As I mentioned in a previous post, I was billed to do a cookery demo at this year's London VegFest on Saturday 10th October. As it was finalised all the way back in April, I had six whole months to get used to the idea. Six months to tell myself that it's always good to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. Somehow, along the way, I succeeded in convincing myself of this. The day finally came and went and shock horror (!) I am still in one piece. The world is still spinning, the sun will continue to shine and life goes on.
In all seriousness, I have to say that the experience is definitely high up there on the list of cool stuff I've had the opportunity to do as a result of this blog.
I've always hated giving presentations - I dreaded every single one I had to give during my academic career - but the strange thing about this particular one is that I actually felt excited in the build-up to the event. Not a drop of nervousness. Not until the very last minute before I was about to start anyway! (And then I had my amazing older brother there to knock some sharp sense into me and provide the extra boost I needed to just get on with it).
I had a wonderful time cooking at the festival. The crowd was kind, responsive and encouraging - I couldn't have asked for more. Whenever I looked out and saw someone smile or nod in agreement or actually look interested, it made me feel as though I wasn't talking complete nonsense lol. It made it easier to share anecdotes and tidbits of information specific to Nigerian cuisine. As an aside, I have so much respect for professional food presenters who manage to engage so well with their audience! Serious props.
My presentation was far from perfect, but I have absolutely no regrets. Sometimes in life, you just have to give yourself a pat on the back for trying. I had fun, the feedback on my jollof rice was absolutely ace and I got to meet some lovely individuals in the process. If I get a chance to do a similar presentation in the future, I will totally learn from this experience and improve my technique where necessary.
Here are a handful of pictures taken by my brother, along with a video with clips from my demo (unfortunately the camera ran out of memory half way through so we couldn't film the whole thing...my fault for forgetting to free up enough space the night before!)
*Thank you to VegFest for the opportunity*
Unpacking all my ingredients and equipment...no such thing as over-preparing!
Printed some flyers for the audience.
About 20 minutes before the demo starts. Big bro helping put flyers out on chairs.
Still unpacking; silently wondering 'what the heck am I about to do?!'
My name on the cookery demo poster. Cool!
Also in the festival program. Yay!
Throwing on my chef coat. Bro cracking some joke.
Actual people turning up to watch!
My favourite shot. I actually look comfortable up there. Strange.
Plantain taking forever to brown. Quick...think of something to say.
VegFest crowd growing in the auditorium.
Audience trying the jollof rice/plantain/coleslaw, and asking questions. Great feedback!
Homeward bound. Obligatory sibling photo at the station before parting ways. Thanks, Tola!