Simply Red’s 25th Anniversary was a night to remember. Relaxed atmosphere with a wide variety of wine and food as expected. The only thing lacking was a range of desserts. Chocolate Dreams locked up shop pretty early and there seemed to be mainly Mousses and Pana Cottas. Other than that, nothing to really bite or cut into. The tents were also pretty hot, probably as a result of humidity setting in after the evening rain, but no fans were in sight. The logistics however, allowed enough space for persons to walk around freely in the large central area to cool off.
It would be hard to give highlights, as every chef, caterer, company or organization had something special to offer. UTECH had a few stations. You could hardly taste the lobster in their Lobster roll with red pepper remoulade, but their Brined Duck Breast with breadfruit soffrito was cooked to perfection. Brian Lumley’s signature Herb de Provence Chicken marinated with white wine was up to good standard as usual, complemented by mushroom cream sauce and red pepper coulis. The Ham stuffed 689 Croquettes were decent as well. Chef George Matthews had a wicked Steak flank with Corn on the Cob and Barbecue Oxtail! The Barbecue Oxtail was alright, I expected more with the sauce and it surely didn’t slide off the bone.
Rainforest Seafoods had Smoked Marlin sandwiches that had way too much butter, but a Bread pudding with cheese and an optional honey topping that was delish. Their Avocado salad with arugula was also divine. The Chilean’s Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Pebre had a savoury, unique taste. Unfortunately the beef was not tender enough and the representative did not sufficiently or enthusiastically explain the dish. Perhaps the kids also representing the booth that were oh so adorable, stole her spotlight.
Interesting and fun options were Tastee’s cheese fountain with potato wedges and Kendel’s Mackerel Tempura rolls.
Persons that wished to load on the carbs had unlimited options of pastas, noodles, lamb and beef burgers as well.
Jacqui Tyson put on quite a show with her Best Dressed Fried Chicken and dancing chefs. Her area as well as the Pop Up Gourmet/CPJ booth, were crowded all night compared to all the others that had a free flow. Kudos to Jacqui for occasionally going on the mic to keep the crowd in the know of what she had to offer, raising person’s interest and having them go back for more.
Mission Catwalk also had a booth showcasing red dresses made by contestants, of which there was a poll going for the best dress. Only two were impressive, though the others showed great potential and it was a good promotion for the show.
Grace, Campari, BETCO Premier Ltd. along with JMMB, CPJ wines with Pop UP Gourmet, Select Brands and the Chilean representatives kept the spirits flowing all night. The Little Penguin Chardonnay and BETCO’s René Barbier Blanco were the winners for me.
The event seemed to be well supported, so hopefully The Heart Foundation reached their target and it will be even more spectacular next year.
Cost: $5000JMD or $4500JMD from Pop Up Gourmet