Top chefs and celebrities will bring lots of heat to The Publix Culinary Pavilion at the sixteen annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival on Sunday, November 12 at Markham Park. Hosted by “Taste the Island’s” Chef Irie and Food Network’s two-time “Chopped” champion Chef Andre Fowles, activities will include cook-offs, culinary demos, and celebrity competitions by notables such as Chef Alain Lemaire, a contestant and runner-up on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen Season 8, and Chef Roderick Smith of Jacks Diner.
Local10 Weekend News Anchor, Todd Tongen, will be defending his title against Jamaica’s Interim Director of Tourism Donnie Dawson in the Celebrity Quick Fire Challenge. This has developed into an intense rivalry with a lot of trash-talking by both contestants. Last year Tongen defeated Miss Jamaica World Ashlie Barrett to walk away with the trophy and bragging rights.
“We’ve enhanced this year’s Publix Culinary Pavilion with a dynamic lineup of chefs, coming together to add more excitement to our competitions and culinary demos,” shares June Minto, Managing Partner, and coordinator of the Publix Cook-off Pavilion.
As the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival continues to grow, new experiences are added. For the first time in the Festival’s history, three female judges will decide the winner of the cooking competitions – Chef Chrissy Benoit, Chef Treisha Hall, and wine expert and sommelier, Shari Gherman of the American Fine Wine Competition. Patrons will also be treated to some mouthwatering cooking demos by Chef Max Hardy, author of the Rohan Marley Cookbook. Another enhanced experience this year is audience participation with a lucky person getting the opportunity to ‘play’ in the kitchen with Chef Irie. Attendees can also enjoy giveaways such as Publix gift cards and a variety of Grace products.
The Publix Culinary Pavilion is just a fraction of the entire experience that festivalgoers can expect on November 12. The concert stage will feature live performances by Morgan Heritage, Tarrus Riley, King Yellowman & the Saggitarious Band, Ken Boothe, Leon Coldero & Code 868, and Code Red Band. There’s also the Party Pavilion, Kids Zone, the Western Union Cultural Stage and the Fuzion Sound Stage. Tickets can be purchased at JerkFestival.com or at local authorized ticket outlets throughout Dade and Broward County.
The 16th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival is presented by Jamaican Jerk Festival USA, Inc. in association with Partners for Youth Foundation. Sponsors are Grace Foods, Publix Supermarkets, Western Union, Guinness, Sprint, The Jamaica Tourist Board, Greater Ft. Lauderdale Visitors & Conventions Bureau, WAVS 1170, National Weekly and South Florida Times.