Last Sunday I did something different. I took a detour from the routine and headed to the McDonalds outlet on Exhibition Road. When I stepped in, I was greeted by some heavily suited gentlemen with wide smiles. I was directed to their first floor by the McDonalds’s staff where I met Dunia from Obai and Hill (@Obaiandhill). Okay, let me just start from the beginning.
I was invited by a PR team in Bahrain called Obai and Hill to attend McDonalds’s “Build your Halloumi” promotional event. Since it was happening on a working day, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to a make it. But finally, all the stars aligned and I got a few hours off from work and accepted their invite.
Halloumi is a typical middle eastern cheese that is semi hard, brined and has a high melting point. This makes it easy to grill or fry it. This is one of the cheeses that I love and regularly use at home in salads and sandwiches. McDonalds struck a chord here and I wanted to see what they do with one of my favourite ingredients. The event included a kitchen tour and breakfast at McDs.
Armed with my camera I took the flight of stairs to reach the first floor. I was quite apprehensive because expected a swarm of media to be there with their flashing cameras and such. But I was immediately put to ease by Dunia of the PR team Obai and Hill and the McDonalds’s General Manager Mr. Ahmad. The staff served me some coffee and I perked up to capture the event on my blog.
They took a batch of 4-5 people for the McDs kitchen tour ( on the ground floor), at a time. I must assume that I was the only food blogger there or maybe I missed meeting them. The tour was being guided by Mr. Ali who is McDs incharge of quality control and supply chain.
He told us about the high standard of quality control that McDs adheres to in storing its frozen and dry ingredients. He took us to the cold storage and showed us around. He also asserted about the highest standard of hygiene maintained and asked us to wash our hands before we embarked on our Halloumi sandwich building expedition.
He first, introduced us to the ingredients of the muffin sandwich which included my favourite – Halloumi cheese, olive paste, shredded lettuce, tomato slices and the muffin slices. 5 ingredients were too little, I thought. It was quite similar to what I made at home for my family. I wondered if it would have the McD addictive magic to it. In a line we parked ourselves with our plastic gloves against the counter, ready to make our sandwiches.
As per the staff’s directions we plied the already toasted muffin sides with 1 tsp of olive paste, a handful of shredded lettuce, thick slice of tomato and grilled Halloumi ( grilled to perfection for 45 seconds each on both sides, stressed Mr. Ali). We assembled our mini tower of ingredients on our sandwich as hustled to go back to the first floor where our respective tags with toothpicks were waiting to be pinned on the Halloumi sandwich.
It was heart warming to see my blog’s name on one of the tags along with several other media tags. Watching my “Slice of my lyfe” tagged halloumi sandwich standing proudly among others, made me smile.
Soon Dunia whisked us away to take photos with our sandwiches at the Halloumi photo booth. It was as funny as it was memorable. People made funny faces whilst pretending to eat their sandwiches.
The staff then served us our choice of breakfast of egg McMuffin and hash browns and orange juice. I had a ball photographing the venue, the ingredients, listening to the media chattering among themselves and biting into my Halloumi sandwich. I must say, I was in for a surprise. It did taste absolutely wonderful inspite of using just 5 ingredients.
It felt like home made sandwich with a sprinkling of McDs magic.
I have to admit that I was quite nervous going on my own to a promotional event but the PR team of Dunia and Zara put me at ease and I found myself enjoying the flurry of activities. My hearty congratulations to McDonalds for having launched such a healthy breakfast option with my very favourite halloumi and a big thumbs up to Obai and Hill team for putting together a fab event with exciting activities that engaged everybody. I had a wonderful time and when i went back to work with my goody bag, I spent the rest of the day musing to myself – I am lovin’ it!