The many months of consultation, preparation and implementation of the Caribbean Food and Drink Expo has not been in vain. The collaboration with Fairweather Productions (famed for staging the Jerk Cook Out in South London) and the Black Cultural Archives has yielded a successful event that has in many ways served to honour the 492 Jamaican immigrants who journeyed to England on the MV Empire Windrush in 1948.
A product of CaribDirect Multi-Media Limited, Caribbean Food and Drink Expo 2015 was conceived to create trade and investment opportunities for both Caribbean entrepreneurs within the food and beverage sector looking to enter the United Kingdom market; and UK based Caribbean entrepreneurs within the food and beverage sector interested in trading and or investing in the Caribbean.
Organised as a private sector project, it is felt CFDE stands the greatest opportunity for success by virtue of not being subject to the political complexities normally associated with public sector initiatives. CFDE is therefore free to collaborate with any or all entities whether private, public or charity that appreciate the vision and meet the criteria of CaribDirect Multi-Media to ensure the delivery of a high standard end product with potential to grow exponentially from year to year.
On Sunday 12th July, in spite of the inclement weather hundreds of Caribbean food lovers descended on Windrush Square in the heart of Brixton, South London to patronize the 20 food and drink and other stalls. The stall holders included Caribbean Tourism Organisation, Jamaica National Building Society, JN Money Services, Hotspice Caribbean Takeaway, Hilltop Roti, Lebara Mobile, Supermalt, Satay Bar, Market House, Jewel Isle Rum punch, GT Flavaz & Spices, De Rock Wellness Cafes, Gita’s Portal, Hylton’s Ventures, Jackson’s Spice, Caribbean Cakes, Flagz Mas Band, The Vine, All Knightz Limited, ACLT Charity and Lambeth College.
The wide cross section of attendees included mothers and their children, best mates (males and females), guys looking for a little food and some Caribbean music and single women curious about the strong aroma of jerk meats that hit them as they passed the square.
Overcast as it was for most of the day, the rain chose to allow the Caribbean Food and Drink Expo to carry on largely unaffected almost as if God himself decreed we would have a fabulous day. Some said we were blessed as most of London suffered heavy rains.
So blessed the event was that actors Rudolph Walker and Angela Wynter came down to support. The crowd immediately took to them for selfies and photos. Rudolph spoke briefly and said he is most happy when he is around his fellow Caribbean nationals and wished Caribbean Food and Drink Expo every success in the future.
With actors Rudolph Walker and Angela Wynter on site and steel pan provided by award winning Brent Holder MBE the atmosphere turned into a perfect Caribbean extravaganza. Food from Guyana provided by GT Flavaz & Spices and sweet roti (wraps) from Trinidad provided by Hilltop Roti gave the square a unique cultural vibe that was enjoyed by the non Caribbean visitors. There was even time to take a group photo with the organisers, and some friends of Rudolph and Angela.
Audiences were treated to a ‘rubber man’ performance that left many with their mouths open. Though diving through fire hoops was not part of the scheduled acts it certainly went down well with the kids.
From all appearances the Caribbean Food and Drink Expo is a concept that has a future. Further collaborations are being considered for CFDE 2016 to ensure the initiative grows in relevance, size and impact on the inclusive community and by extension the Caribbean.