By Oluwatope Lawanson

The Association of Professional Chefs Nigeria (APCN) says Nigeria will host the fifth edition of the West Africa Food Festival (WAFFEST) to promote West African cuisines.

Its National President, Mr Paulinus Okon, disclosed this on Thursday at a news conference in Lagos .

The theme of the food festival is “Preserving West African Flavour: The Chefs Roles in Sustainable Tourism”.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that APCN established WAFFEST in 2017 and since then, Ghana has hosted the festival three consecutive times, followed by Liberia.

Okon said that WAFFEST was scheduled to hold from Aug. 9 to 14, in Lagos, to also promote cooking skills.

He said that the festival would encourage food tourism, culture, music, workforce development and promote committed chefs.

According to him, Nigeria will be hosting the festival for the first time to encourage eating healthy.

”This is a time to give women the opportunity to meet chef leaders and mentors as well as showcase their power in the series of meals and catering flavours,” he said.

The APCN president added that the festival was an opportunity for Nigerian chefs to also showcase their superiority and promote local food tourism.

“Nigeria is hosting the 2023 edition because the objective of the event is to rotationally open up the food tourism potential of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS).

“The festival will be held in Lagos, being the hospitality hub of Nigeria, and it is also an easy access to other West African states coming by road,” he said.

The APCN president said that out of the 26 countries invited for the festival, 19 countries had confirmed their participation.

“The countries are Ghana; Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Cameroon, Republic of Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Congo, Lesotho, South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Cote d’ivoire, Senegal, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Netherlands,” he said.

On the programme, Okon said that on Aug. 9, there would be a welcome dinner for contingents from other countries, followed by factory tour of some international brands that produced food ingredients on Aug.10.

“The official opening ceremony is slated for Aug. 11 and thereafter, the festival will be moved to the Lagos State Culinary Centre, Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board, Agidingbi, Ikeja.

”’Also, there will be a Master Chef Challenge, Signature Jollof Challenge to determine which Jollof is the best in terms of flavour.

“There will be a contest of different flavours of jollof rice from different countries in Africa,” he said.

Okon commended the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority and National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism for their support and collaboration.

He thanked Maggie Nigeria Plc, Tasty Tom, Friesland, LASTVEB and Hospitality Business School for their support and sponsorship.NAN

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