Published - 29-January-2021
It is said that a tree’s roots, and not so much its branches, is where you will find its strength. Chef Noel Cunningham achieved his dream of branching out into creating his own restaurant in Toronto, Canada. Cuisine by Noel officially opened on January 5 of this year, and already customers are raving about his wide array of Caribbean-fusion dishes. From Chef’s Noel smoky jerk chicken, peppered shrimp pasta, oxtail poutine and coconut fried chicken on a festival waffle to the smaller plates like oxtail arancini and ackee and salt fish spring rolls. “Every day also offers an exciting special,” he revealed.
Published - 29-January-2021
Hailing from the community of Riverton in Kingston, Chef Theresa Barrett is now living in Mexico and has taken the curiosity of residents there to proudly push the culture of the land of her birth. A past student of Camperdown High School and The University of the West Indies School of Continuing Studies, she taught early-childhood education in Jamaica for two years before migrating.
Published - 29-January-2021
The rubric that ‘nothing beats timing’ not only applies to those who are caught by surprise. It goes for many waiting patiently for the right moment as well. Jamaica-born and raised Chef Carlington Morrissey seized the opportunity of a lifetime in the Netherlands, stepping into the culinary spotlight as the proud owner of Pimento Tapas Bar.
Published - 28-January-2021
“Owned by food lovers.” That’s the motivation behind food company, Nature’s Catering Services. Its continued success, even as COVID-19 presents several challenges, is attributed to providing unwavering gastronomic support for appetites all across the island.
Published - 18-December-2020
The newly rebranded District 5 lounge and restaurant, located at the R Hotel Kingston, is officially open. The venue opened in style with two days of launch activities - a brunch on Wednesday, December 16, and an official media launch on Thursday.
Published - 05-November-2020
Even celebrity chefs have had to develop creative ways to stay afloat and keep hope alive, during the pandemic. Jamie Oliver and Padma Lakshmi have peppered their respective Instagram feeds with home-made cooking videos. Next week Nigella Lawson releases yet another cooking series on the BBC — Nigella's Cook, Eat, Repeat. Nina Compton is taking orders for a Heat and Eat Thanksgiving dinner at her Bywater American Bistro in New Orleans. And Daniel Humm, chef and owner of Eleven Madison Park (EMP), has “created a very delicious, high-end eating experience for home cooks” — EMP To Go. In this same spirit, the organisers of the Jamaica Food and Drink Festival (JFDF) are using technology and a curatorial approach to bring this year's festival to Jamaican homes.
Published - 13-July-2020
MIAMI, Florida – The best of Jamaican cuisine is returning to the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One (SOBEWFF®). For the second consecutive year, award-winning chefs for Taste Jamaica, presented by the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Tourism Enhancement Fund, will take over the historic National Hotel on South Beach on Friday, February 21. Hosted by JJ Johnson and Andre Fowles, Jamaica’s top culinary talent, will serve up a cornucopia of Jamaican flavor, rum, and rhythm.
Published - 13-July-2020
The mandate is simple – eat, drink, educate at the 2020 iteration of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival - which is slated to take place at the National Hotel, Miami Beach this weekend. The annual food and drink inclusive gastronomic event kicked off yesterday with a private dinner at Steak 954 in Fort Lauderdale.
Published - 13-July-2020
Since attending the Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development in St Vincent & The Grenadines last year, I can’t stop thinking about Caribbean food and how it is essential for developing sustainable tourism and could be part of the recipe for economic growth in the region.
Published - 13-July-2020
Ministers from across the Americas have met to map a course for the sustainable growth of the region’s tourism sector, a lifeline for many millions and a key driver of economic growth. Though kept apart physically due to the extraordinary circumstances, the 65th meeting of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Regional Commission for the Americas saw Member States more united than ever in their determination to harness the power of tourism to recover from the economic and social impact of COVID-19 and drive future growth.
Published - 13-July-2020
We are delighted to announce Jamaica as a finalist in the FIBEGA Gastronomy Tourism Awards category Innovative Destination: Destination that has re-invented itself. Jamaica is the 3rd largest island in the Caribbean, globally recognized for its beautiful white sand beaches and lush mountains where Blue Mountain leads in the coffee sector.
Published - 13-July-2020
The Jamaica Rum Festival will be launched in New York City tomorrow. Rum producers, partners, and sponsors will gather at Campari's regional office, to celebrate the official launch of the Jamaica Rum Festival in this key tourism market. The USA launch follows on the heels of the Minister of Tourism's announcement that the Festival will become a mainstay in Jamaica's tourism offerings. The statement was made at the event's local launch in Kingston, Jamaica, on January 15, 2020.
