In culinary circles, Chef Karl Thomas is one of the most respected on The Rock. A certified executive chef, lecturer in the School of Hospitality at University of Technology, and selected by GraceKennedy as head chef of Jamaica's athletes participating in this summer's London Olympic games. Thursday Food caught up with Thomas last Monday after he completed chef duties as part of the Grace Foods team making a presentation to the Jamaica Observer Food Awards judging panel. We asked what were his five must-bring Grace products and the five must-do items of his chef's checklist.
1. Grace Jerk seasoning.
2. Grace Porridges.
3. Grace Corned Beef.
4. Grace Roma Cocoa.
5. Grace Blends Tropical Rhythms.
Flavour - "One of the first things I'll be focusing on is flavour because it's very important to the end product."
Quality - "There is a saying in the kitchen, 'garbage in, garbage out' so you have to start with high quality products to ensure that at the end of it, it comes out very good."
Time - "There are specified meal times and in-between that the athletes will have training and so it can affect many other things, therefore time is critical."
Balance - "The meals have be balanced so your protein items, your starch, and so forth."
Planning - "...is very important because it is less than two months away and what happen is that a lot of coordination needs to go on between myself and the Grace office in Jamaica, the UK office in London and the Birmingham university so if I have to plan accurately and give them the necessary information including menus and recipes."
Chef Karl Thomas is slated to head off to the athletes' training camp at the Birmingham University in the United Kingdom from July 16 to 26 and will assist in preparation and execution of meals for the athletes ahead of the games which begin on July 28.