The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) will be hosting the Jamaica Culinary Eastern and Western Championships in grand fashion, with the eastern region kicking things off on Friday, May 31, at the Chinese Benevolent Association in Kingston, followed by the western region on Friday, June 7, at the Sean Lavery Faith Hall in Westmoreland. Both events are free and open to the public.
Promising to showcase some of the island’s most unique culinary talents, the Culinary Arts Competition is a staple programme in the JCDC’s festival calendar.
Ms. Jane Jerry, Culinary Specialist at the JCDC, said this year’s competition is focused more than ever on bringing out creativity in its participants, and will feature a number of activities designed to push contestants in elaborate and spontaneous ways.
“We had workshops all over the island with the sole purpose of refining the skills of participants in time for championships. The activities slated for the competition and expo will serve to further develop these talents,” Jerry said, expressing that those entering the competition will be kept on their toes throughout.
She continued: “Among the activities is the mystery basket in the live cooking segment. Chefs in groups of threes will take random ingredients from the basket and will then use these ingredients to transform the jackfruit into something special, something delicious. Again, we aim to keep participants on their toes. And this lineup of creative exercises will do just that.”
According to Jerry, contestants can expect more activities such as live fruit and vegetable carving, as well as live mixology. She spoke also on an array of products that will be on display for patrons to feast their eyes and tease their palates; one such product is the scrumptious Jerk Jackfruit.
“The Jackfruit is a big part of how we are pushing creativity this year. Mostly because we are trying to keep an authentic and organic Jamaican theme strong throughout the competition.” Jerry added.
Ms. Jerry also expressed excitement over the cash prize. “I am excited to see the most innovative jackfruit dish. Whoever comes up with that masterpiece will be the recipient of a cash award of $50,000. Contestants will have to really show out in order to impress judges, and triumph over competitors. So I’m looking forward to seeing who will impress with their work and take home that prize.”
The Culinary Arts Competition and Expo is sponsored by Excelsior, Heart TRUST/NTA, JF Mills, Best Dressed Chicken, Grace Foods, Tops Teas and Tastee Cheese.