Published - 06-March-2020
The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) in partnership with Jamaica Tourist Board Miami executed the second staging of Taste Jamaica at the Food Network and Cooking Channel South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF) on Friday, February, 21, 2020 at the National Hotel on Miami Beach. The event was hosted by James Beard award-winning chef JJ Johnson, of Field Trip in Harlem, NY, and Chef Andre Fowles, Appleton Estate Premier Rums 'rumbassador' and current culinary ambassador for Jamaican cuisine and owner of Everything Food based in New York. The participating chefs came from Jamaica and the wider diaspora and included the event hosts, chefs Johnson and Fowles, and the following: Christina Simonitsch for Simo's Charissa Henry-Skyers for Pink Apron Oji Jaja for Ashebre The Virtual Restaurant Other chefs/restaurants represented: Winston Grant of Aunt I's Jamaican Restaurant; Dennis Kerr, Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen, Kalisa Martin, Kalisa Marie Eats Geoff Lee Makka & mana Poke, Delius Shirley, Ortanique on the Mile, Hugh Sinclair, Chef Irie, Wenford Patrick Simpson, Walkerswood, Matthew McDonald, National Hotel and Samantha Davis Allonce. The evening's culinary offerings paid homage to the classic flavours of Jamaica and the islands. Foodies were treated to a wide repertoire of Jamaican-inspired dishes, including braised oxtail baozi, pimento smoked salmon filet with micro vegetable, salad panda, Scotch bonnet annatto reduction, coconut milk snapper ceviche with Scotch bonnet foam, caramelised plantain, pickled sorrel flower and pimento rum salt plantain chip. Mixologists also poured Appleton Estate Signature Blend cocktails; Junglebird, Jamaican Mule and Wray Colada, among others. The event additionally featured musical entertainment from DJ Irie, who was raised in Jamaica and spotlighted in Forbes magazine for his marketing ventures and business innovation on the Miami nightlife scene. The sold-out event tickets were priced at US$150 each and attracted 530 diners.
Published - 03-March-2020
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee has always been famous and renowned as some of the finest coffee in the world. For the last two years, Jamaican coffee has been the star of its own increasingly popular festival hosted by the Tourism Linkages Network. The third staging of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival is set to take place on Saturday, 21 March at the Jamaica Defence Force training camp in Newcastle. Here in the crisp mountain air, there will be demonstrations and workshops, food, culture, live performances and even a barista competition. Yello caught up with Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, to talk about the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival, why it was important to support and all it has to offer.
Published - 03-March-2020
Tear yourself away from Jamaica’s beautiful beaches and head into the lush Blue Mountains towards historic Newcastle for the third annual Blue Mountain Coffee Festival (19-22 March). Narrow, winding roads pass small villages frozen in time with spectacular views of the fertile slopes. What makes Blue Mountain coffee so unique? A happy combination of conditions: it’s of single origin, not blended; and it’s grown at high altitude with deep forest cover and an ideal climate. The festival provides an immersive farm-to-cup experience. Farm visits are a highlight, and meeting farmers, including female experts, is a bonus of the Blue Mountain Culinary Trail. There are coffee and coffee-inspired products and tastings, workshops and demonstrations, as well as cultural entertainment for the whole family and tasty local food. Tickets sell out quickly, so visit the website to book: bluemountaincoffeefest.com. There is no parking at the venue, so a shuttle is included in the cost of the ticket. Photo: Courtesy Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival
Published - 17-February-2020
Over 1,500 patrons came out to celebrate the launch of St. Ann’s newest restaurant, the Plantation Smokehouse, on Valentine’s Day, February 14. The first of its kind in the parish, Plantation Smokehouse is conveniently located right off the highway in Richmond, St. Ann, beside the Grizzly’s Plantation Cove, home of Rebel Salute and soon, the Reggae Sunsplash Festival. Good food and entertainment were the highlights of the night as countless orders for ribs, steak, curried goat, jerked chicken, jerked pork and other items kept kitchen staff busy, while customers rocked to the beat of Reggae music. Patrons were also served with musical treats from rising singjay act, Prohgres, soul songbird Ikaya and veteran Reggae icon Freddie McGregor, backed by the formidable Big Ship Band. Owner of the establishment, Alwyn Brown, told BUZZ that his primary reason for opening the restaurant is because the concept of a smokehouse is not popular in Jamaica and he saw it necessary to bring that into his home parish. Brown, who is no newcomer to the restaurant business, as he is also the owner of the St. Ann seafood giant, Sharkies Seafood Restaurant, said that it took him about six months to create and refine what he calls the “dynamic” menu. “I don’t think there is any menu like ours; the cuisine is Fusion as we have Asian, American and Jamaican dishes available, so there is something for everyone,” he added. The eatery has a chic, rustic-casual vibe and can seat up to 135 customers at any one time. Patrons can stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner seven days a week from 8:30 am to 11 pm.
