Jerk Fest cooks had their game face on

Last Saturday’s Jerk Fest 2010 was
won by Steve Smith, who works in IT at Walkers, and Chef Ron Hargrave. For Mr.
Smith the win was particularly gratifying, since he’d also won last year’s inaugural
event.

“We were both delighted to have
been voted the winner in this year’s Jerk Fest, especially against such a
competitive field,” said the defending champion.

“I have always loved cooking
outdoors and having surprisingly won last year’s contest… It was great that
the enhancements to the recipe this year from my team mate Chef Ron were
favoured by the judges.”

The event at Grand Harbour
attracted roughly 250 people and raised $1,800 for the National Council of
Voluntary Organisations.

The culinary fest, which started at
noon, featured the jerk creations of eight teams, all intent on impressing
visitors and walking away with first prize, including gifts from sponsors, and
a year’s bragging rights.

Visitors, many who came on an empty
stomach, paid $10, grabbed their tasting cards and got down to the serious job
of eating the sample-sized portions of hot and spicy jerk pork, chicken and lobster.

And who better to have provided
entertainment during the event but local band Heat?

Hell bent on trying jerk from all
the stalls, gourmands went from booth to booth comparing the taste of the
jerked fare each received. Many also came away with jerk meals, which were on
sale from some of the teams.

Smokin’ Bros – Cody Bush and Jimmy
McLaughlin – walked away with second prize, losing by just 10 votes. Cimboco Restaurant
tied for third with Al La Kebab and Miss Annie Ivarine’s Jerk.

Mr. Bush, the owner of a boutique
IT services business and Mr. McLaughlin, an investment manager are both avid
home cooks. Although reluctant to give away their tasty recipe, the pair said
that their Jamerican jerk sauce was made specifically for the competition.

Mr. Bush and Mr. McLaughlin prepped
55lbs of pulled pork and 40lbs of chicken, which they smoked for 18 hours,
North Carolina-style, using cherry wood chips as a smoking agent. “I heard
about it last Thursday and asked Jim if we could join forces, have some fun,
make some good food and help a charity,” Mr. Bush said. The team also provided
visitors with samples of homemade coleslaw, barbecued baked beans, cookies and
blueberries.

“It was a well-organised event and
people took its seriously and had their game face on,” Mr. McLaughlin added.

Unluckily for late comers, the fest
ran out of food before 5pm, two hours before its official end time, due to the
heavy demand.

Janice Wilson of the NCVO said,
“Z99 and Rooster 101’s… Jerk Fest hosted by Brick house was really popular.
Everyone enjoyed the free samples from Grace, as well as the food. Drink
specials from Appleton & Heineken cooled everyone down on what was a very
hot day, made even hotter by the tasty jerk dishes. We’re grateful for the
public’s support for the NCVO’s Children’s programmes.”

FEATjerkfestSTORY

Michael McLaughlin of Al La Kebab.
Photo: Submitted
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