Once the doors to Suntec Expo Halls 401 and 402 were opened and the crowd started to stream in, there was a palpable sense of elation and relief. We had finally done it!
It was estimated that more than 3000 people came through the halls on that day. And despite some hiccups during the early morning before the event started, the event was a success in every sense of the word.
People came and bought plenty of food and many posted photos and pictures almost instantly to spread the word further. Everyone enjoyed the air conditioning and there was sufficient seating area to go around. By all accounts, there were plenty of smiling faces all around.
Representatives from the beneficiaries came and had a great time too. Some stalls even waived the coupons in order for them to enjoy even more food, and I thought that was a nice gesture by the hawkers.
By 5pm, everything finally wound down. We had done our part. It was such a wonderful feeling to have accomplished this. On a personal note, this was the most meaningful thing I have ever done.
I would like to thank a number of people for making this event a success. First, and foremost, Maureen for inviting me to join her on this challenging but ultimately rewarding journey to assist her in curating the hawkers.
Derrick, for being the ever reliable partner in working out the kinks and details of the curation part. It has been a very satisfying and gratifying time working with these 2 buddies over the past few months and despite the tough obstacles facing us, we managed to overcome everything and work as one harmonious team.
To Pam and Stella, from Touch Community Services. Their tireless hard work and ever accommodating ways to cater to the hawker needs was what made the event ran as smoothly as it did. And to their bosses who made the resources on the actual day possible and allowed everyone to deliver an excellent experience for all.
To TMC Academy and their volunteers for helping out throughout the event. I would like to especially single out the 6 volunteers who did such an impressive job in serving the diners at the VIP table. And to the ITE students who also helped out the hawkers.
To Sitong who came and performed for the diners and provided such wonderful entertainment. Kudos also to her other performers whom she managed to persuade to come and sing for the crowd.
To Maureen's aunt, LeRoy and Kai, for helping out in everything on that day.
To Johor Kaki and Fundamentally Flawed for joining us on some of our hawker trails and posting on them.
To every single blogger and instagrammer who wrote and posted about this event. And to everyone on social media who shared news on UHF too.
To KF Seetoh for writing about UHF on Makansutra. To Leslie for sharing the news on his FB.
To Uncle Bob for helping to spread the word on FB.
To Pauline, my dear wife for being there and helping out.
And to Minister Chan Chun Sing for taking the time out of his busy schedule to grace the event.
To the hawkers, without which, there would not have been food for this event. They are:
Lionel and Kenry from Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh and Pek Sin Choon
The Ladies from Chey Sua
The team from Tenderfresh
Ah Boon and gang from Good Chance Popiah
Tony Tee and his ultimate croc gang from Crocodile King
Douglas and his team from Fishball Story
Jemmy and Jimmy who represented Food Glossary
The team from Old Bibik
Gerald, Julyn and July's dad from Penang Kia
Shen Tan and her team
Guna and his boys from The Prata Place
Mdm Foo, Miss Loy and their team from Tian Tian
Chef Eric Neo and his team from InterContinental
Chen Tan Yong Hua and his team from HOME
Chef Melvin and Rae from Ramada Inn
The team from City Satay Bee Hoon
Uncle Kun and his team from Genshu
Kingsley and his team from King's Roast
Jason and Benson from Onaka
Ewan and his gang from Jin Jin
The guys from Hock Bee Bird's Nest
The team from Mr Bean
Gavan's team from Lek Lim
The guys from Teochew Pau
To GoGo Van for providing the transport.
To Jason from the Eureka Cooking Lab for extending the use of the lab for the cooking demo for Croc King and also the use of the storage space for Penang Kia.
To Maxtein Oh from Thai Village for sponsoring ingredients for Penang Kia.
To the various sponsors of ingredients and other resources for our various hawkers.
And last but not least, everyone who made the effort to come down to support this event. It was ultimately the patronage of those who came that made this event as successful as it was. For that, I am eternally grateful and I believe my 2 partners will agree too.
For those that I have forgotten to mention here, I sincerely offer my apologies.
Ultimately, this was all for a good cause. Meeting and talking to some of the beneficiaries and seeing their warm, smiling faces was all the gratification we needed. This day will always hold a special place for me personally.
Indeed, it is easy to say we should all do our part and contribute back to society. It is another thing when you actually get the opportunity to do it on this level and at this scale.
One last time, Thank You.
The Silver Chef.