Published - 31-July-2019
Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett (seen center in the photo) pauses for a photo-op with members of the Culinary Federation of Jamaica who recently participated in the 2019 Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition in Miami. Sharing in the moment is the Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund’s Gastronomy Network, Nicola Madden-Greig (7th from the left). The occasion was a courtesy call at the Jamaica
Published - 12-September-2019
Sitting at Faith’s Pen Jerk Centre, Shop #7, in St Ann, Fiwi Island Jerk is a family business with over 40 years of history; a story which proves to be as rich as the seasonings that made now-owner, Denton Gordon, the PAN 2019 Regional One Champion. Gordon says cooking is something that comes naturally to him. However, there is no denying that his culinary roots are indeed profound. “My father started this business more than 40 years ago. It was called Rapheal Coolin’ Spot until I changed the name two years ago,” said Gordon. The culinary champion got into business with his parents over 15 years ago; in July 2003 to be exact. He and his family had together been fuelling the family business and dream side by side. Until things, unfortunately, began to take a turn in 2010. “It got to a point where I had to run business operations and all of that. My mother was overwhelmed and couldn’t take the pressure; she was getting older. As for my father, he had lost his sight.” shared Gordon. Faced with these obstacles, he had no choice but to step up to the plate. “There was a time when my mother tried to get back into the work, but she couldn’t keep it up. My sister also wanted to get involved in the business, but it wasn’t really her thing. There’s a process and a technique to it, and she couldn’t get into it,” he added. GORDON’S DREAM The turbulence persisted for another two years. By 2012, Gordon was head chef and owner of the family business, fully in charge of its operations. The star chef shared some more about his family business: “It was always my dream to see my parents benefiting from the business they started, even if they aren’t active in it. I would want to expand things to the point where I can put a system in place. So every two weeks or every month, there’s a substantial thing [profit] they can rely on,” he said. Gordon believes the money from the competition will help him realise this dream, but he is not caught up on the cash prize. “I don’t think CB Foods is looking for chefs who are just after the money. But those who are trying to make a difference as entrepreneurs. So you want to get to the point where your business is not just helping you survive, but it’s also developing and maintaining itself.” Gordon says he can achieve this with the cash prize offered through the competition, but also the exposure and opportunities that may arise. Denton Gordon landed the number one spot in his region, beating out 34 other contestants in Folly Oval, Portland. The star chef had this to say when asked how he feels about the imminent grand finals slated for October: “I managed to come out on top against 34 people. Now, 14 of that 34 will be at the finals. I’ve already beaten close to half of the finalists in a sense. It’s just for me to adjust, keep the momentum going, and claim victory like I did in Folly Oval.” Best of luck to Denton Gordon on his journey to the grand finals, and may the best chef win!
Published - 26-August-2019
TURNING UP the heat in any kitchen is like no other. Aside from the obvious talent of fusing seasoning and spice to make everything nice under fiery flames, others key ingredients behind the scenes include multitasking, organisation, precision, leadership skills and ability to work well and create tasty masterpieces under pressure. Don’t believe me? Ask Nestle’s new chef, Andrew Sloley. This rising culinary star has been ‘Sloley’ but surely cooking his way to greatness, and Flair visited him at his new home, Nestle Jamaica Limited, in Ferry Pen, to gain more insight into his fascinating life’s journey. The very first time he was exposed to anything kitchen, Sloley was at the age of seven. He goes into further details. “We had a talent competition going on in church and I didn’t think I possessed any remarkable skills to put on display.” But he wanted to bring his innate passion to life, so he decided to participate, showcasing his flair through the presentation of his very own cooking show. Because of his deep love for tin mackerel, he conducted a live demonstration of mackerel sandwich, yes, you read correctly, mackerel sandwich. In his demo of ‘Andrew’s delight’, he removed the sauce, adding mayonnaise, peppers, onion, garlic between slices of bread on show, to the attentive eyes of the congregation. “I think that was the start of it all,” he added. Separate and apart from that competition, his mother who is a teacher, is always cooking up a storm, so he grew up around mouth- watering food. She owns and operates a cake catering company: baking and decorating wedding and birthday cakes, and while she took pleasure in his company, watching from his stool, he yearned for more culinary activity. She obliged, giving him the responsibility of creaming the butter and sugar. Eventually, he graduated to mixing the batter. “One thing she never allowed me to do was to decorate the cake, because she thought it was so intricate and detailed.” By the time he reached nine or 10 years old, his aunt encouraged his mother to let him enter into culinary competition. He won a bronze medal and came second overall in the island. By age 12, the family was toying with ideas about what he should pursue. Sloley declared that he wanted to be an executive chef. But he was met by a disapproving look from his father, who strongly suggested that he become a veterinarian. The truth is, he loved animals as well. Born in Manchester and growing up in Clarendon, he had his very own mini farm. Cats, dogs, pigeons, doves: you name it, he had it. These birthday gifts might have been intentionally presented as a means to sway him into the animal direction. This became a viable option. His love for food, however, never left his side. While attending Knox College in Clarendon, he made a wager with his father. If he achieved a grade two in his Caribbean Examinations Council level, now CSEC, he would go on to pursue a degree in veterinary science or pharmacology. He received a grade three and kissed his father’s dreams goodbye. By 2006, he enrolled in a joint programme between the University of Technology and The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, studying hospitality and tourism management while majoring in culinary arts and production. He graduated in 2010 with a bachelor of science degree, first class honours. He whet his culinary appetite, gaining experience at the Grand Lido Negril in Hanover and Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, Missouri, USA, before he even graduated university. Upon completion, he ventured to Couples Resorts as a management trainee. From there, he jetted off to Buccament Bay Resort, St Vincent and the Grenadines, as the junior sous chef. He made a progressive decision to work with Mount Cinnamon Resort and Beach Club, Grenada, as the executive chef. He tapped into the airline industry with Goddard Catering Group, Grenada, operating as executive chef and production manager. This whole new field of expertise placed food safety at the helm. “People love to talk about airline food. But safety first: if the plane landed, and there were no incidents as far as the airline food was concerned, mission accomplished.” Then he set sail to Holland America Line as the tournant chef. He attributed all of his opportunities to having good working relations with fellow coworkers, supervisors, managers and directors. One morning, after doing his medical and gathering all the paperwork to get back to work, he got a halo moment, and decided that he would not return to the cruise line. Jobless, he began sending out applications. By chance, or in his case, by mistake, he sent one out to Nestle, via Caribbean Jobs, and received a callback the following morning. He did the interview and the rest is culinary history. “It has been a remarkable experience here at Nestle. It’s different, but none of my jobs so far has been similar. I have no idea in marketing, but I have taken on the challenge, to fuse that with culinary, testing the products as well as the recipe development, creating content around different brands. I want to ensure that Nestle, the products and services, is on the forefront and faces of everyone in Jamaica. ” He is also excited about inspiring those who are enrolled in the Nestle’s Young Culinary Talent (Yocuta) program, a six weeks internship geared towards certifying, developing, educating and creating opportunities for young culinary talents.
