As the anticipation heightens for the 9th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, slated for Sunday, November 14, at Markham Park, Sunrise, Florida, celebrities, chefs, and aspiring amateurs are already sharpening their knives and perfecting their jerk recipes for the famous Publix Jerk Cook-Off and Celebrity Quick Fire Competition. Patrons who look forward to the event each year are also preparing for the musical explosion and sizzling hot entertainment that is expected on the Main Stage.
Publix Jerk Cook-Off and Celebrity Quick Fire Competition
One of the highlights of the festival is the Publix Jerk Cook-Off, in which fierce competitors prepare their best jerk dishes for the chance to win a cash prize of $1,500 (1st place), bragging rights and the honor of walking away with the coveted Dutch Pot Trophy.
Whether you are a professional or an amateur and you think your jerk recipe can knock out the competition, you can enter the cook-off. But come prepared for a fight, because last year’s winner, Robert Wong, will be back to defend his title.
According to June Minto, Coordinator for the Publix Jerk Cook-Off and Celebrity Quick Fire Competition, “I have observed the positive and progressive growth of the competition. Each year we have at least three to four competitors from previous years returning to compete … not necessarily for the cash prizes, but because of the level of fun and excitement they experience at the festival.”
NBC 6 anchor Sharon Lawson, who won the TV/radio personality segment of the Celebrity Quick Fire Competition last year, will be back to defend her title. So will former Miami Dolphins player Terry Glen, who won the sports celebrity segment. This year, however, Ms. Minto has decided to stir the pot and have one competition with both media personalities and sports celebrities.
DJ Irie of the Miami Heat and 99 Jamz has big plans to take away Ms. Lawson’s crown. In fact, when DJ Irie won the competition in 2008, Ms. Lawson thought she should have taken the top spot. Last year when Ms. Lawson won, DJ Irie was not there to defend his title, so this year is the “real competition” between the two.
Constance Jones of Channel 10 and Tanya Oliver of TeleAmerica’s Comcast 88 have also “thrown their jerk in the pot,” and will go up against three returning champions! It will be exciting to watch this high stakes competition unfold and see who will emerge the Quick Fire champion.
Celebrity Chef, Ron Duprat, who has appeared on Bravo’s Top Chef, will be pleasing the eyes and palates with his cooking demonstrations. The Haitian cooking sensation will be among the team of top chefs and culinary experts judging both competitions.
The Legendary John Holt and the Prolific Byron Lee’s Dragonaires for the Main Stage
The Main Stage is where the presentations to winners of various competitions including the Jerk Cook-Off, soccer and netball take place, and where the festival culminates in a musical feast of epic proportions.
According to Abdul Muhsin, Director of the festival, “The Main Stage is going to feature the most dynamic, legendary band in Caribbean, Byron Lee’s Dragonaires; and one of the most prolific crooners to come out of Jamaica, John Holt. We’re bringing you nostalgia and showmanship, two very important components of the festival. This – the Main Stage – is the delectable part … the dessert … where we highlight our culture from a musical standpoint. It cyaan get no more sweeter than that!”
John Holt will pick from his extensive repertoire of Studio One and other hits, and all time favorites that will take many attendees down memory lane and expose younger audience members to the stylings of the musical legend. Hits like “My Heart is Gone”, “If I Were a Carpenter”, “Love I can Feel”, “Wear You to the Ball” and “Tonight” will tug at the heart strings, while “Police in Helicopter” might appeal to the more militant crowd.
Byron Lee’s Dragonaires, the Caribbean’s number one Calypso band, will kick it up a notch with their high energy performance across Soca, Reggae, Rocksteady and Ska genres. They will keep the audience dancing, as they blaze the stage with an ample serving of covers and original hits like “De Music Hot Mama”, “Dancehall Soca”, “Soca Butterfly” and the all time favorite “Tiney Winey” – carrying on the musical legacy of the late Dragon, Byron Lee.
Rounding out the entertainment for the Main Stage will be Jamaica’s R&B and Reggae singer, Ritchie Stevens and Reggae singer, Nadine Sutherland. Local saxophonist, Bunny Bonito; Caribbean Music Farm, and Code Red Band will all bring great Caribbean entertainment to stage.
So bring yuh rag, bring yuh flag, and wear comfortable shoes, because the entertainment on the Main Stage will keep you dancing until 10:00 p.m.
Over some 18,000 patrons will partake in this family-friendly event which promises to be bigger, better, and spicier with a merging of succulent jerk foods, authentic cultural presentations, and first class entertainment, in what will be another exciting Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival.
The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival is presented by Publix and Digicel and Sponsored by Western Union, Air Jamaica, The Jamaica Tourist Board, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, WAVS Radio, Hot 05, TeleAmerica, Jamaica National and VitaMalt. The event is produced by Jamaican Jerk Festival USA, Inc., in association with Jamaica Awareness, Inc.