Local celebrities, professional chefs and amateurs will fire up their grills and compete for cash, prizes and bragging rights in the Jerk Cook Off, one of the many activities scheduled to take place at the inaugural staging of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival – New York, presented by Digicel, on Sunday, July 24 at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens. The producers of the highly successful and popular Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival in Florida, Jamaican Jerk Festival USA, Inc. has partnered with VP Records to stage this exciting family-friendly festival in New York.
Well, what exactly is a jerk cook-off? The jerk cook off is a competition that brings a number of celebrities, professional chefs and aspiring amateurs together in competition, to see who can create the most seductive and satisfying spicy treats to tantalize the taste buds.
Participants are required to provide everything they need for cooking, and each entrant must prepare any three dishes from four categories. The obvious categories are jerk chicken and jerk pork. But there is also a seafood category, and a fourth that includes beef, mutton, lamb, vegetable or vegetarian items such as tofu or veggie meat.
Contestants will be awarded points on presentation, chef’s appearance, neatness of work area, taste, texture and tenderness of their food, and the “want more factor”, as they concoct an array of drooling jerk recipes, imbuing the New York air with a collage of aromatic herbs and spices, guaranteed to tease your taste buds. To the victor go the spoils, $500 in cash and the prestigious Dutch Pot trophy, runners up and third place finishers will be awarded $250 and $100 respectively.
Adding to the culinary presentation will be Grace Cooking Expert, Chef Mazie Miller, showcasing the use of the brands products in creating several tasteful jerk recipes. South Florida-based celebrity chef Irie Spice (Hugh Sinclair) will also perform creative cooking demonstrations and sampling for patrons. Irie Spice has won various awards for his cooking skills, and he has appeared on NBC 6 Today Show in South Florida and ABC’s channel 10.
“I have observed the excitement and the passion that this event generates”, coordinator of the competition June Minto commented. “Our competitors return to compete, not necessarily for the cash but for the fun they have doing this, and I am sure New York will be an incredible experience”, she continued.
Vendors and competitors always come up with creative new ideas, and in the past, the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival has showcased menu items such as Jerk rice, jerk burgers, jerk tofu, jerk lobster, jerk ice cream and jerk popcorn. And this year, patrons attending the event in New York will have an opportunity to sample some of the culinary treats.
The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival will truly be a family fun day with performances by Brawta Folk Singers, Something Positive and many more on the Cultural Stage. The Main Stage will feature Freddy McGregor, Agent Sasco (Assassin), Serani and comedic duo Ity and Fancy Cat, plus giveaways and contests for patrons. Children will have their own fun zone with rides and a video arcade, and a domino tournament will also take place at the festival.
Advance tickets are $20 and available online a JerkFestivalNY.com and at selected outlets including VP Retail store. Kids 12 and under will be admitted free. Day of event tickets will be $30. Gates open at 12:00 PM and the fun and gastronomic experiences continue until 8:00 PM. So come early and bring the entire family for a day of food, fun and music!
The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival is presented by Digicel and sponsored by, Western Union, VitaMalt, Air Jamaica, VP Records, Irie Jam Media, WBLS, WLIB, Caribbean Life and Jamaican Jerk Festival USA, Inc.