Fri | Aug 17, 2018

Nationwide's top chef

Published:Thursday | September 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM
The team of Bronhill Thompson and Rodney Campbell delighted with their chicken stuffed with pumpkin and callaloo served with a spicy bowl of rice. Contributed Photos
Team Divalicious was on point with their red herring fritters (right) and salmon stuffed with callaloo and cheese.
A vegetable salad topped with roast pumpkin seeds served with callaloo, cheese and shrimp-filled crêpes.
This mango banana smoothie infused with fever grass syrup, prepared by Cliff Hughes and Camille Buchanan, was a huge hit with the judges.

A cunning merger of food and radio came to a spicy and delectable climax last week as the hosts of Nationwide 90FM's talk shows battled it out in the kitchen for the spot of the station's top chef.

Following weeks of on-air bantering, the four teams were tasked with preparing a three-course meal, with special emphasis on the versatility of pumpkin and the ingredients from their respective sponsors.

The competition, which ran from last Monday to Friday and was broadcast live on the station and online, was filled with its fair share of drama and excitement. But it was the creative and awe-inspiring innovative recipes that had the judges clamouring for more.

Endorsed by famed Jamaican chef Jacqui Tyson and her eatery, From Yard Style to Gourmet, the competition was lauded for bringing much-needed attention to Jamaica's culinary industry.

Tyson said the Nationwide 90FM Cook-Off, now in its fifth year, was special in taking the culinary arts to a different audience through an unconventional medium.

The doyenne of Jamaica's food and beverage industry, Nancy McLean, served as chief judge of the competition and gave the chefs high marks for their ingenuity and presentation.

Meals presented ranged from pump-it up pumpkin peanut soup, Belizean salbutes infused with local herbs and legumes, to spicy grilled salmon and pumpkin pie topped with ice cream.

After four days of gruelling competition in a state-of-the art kitchen built for the competition by the Heart Trust/NTA's School of Construction, the teams were challenged to prepare a meal with the secret ingredients in less than 50 minutes.

Team Divalicious on top

In the end, it was Team Divalicious, comprising Georgia Crawford-Williams and Khadine 'Miss Kitty' Hylton, sponsored by Rainforest Seafoods and Miracle, that snatched the top spot along with the sectional prizes for best meal, on-air banter, and best use of sponsors' products.

The team of Cliff Hughes and Camille Buchanan, sponsored by Tastee Cheese and Grace Tropical Rhythms, came in a close second while taking the sectional prize for best attire.

The prize for team synergy went to Young Stars - George Davis and Kalilah Enriquez, who were sponsored by Heinz and The Heart Trust/NTA. The other participating team comprised Bronhill Thompson and Rodney Campbell. They were sponsored by Best Dressed Chicken and Three Jewels Rice.