Dream Come true for Nicola Brown
Manchesterian Nicola Brown is still celebrating weeks after she finished third in PAN 2017 grand finals.
"One thing I have learnt from entering the competition, is never to underestimate anyone. Female pan chicken vendors don’t get the kind of respect that our male counterparts receive, and for me to come from so far and to end up in third place in the finals, it’s a wonderful feeling and I am happy," Brown shared.
Hailing from the community of Mike Town, the 27-year-old Brown plies her trade on the streets of Mandeville. She was encouraged to enter by persons who thought she did great chicken.
"The experience was great. People are now willing to buy from me and the competition made me push a little harder. I had nothing before all of this, and now through the competition I am able to secure my future," Brown continued.
At PAN 2017 Regional 1 held in St Elizabeth in August, Brown emerged the first-place winner for her parish. At the time she said, "I wanted to prove something to persons who underestimate us and believe that as women, we are not as good as the men who jerk chicken."
What was her secret to winning? "I did my seasoning right. It was properly done — I didn’t change anything from when I won at Regional. I decided to stick to the script because I knew I could do it. Maybe if I didn’t win I would’ve cried," she said in jest.
For her efforts at the grand finals, Brown won $75,000 cash; a year’s supply of CB Chicken courtesy of CB Foods; $30,000 courtesy of National Baking Company, and a business development loan from Jamaica National Small Business Loan (JNSBL).
Brown hasn’t yet decided how she will use her winnings, but her dream is to open her own restaurant. "I am just focusing on where I am right now and to get more customers. I want to rent a building and expand the business," she shared.
PAN 2017, promoted by CB Foods, is an annual cooking competition which highlights the talent and contribution of pan chicken men and women across the island. Now in its 12th year, the competition has helped to jump-start the professional careers of many of its competitors.