What's Cooking In Jamaica
The Culinary Federation of Jamaica hosted its sixth staging of their Taste Of Jamaica Culinary Competition & Expo at the Montego Bay Convention Center on November 12th & 13th, 2016 which saw teams and individuals vying for top honours and bragging rights in several categories; featured an increased number of seminars and for the first time - a Streetfood Village sponsored by the Jamaica Yellow Pages.
Amazing food & drink were the order of the evening at Chefs On Show 2016 as over eighteen of Jamaica's top chefs and caterers got into high gear serving dish after delicious dish to the delight of the many patrons who attended the event in the gardens of the Jamaica Pegasus on April 27th, 2016.
Chefs On Show is staged annually by the Culinary Federation Of Jamaica to raise funds to assist with expenses associated with sending our national culinary team to the prestigious Taste Of The Caribbean in Miami where individuals and regional teams compete for bragging rights as the best in the Caribbean. Below are some of the many chefs & caterers who gave of their time and talent to make the event the success tha tit was.
Among the attendees was Two-Time Chopped Champion - Jamaican Chef Andre Fowles - who just narrowly missed a third Chopped win.
Thoroughly enjoyed working with the Jamaica Yellow pages on this project which involved traversing the island with nine of Jamaica's talented young chefs sampling fare from hot Jamaican restaurants & food spots - among them Holland Bamboo for some of Musso's Curry Goat , Coconut Curry Shrimp at Allshmars in Port Morant, Steamed Fish at Anglers in St Anns Bay & Jerk Pork from G& B in Buff Bay.
This year, Pop Up Gourmet Jamaica was charged with the responsibility of identifying and selecting the participants for this year's Observer Food Awards Chef On The Rise Competition and co-producing the judging event by sponsors the Jamaica Yellow Pages. It was a challenge which we happily took on and set about our research in earnest; the criteria - young unknown but talented chefs passionate about their craft.
For almost three weeks we worked closely with these chefs traversing the entire island with Coaching Executive Chef George Matthews stopping and tasting dishes at nine of Jamaica's hidden food gems. The Chefs Challenge - to re-create one of the dishes sampled at one of our nine food stops putting their own twist on that dish. Who got which dish? This was decided by a drawing of location after the last stop.
The Judging Event @ the Spanish Court Hotel
The three finalists were Volae Willimas (1st place), Ricardo Allen (2nd place) & Lucian Dunn (3rd place). There were no losers here. Twas indeed a pleasure working with these very talented chefs who were said to be the best bunch yet in this competition!
Kingston Kitchen 2015 was a buzz with lots of excitement & culinary treats from some of Jamaica's best. Truly a 'foodie's paradise.
The competition was fierce, the atmosphere tense as both culinary teams and individuals from tertiary institutions, hotels and other culinary outfits vied for the coveted Best In Category awards which included among others, Chef Of The Year, Best Use Of Beef, Ice Carver Of The Year, Bartender Of The Year.
Competitiors from Sandals, Hilton Rosehall, Grand Palladium, Rock House, The Jamaica Pegasus, Holiday Inn, Knutsford Court, Couples Sans Souci, Couples Tower Isle, Goddard Catering , The Heart College Of Hospitality, Montego Bay Community College, Utech, Kenilworth & The Montego Bay Convention Center pulled out all the stops, tantalizing both our noses and tastebuds with their delightful creations.
The two day competition/expo also included cooking demos & the sampling of sponsors products. Of particular note was the vast improvement in the bar competition presentations.
Drinks & Desserts
The top achievers in Taste of Jamaica 2014, staged by The Culinary Federation of Jamaica,, will begin training almost immediately for next year’s Taste of The Caribbean Competition in Miami where they will compete for Top Caribbean Culinary Bragging Rights.
Chef Of The Year - Rochelle Grindley
Bartender Of The Year - Adrian Johnson
Pastry Chef Of The Year - Shakera Cassie
Junior Pastry Chef of the year Tiffany Grant
Ice Carver Of The Year - Rohan Henry
Best Show Piece Display - Shevon Timol
Chocolate Competition - Errol Sewell
Seafood Competition - Silverio Marrone
Pork Competition - Marlon Brown
Chicken Competition - Daven Willlis
Beef Competition Micheal Thomas
Senior Team Competition - Couples Sans Souci
Teritiary/Vocational Team - Utech
Mystery Basket - Gregory Goffe
Fruit and Veg Competition - Christopher Hobson
Wedding Cakes Sharyne Stultz
1. What is your favourite local ingredient? Pimento ...believe it or not the aroma accentuates any protein and preserves the flavours.
2. Who or What has influenced your style?
Jamaica is known for its melting pot.. as such growing up here has shown me to respect all cuisines and as such combine all cuisines to formulate my own sense on style and diversity. I cook from adjoining various cultural flavors adding our CARIBBEAN FLAIR greatly.
