As the International Year of Pulses (IYP) gets into its stride, pulse-based foods caught the public's imagination as four falafel masters competed for votes at first ever Falafel Festival at London's Borough Market.
"Falafels are one of the most popular new-wave foods for UK consumers, and this was reflected in the packed attendance at the Festival where falafels made with fava beans, chickpeas, lentils competed for the top prize," commented Andy Bury of BEPA (British Edible Pulses Association).
Over 700 potential falafel gourmets paid to attend the festival and queue up to sample offerings from the four chefs. The eventual winner was Mustafa Elrefaey of 'Zööba', who flew in from Cairo for the event, to prepare his charred-aubergine-stuffed falafel made with UK-produced fava beans, served over baba ghanouj and drizzled with beetroot and hibiscus tahini.
A very close second was Uri Dinay of 'Pilpel', who has falafel and houmous bars at Spitalfield's, St Paul's and in Fleet Street, who showcased his spiced chickpea falafel.
Abdullah Amin of Shoreditch-based 'Origins Of at Blessings' presented his original beetroot falafel made with three pulses - chickpea, black-eyed bean and red lentil - served with three dips.
And London street food kings Louai Fares & Rasheed Muhammed of 'Hoxton Beach' featured crushed falafel made with a blend of fava beans and chickpeas.
"One of the long-term objectives of the International Year of Pulses for UK pulse growers is to increase the awareness and consumption of all pulse products, and high profile public events like this show the versatility of pulses," added Roger Vickers Chief Executive of PGRO.
"Egypt is one of the major markets for human consumption beans grown by British farmers, hence Mustafa's win using UK-produced beans underlined our well-earned reputation as quality bean growers - whether for export or for our home market."
Photo 1: Winner Mustafa from 'Zööba' is pictured (on right) with BEPA's Andy Bury (centre) and Andrew Jacobs (left)