Jamaica Food and Drink Festival (JFDF) kicks off this Saturday with Pork Palooza at Hope Gardens from 7pm – 11pm. It will be an all-inclusive event with drinks and all the succulent pork you can eat for $7000JMD.
They have a stacked lineup of local celebrity chefs. Check out a few of who Suga is interested to see or hear about this Saturday, along with what most of them are cooking here!
Chef Dionne Reid from Hanover’s Smoked Marlin Restaurant made quite an impact last year at Crisp. This year she will be showing her hand with Pork. She will be offering Pomegranate Glazed Ribs and Head Cheese Shooters.
The popular and confident Chef Andre Sewell who caters will have:
Chef Charissa Henry usually has something interesting up her Pink Apron Sleeve. This Saturday it will be:
Moveable Feast’s Chef Michelle Williams has been in the culinary industry for some time now, but I have never had the pleasure of indulging in any of her dishes. I am interested to see how her menu turns out.
Then there is Chef Christian Sweeney who is usually a crowd favourite. He is offering dessert with a touch of candied pork too!
By: Gabrielle Burgess
If you liked this Promo, follow Suga Lifestyle Online, on Instagram (@sugalifestyle), Twitter (@sugalifestyleja) or like the Suga Lifestyle Facebook page.
Suga brought you the low down for Crisp at The Gardens, Jamaica Pegasus ($5000 All Inclusive) and Picante ($7500 All Inclusive) at The Ruins, UWI Mona’s Visitor’s Lodge, so how were the other JFDF events? Suga Bears and Suga Daddies reported!
Most persons like to get bad news out of the way first. The events with the highest price tags were not that impressive for some patrons. That is, Vintage for $12000JMD all-inclusive and Brunch at the Gallery for $20000JMD/$150USD all-inclusive.
Meals at Vintage at the Manor in Jack’s Hill were described as basic and a low standard for Ortanique on the Mile, one of the restaurants in Florida that was represented by Owner Cynthia Hutson. Suga Bears enjoyed the view and Dessert though.
Brunch at the Gallery
Brunch at the National Gallery, Downtown Kingston presented by Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau was decorated beautifully by Tai Flora and had a sufficient selection of Wines by Select Brands, but the service of food was slow and it arrived to tables cold. The Brunch was from 11am to 4pm and after a long day, patrons were leaving at 4pm and Dessert was just being served. Should the blame go on the Event Planner, the Chefs or both? It was stated that the execution was poor.
The Presentation of some of the meals were also quite sloppy to say the least.
Did the Incredible Hulk have an accident here?! I was in disbelief and gathered that this was the consensus amongst most tables. This looked nothing like the neatly displayed dish on the Event’s social media page. Cold food, slow service and poor, unappetizing presentation is unacceptable for $20,000JMD. I believe things can be shaken up next year. There are so many other talented, efficient Chefs around and I understand the ambience of The National Gallery, but a change in venue could be considered as well.
Kudus to award-winning baker, Nadine Burie that probably saved both events. Her desserts are offered at Cafe Blue.
Setting bad news aside, persons fully enjoyed Meet Street and the Market in Downtown, Kingston ($500JMD entry)last Saturday. A patron said she did not know that Downtown could be so nice. The set up and atmosphere was phenomenal and the vendors outdid themselves.
Pork Palooza ($6500JMD All Inclusive) at Palm Drive, Hope Gardens that kicked things off for the festival on the Saturday the week before was a hit. The event is usually the favourite for Patrons. Jamaicans love their Pork! It wasn’t the unanimous favourite this year though.
Which event took JFDF 2017?!
Close call! It has been narrowed down to the new event, Chop Stix ($5000JMD All Inclusive) held at Zen Lawn, Hope Zoo last Wednesday that featured fare from the far East and the zesty, Picante!
Based on Food, Weather and Vibe, Chop Stix gets the edge. Picante had the on and off rain, which was uncontrollable with provisions put in place, but Jamaicans love a new event.
The Chefs, Caterers and Restaurants delivered at Chop Stix! Here was the Menu if you missed it. Chop Stix can’t be missed next year!
So what’s next for my Foodies? Restaurant Week!
Yes, I know Restaurant Week has lost its steam. Marketing has been ongoing but should be revised, including the selection of Ambassadors. JFDF being so close to Restaurant Week definitely overshadowed it.
Menus for Restaurants are more of the same, but it makes your choices that much easier. The good ones will pop out at you. So that means you may need to make reservations quickly or maybe not, because places I called yesterday that are normally booked out weeks in advance seemed to have quite a bit of space left.
For now, I am leaving you with my recommendations for the Epicurean and Delectable Categories. Here you go!
Epicurean ($4300 +tax +gratuity +beverages)
> The Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston.
Despite inconsistencies in service and quality throughout the year, they have managed to keep a good reputation for Restaurant Week so far.
Sidenote: I do not think any Restaurant in Market Place should be placed in the Epicurean Category. The venue is far too casual and a long wait is usually expected.
Out of town? Marguerites by the Sea, Montego Bay. You should expect a spectacular dinner and service with a seaside or picturesque garden view.
There are some other reputable Restaurants listed, but the lack of creativity with their Menus were the deal breakers.
Delectable ($3800JMD +GCT +gratuity +beverages)
> Fromage Bistro on Hillcrest Avenue in Kingston.
Nirvanna Indian Cuisine, Centro-Courtyard by the Marriott and Black Orchid Restaurant at Eden Gardens would be secondary choices.
In the other city? Both options from Mobay are primary choices – Mystic Thai and The Houseboat Grill. So persons can choose between the two based on the Cuisine desired.
***Stay tuned for more Restaurant Week choices from Suga Lifestyle.***
By: Gabrielle Burgess
If you liked this article, follow Suga Lifestyle or like the Suga Lifestyle Facebook page.
Two important corrections re Pork Palooza published on Friday, October 30, 2015 have come to my attention. The first was updated on the same day the article was published. Please take special note of the 2nd correction with regards to the judging of the chefs for the night.
It was the organizers and not Alexa Von Strolley thathad a treat for patrons with a Copperwood Pork creation! They had something that many people have a weakness for – Bacon! Candied (not Caramelized) bacon. It was the rave of the night. It was in beer cups floating around the venue. Extremely tasty with a unique presentation. It was like picking sweetie out of a candy jar.
2. How exactly did the voting process go?
According to Tina Hamilton, Brand Manager of CB Foods and Nutramix, only the 8 featured chefs were eligible to win Top Hog. Voting was done by the patrons who were given voting tabs at the entrance along with their wrist bands.
Somehow, every patron was not aware, but Ms. Hamilton stated that they were urged to vote for their favorite chef throughout the night by dropping their tab in a voting box provided at the chefs’ stations. These boxes were collected and votes tallied at 10:25pm showing Dale de Lisser as the one with the most votes. Anyone who voted for Dale also got a takeaway gift from Copperwood.
If you missed the review on Pork Palooza or you would like to just read the updated review, click on the link below: