DIG IN! Girlfriends hanging out and sampling the fare at the Devon House-hosted event.
The sprawling grounds of Devon House were teeming with culinary mavericks and the foodies who love them on Thursday, as the food industry paused to honour its peers at the lavish Jamaica Observer Food Awards, now in its 19th year. Of course, the ticket price was not for the faint of heart, but this is the region’s premier food event – and a Jamaican cultural landmark, to boot – so it’s worth every penny.
Naturally, Food Awards Chair, Novia McDonald-Whyte, was in her element, as she graced the podium to announce the year’s big winners. There were plenty of highlights. The Norma Shirley Award for Restaurant of the Year went to Sugar Mill Restaurant. Celeste Gordon was named Outstanding Caterer. Best Food Product awards went to Essential Food Jamaica (for the Thalia’s Flavoured Oils) and Turner’s Innovation Ltd. (for the Turner’s Candied and Dried Sorrel).
The coveted Best Jamaican Restaurant was scooped up by M10 (award accepted by uberchef Claudette Tenn). Observer Managing Director Danville Walker presented Nestlé Jamaica’s Daniel Caron with the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart was on hand to greet Karl Hart, proprietor of the iconic Pantry Playhouse & Caterers, recipient of the Chairman’s Award, for over 50 years of “stirring the pot.”
This Just In!
Devon House keeps adding to its impressive cache of accolades. The venerable Hope Road landmark has been officially declared Jamaica’s Gastronomy Centre, an appointment through which tourists and other interest groups will be able to experience the country’s culinary offerings via packaged tours. According to resourceful tourism minister Edmund Bartlett, this is just the start of a major effort to revolutionize the culinary/cultural/heritage tourism landscape. Says Bartlett, “The government is expecting to collaborate with tourism partners to boost the number of quality food festivals and constructively integrate food experiences with existing flagships.”