May 26, 2011

Smashing, 2011 Foodie Seminar in Jamaica

Hi! We are back with a post about The Observer's Foodie Seminar. Jamaica's #1 newspaper for 'Everyday Matters' along with event sponsors offered the seminar FREE of cost to Food and Beverage-industry people. The event was very informative, inspirational and well-supported. This year's guest presenters were: -
  • Food Network Canada's Everyday Exotic, Roger Mooking;
  • Kingston Live Entertainment Group (KLE);
  • Paula Kerr-Jarrett, Event planner and attorney-at-law and
  • Main Event Limited

In honor of Roger Mooking's Trini roots at this Jamaican event, steel pan music and reggae beats arranged by Dave James (Island Boy) were used as background music for our 3-min video blog. Rock and Dip. Grab a bite. Enjoy!

Read more about the presentations: -

Roger Mooking
Roger Mooking with Ed Khoury, C.E.O of Jamaica Observer
The engaging chef and musician was born in Trinidad and Tobago and migrated at 5years old with his family to Toronto, Canada. Roger Mooking is the first chef to have a direct deal with Food Network and will also be co-hosting an upcoming food show called 'Heat Seekers' with Chef Aaron Sanchez (best known from Chopped). NOTE: Roger is arguably the first Caribbean chef to enter the Kitchen Stadium for an Iron Chef battle. The episode will air this Sunday, May 29th (Save the date!!!).
  1. Mooking's immediate family had a 'hand' for cooking and he also possessed the 'will' to want that special gift, had the 'desire' for it and was similarly blessed.
  2. Like Oprah, Roger Mooking believes one ought not have as many blessings and not share it. "After all, helping people is what life is about!" This motivates him.
  3. While honing his culinary skills, Mooking had a negative interaction that fueled his ambitions to do great things. (Oprah-styled, baby). His personal story reminded the audience to persevere despite obstacles and naysayers, keep an eye on 'the prize', 'practice, practice and practice' and 'help' people as much as possible. As a testament to his success Everyday Exotic (on the Cooking Channel) is now 3years old and broadcasts to approx. 400million persons across the world. 
  4. Without a doubt, Roger Mooking has broken the 'glass ceiling' and is a role model for Caribbean people. His pearls of wisdom to culinary aspirants included "Peeling bags of carrot builds character!", "Be the best and undeniably so" and "If you don't love it, GET OUT!"
  5. Mooking is just as passionate about his cooking as he is with his music. That's right the Caribbean national is also a recording artist who performed with the late James Brown and now wants to be a lifestyle brand. To make this a reality, Roger recently signed with Chris Smith Management Inc and Odessa Chambers, a successful entertainment executive and Jacqui Sinclair (Juicy Chef).
As a take away we asked Roger Mooking "How can we make Caribbean food 'hip' and healthy without compromising flavors?" His response: "Moderation and balance are key. Use what makes the food tastes good and if it's the last meal, man, it better be great :-)" Roger can be contacted via twitter @rogermooking or

KLE Group: Creation of Tracks and Records (T and R)
KLE presenters: Gary Matalon, Tina Myers-Matalon and Kevin Bourke

The KLE team photographed above spoke on the brand creation of Kingston's casual dining restaurant, Bolt's Tracks and Records (T and R). [Please note the team also includes their friends, Ard Jarrett and David Shirley]. With an idea kernel, KLE put into motion a series of extensive planning and research that comprised of food and beverage franchise discussions. Armed with a concrete plan they approached Usain Bolt who frequented their nightclub, FICTION (another KLE brand). A quick reminder for our readers, Usain Bolt is the world's fastest athlete who has to date 4-million face book fans! 
  1. A successful deal was brokered with Bolt having equity stake in T and R. (% undisclosed)
  2. Together, they broke ground in Oct 2010 and a creative audio-visual presentation of the construction phase was shown. 
  3. KLE values technology and integrated a high-technology system equipped with internet connectivity for social media access (twitter, face book and 4square check-ins), photos, touch screen menu and ordering in the contemporary-designed space. Today, T and R is the first location outside of the U.S.A to have the technology that is revered by families especially kids. This is to be congratulated esp. since T and R understands the power of social media networking tools and has set the platform to connect efficiently and effectively with their targeted audience. This no doubt will fuel brand longevity.
  4. The casual dining spot is the only place in Jamaica that offers Draft Guinness. Other popular menu items include jerked chicken roll, island nachos (delightful helpings of green plantains, cheese and jerked sausage) and 'swims' (a play on Jamaican culture).
  5. Michelle Rousseau, of Ciabello, is behind the menu design and food offerings at Tracks and Records.
  6. KLE also partnered with Food Consultant, Bill Moore, who is known for work done at the Bahama Breeze restaurant chain (Darden Restaurants, Inc) and Round Hill Hotel.
We believe T and R will be the place to be for viewing the London 2012 Olympics and have opted to leave the details  about Bolt's Tracks and Records for a separate food blog. Will keep you posted. Until then we suggest that you visit Kingston's newest restaurant soon. (Connect also via twitter handle @UBTandR) Can you guess their television screen size?
Main Event Limited: Event styling using cutting-edge technology
Attendees were wowed by Solomon Sharpe's pre-recorded greeting via several LED displays throughout the room. This was complemented by effective sound and lighting and interactive touch screen monitors. 

