Downtown Kingston’s Waterfront is the official home for Jamaica Food and Drink Festival events like CRISP, and on Friday, October 28, 2022, this proved to be true or in this case, the proof was in the sauces.
The torrential downpour earlier in the evening did not stop the outpour of attendees, as some patrons were even spotted with their umbrellas to battle the weather, in the event that it would start raining again. There were shuttles that transported us from the carpark to the venue, which was literally just a few feet away.
Upon entering, I saw the signature colourful directional sign that showcased the chefs on the show this year and exactly where to go to find them. I immediately pulled out my phone and started recording when I looked up and saw the most colourful display of tiny flags which was a nice touch. It gave that “international food festival vibe” and with the fairy lights added, it was like I have transported to the Miami Food Festival or something foreign.
Jamaica Food and Drink Festival 2022 | CRISP Review
Chef Theo Smith- Great House Caterers
The first stop of the night was Chef Theo of Great House Caterers who introduced his dish Spicy Octopus Spring Roll with Curry Coconut sauce — I am not a lover of spicy food, but this worked. Octopus is one of that seafood that must be perfectly complimented with something quite spicy to balance its natural saltiness and avoid a “fishy” taste. It was a delight and excited my palate and was sort of the prelude for what was to come. I eventually went back for seconds before the night ended.
Chef Samantha George
Not too far from Chef Theo, was Chef Samatha George whose line was long and sort of meandered throughout the entire area but trust me when I say, the wait was well worth it. On the menu was Crispy Pepper Cajun Shrimp and Roasted Cream Corn Souffle with Caramelized Sugar and Butter. There was so much happening with all these flavours, but they all worked well together and took me on a flavour journey that started with the sweetness of the corn souffle, then spicy with the Pepper Cajun Shrimp, and somewhere between all that, was savoury — I’ve never tasted anything like this and it was definitely an experience.
Chef Jacqui Tyson
I was really excited to sample Chef Jacqui Tyson’s dish as I ran into her the night before and was bold enough to ask if she would be a part of the festival and she said “Yes”. On the menu was Crispy Fried Sesame Crusted Salmon with a Trio of Sauces— Scotch Bonnet Aioli, Sweet Child, and Classic Mornay. I ain’t gon lie, this was my favourite meal of the night. I liked the texture of the salmon and how crispy it was and the way it was cleverly balanced by the sauces, I also got two pieces to sample which was amazing when compared to the serving portions of the other dishes.
Between the food, there was a live DJ and also performances from local artists. This was a great addition to create a sort of dichotomy between the Food and Drinks and helped to add much-needed vibes to the atmosphere as it encouraged participation from the patrons with whoever was on stage.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to try the other meals as the lines were extremely long but I’m sure they were all amazing. I was in fact able to sample the offerings of Rainforest Seafoods, a sponsor of the event, but wasn’t too pleased with the presentation. I feel it could have been more creatively done and an interesting spin could have been done on the traditional “Fish and Bammy”.
- Come out early! With Food Festivals, people are excited to eat as much as they can and will want to try everything! I recommend going out at the start of the event which in this case was 7 pm. After a while, the lines were extremely long and some moved a lot slower than others as food started to run out and the Chefs has to prepare more.
- There also needs to be proper signage and directions when leaving the venue, especially since a part of the road was blocked off for the event. A few of us took a wrong turn and ended up in the middle of ZOSO ( Zones of Special Operations) which was quite daunting. The minute I saw the flashing of the Police vehicles, I saw my life flash before my eyes. We were escorted out of the community by an Officer who drove ahead of us all the road to Cross Roads.
All in all, a good time was had and I’m already excited for next year’s staging of the event and to interact and enjoy the offerings of the chefs that will be participating.
From October 26th – 30th Kingston’s bold cultural energy comes alive. The capital cranks up the heat, literally, firing up the grills and setting the cityscape ablaze with anticipation. Experience the vibrant flavours of our cosmopolitan cuisine, and the smooth sensibilities of our spirits, and revel in the masterpiece that is our uniquely Jamaican vibe at the World Culinary Awards Best Culinary Festival 2021. OVER 40 CHEFS, 5 FLAVOURFUL EVENTS, 1 UNFORGETTABLE FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE
FLAVOUR. VIBES. KINGSTON
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