Rocking the House for a Worthy CauseWednesday, August 01, 2018
The skies might have opened up, but that did not stop some 50 guests from Kingston, St James, Westmoreland, New York, Pennsylvania, London and Florida from spreading napkins at Skylark Negril Beach Resort on Saturday, July 28, to support the Rockhouse Foundation. Guests partook of an inventive jerk-themed menu prepared by chefs Nina Compton and Andre Fowles. Those names should ring a bell.
Nina Compton is a St Lucian chef who rose to fame on season 11 of the hit Bravo reality show Top Chef. Compton, a fan favourite and runner-up winner, went on to open the critically acclaimed Compère Lapin in the heart of New Orleans' Warehouse Arts District. Not resting on the success of one restaurant, in March of this year Compton partnered with her Compère Lapin sous-chef Levi Raines, to open the hottest table in NOLA — Bywater American Bistro. Fun fact: on Monday, May 7, 2018, chef Compton was named Best Chef: South at the 2018 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards.
Andre Fowles, too, has graced television screens. The Kingston-born chef is a two-time champion on the Food Network series Chopped and is, among other things, the 2016 Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards Chef of the Year and chef de cuisine at the Negril/NYC/Dubai hotspot Miss Lily's.
Chefs Compton, Fowles and Raines swapped chefs hats for thinking caps to create a five-course menu that artfully unveiled the “diversity of Jamaica's signature ingredient” — jerk. The dinner was a fund-raiser for the Rockhouse Foundation, which advances the education of Negril-area children. To date, the Rockhouse Foundation has completely transformed six schools, renovated the Negril Public Library and completed the building of the Savanna-la-Mar Inclusive Infant Academy — “the first inclusion model, mixed ability, special needs early childhood school in the Western half of Jamaica, and the first training centre of its kind to support educators and families”.
The event raised US$10,000 for the Rockhouse Foundation. It was a superb evening of humanitarianism, first-class food and exceptional service.