Published - 12-September-2019
After more than 225 years in the Caribbean, despite the fact that it has achieved culinary and cultural significance, the breadfruit remains largely a neglected and underutilised species. Dr Dwight Robinson, head of the Department of Life Sciences, The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, acknowledged this egregious oversight during last week’s launch of The Breadfruit Germplasm Collection at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, by Professor Laura B. Roberts-Nkrumah. Robinson, in his review of the book, lamented the fact that lessons that should have been well learnt by now are still being ignored by the region. “A section I found most interesting describes the fruit in some places as a food of gods and kings that was brought into the Caribbean as potential food for enslaved ancestors, many of whom rejected it and instead promoted its use for feeding pigs and poultry,” he told the audience at the Multifunction Room, the Mona Library, The UWI. “When I read the section that spoke of the difficulty the breadfruit had competing with imported staples like rice and flour, I thought the more things change, the more they remain the same. As was the case when the breadfruit was only given attention when there was a food shortage because of embargo on food shipments to punish those who harboured any thought of being independent, so was the case in the past, and if we do not take heed, so shall the case be in the future,” he warned. Roberts-Nkrumah said that breadfruit was introduced in 1793, purportedly to alleviate food shortages. “I am saying ‘purportedly’ because the Caribbean is a place that also has its own indigenous food crops, and cassava is one of them and so is sweet potato. And so we need to recognise that among the first peoples of the Caribbean, there was really no food shortage. The food shortage arose because of sugar becoming all dominant in the agricultural landscape. “We will hear documentation of the hurricanes and the droughts that caused famine, and if you were to go through the records housed at the Institute of Jamaica, the Assembly notes, you will see that the planters came up with figures – 20,000 people lost because of these famines. “What they did not say was that, in fact, you had the war of American Independence taking place at the same time, and because you had military troops stationed in the Caribbean and places like Jamaica, it created an extra pressure on whatever food that there was, and it was not because of the drought and the hurricanes, and so, which took down the local food production that was undertaken by the enslaved people.” EMBARGO ON FOOD Roberts-Nkrumah noted that it was the embargo on food that the British imposed to break the back of the American Independence efforts, which backfired, that created food shortage. She warned that the region would remain susceptible to the errors of the past. “Regardless of all of that, we remain a region that is highly vulnerable to food shortages. Sometimes we think that we are doing well. We think that we are rich and that we are well to do, but as long as people are food insecure – and we happen to be the most food insecure people in the Latin American and Caribbean region then we do have a problem.” She offered some insight into why the breadfruit might have been rejected. “We just cannot assume that if we want to bring in some food that we just impose it because though there they were enslaved, they had taste, preferences, and so there is a quote that always amazed me: ‘He regarded the stranger with cold apathy’. They didn’t eat it until well after Emancipation when it suited them to begin to consume breadfruit. “Because the crop was introduced as a staple and had suspicions associated with it, the Africans were uncertain about whether they wanted this thing when they had their yams and their plantains. Also, whenever the governing authorities encouraged consumption, it was always in difficult times so that in many parts of the Caribbean, there remained a stigma about breadfruit consumption.” Research by Caribbean nutritionists and other scientists has, however, shone a different light on the breadfruit, as well as some of our root crops, which have suffered from all kinds of stigma in the past, according to Roberts-Nkrumah. “Our nutritionists have been able to advise us that some of these crops that have been spurned by people who cannot do better, some of these crops are the ones that we should be paying more attention to and should be consuming because of the nutritional value. Breadfruit is one of those.”
Published - 26-June-2019
THE WORLD’S fastest man may have hung up his spikes but he is now excited about his next move. Usain Bolt hosted a multitude of celebrity friends recently at the official launch party for Tracks & Records – his first London restaurant. Tracks & Records UK will be the first of the brand’s eateries launched outside of Jamaica, where sites in Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay have been delighting customers for seven years. The Jamaican-inspired restaurant, bar and lounge welcomed the likes of Idris Elba, Leon Bailey and Emeli Sandé, below, to name a few, who partied well into the night, sipping on rum cocktails and enjoying the unique party atmosphere with the sprint icon to celebrate his latest venture. Offering an authentic slice of Jamaica in the heart of the capital, Tracks & Records is just a few minutes’ walk from London’s Liverpool Street station. Bolt told Life & Style: “A lot of people are showing interest in the brand from around the world, which is good but we are not going to rush things. We want to build the brand and build it right. “I don’t think that London has a proper Jamaican restaurant that serves our food. We try to capture the vibe as soon as you walk in. I just want to infuse the Jamaican vibe with the UK vibe. “Those that visit, who are not from Jamaica, should feel that after they have visited Jamaica when they have left the restaurant. “I’m regularly in London, so people will see me in the restaurant and I’ll will come by to say, ‘Hi’.” PICTURED: Bolt, centre, with managing director of FranJam Gary Matalon, left, and best friend and manager Nugent Walker Guests at the launch night enjoyed a real taste of Jamaica by indulging in some of Bolt’s favourite dishes such as jerk chicken and jerk pork, saltfish fritters and coconut and cassava prawns. Signature Jamaican cocktails such as Reggae Rum Punch, Mama Breeze and Sorrel Smash were also served, all of which were carefully curated using the bar’s extensive rum collection. Guests immersed themselves into Bolt’s world as the unique interior has been created with his style in mind – including a slick bar which features more than 100 Jamaican rums, modern wall art and exclusive Bolt memorabilia throughout. Bolt said: “It’s great to come back and see the final results of Tracks and Records London – it’s amazing!” Gary Matalon, managing director of franchise company FranJam, said: “After much success with our Tracks & Records restaurants in Jamaica, we’re delighted to be here with Usain to officially open Tracks & Records London. “I believe this signifies the first time a local, home-grown Jamaican concept has evolved into becoming an international franchise and this further confirms brand Jamaica’s global potential.” And the final word goes to Bolt, a man used to giving the public what they want. “I’m looking forward to it all and I’m excited. We’ve had a lot of people already come out and show a lot of love. “We hope it continues as we serve up awesome Jamaican food. “This is the first one outside Jamaica and hopefully it will do well and we can keep expanding in the UK.”