3. What is your favourite international flavor/cuisine?
I don't have a favourite international flavour or cuisine. I accept all palates and flavours thereby loving them all
4. What award or achievement would you like to accomplish?
I would love to attain the title of Caribbean Chef of the Year notably "FEMALE". My aim is to be recognized for my work through my passion and skill set. I dont want to be seen as a woman who dominates but as a chef who does
5. If you had to do it all over again...what would you do differently?
I definitely would not do any thing differently. All mistakes are lessons to be learnt and as such I am the person who I am today because of those lessons. I was young and motivated and therefore inspired to do great no matter the challenges. I'm a fighter, survivor, a soul sister who just loves what she does no matter the challenges. I aim to set the bar for young and upcoming female chefs.
6. What is your worst kitchen disaster?
Being injured the day before an important competition to determine who would represent Jamaica for the World Skills 2011 competition in London. I was determined I would not go down without a fight, thereby competing injured. In doing so I further aggravated my severely bruised finger that had been cut to the nerve by opening an oven to place my dish in. While inserting the dish into the oven my finger got squeezed and I let go of the door closing it on my other hand and getting burnt badly, nonetheless I still pulled through.
7. Other than cooking, what are some of your passions?
I love the medical field... I like helping individuals requiring attention with injuries. I also have a passion for modeling.
CHEF GRINDLEY'S COOKING TIP TO THE AVERAGE COOK
The secret to good tasting food is cooking from the heart where love transcends into great flavors and a balance is met.
Join us in wishing Rochelle every success at the Taste Of The Caribbean 2015! May your dreams come through(true)!
To learn more about Chef Grindley see her profile page at http://www.popupgourmetjamaica.com/sous-chef-rochelle-grindley.html
The Pop Up Gourmet Jamaica Team
Pop Up Gourmet Jamaica, GCG Events, CPJ Foods & CPJ Wines teamed up to offer patrons an absolutely delectable culinary experience at Simply Red 2014 - the Heart Foundation Of Jamaica's Wine & Food Annual Fundraiser. Our GCG Events selection of Jerk BBQ Shrimp, Jerk Pork & Beef Sirloin Flatbreads, perfectly paired with Hob Nob Wines, to which one had the option of adding avocado, sundried tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, black olives, micro greens, fried plantain, chopped basil, capers, red onion rings, chopped scallion & chopped garlic to their choice of flatbread and topping it off with either pesto, sundried tomato, mustard or spicy sauce were a hit! .
From start to finish, GCG Events' Executive Sous Chef Garcia Brown, his team and the CPJ Wines bartenders were kept hopping as patrons piled in one after the other, some returning many times while others opted to settle in for the evening in our Tai Flora decorated mini-lounge .
The theme for this year's event was celebrating Food, Flair and Fashion and featured a number of chefs from overseas including Celebrity Chef Charles Mattocks, Chef, Restaurateur & Author Andy Husbands, Steve Nookie Postal & Krysta VanWagner.
Some of our local chefs, without whose support the event would not have been possible were Karl Thomas, Nicholas Beckford, Dennis McIntosh, George Mathhews, Evrol Ebanks, Brian Lumley & Theo Smith. Best Dressed Chicken, Rainforest Seafoods, Chocolate Dreams & Pop Up Gourmet Jamaica were among the vent sponsors.
Pop Up Gourmet Jamaica caught up with Executive Chef George Matthews on his return from Panama where he participated in the IV Volcan Verde Festival - here's what he had to say about his experience!
The 'Land' Paella
It was fun and the camraderie was amazing. We fed a town of people. I had a grand time in Volcan, Panama’ added Chef Matthews. Although at times communication was difficult as he speaks only English, Chef Matthews noted that when it came to the ‘language of food’ - they all spoke the same language. Volcan he says reminded him of Mandeville – cool & mountainous with friendly and welcoming people.
George's signature dish of Jerked Pig’s tail with Blue Mountain Coffee & Walkerswood Guava Sauce although a little spicy for some, was very well received.
From the Plate of Chef Dennis McIntosh
These days we have many more options as it relates dining out than ever before & it's about time so say all of us. Driven by the fact that there is a greater appreciation for food, health, lifestyle & everyone just having a better understanding & interest in cooking.
Like our motto.... Out of many one people, we now have restaurants that appeal to all segments of the community Sushi, Escargot & Calamari are no longer strangers to the Jamaican palate. The cuisines on offer reflect the ethnic groups in Jamaica as well as those that reflect the global trends so Chinese, Japanese, Italian & Jamaican can be found in the city. The hotels island wide offer Spanish, Mexican, Cuban, French & Asian fusion along with the Caribbean /Jamaican.
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