Innovative Reductions At The Dutchie Culinary Festival

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

THE heady smells escaping from bubbling pots greeted the Thursday Life team as we made our way into the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre Sunday last. Final touches were being made to booths as eager vendors readied for patrons in search of Sunday lunch.

The festival, a new and exciting addition to the Jamaica Festival celebrations, made for a perfect family outing. Even better was the fact that it was free of charge! Much thought was put into the layout; indeed, what better way to start lunch than with a freshly cut jelly coconut from Dawith Pusey? Ask heavy equipment operator Warren Herman, whom we joined the line with. The charming Camila Munroe of Gypsy's café was yet another option with her sno-cone. It was futile feigning indifference to nine-year-old Akeina Fentonm, who made such a pretty picture as she quenched her thirst.

Martin Ellis of Martin's Jerk & Catering was our next stop with fresh-from-the-skillet salt fish fritters, steaming cups of mannish water, all ahead of his jerk specialities served with festival.

Appetites sated, we ventured into the 'Out Of Many' Village where we watched as swift wrist and finger movements made easy work of the grating of coconut. Well-positioned signage afforded us a history of our culinary influences while Merlina Richards explained why a Dutch pot guarantees a tasty traditional Sunday dinner.

Judging had already commenced inside the Dutchie Food Festival Live Competitions/Exhibition when we stepped in. The competitors were frantically stirring, blending, whisking and plating as judges made their rounds.

Chief judge Kenrick Stewart who, as president of the Culinary Federation of Jamaica, is always stressing the importance of taking our local foods to the next level, was impressed with culinary innovations like the salt fish jackfruit casserole, the cornish hen stuffed with ackee, and yes, Mark Clarke's jackfruit pudding.

For Thursday Life, it was the enthusiasm and resolve to make each dish as local and impressive as possible. In fact, each participant deserves a special mention. Unfortunately space does not allow us to carry every participant.







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