Another successful Florida jerk festival delights
The cold, rainy weather did deter the more than 8,000 patrons who attended the 13th annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival at Markham Park, Sunrise, on Sunday, November 9. The event offered a feast of succulent jerk foods, cultural enrichment and riveting entertainment for everyone.
Patrons were kept entertained with mouth-watering treats and domino competitions, cultural presentations and first-class entertainment, including a performance by reggae artiste Luciano, who closed another successful event.
In the ever-popular Publix Jerk Cook-Off contest, patrons watched professional and amateur chefs creating magic on the grill to impress the judges.
"This year's cook-off showcased professional chefs on all five stations. They made this one of the toughest competitions to date. Participants prepared amazing dishes," said Karen Grey, assistant coordinator of the event.
Rocco Nankervis of Oceanaire Seafood Room in downtown Miami won the Golden Dutch Pot Trophy and $1,500 for first place. He unseated last year's winner, Jimmie Jackson, who placed third. Second place went to David Stample.
In the Celebrity Quick Fire challenge, Consul General Franz Hall beat his competitor, diaspora board representative Wayne Golding.
The Celebrity Chef Quick Fire challenge saw Bahamian executive and celebrity chef Simeon Hall Jr successfully challenging award-winning culinary chef, nutritionist and published author Haitian chef Vicky Colas.
The inaugural Kidz Quick Fire Challenge was added so that children could display their culinary skills and "it was a huge success," says June Minto, one of the festival organisers. Children ages nine to 12 from the City of Tamarac's 'Cooking for Kids' created their jerk dishes and Johanna Andrea Diaz took the top spot.
Miami Vice star Michael Phillip Thomas popped by to observe his partner, Sandi Morais, in her cooking demonstration.
Large crowds watched the domino competition sponsored by Craig Zinn Automotive Group, Dennis Shipping, Caribbean Shipping Corp, Golden Krust Bakery, and Leo Gilling's Allstate Agency.
Vernon Coates took first place, winning US$1,000; Michael Wint and Kevin Donaldson won second and third, with cash prizes of US$500 and US$300, respectively.
This year's entertainment included performances from the Sierra Norwood Calvary Baptist Church children, a fashion show, a tribute to the late John Holt, and performances by Inner Circle, Dean Fraser, Tarrus Riley, and more.
The annual festival is presented by Jamaican Jerk Festival USA, Inc, in association with Jamaica Awareness Inc, with sponsors Grace Foods, Publix Supermarkets, Western Union, 1-800-411-PAIN, Jamaica Tourist Board, Red Stripe, Caribbean Airlines, Vitamalt, National Weekly, Jamaicans.com, and SunnyBiz Transport.