Wed | Jan 23, 2019

12 Chefs of Christmas

Published:Monday | December 15, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Debe-Ann Chen
Brian Lumley
Lorraine Fung
Dennis McIntosh
Steve Sowa
Rochelle Grindley

The Best Dressed Chicken 12 Chefs of Christmas share what they love most about the holidays

The Best Dressed Chicken 12 Chefs of Christmas are excited about the challenge of creating extraordinary gourmet Christmas dinners for the competition's winners. But just like everyone else, they look forward to spending time with family and friends and enjoying a delicious spread on Christmas Day.

"During the holidays, my kids come home from college, and on Christmas Eve I attend midnight mass with my mother-in-law. We open presents Christmas morning and I have all 25 first cousins over with my three kids for breakfast. Then I flop dead tired and super happy that everyone could all be here to eat me out of house and home," said Debe-Ann Chen, product development consultant for Cutting Edge Gourmet.

Chen said that although she has lived in Jamaica for 27 years, her father has never had a Christmas dinner with her family here and it would be great to share the holidays with him.

Brian Lumley, chef de cuisine and owner of 689 by Brian Lumley, shared: "I am often at work but I try to spend time with those I love, sharing some good food, preferably cooked by my mother. I especially enjoy indulging in a perfectly baked ham, dressed with cloves, cherries and pineapple slices. I still get excited when the spiced scent envelops the kitchen." Lumley recommends home cooked season food at every step of preparation and use the freshest ingredients to make their holiday dinner even more delicious.

Lorraine Fung, proprietor of Catering by Lorraine, also relishes traditional Christmas favourites. "For me, nothing says Christmas more than a pineapple and honey-glazed Christmas ham garnished with cherries and pineapples, steamed Christmas pudding with a rum sauce, and old-time sorrel and ginger with a dash of pimento," she said.

When asked if she could invite three persons in all of history for Christmas dinner, who would they be, Fung replied, "It would definitely be leaders who have inspired me: Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa and Mahatma Ghandi."

Likewise, chef Dennis McIntosh, president of the Culinary Federation of Jamaica, said: "Apart from my mum and dad, who have both passed on, my guest list would include Marcus Garvey, President Barack Obama and a homeless person."

Having lived in Bermuda and the United Kingdom, Christmas for chef McIntosh is about reconnecting with family. "I make and receive several calls at Christmas, and it's great to reach out and feel the spirit of the holidays across the miles."

Mince pies are a holiday food favourite of Steve Sowa, executive chef at Half Moon, and despite his hectic holiday work schedule, he always squeezes in time for lunch with family. "My wife and I always have family visiting for the holiday and I usually take a break from work in the afternoon to have a traditional Christmas lunch with them," said Sowa.

Rochelle Grindley, senior sous chef at Beaches Negril and Chef of the Year, recounted that, "In my family, on Christmas Eve we would season and marinate pork and beef roasts together, in addition to baking vast amounts of Christmas cakes. Those were the good old days and I cherish those moments."

The Best Dressed Chicken 12 Chefs of Christmas roster is completed by Celeste Gordon, Collin Brown, Jacqui Tyson, Ravi Anne, Michele Williams and Theo Smith.

By purchasing a Best Dressed Chicken, shoppers have the chance of winning a dinner catered by one of these celebrity chefs who are all excited about creating fantastic food memories for the lucky winners.

Entries for the promotion close today at participating supermarkets.

See tomorrow's Gleaner for Christmas sentiments from the other Best Dressed Chicken 12 Chefs of Christmas.