International Food Festival at Leeds Grand Mosque set to tantalise tastebuds

FLAGS OF FLAVOUR: Organiser Mohammed Omar tucks into one of the dishes that could be served up at the festival on 28th May
FLAGS OF FLAVOUR: Organiser Mohammed Omar tucks into one of the dishes that could be served up at the festival on 28th May

Melting pot of cultures! 

Calling all foodies, Leeds Grand Mosque is hosting an International Food Festival on Saturday 28th May to raise money for Diabetes UK and the mosque itself.

Local people of different cultures from all over the world are going to be cooking up a medley of delicious foods from their home countries, which will be entered into a cooking competition and judged by TV presenter Nadia Hussein and uber popular food blogger – Curry On Haleema.

Organisers Heena Mahmood, Mohammed Omar and Ruth Townsend wanted to have an all female judging panel to ‘spark some conversation and interest’.

Heena said: “The Festival will begin at 2pm until around 6pm. The reason behind this event is the fact that there’s a diverse population that attend this mosque and also the entire neighbourhood is multicultural.

“We wanted to do something that would bring everyone together- and everyone loves food.”

Heena said that there has been an ‘excellent response’ from the community, “people from all different backgrounds have been supportive,” she continued.

“Everyone has shown an interest. Asians have got involved; Nigerians, a lot of Middle Eastern people are going to be coming – Sudanese families too. It’s been really exciting to hear the feedback so far.”

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The competition will see prizes for the best rice/pasta/potato/bean/lentil dish,
chicken dish, meat dish, vegetable dish, sweet food dish, best junior cook (any dish cooked by child under 16 years), best national team and best male chef.

The categories are very open to allow for cultural interpretations of that type of food and as long as dishes broadly match the category, they can enter.

The event organisers spread the word through social media.  

“Initially, we were going to have each culture having its own table but because we’ve had such a variety of dishes flooding in, we’ve decided to group it into categories,” Heensa said, “such as all the rice dishes together and all the sweet dishes.

“There’ll be a flag and a label with each dish.”

The mosque has suggested a minimum donation of £2 per plate for savoury food and £1 for sweet food.


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