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Free JCDC Culinary Arts Workshops to Ignite Creativity with Sweet Potatoes

Beginning this Thursday, January 16, the Jamaica Culinary Arts Competition will host a series of free developmental workshops across all thirteen parishes, which will highlight the 2020 competition’s specially selected locally-produced food item, the sweet potato.

The locally grown tuber was selected to be highlighted in this year’s competition because of its versatility in both its preparation and health benefits and because of its ease of availability on the local market, which is in keeping with the competition’s 2020 tagline Eat What We Grow and Grow What We Eat, encouraging Jamaicans to eat more locally produced foods.

“The sweet potato has a plethora of health benefits. It helps with weight management, digestion and is rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals and rich in antioxidants; and it also has a low glycemic index so it is great for diabetics,” Said Jane Jerry, Culinary Arts Development Specialist at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), the organizer of the competition.

Jerry noted that in addition to preparing prospective participants for the upcoming competition, creativity and originality will be high up on the menu of planned areas to be covered throughout the 13 workshops, which will run until Wednesday, April 29.

“The aim is to bring out their creativity and to inspire innovation while they are being familiarized with the competition’s rules and guidelines, especially when we are covering topics such as recipe writing,” Jerry said.

“The insightful demonstrations from these workshops will also produce scrumptious three-course meals, desserts, wines and liqueurs from the sweet potato, truly showing its versatility, especially as a food item under the newly added vegan category in our recently updated culinary handbook,” Jerry continued.

The culinary workshops are open to teachers, students and representatives from the various culinary institutions in each parish and participants can expect to be taught first-hand by local culinary experts.

The Northern Region will kick off the workshop series with the first three workshops.

Portland will host its workshop at the Titchfield High School on Thursday, January 16, followed by St. Mary, at the Oracabessa High School on Tuesday, January 21 and then St. Ann at the Marcus Garvey Technical High School on Wednesday, January 22.

The series will then move to the Eastern Region, beginning with the Morant Bay High School in St. Thomas on Tuesday, January 28. Kingston & St Andrew will follow with its workshop on Friday, January 31 at the Excelsior High School, followed by St. Catherine on Monday, February, 10 at the St. Jago High School.

The central region will be up next with its first workshop in Clarendon at the Foga Road High School on Wednesday, March 25; followed by Manchester with its workshop at the Belair High School on Thursday, March 26. St. Elizabeth will wrap up the region with its workshop at the St. Elizabeth Technical High School on Tuesday, March 31.

The western region will close out the series with the last four workshops, beginning in Westmoreland at the Little London High School on Wednesday, April 1, followed by Hanover with its workshop at the Knockcalva Technical High School on Thursday, April 2. St. James will see its workshop on Tuesday, April 28 at the Mount Alvernia High School followed by Trelawny with the final workshop at the William Knibb Memorial High School on Wednesday, April 29.

Additional information on these workshops as well as competition rules and guidelines and entry forms may be accessed on the JCDC website, Interested participants can contact the JCDC Head Office at 3-5 Phoenix Avenue, Kingston 10 or any JCDC Office island-wide.