Mucho Picante!

Mucho Picante!

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!

There may currently be a shortage of Scotch bonnets as the 2018 Jamaica Food & Drink Festival turned the heat up on Friday, October 26, with Picante. The event promised guests food brimming with “hot, zesty flavour”, and those with higher pain thresholds were in heaven. Patrons descended on the lawns and ruins of the Mona Visitors' Lodge to sample fare from Dennis McIntosh, Shea Stewart, Oji Jaja, Broken Plate, Stush in the Bush, Christian Sweeney, George Matthews, Mark Cole, The Cliff hotel, Rebecca Karram, Walkerswood featuring Chef Patrick Simpson and the University of Technology, Jamaica.

There seemed to be nothing too spicy for the almost 800 patrons in attendance. They were ready for their taste buds to be taken on a spicy ride. Many of the 13 participants offered more than one dish but Thursday Food had to focus and not fall prey to palate fatigue. Christian Sweeney had a spicy chicken with grilled corn and chickpea salsa and surprised guests with a tuna version. Jamaica Pegasus executive chef Mark Cole had the extremely popular “full to the max” — a baked potato stuffed with pulled beef, roasted bell pepper, jerk sausage, black beans and jalapeño topped with a pepper flake béarnaise sauce. Walkerswood was represented by NYC-based chef Wenford Patrick Simpson, and the University of Technology, Jamaica which served hundreds of plates of grilled “peppa” shrimp and curried vegetable succotash on bammy rounds.

Chef Shea Stewart had spiced snapper en papillote with Scotch bonnet butter served with jalapeño and chilli pepper-infused risotto. For Gore Villas Executive Chef George Matthews Thai chilli shrimp infused with Scotch bonnet oil topped with toasted coconut, avocado, roasted tomato salsa and breadfruit popper was the way to go. Chef Jonhoi Reid represented The Cliff hotel with mojo-braised pork topped with crispy pork belly with black bean corn yuca cake, smoked Scotch bonnet salsa verde, jalapeño pico de gallo and cilantro crema. Broken Plate chef/co-principal Damion Stewart offered a mustard chilli pesto rubbed pork loin with crispy bacon orzo pilaf topped with Asian mixed greens and arugula salad.

Stush in the Bush principals Lisa and Chris Binns delighted patrons with smoked spicy corn beignets served with arrabiata purée, herbed sweet corn crema, Blow Fyah pesto, sorrel and red wine gelée, spiced popcorn and fire-roasted kernels. Meanwhile Sagicor had Rebecca Karram enticing guests with coconut pannacotta with strawberry Scotch bonnet compote, spiced rum squares and Mexican hot chocolate cookies and with chai spiced milk. Wisynco and National, too, had zesty treats for guests in the form of Häagen-Dazs ice cream topped with Scotch bonnet caramel brittle and Scotch Bonnet buttered popcorn.

The bold flavours of Picante had patrons' tongues dancing the tango all night! Here are highlights.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon