Jerk Festival to display Jamaican Culinary Delights, Culture

By Dennis Kabatto – Out of three dozen major food and wine festivals in New York during the month of July, the Grace Jamaican Jerk Fest stands out as the most ethnic and culturally diverse.

4th annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival flyer

4th annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival flyer

“We are excited to present the fourth staging of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, “New York’s Biggest Caribbean Food Festival,” said Anthony Turner, media marketer and event publicist in a statement.

Because of the festival’s huge and vibrant musical component, many people tend to confuse the food festival for a musical concert.  But event publicist Turner was quick to rectify the misconception saying “It is important to stress this is not a music festival but a food festival that feature various facets of our Caribbean heritage including our music and fashion.”

“One highlight of the festival each year is the jerk cook off competition where Top chefs and celebrities battle for the championship. On the musical side, reggae star Maxi Priest, Etana and Mr. Vegas will deliver exceptional performances on the main stage while the Braata Folk singers and other acts will deliver performances on the cultural stage that will appeal to every member of the family,” Turner added.

At last year’s intense Celebrity Jerk Cook-Off, former New York City Public Advocate and current Mayor Bill de Blasio out jerked “Cool Runnings” star Leon Robinson to win the coveted championship.

Festival organizers announced Wednesday that two Americans, Food Network’s finalist Chef Max Hardy and Chef Nelson Gason would compete to create the most fiery Jamaican jerk recipe to win this year’s prize.

There are three consolation cash prizes for the Jerk Cook-Off contestants, winner of the Dutch Pot could receive $500 while $200 for the Silver Dutch Pot and $100 to win the Bronze Pot.

Earlier last week, event coordinator Richard Lue during an in-studio radio interview on No Questions Asked radio show on WBAI, 99.5 FM said that an estimated 16,000 patrons would attend the festival this year.

Lue reiterated the atmosphere to expect at the festival, “The festival is definitely a family-friendly event, so it has something for every member of the family to enjoy, from the cook-off competitions to the traditional and folk presentations on the cultural stage and the music.”

The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival NY could be a great way to experience Jamaican culture and heritage outside the island of Jamaica.