Published - 28-August-2019
NEW YORK – The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) showcased the soul of the island at the 20th annual Citi Taste of Tennis event held at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. The annual event, which is a precursor to the start of the highly anticipated US Open Tennis Championships, brings together the world’s best tennis players and presents signature cuisines from the city’s leading chefs. The JTB partnered with Walkerswood Caribbean Foods and Appleton Estate Rum, offering guests mouthwatering treats and refreshing cocktails. Jamaican chef Wenford P. Simpson dished out pulled jerk chicken tacos with pico de gallo and tomato, and roasted corn bruschetta with a guava balsamic vinaigrette that kept patrons flocking to the JTB’s booth all night. Additionally, the JTB collaborated with VP Records, the world’s largest reggae music company, to open the night with a distinctly Jamaican vibe. VP Records recording artist, Jamaican, Naomi Cowan mesmerized the audience with her guitar and soulful voice, showcasing why she’s one of Caribbean music’s top rising stars. The evening’s festivities included, for the first time, a cooking competition between Serena and Venus Williams. Using the format of the popular Food Network show, Iron Chef, the Williams sisters were given a basket of food from which they were to prepare a dish in 15 minutes. Attendees looked on as they chopped their way to the final dish. The JTB’s sponsorship of the Citi Taste of Tennis, is part of the organization’s ongoing marketing objective of using high profile events to showcase Destination Jamaica to potential travelers.
Published - 30-August-2019
Late last week, Jamaica shone brightly at the Taste of Tennis event, held annually in New York City. Taste of Tennis takes place each year just before the start of the prestigious US Open tournament, and it is a massive gourmet food and entertainment bash that brings together A-list tennis stars and dozens of the leading chefs from across New York City, who serve up mouth-watering samples of their signature food and beverage creations for four hours. And where there is tennis and food, music also abounds. This year, the party changed venues from the W Hotel on Lexington Avenue to the Cipriani on 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan, but despite the larger venue, the location was jam-packed, bursting at the seams with hundreds of tennis and food lovers anxious to dive into all that the party promised – and for good a reason, too, as the attendees had to fork out US$300 to attend this premium party. The celebrity line-up included Venus and Serena Williams, top ATP American player John Isner, former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, and many others. The Williams sisters participated in a cook-off that ended in a draw. Both were presented with a basket of ingredients and asked to prepare a dish within 15 minutes. Koffee’s Toast blasted from the speaker boxes as the well-dressed audience rocked to the reggae beat. And Naomi Cowan, who flew in from Kingston, took command of the main stage and delivered a strong live performance that generated applause from the upscale attendees. Other performances for the evening came from the Rakiem Walker Project, a band that toured with chef Marcus Samuelsson on his cookbook tour, and the Potash Twins, a contemporary jazz ensemble. But although top-tier New York City idols were in the house – celebrity chefs Richard Blais and Masaharu Morimoto – the real culinary magnet for the evening was a Jamaican dancing chef, Wenford P. Simpson, who jumped and pranced to reggae and pop classics while he dished out generous portions of pulled jerk chicken tacos and roasted corn bruschetta with a guava balsamic vinaigrette that kept patrons flocking to the Jamaica Tourist Board’s (JTB) exciting booth all night. And for the proverbial icing on the cake, the JTB partnered with Walkerswood Caribbean Foods, Appleton Estate Rum, and Red Stripe to brand the Jamaican presence in a powerful way. “Taste of Tennis and Jamaica have had a productive relationship for the past five years,” JTB’s deputy director of the Americas, Donnie Dawson, told The Gleaner. “This has been an excellent platform to showcase Jamaica to an affluent group of New Yorkers, and with New York being the number-one market region for us within the United States, we are very happy to have once again participated.”