The Solomon Sharpe-led Main Event team. Perfect for your event needs inc LED lighting and sound
Using a team of young talent, Kingston-based Main Event has clients throughout the Caribbean region including Bahamas, Haiti and DR. They are known for getting the job done quickly and well for clients with small and large budgets. See more about Kingston's best kept secret here  SPECIAL NOTE: Main Event has promised a surprise showing of cutting-edge technology at this evening's food awards. Don't miss out. Be seated at 6:30p.m
Paula Kerr-Jarrett: Seven successful steps to entertaining
This Montego Bay-resident is a trained attorney-at-law who loves entertaining. While studying in London, Paula took a course at Cordon Bleu where she discovered the essence of events was about planning. We also share her sentiments that "excellence is in the details." This Observer article  beautifully recaps Paula's tips for successful entertaining. We must say her delivery was spectacular and hastily recommend that our readers attend any engagement that notes Paula Kerr-Jarrett as speaker/presenter.

Paula Kerr-Jarrett with the Observer's Novia McDonald-Whyte and Ed Khoury
In the Q and A segment Kerr-Jarrett offered a fantastic approach for the following: - 

And what is to be done with professional crashers? 
PJK: Be open. When planning an event make room for more. If it is a great party, you did your job given that 'word' got around and your party is worthy of 'crashing'.

How does one handle the issue of foreign objects in a meal when dining out with a group you'd like to impress? 
PJK: Don't panic. Try to diffuse the situation.

Handling guests invited to a function when there are friendship issues with some persons
PJK: Don't get into politics. Do not 'uninvite' guests! If your job as host is done well maybe the people with issues will become friends. 

Now that's what we call the art of diplomacy. Cheers to Paula Kerr-Jarrett, a class act!

Simply put the 2011 Foodie Event was a smashing success! Congratulations to Novia McDonald-Whyte and the Jamaica Observer team. We are so grateful for having had the opportunity to attend. Willing the best for even more sponsors and an even bigger budget for 2012 when Jamaica celebrates its golden jubilee. All roads now lead to Devon House, Kingston for The Observer's Food Awards Ceremony this evening for a fine display of gastronomic island treats. Do contact The Observer for tickets at (876) 936-9576.

- Megaliciously yours

Jan 26, 2011

'Taste More' Johnnie Walker Blue/Black Label w/ Thai Cuisine: Part2

On the social scene lately I have observed an increasing number of persons, mainly young gentlemen, becoming more discerning about their premium liquor selections. Single malt Scotch whiskey, Glenlivet, Johnnie Walker Blue but more often Johnnie Walker Black are their top choices. Many a time, the cardinal 'sin' has been spotted. What 'sin'? Mixing ultra premium alcohol with Red Bull or adding milk to what's sure to massacre super-smooth whiskey. *gasps*

What's the best way to experience Johnnie Walker Blue versus Johnnie Walker Black?
Well this 'Taste More' invitation would see MEG getting the answer from
Johnnie Walker's Regional Brand Ambassador, Arturo Savage

on his maiden trip to the world's 3rd coolest country - Jamaica. Arturo flew over 14hrs from Scotland to attend this exclusive function held at Kingston's newest lounge on Constant Spring Road, The House. The lounge was perfect for this tasting as it felt as though we were
inside Arturo's personal living room.

Winford Williams [On Stage], Safia Cooper, Levaughn Flynn, Tony Patel, Fern Elise ( and 
Chris Reckord (Bin 26) were some guests of the Diageo Team 
Teika, Levaughn, Safia, Arturo and Latoya: The Diageo team at The House
Arturo's charming personality shone through as we got a deeper  appreciation for Blue Label and Black Label whiskey. Complimentary appetizers - Spring Rolls with sweet dipping sauce, Chicken skewers and Hot Wings were also served. Thumbs up to The House for their delicious finger fare!

At the end of the 'Taste More' presentation, MEG had a chance to talk with Arturo.
MEG with Diageo's Arturo and Teika Samuda
Photo credit: Fern Elise,  [Thanks Fern!!!]
MEG: For our readers, what is the defining difference between Blue Label and Black Label?
AS: Black Label is no better than Blue than Blue is better than Black. The difference is in the occasion :-) For that once in a lifetime occasion (the birth of a newborn, a loved one's graduation or wedding) select Blue Label. For that everyday celebration with friends, then you'll find Black Label gives you so much more. You see Johnnie Walker just depends on the occasion. [What a brilliant answer! MEG - is a new convert :-)]

MEG: How does one truly appreciate this smooth yet complex scotch?
AS: Blue Label is hand-blended and best enjoyed in neat*. [*Poured directly from the bottle with no ice or mixer] [Politely whisper to any one you see doing otherwise]

Depth of layers in Black Label gives it more flavours and makes it the #1 Deluxe scotch blended whiskey! This smooth, whiskey captures the best of both east and west coast whiskies and is best enjoyed one layer at a time.

Photo credit: Fern Elise,
Arturo Savage shared various ways to explore the Black Label experience. They are: -

1. Chilled mouth* serve: Highlights the rich, fruity flavors, honeyed-toned smooth and silky east coast whiskey. 
[*Straight serve of Black after chilling the mouth w/ water]

2. The Black Ice* Serve: Brings out the light, fresh flavors - floral and fruity [* Black label over ice]

3. The Water* Serve: Releases the iconic, peaty notes of powerful whiskies that help to create a unique blend with distinctly deep and smoky flavor.

    4. Black Ginger: Add Black Label with Ginger Ale 
and shake over ice. Garnish with a twist of lime.

[Photo credit: Fern Elise,]

For your next ladies night out occasion - Get into Black Label Mojito by adding Black to the classic Cuban cocktail,
• 1oz Johnnie Walker Black Label
• 0.5 oz simple syrup
• 0.5 oz peach schnapps with 2 leaves of mint
• 1 splash of sours mix
• fresh lime juice
Add the above and shake over ice. Garnish and serve.

'Go Deeper into Black': The Johnnie Walker Pavilion @ Jamaica Jazz Festival Jan 27-29

• Be sure to stop by the Taste More bar to meet Arturo to have an engaging and fun-tasting, fine-whiskey experience. While you are at it ask the truth about men in Scottish kilts (wink).

From Arturo we learned, Johnnie Walker is for every occasion and immediately envisioned having Johnnie Walker Black with authentic Thai cuisine. Off MEG went to telephone friends. "How about an evening with friends for a 'Black Thai' combo? The delivery style would be fashioned from a Khantoke dining experience." All were intrigued by the idea and must confess they are often open to being 'epicurean guinea pigs'. In advance of the 'Black Thai' dinner, through this blog, I will share more about the idea and what to expect.

KHANTOKE. High on my bucket list was a Khantoke dinner in Thailand. The Old Chiangmai Cultural Center lived up to my expectation and then some. Northern Thai delicacies were served on a wooden tray while visitors were treated to cultural dances including performances by the Karen and Lahu hill-tribes.
The audience was captivated by beautiful cultural clothing especially by 'the golden fingernail' dance, 'chicken' dance and the 'stick' dance. [The latter reminded me of a childhood Jamaican game  played with stones with lyrics "finger mash nuh cry memba ah play we ah play". Except in this instance 'stones' were 'bamboo sticks']. Of the eight (8) delicacies served at the Khantoke, gingery Pork proved to be my favorite dish. 

Dessert: Crispy rice cakes that were light and tasty. The meal ended with Thai Green tea (optional).

Sea Siam is one of my favorite Thai restaurants in Miami (off US -1, Perrine area). Fried fish Thai-style with sweet chili sauce [Plaa Nin Prik Bai Horapa] is customary as is spring roll when doing Asian with me. In the heart of Bangkok, Sukhumvitt Road, my friends and I secured a table for four at the Red Pepper Restaurant where our gastronomic journey began. The fish was fresh, delicious beyond description and perfectly cooked. One would easily be 'duped' into thinking there was no deep fat frying in oil. Here's the recipe!

Fried fish Thai-style with sweet chili sauce [Plaa Nin Prik Bai Horapa]
The fresh taste of sweet basil with fried fish is amazing [Serves 2]
10oz Whole Fish (scales and fins removed)
Enough oil to deep fry the fish.

2 tbp oil
6 gloves - garlic - crushed
1 onion - chopped
5 red chilies - thinly sliced
1 big green chili - sliced
1 tbs fish sauce
1tbs soy sauce
1/4 c, 4 tbs chicken stock
3/4c, 3/4oz sweet basil leaves
1/2 c, 1/2 oz coriander - chopped

METHOD: Deep fry the fish in very hot oil until it is crispy on both sides. To make the sauce, put the oil into a wok and add the garlic, onion and chilies and fry until then garlic starts to brown. Then add the fish sauce, soy sauce and chicken stock and fry for 1minute. Add the basil leaves and stir - fry well to combine. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce over the fish. Garnish with coriander.

Give the above a try and as usual post comments about your experience. Join us next Wednesday when we will continue our food finds from our Thai trip and report on this year's Jamaica Jazz Festival. We wish TurnKey Productions and performers (on the small and large stage), well. Here's hoping Jamaican treats will be enjoyed by Regina Belle, Maroon5, SWV, Air Supply (given their 3rd occasion) and more.

Megaliciously yours,

Jan 20, 2011

Authentic Thai cuisine, Sights and Recipes: Part 1

South East Asia is the home of beautiful people, fashions, sights, scenes and delectable food.  Thailand in particular has extremes - very good to very bizarre foods. In this our inaugural Thai cuisine blog series, I will leave your discovery of the arguably very bizarre to Andrew Zimmern (The Food Network Channel) and invite you to see his Bizarre Food episodes in Thailand. I will say this much - in sections of Thailand, catching lizards and eating them are deemed to be yummy. It got me thinking. Jamaica and other Caribbean islands have 'croco-lizards' and many people are ghastly afraid of them. Ding ding! For the entrepreneurs out there, that is a business opportunity right there. How about exporting some Caribbean lizards to Thailand? Those fat and crawly lizards would be seen as exotic :-) Tip:
Careful balance would however be recommended to ensure the mosquito population in the Caribbean does not increase.
So in focusing on the very good of Thai cuisine the fundamental components are important to understand. There are five (5) tastes: - 1) sweet 2) sour 3) salty 4) spicy and 5) bitter (many opt out). When done correctly, balance is achieved in almost every plate and or throughout your meal. This harmony in food I believe has been influenced by Buddhism (the religion practiced by many Thai people).
with a Buddhist priest - Grand Palace, Bangkok
I had the good fortune to join friends in Thailand where we visited three (3) states -  Bangkok (the city), Chiang Mai (borders Laos) and Phuket ('touristy' by the Andaman sea). Each area charmed us. The people remained the same - warm and the food - special in every way. My friends and I love Thai food and enrolled at the internationally renowned Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School.  

At the home of Sompon Nabnian (Thailand's International TV chef) we were taught our first authentic and one of the most popular Thai dishes - Green Curry with Chicken (Gaeng Kheo Wan Gai). Since then I have done it at dinner parties and most recently at my New Year's Eve Potluck party. On every occasion it is a 'hit' and will happily share the recipe. First of all, it is easy and you too will be able to do it from memory. Ingredients are available at your nearest Asian grocery store. In Kingston, Jamaica visit Fresh Approach Asian supermarket on Constant Spring Rd (beside New Line Cars) or Loshushan's supermarket (Barbican Center). 

