Jacqui Francis does it again!
Foodie News...Foodie News...Foodie News...Foodie NewsThursday, August 26, 2021
Success seems to be Jacqui Francis's middle name. From her days operating a mobile hotel catering service to being the executive chef for former Prime Minister PJ Patterson, every venture that Francis has undertaken has enjoyed success. When she left Jamaica for Houston, she quickly made her mark with her highly praised Jamaica House restaurant, which she ran with daughter Wendi, and her now-famous Jacqui's Jamaican Rum Cakes that have won numerous awards. Showing that she has so much left to give as a true Jamaican ambassador, Francis recently launched a line of sauces and seasonings which have taken over the Lone Star State.
Jacqui's Jammin Jerk Sauce, Jammin' Jerk Seasoning, Sweet Reggae Sauce, and Sweet Reggae Seasoning encapsulate Francis's favourite mantra: “If you can't take the heat, take the sweet.” Soon after the products' launch, grocery store executives representing Central Market — Whole Foods' biggest competitor in Texas — approached Francis. Jacqui's sauces and seasonings got prime space in all Central Market locations, and that was just the beginning of Francis's summer of accolades.
At ZestFest 2021, Texas' Spicy Food Festival held in Dallas, her versatile sauces won first, second, and third (another Jamaican 1-2-3 sweep) in their respective categories. The brand was a favourite among judges. The Jammin' Jerk sauce is piquant, and you can taste the bits of ginger and ground pimento. The Sweet Reggae is robust and just sweet enough, perfect for dipping or slathering on chicken wings. Each batch is carefully made, and the sauces and powdered seasonings can be used individually. But for a flavour bomb, use the pairs together and be prepared to be transported to the real Flavour Town.
And that's not all.
This month, more than 800 Texans submitted more than 1,200 products in the 2021 Quest for Texas Best for potential placement on the shelves of 340 H-E-B stores across Texas and northeast Mexico. H-E-B is one of America's largest private companies; the company's 2020 earrings was a reported US$28 billion. Of the 800 entrants, there were only 20 finalists; Francis is one of them. The judging panel, selected by H-E-B, will “determine the four winning products and award $25,000 to the Grand Prize winner, the title of “Texas Best” and placement on store shelves; $20,000 to the first-place winner; $15,000 to the second-place winner and $10,000 to the third-place winner.” This is the eighth staging of H-E-B Quest for Texas Best, and the final judging takes place today, Thursday, August 26. Thursday Food will follow up with the results.
Francis is no stranger to awards. She has been nominated by the Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards five consecutive times for Best Caterer. She was awarded for her leadership by the Texas Women's Empowerment Forum, and has appeared many times on television, radio and in print publications, here and abroad. Former PM Patterson even wrote an endorsement that appears in Francis's upcoming cookbook Nyam Thyme: “I have had the unparalleled pleasure of enjoying the tasty concoctions from Mrs Francis. Therefore, I am able to vouch that these sauces, seasonings [and recipes] are truly authentic Jamaican products. Savour the flavours of Jacqui's gourmet and enhance your palate with a robust taste of Jamaica.”
Jacqui Francis is a venerable caterer and chef. Her food has been enjoyed by royalty, heads of state and corporate executives, and working-class folk. She was a favourite here in Jamaica, and Thursday Food is glad to see that the US, too, sees what a culinary treasure she is.
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