Fifteen budding culinary artists across the island copped the top prizes in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) 2021 Jamaica Culinary Arts Competition.
The JCDC hosted a virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday, July 13, to announce the competition finalists who have been awarded gold, silver and bronze medals and certificates of merit for their entries into the competition.
Entries were received in five categories, namely Batters & Doughs; Wedding & Celebration Cakes; Traditional Jamaican Dishes; Knife Skill Techniques for Vegetables; and the newest addition, Recipe Writing.
The JCDC had designated 2021 as the ‘Year of the Mango’ and contestants were encouraged to utilise the ingredient of the year in their dishes.
Commissioner of the JCDC, Nancy McLean, expressed her pride in the presentations of the finalists and commended their commitment to the competition.
“Indeed, it has been a challenging year; however, you have sought to make sure that you are a part of this competition. Those of you who came on board, you triumphed and you executed well. I saw how enthusiastic you were in going about, especially during the period when you had the various workshops. When I looked and saw how many came on board, it was truly amazing,” Ms. McLean said.
The successful finalists were awarded gift packages, trophies and medals, courtesy of the JCDC; kitchen appliances, utensils, gift vouchers and gift baskets, courtesy of the competition’s sponsors, and cash prizes from the competition’s main sponsor, Excelsior (Jamaica Biscuit Company Ltd.).
For her part, JCDC Culinary Arts Development Specialist, Jane Jerry, encouraged the finalists and culinary aspirants to begin their preparations for next year’s staging of the competition, which promises to be bigger and better.
“Next year, 2022, is Jamaica’s 60th and if you should go back to the handbook, you will realise that next year is the year of the breadfruit. So, you can start from now. Explore breadfruit, explore what you can do. Do your research, try your recipes, come up with creative ideas. We want to see a lot on display, because it is ours. Utilise it in more than one way,” Ms. Jerry encouraged.
The main focus of the competition is to continue the development of Jamaican cuisine while preserving the country’s rich culinary heritage and promoting the talents and creative abilities of local culinarians.
Each year a locally produced food item is highlighted to help stimulate the creativity of participants, while raising awareness of the many uses and versatility of local produce.