  • 1 1/2 c, 10 oz chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 c of thick coconut milk, set aside 2tbs to use as garnish
  • 1 c thin coconut milk
  • 4 tbs green curry paste
  • 3 big egg plants, cut into 1/2" pieces (sometimes I substitute with bamboo shoots)
  • 1/2 c small egg plant
  • 2 tbs palm sugar (brown sugar works too)
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces discarding the stem (regular lime leaves works)
  • 1 c sweet basil leaves
  • 1 big green chili, sliced
  • 1 big red chili, sliced
Put the thick coconut milk into a wok and fry for 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously, until the coconut oil begins to separate out. Then add the green curry paste and fry for 1-2 minutes. Once the paste is cooked add the chicken and cook until the outside of the chicken turns white. Then add the thin coconut milk and when it is boiling add the big and small egg plants.

Simmer for about 4min until the egg plants are slightly soft. Then add the palm sugar along with edge of the wok so that it melts and add the fish sauce, lime leaves and half of the basil leaves.  Turn off the heat and serve garnished with green and red chillies, the remaining sweet basil leaves and the remaining thick coconut milk. 
Recipe Credit: Sompon Nabnian

Well there you have it folks, the first Thai dish I learned. Give it a 'go' tomorrow or this weekend with family/friends. Thai night should be good. Let me know how it went. Your comments are always welcomed. Join us here to learn more about my Thai trip including a Khantoke dinner (meals are served on a wooden tray while being entertained with a cultural show) and how 
to do fried fish Thai style with red, sweet chili sauce (see above).
- Megaliciously yours, 

Jan 17, 2011

Best Food Blog Award and more

Ladies and gentlemen: We won the best food award! We could not have done it without YOUR support along with the St. Andrew Old Girl's Assoc. We are humbled. The best is yet to come. Keep connecting with us here. If new we hastily offer a warm welcome and invite you to subscribe to our blog :-) 

Winners with Miss Jamaica World.
Photo credit: Sam Tomlinson

The JamaicaBlogAwards was created by 23-year old Corve DaCosta. Let me tell you attracting 276 blogs in Jamaica coupled with landing NCB, LIME and Jamaica Pegasus as sponsors was an amazing feat. The awards has made an indelible mark and has brought awareness to lesser known micro-businesses such as ours. We take this opportunity to say "thank you" to Corve and his team for a good first showing. Heartiest congratulations to all nominees. We are all winners!


Blogging isn't always easy. It requires discipline to do consistent and timely posts for which we pale in comparison to Ingrid Riley's Silicon Caribe - winner of the best Technology blog and Blogger of the Year awards. The good news is: We will be stepping up our game and will be aiming to frequent Nell's Cafe (Grosvenor Terrace) for wi-fi connection, lunch, celebratory drinks (like the iced sorrel beverage shown below), poetry nights or just because the customer service is superb!

In 2010, we connected with like-minded entrepreneurs, clients and generally sweet people via social media networking tools. Here are some successes: -

What to expect of us in 2011? 

  1. Look out for our Megalicious Plantain tarts, Coconut macaroon cookies, twisted whole wheat bread and baked goodies at CariHome Supermarket, Upper Manor Park Plaza, Kingston 8.

  2. We will continue to have an Upcoming Events list in our blog posts.

  3. Recommended grocery items, tips and or our usual Food Trivia

  4. Revamping our blog by converting to 

  5. More food, more food and more food :-)

    Although we are small, corporate social responsibility is important. We have therefore thrown our support behind the JMDaily Heroes calendar and video project that seeks to highlight the positives about Jamaica and her public servants starting with the Jamaican fire fighters and the Police. Calendars are NOW AVAILABLE.  

    Chris Barrett (Global Courier Servs) w/ Francois St Juste (FAME-FM) & Dean Fraser (Awesome Saxophonist) 

    Contribution: Only J$500 (in Jamaica) and US$9.95 (outside Jamaica). Part proceeds are in aid of a slain cop's 10 year old son and the Fire fighters homework program for kids in Rollington Town & Trench Town. They would like to replicate in more communities. Every calendar purchase helps!

    Kingston, Jamaica

    1. Copy Cat  - Loshusan's Barbican Center

    2. FORM Architects - Technology Innovation Center, University of Technology

    3. Global Courier Services - 23 Lady Musgrave Rd, Kingston 6

    Join the JMDailyHeroes Face book page for more details and for a chance to win prizes from their 20+ sponsors.

    - Megaliciously yours,