Jul 27, 2010

Delectable Observer Food Awards 2010

Kingston's premier food event delivered big-time.

As you will see from our 3-min video clip shown below, the East Lawn of Devon House was magnificently transformed thanks to the combined talent of Miss Melanie Miller, Event Planner extraordinaire, FORM ARCHITECTS - Chad Lim-Sang & Damian Edmond and of course the Jamaica Observer team led by the event's conceptualiser, Ms. Novia McDonald-Whyte.

Parking was a breeze and efficient shuttle buses set the tone for an enjoyable evening.

Beautifully decorated tents immediately got our attention which segued to luxury cars on display by ATL Motors that used the event to promote new additions - Audi, Land Rover and Range Rover to their fleet. It was a match made in heaven. Many dreams now include a white, hard-top Audi Coupe. Awh! Once we moved on from salivating over that sweet 'ride' we got busy with sampling wonderfully crafted fare and ran into new and old friends.

First honors - the Sandals booth. No detail was spared at the elegant, white-themed Sandals booth and their interior designer punched up art deco napkins to complement the Chef's food fusion on a plate. The favorite dish among my group, hands down went to the pan-seared Chilean sea bass with red curry sauce and grilled asparagus. It was cooked perfectly with fish that melted like butter.

We hopped over to Royal Plantation for seafood. Enormous sea-crab legs, lobster and seafood gumbo were on offer but settled on oysters. While at the Oyster Bar, a light drizzle ensued and happily hung out feasted on copious amounts of oysters and special sweet sauce. Yummy!

Pit stops were made at True-Juice's booth for Calico Jack, Jamaican rum punch; Truck Stop Grill for succulent jerked chicken followed by home-made tiramisu from Denise Forbes. Just one word came to mind with Denise's dessert - MEGALICIOUS!

Since the evening was pretty hot strategically placed WATA coolers with bottled water were sought after along with Haagen Daz ice-cream. Personal favorite macadamia nut brittle was made available and my gosh, with one scoop, all was well with the world.

Courtesy visits were paid to Nicole's Sweet Temptations and Chocolate Dreams whom both displayed sumptuous goodies - miniature cupcakes and chocolate truffles, respectively. Fruitopia returned from 2009. Growth and development in bouquet presentations were evident and look forward to seeing more from them in the future.

Our next food expedition was at University of Technology, The School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. Manned by pleasant students, their displays including fruit carvings, knowledge of food and innovation were impressive. Stuffed breadfruit rolls and beetroot cheesecake stood out. Congrats to team U-TECH!

For my friends and I, the best new food item at 2010 Food Awards was pigs tail from Jamaica Broilers (JB). *Hold up* Pigstail? JB does pigs tail now? Yes, yes and yes. I must confess I am not usually fond of pigs tail and often opt for sans meat or with salted beef when having Jamaican comfort food such as stewed peas and red peas soup. However since pigs tail was so highly recommended by just about ALL at the event, I tried it. Cooked by Jacqui Tyson's catering team, From Thought to Finish, I am a newly converted steamed pig's tail-eating human being. It was cut similar to oxtail, with bones pressured just right and served with honey barbecue-esque sauce. More please. To my non-pork eating friends: I say beware - it looks similar to Jamaican oxtail.

The Bahia Principe hotel chain had a flamenco dancer on hand to showcase a variety of tapas and traditional Spanish desserts inclusive of rice pudding and fried apple dumplings with dark chocolate.

Our final booth visit was to the Bacardi Mojito stand. The light, pleasant and unique-flavored mix was memorable and should prove to be popular. Order at your next Jamaican bar outing. Complete listing of the 2010 awards, please click here

General Event Comments: -
  • Booth Directory - This would have been a great plus to aid and inform patrons about various booths on-site.
  • Misting fans were overlooked for the event. Cooking inside tents contributed to the heat that was felt throughout the evening. Many patrons visibly perspired from booth to booth as hair and clothing clung to bodies and uncomfortable faces. WISYNCO's WATA bottles and Haagen dazs ice-cream were in high demand.
  • There was a noticeable decline in chic, niche-market food products as observed at previous years. Instead many hotels, medium and large-sized businesses, with established brands, were present. Don't get me wrong established companies are a lovely add however start-up elements coupled with new brands add an innovative dimension esp. for local and international Foodies who are always on the prowl for the next epicurean 'find'.
  • Despite concerns about the increased entrance price among locals, the event was well-supported. Bookmark this annual event and make reservations for your next trip to Jamaica along with friends. As a price point guide, MEG recommends to budget for approx. US$175 to US$185 per ticket. With advanced 1-year savings, this event is worth every penny and then some.
Overall, congratulations JAMAICA OBSERVER and cheers to 2011! Hoping for Japanese Iron Chef Morimoto or the ebullient, molecular gastronomic Chef, Jose Andres :-).

- Megaliciously yours

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