CB Pan Chicken Championship creates a Storm
Cathy Risden, Lifestyle Writer
After months of preparation, 26 competitors from across the island who were placed first and second in the regional elimination series were all in the same place to jerk up a storm.
The grand finals of the ninth staging of the CB Pan Chicken Championship took over the waterfront, downtown, Kingston last Sunday, as thousands gathered to support the largest food festival this season.
At about midday, pans were opened, the heat was on, and the venue was jam-packed with early birds. The wide spread of the red and white tents labelled with competitors' names and parishes signalled the source of the action, as competitors prepared to wow the judges and attendees who eagerly waited to sample their jerked chicken.
The entertainment and giveaways kept patrons engaged. The National Kiddies Village offered children free rides, clowns, and face-painting, with the day culminating with live performances from the Digicel dancers, drinking and chicken-eating competitions, along with trivia from the sponsors.
Then it was the moment many patrons had been waiting for - the celebrity cook-off, hosted by Pretty Boy Floyd, who was one of the competitors in last year's celebrity cook-off.
He had patrons in a frenzy as they cheered on their favourite celebrity chef in the competition which put team Universe (Miss Jamaica Universe Kaci Fennell and chef Ricardo Esson) against team Intense ( television personalities Ashley Miller and Talia Soares). Both teams went all out to cop the cash prize of $150,000 that would go towards their favourite charity.
Two judges were chosen from the audience - Simone Williams and Jason Mitchell who joined brand manager for National Bakery, Terrence Slater. "When you think of jerk chicken, seasoning and spices is a must, so when it comes on to flavour and spices, team Intense top that. However, when it comes on to creativity with the added jerk plantain, hard dough bread and original mango pepper pot sauce, I would say, team Universe is extremely good," said Slater. Williams agreed. On the other hand, Mitchell said that team Intense's jerk chicken was tender, juicy, and had a nice balance which he enjoyed. So it was team Intense for him.
Members of both teams said they were happy to participate. "I feel awesome. This is a good look for my charity Christmas dinner coming December," noted Fennell. "I feel really good, it was a good experience. I now have real respect for CB Pan Chicken because this cook-off wasn't easy. It's not a win or lose thing. We both got a chance to give back to a charity. Either way, we both won," states Miller from team Intense.
Sitrena Gillings walked away with close to a million dollars in cash and prizes, a Samsung Galaxy S5 phone from Digicel, a $250,000 business grant from Jamaica National, and, of course, the coveted CB Pan Chicken champion's trophy, among other prizes.
This was the 53-year-old caterer's sixth time entering the competition. Gillings told Food that she felt 'royal' and blessed to be the champion and already made plans for her prizes. "I have to help people. That is my passion. I am also looking to start my house, no matter how small it is, and expand my catering business to the square in Brissette, Lucea in Hanover," she said.
The first runner-up was Natalie Sill from Clarendon who walked away with $150,000 from CB Chicken and a $150,000 business grant from Jamaica National, among other prizes.
The second runner-up was Carlton Jobson from Clarendon who walked away with $75,000 from CB Chicken, $50,000 business grant from Jamaica National and one year's supply of CB Chicken.
The winner of the Grace Tomato Ketchup 'Grace Ketch di Taste' Sauce Competition was Clive Griffiths from, Kingston, with his signature sweet, and sour sauce.
First runner-up was Carlton Jobson from Clarendon, and the second runner-up was Clarence Watson from St Ann. The People's Choice was Carlos Thomas from St Catherine.
Brand manager for CB Chicken, Alicia Bogues said that, despite some glitches and rain, the event could not have been better. "People didn't leave, they stayed under shelter. The competitors sold out and that made them happy and, as long as they are, we here at CB are happy. It has been a great day," she said.