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'Hot Trends' takes Sandals Jerk Festival

Monday, May 27, 2019

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“It was all about winnings, we came to have a great time and just win. We knew we could be the top team because we had a game plan that was out of this world,” said Andre Simpson, a chef at Beaches Ocho Rios and one half of the “Hot Trends' team.

Simpson, along with head butcher at Beaches Ocho Rios, Junior Bell, came out as the winners of the jerk competition in the Sandals Golf and Jerk Festival held recently at the Sandals Golf & Country Club in Upton, St Ann.

“The night before the competition we were thinking about how we were going to make our dish different and standout and that's when it all started!” Simpson said.

He added that the team went to the Ocho Rios market in the middle of the night where they purchased items that they were sure would make them winners.

On the day of the competition, “Hot Trends” stated that they were not fazed by the other competitors as they knew what their plan was and it was up to them to execute.

“We brought pimento wood to enhance the flavour of our meats. We also brought tamarind, june plum and sour-sop. We really weren't sure what we would do with them but we knew it would be great,” chuckled the confident “Hot Trends” member.

The 12 teams in the competition were issued with a standard set of ingredients to prepare their meals. These were chicken, provided by title sponsors Best Dressed Chicken, fish fillet from Rainforest Seafood and jerk spices from Walkerswood. All contestants were given a total of four hours to prepare their dishes from the items they received.

At the end of the four hours, “Hot Trends” blew the judges away with their soursop tamarind chutney fish, coconut-crusted fried breadfruit, jerk chicken enhanced by pimento wood, jerk spices, breaded, fried plantain, roast potato and roast yam sticks.

“What made our meals different was the infusion of all the different natural fruits and spices. We added a little cinnamon, nutmeg and pineapple skin to our jerk sauce and that blew the judges away. They were all amazed by the different tastes they all got at once,” Simpson said.

“Hot Trends” won for themselves $50,000, several baskets courtesy of the sponsors and a new jerk pan to continue their culinary journey.

“We won because of team work and hard thinking. People like to see and taste something different and that's what we gave them.” Hot Trends also took the sectional prize for being most creative.

The event was put on by the Sandals Foundation with all proceeds going towards its junior golf programme and supporting stroke prevention and rehabilitation at the St Ann's Bay Hospital Rehabilitation Centre.


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