 3 years ago and I wanted to introduce something new to the curry sauce market.
“I wanted to offer consumers something different to the jalfrezis and bhunas. So I wanted to do some classic flavours and I’ve combined them with some modern flavours like bourbon, whiskey, melon and apple, making different flavour combinations.”
Also on offer at the Good Food Show was cooking with a twist, and SamosaCo encourage healthy eating and a move away from traditional frying techniques that us Desi’s are prone too. A sign above their food items read, ‘All our samosas and bhajees are baked not fried’.
Tee from SamosaCo tells us: “We bake our samosas mainly because everyone is becoming a lot more health conscious and so am I, and we decided well if you can bake your samosas, why not?
“And we also just use natural ingredients, so everything we do is all natural – everything from the actual raw ingredients side to the pastry to the pickle.
Christian Hardwick from Funkin Cocktails said: “Both our cocktails and mocktails do very well in the Asian communities, especially in curry houses. Having a drink where you can add in Lemonade or Vodka and instantly create a cocktail works really well.”
Tropical Food Company also wanted to bring its Afro-Caribbean and East Asian influences to the large UK market. Their spicy BBQ sauces, and healthy aloe vera and coconut water have been big sellers in the Asian community.
The Winter Good Food show offered the chance to get close to the chefs you admire through the TV screen, and new this year included Italian legends, Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo.
Most attendees left with bags full of tasty treats, signed books from chefs such as Gino D’Acampo and pictures with the big names in cooking.
This 4-day food frenzy was as popular as ever, and with the DESIblitz team still full to the brim, we can’t wait to see what the 2015 BBC Good Food Show brings to our stomachs.