ROSE HALL, St James - CHEFS cooked up a storm, while delighted food lovers indulged at the Taste of Jamaica culinary competition held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, last weekend.
Taste of Jamaica, spearheaded by the Culinary Federation of Jamaica, had young and aspiring culinary talents coming out to explore and to gain exposure, as they presented their best dishes to judges who included professional chefs, cake and dessert specialists, all in the hopes of copping the coveted prizes.
"I had only a bite of the appetiser which was fish stuffed with callaloo which was okay; the entrée was originally pork but I am not a pork lover and they were kind enough to bring me curried chicken and it was pretty good. In fact, the meals have been good overall," said Neville Warmington, one of the judges.
Janel Thomas, also a judge, indulged in the same course as Warmington, and remarked that while she was not too pleased with the appetiser, she enjoyed her entrée.
Merle Dixon, a patron at the event, told the Observer West that overall it was an excellent event.
Organiser for Taste of Jamaica and Chairman of the Culinary Federation of Jamaica Dennis Mc Intosh, in hailing the success of the two day-event, said the increase in sponsorship and the involvement of more young chefs were two things that stood out this year, as opposed to the last five years of the competition's existence.
"The sponsorship has been quite strong this year and the participation, particularly with the younger chefs, has been very strong, which is good because it speaks to growth in the future. As we move forward, the industry is growing so we need to constantly find and unearth the new talent that is going to represent us in the marketplace," he stressed.
The Jamaica Observer, as well as The Best Dressed Chicken, Rainforest Seafoods, Caribbean Producers Jamaica Ltd and Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum were among a raft of companies sponsoring the event.
Meanwhile, Brian Lumley, chef de cuisine at the Embassy of France, was awarded the Chef of the Year trophy, while Patrice Malcolm of the Jamaica Pegasus was awarded with the Robert Scott award for her fruit and vegetable carving.
Lumley had also copped the Chef of the Year title in 2008.