Published - 29-August-2019
It's normal for downtown Kingston to be sleepy on a Sunday morning. However, on August 25 the streets were electrified as another Kingston Creative artwalk took place. Leave it to cultural curator and creative director of Kingston Creative Andrea Dempster-Chung to think of yet another way to keep the monthly event fresh and participants itching with excitement. Aided by Kingston Creative member Christopher Reckord and members of his tTech team who sponsored several downtown food vendors on Tower Street last Sunday's iteration was dubbed Mood for Food and had attendees enjoying delicious eats while frolicking in the streets. tTech also made arrangements with bars and vendors to accept “tTech vouchers” which were given to specially invited customers. Around 200 people attended the artwalk event that started at 9:00 am in Saint William Grant Park. The crowd inched its way through downtown passing Harbour Street where local artists and artisans sold their wares on Market Street towards Jamdung Street Food Avenue (located at the United Way building). There cooks, chefs, bakers, and caterers tantalised taste buds with an array of fresh and refreshing beverages and moreish foods. Whether it was the art installation, performances, augmented reality mural (another tTech initiatve) or the food on offer, the overarching theme of the day was creativity. One such uber-creative product was the ackee wine from Flavours of the Past. The line of “real Jamaican” tropical fruit wines that also includes sorrel, pimento berry, moringa, honey orange, ginger and noni wines had Kingston Creative attendees eager to leave their comfort zones and try something different. Flavours of the Past fulfilled that brief. Besides wine, ackee found itself alongside salt fish in pasta enrobed in a coconut cream and Pepper Jack cheese béchamel. And salt fish sautéed with green bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes went solo (well, sort of) and completed a dish comprising mashed sweet potato, roast yellow yam, fried sprat, avocado (pear), and fried ripe plantain. People could relive their youth and cool down with Snow cones, sip on a refreshing twist on lemonade, watch as a skilled pan woman flipped jerk chicken as quickly as she could wrap it in foil, and ignore prying eyes as they tucked into whole steamed fish stuffed with callaloo. Another popular meal was courtesy of Walk Foods Restaurant. Easy-to-tear roti and perfectly shelly white rice were served alongside flavourful curry goat and some seriously good curry mango. Put it this way: one bite of the curry mango, and you'd fully come to appreciate the Jamaican folk song refrain “Me no drink cawfee tea, mango time!” Utterly delicious! The joy that came across the faces of those who partook could not be hidden from our lensman.
Published - 13-September-2019
JFDF 2019 kicked off on Wednesday evening at Life Yard — a mural-covered community-based eco-village on Fleet Street in downtown Kingston. The venue was apt as the festival has blossomed due to its galvanising support across various communities. And it is ecological mindful — not only is the JFDF plastic-free, but all utensils are compostable. The launch event showcased dishes from a handful of this year's participating chefs and sponsors. Placing their stamps of approval on this year's festival were Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia 'Babsy' Grange; Councillor Duane Smith (who represented the Mayor of Kingston Delroy Willimas); Tourism Enhancement Fund Executive Director Dr Carey Wallace; and a slew of sponsors. The 2019 iteration of the JFDF has the usual line-up of events — Porkpalooza, D'vine, Chopstix, Crisp, Picante, Meet Street and the Market, and Sunday brunch. However, in addition this year, the organisers have partnered with Taste Black History, an organisation that “celebrates the African flavours of our ancestors”. A cadre of chefs from Angola will be participating in the festival, offering attendees an opportunity to connect with their ancestors through an edible history lesson. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of a $500,000 cheque to the University of Technology, Jamaica School of Hospitality. The funds will go towards the purchasing of equipment for the demonstration theatre, thus allowing the students to learn in world-class facilities. The Jamaica Food and Drink Festival runs from October 26 to November 3, 2019. For tickets and information, visit www.jafoodanddrink.com.
Published - 08-March-2019
From jerk wings and rum-based cocktails to ackee and saltfish and rum cake for dessert, Jamaican cuisine allows for hearty, savory dishes in the winter and lighter, refreshing flavors in the summer. In other words; Jamaican food is perfect for Las Vegas. From a Silverado Ranch spot that’s focused on the time-consuming and ultimately rewarding process of creating perfect jerk chicken to a westside restaurant with beef and chicken curry patties, these four places fit the bill when Jamaican flavor is on the agenda.
Published - 28-May-2019
I’m not going to say that Jamaican cuisine has ever been among my top favorites, but I will say this — as a native New Yorker who has previously sampled some well-known Jamaican restaurants in Manhattan, there are a number of dishes I’m going to keep going back to the new Hummingbird Jerk House to enjoy. Owner Patrick Murrel, a Hunter’s Green resident, and his family invite you to sample truly some of the best Jamaican cuisine I’ve had the chance to try, especially in Tampa. The Hummingbird Jerk House, located in the space previously occupied by Dairy Queen, on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. in North Palms Village (next to Oakley’s Grille), features everything from authentic meat patties to items I’ve previously never (and still haven’t) tried, such as cow foot and butter beans (with dumplings) and what is billed on the menu as the Jamaican National Dish called ackee and saltfish. According to Hummingbird’s website, Patrick is from the Westmoreland province of Jamaica and grew up in the town of Sav-la-mar, next to Negril. The website says his “mama teach him to cook,” and from the items I’ve sampled so far, I’d say she taught him well!
Published - 26-May-2019
There’s a long held belief that Caribbean food revolves around Jamaican Jerk chicken and rice and peas. But across the Caribbean there are many islands that represent a wide array of the region’s colourful cultures, from music to food. Across the bank holiday weekend restaurateur and Trinidad-born Sham Mahabir has put together a food festival to celebrate all the tastes that the Caribbean has to offer, beyond the jerk chicken we’ve come to expect. In the heart of Old Spitalfields Market this weekend is Jerk & Beyond, a three-day festival dedicated to Caribbean rum and food. Sham tells Metro.co.uk: ‘The food festival is more about changing people’s perceptions of Caribbean food in the UK. Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2019/05/26/get-a-taste-of-the-caribbean-this-weekend-with-jerk-beyond-9692399/?ito=cbshare Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/
Published - 08-March-2019
Last Sunday afternoon, Friday Social journeyed to Strawberry Hills for brunch with Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett. The occasion? Day three of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival. Indeed, three days of activities culminated with the Blue Mountain Coffee Trail — which involved the participation of 14 restaurants and heritage sites along the way that offered coffee-centric products, fare, entertainment and experiences for all. Day two in Newcastle, proved to be a success. With indigenous arts and crafts showcases, activities for the kids, coffee trivia, private dinners, and wonderful coffee-infused delights, the combined efforts of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival were, according to Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett, to position The Rock in the international sphere as a gastronomic destination, to attract tourists and improve economic wealth. “There's a big future for gastronomy in Jamaica...this is how the tourism dollar is going to stay in Jamaica,” Bartlett remarked. Musician Peter Ashbourne led a quartet that provided live entertainment, whilst Minister Bartlett shared the plans for the current foodie year. “In a more structured way, with Devon House being established as the gastronomy centre of Jamaica, we're planning to host pop-up kitchens leading up to the official launch of World Gastronomy Day, June 18, and we want a big event to celebrate Jamaica's [participation]. We're going to be [asking] diplomats to bring strains from their cultures to fuse [cultures] with the Jamaican food.” We are, after all, out of many, one. In addition, the tourism ministry intends to host several festivals revolving around indigenous Jamaican foods, including coffee, rum, ackee, cocoa, and yam. And, to show and prove, executives from the Jamaica Tourist Board and Tourism Linkages Network travelled to Berlin on Tuesday, March 5, to participate in the world's leading travel trade show, ITB Berlin. Friday Social champions the new wave in social tourism.
Published - 13-December-2018
Lush greenery swaying as ambrosial aromas dance to reggae beats in the open air. The delights of savoury and sweet making a uniquely culinary convergence in the most serene of surroundings. Prepare to discover the true meaning of 'rustic meets magnifique' when you experience the tropical oasis of Chillin' Serengeti. Located in the heart of Hope Zoo, Chillin' Serengeti recently reopened its doors under new management. The directors, who are also creators of rural destination parties Chillin' on the Farm and Chillin' in the Mawnin, wanted to bring that same quaint and exclusive experience to Kingston. The official launch, which took place yesterday, saw socialites and food lovers coming plate to palate with the exciting integration of herbs and spices, while sipping on spirits from intoxicating mixes in the enchanting bar. Food was honoured to be specially invited to a private tasting of the new menu. According to Business Manager Kasheema Jeffery, the featured dishes are predominantly Jamaican fusion. "The directors always ask, 'When you go to France, what do you eat?' The response is French food. 'Italy?' Italian food. 'So why is that you can hardly find restaurants in Jamaica that offer a Jamaican menu outside of lunch time?' We've decided to bridge that gastronomic gap and satisfy in that capacity," Jeffery revealed. "Even though we have international items like burgers and pastas, it has a Jamaican flair to it," she added. Chef Garfield Seivwright Jr and his team have delectably designed a line-up so authentic, so mouth-watering, so amazing, that you will have no choice but to return for more. Murray's curried goat and roti waffles and bacon and herb-crusted corn are among the favourites for appetisers, while local faves curried goat, oxtail and pork chops reign as salacious supremes. From creative food to a relaxing ambience, topped with a cut above the rest in customer service, be sure to take your taste buds on a tantalising tour of flavour at Chillin' Serengeti: you won't be sorry. For more information,
Published - 27-May-2019
“It was all about winnings, we came to have a great time and just win. We knew we could be the top team because we had a game plan that was out of this world,” said Andre Simpson, a chef at Beaches Ocho Rios and one half of the “Hot Trends' team. Simpson, along with head butcher at Beaches Ocho Rios, Junior Bell, came out as the winners of the jerk competition in the Sandals Golf and Jerk Festival held recently at the Sandals Golf & Country Club in Upton, St Ann. “The night before the competition we were thinking about how we were going to make our dish different and standout and that's when it all started!” Simpson said. He added that the team went to the Ocho Rios market in the middle of the night where they purchased items that they were sure would make them winners. On the day of the competition, “Hot Trends” stated that they were not fazed by the other competitors as they knew what their plan was and it was up to them to execute. “We brought pimento wood to enhance the flavour of our meats. We also brought tamarind, june plum and sour-sop. We really weren't sure what we would do with them but we knew it would be great,” chuckled the confident “Hot Trends” member. The 12 teams in the competition were issued with a standard set of ingredients to prepare their meals. These were chicken, provided by title sponsors Best Dressed Chicken, fish fillet from Rainforest Seafood and jerk spices from Walkerswood. All contestants were given a total of four hours to prepare their dishes from the items they received. At the end of the four hours, “Hot Trends” blew the judges away with their soursop tamarind chutney fish, coconut-crusted fried breadfruit, jerk chicken enhanced by pimento wood, jerk spices, breaded, fried plantain, roast potato and roast yam sticks. “What made our meals different was the infusion of all the different natural fruits and spices. We added a little cinnamon, nutmeg and pineapple skin to our jerk sauce and that blew the judges away. They were all amazed by the different tastes they all got at once,” Simpson said. “Hot Trends” won for themselves $50,000, several baskets courtesy of the sponsors and a new jerk pan to continue their culinary journey. “We won because of team work and hard thinking. People like to see and taste something different and that's what we gave them.” Hot Trends also took the sectional prize for being most creative. The event was put on by the Sandals Foundation with all proceeds going towards its junior golf programme and supporting stroke prevention and rehabilitation at the St Ann's Bay Hospital Rehabilitation Centre.
