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And The Winners Are...

Table Talk Food Awards 2019

Sunday, June 02, 2019

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Forty-one awards in 23 categories were handed out last Thursday evening at the 21st staging of the Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards held at the nation's first Gastronomy Centre, Devon House. The glittering award ceremony styled by Main Event, MStyle XP and Ann Marie Wyss for Every Blooming Thing was headlined by Lady Allen, Minister of Industry, Commerce Agriculture & Fisheries Audley Shaw; Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips; Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award; and Executive Chef Dennis McIntosh, recipient of the Chairman's Award. The event witnessed giants of the culinary arena; corporate titans, members of the diplomatic corps, scores of bon vivants and hundreds upon hundreds of patrons enjoying choice tastings from 70 booths.

Jamaica Observer Managing Director Julian E Rogers deemed it “an absolute pleasure to experience from this unique perspective the contribution that the Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards has made locally and across the region”. He continued, “Few events can claim the reach and impact that this culinary juggernaut has had on redefining and shaping an entire industry.”

Food Awards conceptualiser Novia McDonald-Whyte, who served as the evening's compere, invited onstage members of the communities whose homes the judges had visited during their #ACelebrationofCommunityTourAward. It was the perfect time, she shared, as we yearn for a paradigm shift in our culinary footprint, for the judges to go home, so to speak, to explore the meaning of food in communities across the island. We saw up close how the traditions of the table serve to restate what it means to be Jamaican: struggle and triumph, creating abundance out of nothing, and making time to nurture and support each other”.

The theme of the family resonated again as the audience applauded lustily 10 of the island's most impressive culinary teams. McDonald-Whyte said “the professional food families, who make magic in the country's best kitchens, to relentlessly deliver food that is both satisfying and imaginative only happens when leadership and talent are unified by an extraordinary sense of purpose”.

The power of tradition also manifested itself in the recognition of Master Blender Joy Spence, who along with rising influencer, director of marketing for Hampden Estate Christelle Harris received the Leading Lady in Rum award for their work in establishing Jamaican rum as a world-class premium.

Food for social good saw the Skylark Negril Beach Resort and The Rockhouse Hotel & Spa copping the Place At The Table Award.

Post-formalities, patrons tasted in glorious abandon, drank and applauded even while eagerly anticipating the staging of #22.

The Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards 2019 scholarship recipients are Venice McFarquhar, Ilsaya Kerr, Kaleisha Thompson and Johansen Gordon.

Style Observer (SO) presents the 2019 awardees.


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