Oh gosh, I had so much fun during the World Curry Festival in Braford. It was quite an adventure taking the train from Paddington and visiting a few places along the way.
From Paddington, we stopped at Ludlow which was our first stop. I will talk about that in another time. Then after a few days of fun and adventure in Ludlow, we took the train to Manchester.
After a relaxing time in Manchester, it was now back to work to show case our Nyonya food. We were driven in to Braford and thoroughly enjoyed the scenery from Manchester to Braford. Upon entering Braford, we were in time to see a huge crowd in the park.
They were all holding hands high up approx a few thousand people. I was wondering what was going on when I heard the whistle that they got into the Guinness Book of Records for longest time holding hand together.
There were dances to celebrate the occasion. What a grand welcome and start of the Braford Festival together with World Curry Festival. In this link, we are in Page 9 of their events booklet that was given to everyone.
Junnie, my sister and I were both so excited and simply loved Braford. I was a little worried, I did not get to eat some Chinese food but we actually did. Nothing compared to Penang Food but edible. Sweet and sour pork, anyone!
Having rested, we eagerly found our way to the Kala Sangam hall to find what was happening. We stand and admire the beautiful hall and was greeted by the front desk who told me my class was the first for the day and it is fully booked. Not only that, there were 5 people waiting to see if they could join if the attendees were absent. I heard later, they enjoyed themselves even having to sit through the cooking session as it was fully booked.
Anyway, we started the class. I explained about fresh ingredients which they have not seen or worked before and shared how important to eat them. So I did a cooking demo and then they all got back to their own working table and started cooking after I handed over the grinded spices of fresh galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, onion and red chilly.
You should see their faces smelling the grounded aromatics. I am so pleased the response was, I am hungry. Can I eat now? I said we have put in the cut vegetables into the pot first. We had a good laugh as the spice paste after cooking smells so good. People from outside the cooking class keep peeping in. Some starts to come into the cooking class as they could smell the aroma.
As a teacher, it is always very inspiring to share and observed how your instructions were taken. I am really impressed with these guest who not only come to learn our Malaysian way of cooking but they wants to learn more.
I did not want them to be distracted so I got everyone to lower the heat so as not to burn the spice paste. To me, it is my normal practice but to the guest, they were surprised I could sense they are about to burn their paste. I am so pleased after class, many student walked up to tell me they actually learn lots in that 45 minutes. Boy, was I pleased.
Since we cooked a Nyonya mix vegetable curry, everyone was given a container to take home what they have cooked. I saw some containers empty before they leave the class as it was time for another session.
My second class for the day was a Masterclass. It is actually a cooking demo. The stage was set when I went in. What could I see, only spotlight on my work station.
I could hardly see anyone as the lights were very bright. The World Curry Festival team led by Chef Micheal and Chef Amir were so accommodating. I told them I need more fresh spice ingredient so I could explain about the health benefits. They gladly gave me some. As I shared some tips how to work with them, it was obvious they hardly have seen root of galangal, fresh turmeric root and lemon grass.
It was no joke as fresh turmeric weighing 300 gms is 5 pounds! Many of the attendees after the class came to the table to inspect the fresh ingredients. I told them to smell it and surprisingly, they loved it.
There were quite full in the session and the Curry Kapitan was gone in seconds! They simply loved the flavors, freshness of the spices, something so refreshing, they say.
The 3 days sharing our Malaysian cooking was so successful. Mr Zulfi and Saira were so pleased with our sharing. I felt so privileged to be able to showcase our cuisine.
Meeting Grand Master Chef Hemant Oberoi from India was indeed awesome for me. A real privileged and highlight for me. I do think of my mentor when I got a handshake from Grand Master Chef Hemant.
But hey, we got invited to a Bollywood nite with delicious dinner from their most reputable restaurant called Jinnah. The food was finger licking awesome. The Pakistani food in Braford is nothing like our Pakistani food in Penang. It is really a curry capital, Braford.
Thank you Mr Zulfi and Saira for organising the Braford World Curry Festival. To Chef Micheal, Chef Amir and Chef Rahila, it was great meeting up with you again and I enjoyed my time with you.