Pan champions - The people behind the stories
The final Regional for PAN 2017, took place at the Folly Oval last Saturday and 14 lucky pan vendors were put through to the grand finals that takes place in Half-Way Tree on October 29.
This week we look at a few of the lucky winners who have a shot at the ultimate prize - PAN CHAMPION!
Former chef takes first place
Jamie Martin's experience as a chef assisted in his victory as the first-place winner for Kingston and St Andrew at the recent staging of PAN 2017 Regional 2 in Portland. His sauce also won first place in the Miracle Ketchup Sauce competition.
"I used to work as a chef at CPJ, Petrojam, and at Suzie's Bakery. The last place that I worked closed down last year, and since then, I have been in the pan chicken business full-time," Martin shared with Food.
Encouraged by friends and customers, he decided to enter PAN 2017.
"I always wanted to enter because my friends and my customers were always telling me to give it a try," said Martin.
And he was not disappointed. "It was really good. I learnt a lot from it and I was happy to see other competitors as eager as I was, and doing their thing."
Martin, who lives in 8 Miles, Bull Bay, St Andrew, sells his pan chicken in the Bay View area. The 31-year-old has been doing his pan chicken business since 2010, even while holding down a regular job.
"I always put a little more time into the preparation process. For me, it's not about the money, but more about the taste of the chicken," Martin explained.
He continued, "My secret in the sauce is the ingredients that I use. I try to be as natural as possible by using the Walkerswood spices, some Pepsi and the Miracle ketchup."
His ultimate goal is to open up his own restaurant to showcase his culinary skills.
Janice Scarlett's secret is in her hands
Seven years ago, Janice Scarlett embarked on a career in food preparation. She would later improve her culinary skills by enrolling at the HEART Academy in Kingston.
Scarlett, who does catering for a living, decided to try her luck at PAN 2017 Regional 2. She emerged first-place winner for the parish of St Catherine.
"I do food for a living, but mostly at events and functions. I have always had a passion for food and I want to take my business further. That's the reason I decided to enter PAN 2017," she shared.
The mother of two resides in Eltham View, Spanish Town. "Entering the competition was a lot of fun. I enjoyed myself even though, at times, the rain proved to be a bit challenging. I think the biggest challenge for me, was to see how well I could do under the circumstances," said Scarlett.
Her secret to winning? "I mostly do oven jerk chicken because I don't have a pan to jerk in. I did my research and decided to put my all into it. The secret is really in your hands. It is a gift handed down from generations. My sister was a chef and when she passed away, I decided to go to HEART to get certified. So, in a way, my winning is in tribute to her," Scarlett confided.
Her long-term goal is to have her own business to provide employment for others.
Third times the charm
The third time proved to be the charm for Duanvale, Trelawny, resident Jason Franklyn. After entering the PAN competition on two previous occasions, he emerged victorious at PAN 2017 Regional 2.
Franklyn edged out four other competitors from his parish to claim first place and a spot in the grand finals. "The reason I decided to enter is to pay homage to my parish. The last time that Trelawny won at the grand finals was over five years ago. I want to bring it home for my parish," shared Franklyn.
The 28-year-old entered PAN in 2013 and again in 2016.
"This time around, I worked hard on the chicken and experimented for a week to ensure that the chicken was succulent. The seasoning and the marinating process is what I paid most attention to. I think that's what made the chicken so special," Franklyn added.
Franklyn has been a pan chicken vendor for the past four years selling his chicken in Falmouth Square. "I would like to have my own business because right now I have to be pushing the goods on a handcart to take them to the square," Franklyn shared.
He continued, "It was my father-in-law, Mervyn Morgan, who taught me how to do pan chicken. He came first for Trelawny at the regional level some years ago, and he told me that once I follow the method that he used, then I couldn't go wrong. And I am glad I followed his instructions."
Going into the finals later this month, Franklyn has a few surprises up his sleeves.
"I plan to keep it simple and not to overdo it. I will be coming with something to surprise everyone because I like when people taste the food and say that they are coming back to buy more. That in itself gives me a good feeling."