Published - 30-May-2019
The gush of pure, flowing water surrounded by beautifully lush greenery. This set the stage for the ‘scentsational’ flavours fresh from the smoking hot coal stove. A tasty experience at its finest was what Food recently experienced when we explored authentic vegan cuisine in the heart of nature with Richard Pasley. Pasley, otherwise called ‘I-Kush’, is known for preparing his meals and posting them on social media. His friends and followers were impressed by the dishes, encouraging him to start a YouTube channel. But he was missing technical support in the form of video, so he cast those plans aside, until he met the members of Vartex Studio Film Production. From there, they cooked up a creative collaboration and ‘Inna Mi Calabash’ became a savoury reality. Priding himself on marrying wholesome herbs and spices to a happily ever after on taste buds everywhere, his ‘rest-naw-rant’ even incorporates added fun facts about organic ingredients, which he terms as superfood. A culinary artist, he says, doesn’t know what he’s going to do with a canvas. So many of his dishes originate from the energies that present themselves. Enticed by the experience, Food decided to trek with Pasley from ‘market to meal’. We began at Papine Market, picking up key ingredients from vendors Ramone Hendricks, also known as ‘Digi’ or ‘Digicel’, and Dion Welsh. Thereafter, we journeyed to Irish Town, via riverbank, to get the party started. Pasley was a natural, starting a coal fire, husking and grating coconut, peeling and cutting seasonings, spices and ground provision, while sharing their benefits. The sun was no match for the heat that we were working up in our creative kitchen. And before we knew it, sweet aromas swayed in the island breeze, anticipating the gastronomic delights that would follow. In the end, Pasley presented scrumptious red peas stew, loaded with rich ingredients of carrots, pumpkin, sea bass and more, as well as ackee and callaloo simmered in a coconut sauce, accompanied by ground provision of boiled banana, pumpkin, Irish potato, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, all served in a calabash. The taste was out of this world! And surprisingly filling. Tune in for the excitement from this episode and more at ‘Inna Mi Calabash’ on YouTube. Since hitting the airwaves, Pasley has created a storm among foodies – both yard and abroad. “The journey has been great so far. We have been growing with audience, taking recommendations and applying them to our product. We are getting a lot of support from person within the network too, so I’m grateful,” he said.
Published - 02-July-2019
Forty-one awards in 23 categories were handed out last Thursday evening at the 21st staging of the Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards held at the nation's first Gastronomy Centre, Devon House. The glittering award ceremony styled by Main Event, MStyle XP and Ann Marie Wyss for Every Blooming Thing was headlined by Lady Allen, Minister of Industry, Commerce Agriculture & Fisheries Audley Shaw; Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips; Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award; and Executive Chef Dennis McIntosh, recipient of the Chairman's Award. The event witnessed giants of the culinary arena; corporate titans, members of the diplomatic corps, scores of bon vivants and hundreds upon hundreds of patrons enjoying choice tastings from 70 booths. Jamaica Observer Managing Director Julian E Rogers deemed it “an absolute pleasure to experience from this unique perspective the contribution that the Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards has made locally and across the region”. He continued, “Few events can claim the reach and impact that this culinary juggernaut has had on redefining and shaping an entire industry.” Food Awards conceptualiser Novia McDonald-Whyte, who served as the evening's compere, invited onstage members of the communities whose homes the judges had visited during their #ACelebrationofCommunityTourAward. It was the perfect time, she shared, as we yearn for a paradigm shift in our culinary footprint, for the judges to go home, so to speak, to explore the meaning of food in communities across the island. We saw up close how the traditions of the table serve to restate what it means to be Jamaican: struggle and triumph, creating abundance out of nothing, and making time to nurture and support each other”. The theme of the family resonated again as the audience applauded lustily 10 of the island's most impressive culinary teams. McDonald-Whyte said “the professional food families, who make magic in the country's best kitchens, to relentlessly deliver food that is both satisfying and imaginative only happens when leadership and talent are unified by an extraordinary sense of purpose”. The power of tradition also manifested itself in the recognition of Master Blender Joy Spence, who along with rising influencer, director of marketing for Hampden Estate Christelle Harris received the Leading Lady in Rum award for their work in establishing Jamaican rum as a world-class premium. Food for social good saw the Skylark Negril Beach Resort and The Rockhouse Hotel & Spa copping the Place At The Table Award. Post-formalities, patrons tasted in glorious abandon, drank and applauded even while eagerly anticipating the staging of #22. The Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards 2019 scholarship recipients are Venice McFarquhar, Ilsaya Kerr, Kaleisha Thompson and Johansen Gordon.
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Published - 11-May-2018
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Published - 17-September-2018
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Published - 14-July-2019
High imports threaten food security …We need to 'Grow What We Eat, Eat What We Grow', say stakeholders Jamaica Gleaner
Published - 11-March-2019
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Published - 09-February-2020
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Published - 11-December-2020
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Published - 29-November-2018
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Rum Festival will propel food tourists to visit Kingston – JTB Jamaica Gleaner
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Devon House Launched as Jamaica's First Gastronomy Centre - Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Information Service
Published - 01-June-2017
Devon House Launched as Jamaica's First Gastronomy Centre Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Information Service
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Published - 22-January-2018
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Published - 14-October-2016
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