Pan champions - The people behind the stories
Regional 1 of PAN 2017, held recently at Independence Park in Black River, St Elizabeth, saw contestants battling it out for a chance to compete in PAN 2017 finals in Half-Way Tree on October 29 for the ultimate prize.
Until the next regional on September 30, each week, Food introduces you to the extraordinary Jamaicans who have already secured a spot in the grand finals.
Carlton Donaldson's winning secret recipe
Victoria district resident Carlton Donaldson has been in the pan chicken business since 1978. Encouraged by friends and customers, he decided to try his luck at PAN 2017 Regional 1.
"I always love to jerk chicken. It was my customers and friends who said I should enter the competition to showcase my talent. When they announced my name as second-place winner, it was an overwhelming feeling," he told Food.
Donaldson, who prepares pan chicken at the clock in the heart of May Pen, Clarendon, worked on the farm work programme in Canada before returning to Jamaica to get into the taxi business. Pan chicken, however, was his first love, so he decided to return to it earlier this year.
"Even when I was in Canada, I was still doing jerk chicken. That is something I never stopped doing," said Donaldson.
He shared what makes his chicken special. "I use mostly scallion, thyme, pepper, onions, nutmeg, and garlic in the chicken. Presentation, quality and creativity are very important factors in the preparation," he revealed.
Of his time so far in the competition, he says, "The competition showed me that I have something good to improve on. The experience was good and I learnt a lot."
The 51-year-old father of four has plans to open a jerk chicken business to export the delicacy overseas.
Clarendon's Anthony Huie continues a tradition
Clarendon's Anthony Huie, who finished in first place for the parish in the recent regional, is determined to become the first winner from his family to excel at the PAN National Finals, which is scheduled for Sunday, October 29, at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre in Kingston.
"I was pushed by my brother and my son to enter. They are past regional winners for Clarendon, and I really would like to take home the big prize at the grand final," said Huie.
His brother, Warren Smith, came second for Clarendon in the PAN 2015 Regionals, while Huie's son, Odaine, came first in PAN 2016 Regional 1 last year.
"The experience has been a good one. I love it and I like the exposure that I have received," he said.
He attributes his success at the regional level to proper presentation and preparation of his pan chicken.
"I've been preparing chicken the right and proper way, and I pay special attention to the presentation. My family specialises in food - baking and cooking - so it's a wealth of experience that I have accumulated over the years," Huie shared.
The Palmers Cross resident is hoping to win one of the cash prizes up for grabs at the PAN 2017 grand finals to expand his business.
"I operate a small restaurant called Top of the Line that used to be in the May Pen Bus Park. Now, I operate in Palmers Cross Square, and I would really like to expand the business if I win at the finals," said Huie.