While the jet-ski racers are heating up the action during the East End Surf Challenge on 26 January, there will be some spicy happenings on-shore that spectators will discover to be their cup of tea.
It’s the Flowers Bottled Water Fish Tea Cookoff, to be exact.
The driving force behind the Challenge, Shane ‘Nobee’ Edwards of Team 2Frenzied, is very passionate about the event, now in its seventh year.
‘Not only did I grow up with it, I can cook fish tea as well,’ said East Ender Edwards. ‘People all over the district made the tea; it was a crucial part of the social gatherings and parties.
‘I can remember it always being on hand during the famous New Year’s Eve parties in the district. What a time!’
Edwards is not by himself in touting the beneficial aspects of this tasty liquid. There are those who swear by its positive enhancement qualities long before the advent of Viagra and Cialis.
Profoundly enough, those who did partake of the tea were known to ‘walk late at night’ or had to be tied to the bedpost in order to control their urge to seek nocturnal adventure.
So what exactly is this that makes one strong and everyone agrees is good for you?
Edwards said: ‘It’s a combination of fish and staple ground provisions with spices which are boiled down to a soupy texture.
‘Certain fish are preferable. For instance there is the snapper and kingfish (wahoo), but the best of all nutritionally is the grouper.
‘In fact, the people of East End were known to be strong, possessing a lot of endurance and the word was that their staying power could be attributed to the fish tea, which mainly featured the grouper.’
Add to it those mainstays of cassava, yam, green banana, pumpkin, sweet potato, and cho-cho cooked down in coconut milk and seasoned with black pepper, salt, thyme and season-all and you’re on your way.
Those who attend on race day will be able to sample the fish tea and be part of the Flowers event simultaneously.
The entrance fee is a package deal whereby the buyer will be issued a ticket, making them eligible to sample the tea cooked by the various competitors.
At a specific time, judges will circulate among the pots of tea to choose the tastiest concoction.
Prize money of $250, $150 and $100 will be awarded to the first three places along with a trophy.
The fourth prize is a ‘people’s choice’ award which the public will determine.
After they sample the tea, spectators vote their choice on the ticket to determine the winner.
Edwards hopes that the 2009 renewal, in its familiar venue of the Heritage Field in the district, will be the biggest and best.
His aspirations are looking good at the moment, since he already has commitment from seven competitors: Eastern Star Bar, Pirates Cove Bar, Dixon’s Surfside Plaza, Huswell Rankine, Chris Conolly, Donnie Dixon and Billy McLaughlin (Culture Catering).
The average of cooks is eight and Edwards has yet to hear from the other districts, but is optimistic that there will be entries from around the Island.
Gates will open at 10am on 26 January, which is a public holiday and the official celebration of Heroes Day. It’s the culmination of a weekend packed with activities starting on Friday 23 January with the Total Togetherness Concert from 9pm-2am.
On Saturday and Sunday, the sailboats take to the water to contest the Capt. Leroy Watson Regatta held in the late East End mariner’s memory.
The 2009 East End Surf Challenge is sponsored by CayCompass.com, What’s Hot magazine, Massive Equipment Rentals, Naya Wear, First Impressions, Derm’s Equipment, Cayman Concrete Pumping, Winner’s Circle Sports, Coconut Car Rentals, Automotive Art, Morritt’s Tortuga, Cayman Screen Print and Hot 104.1 FM.
For more information on the East End Surf challenge, go to: www.surfchallenge.ky.