Cocktails With... Joelle Lodenquai

Sunday, November 05, 2017

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It's a thoroughly wet Thursday evening, and at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel's Gardens, the CB Group's Jamaica Food & Drink Festival (JFDF) is not pulling the plug on the third night of its week-long culinary celebration for its event billed Crisp. The rain lets up, and the Mexican-themed, New Levels Décor-styled venue is welcoming hundreds of umbrella-carrying foodies to the waterlogged green space. CB Foods Marketing Coordinator Joelle Lodenquai is in the mix, to ensure the festival goes off without a hitch. The leggy former model, who once enjoyed a thriving career in China before returning home to The Rock to shift gears to the corporate world, clues us in to her thoughts on culinary experiences, foreign accents and why the 1980s rule in fashion.

The Jamaica Food & Drink Festival featured over 45 chefs and hundreds of culinary offerings. Generally speaking, what's your absolute favorite food?

I love anything Mexican. Quite a number of our chefs this year did an awesome job putting their twists on authenic Mexican cuisine. Kudos to them! I'm also a sucker for anything chocolate.


Where is the most unexpected place you've enjoyed a fantastic Jamaican food experience?

Probably Hong Kong. There was a little Caribbean restaurant in Central that served up some pretty good jerk.


Who is your go-to person when you need to unload?

A girl has at least one or two very close girlfriends in whom she can confide. Safe to say I've got a couple lifelong ones, and bless their hearts for tolerating me.


You were a model with a successful career in Asia. What lessons from your modelling career have been instructive in your present position as a marketing coordinator?

I spent seven years being on the other side of the lens, so to speak. Then, I had to adjust to representing all sorts of clients and brands regardless of the brand personality. I had to learn to step outside of myself to look at the things as how the consumer or customer would. That's definitely rolled over to what I'm doing now here. When I'm working on our own brands here in Jamaica, I've learnt that strategies that work for one won't necessarily work for another.


Lewis Hamilton, Christian Ronaldo or Dwyane Wade? Who gets your sexiest vote?

Nothing beats a Portuguese accent. That's not a fair line-up!


$300 million in your account or unlimited frequent traveller miles to any destination in the world for life? Which would you choose?

That's a tough one! I'd probably say Croatia. It's somewhere I never thought to ever travel to until I met a couple folks from there. I'd love to experience exploring the islands and take in all the historic architecture.


Imagine time travel a reality, which period of history would you pack a trip for?

I'd go to the early 80s — a decade of experimenting with bold fashion, make-up and music, when women were becoming more empowered in terms of self-expression and independence, and a decade before the saturation of social media... but not for too long, because really, who can survive without WiFi for more than a few hours?!


The last page-turner I voraciously read and would recommend in a heartbeat is...

Factory Girls by Leslie T Chang. It's quite personal because it gave me such insight into true experiences that I only ever had sneak peaks into. It gave me a renewed sense of appreciation and humility.


Next up on my life's to-do list is...

to finally visit South America and indulge in authentic churrasco!!


What mantra do you subscribe to that keeps you at it?

I'd say 'surround yourself with good people and don't be afraid to take risks'. There's no larger obstacle in life than our own selves sometimes; our own fear of the unknown or unfamiliar. I know no matter what I choose to do or where I choose to go, I have a small army supporting me.




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