November 14, 2014
Lukka Kairi, one of the newest restaurants on the food scene will soon open its doors to the public, and it wants to do so with the best Bahamian food possible. As such, the restaurant's principals recently hosted what was known as the Great Bahamian Cook-off to find the best recipes out there to help determine the final menu for the soon-to-be-open restaurant.
Hundreds of entrants submitted samples of their signature dishes in six categories -- peas 'n' rice, macaroni, conch fritters, Johnny cake, fried fish and guava duff. After an adventurous elimination round, each category was left with the top five entrants who all converged at Choices Restaurant at the Culinary Hospitality Management Institute (CHMI) to prepare their signature dishes from scratch for a panel of judges.
The surprise hit of the day were the amateur entrants from CHMI, who won three of the six categories. Darleen Johnson's macaroni was a hit with not only the judges but the other chefs as well; Ruby Marie Nottage made a mean conch fritter, and Aliea Rolle's Johnny cake had judges begging for a good stew to go with it.
"I'm ecstatic and just overwhelmed with joy to have the best macaroni in The Bahamas," said Johnson.
For Nottage, it would not have been a success without family support.
"I'm in shock, but I'm glad that I won," she said. "I want to thank everyone here, especially my assistant, my Aunty Rhonda and my teachers."
Winning the event was more than a reward -- it was a boost of self-esteem for Rolle. "I feel pretty good about winning. I wasn't as confident in the beginning but now I'm very excited."
Tony Clarke took the fish category; while Michael Turner, a veteran baker, claimed the guava duff division. Jason Johnson took home the award for best peas 'n' rice.
Now under construction in Downtown Nassau, Lukka Kairi which is anticipated will be the hottest all-Bahamian restaurant overlooking Prince George Wharf will give patrons not only a great view of the harbor, but an authentically fantastic Bahamian experience.
The cook-off was a great experience for Lukka Kairi Executive Chef, Alpheus Ramsey, who credits his mother's cooking with getting him into the industry.
"I loved my mother's cooking -- that down-home, Family Island flavor. That's what I'm looking for and I'm finding a lot -- the dry conch... the salt beef. Some folks have their own twist, but the basic flavors are there, and that's what counts," he said.
Deriving its name from the native tongue of the Lucayan Indians, the country's first known inhabitants, the Lukka Kairi Restaurant promises to boast a 100 percent Bahamian look and feel from the entrance to the balcony and beyond. The restaurant's owners are ensuring that their patrons have an authentic, yet high-end, Bahamian experience. Completely designed and outfitted by Bahamian carvers and craftsmen, Lukka Kairi will transition from an upbeat atmosphere during the day to a more relaxed and contemporary facade in the evening.
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November 13, 2014
The First Crop of Papaya from the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) in North Andros was presented to the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie at the Office of the Prime Minister, November 12...
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November 03, 2014
Fresh off his showing at the Food Network Concert at Ravinia event, Chef Simeon Hall is on the move again -- this time he's headed for Florida to participate in the Publix Jerk Cook-off and Celebrity Quick Fire Competition.
At the heart of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival will be the exciting, super-charged cooking competitions. The 13th annual event takes place on Sunday, November 9 at Markham Park in Sunrise, Florida, during which time pro chefs and amateurs will bring the spices and the flavors.
Hall will compete in the celebrity cook-off during which he will have to prepare a meal that features the technique of jerk, using Grace spices. He will have 30 minutes to produce the meal and has no idea what ingredients he will have to use.
He is confident going into the cook-off, having learned the techniques of traditional jerk through his travels around the Caribbean - including Jamaica, where he worked.
"Having picked up the influences of the Caribbean, I consider myself a Caribbean chef, and not just a Bahamian chef," said Hall. "The influences are all intertwined."
The competition won't be a "walk in the park" for Hall who is known to "paint culinary masterpieces. He will be going up against Haitian chef Vicky Colas, the 2012 Caribbean Chef of the Year in the quick fire challenge. Colas' highly acclaimed cooking style has been described as "sweet, exotic and bursting with flavor. Her food is said to be a portrait of [her] love".
Cook-off organizer June Minto said it will be fun to watch who will emerge the winner when Hall and Colas do battle in spicy Jamaican jerk style.
Hall will also demonstrate a fried bread recipe that he said all Caribbean countries have in some shape or form. The Bahamian traditional fried bread, according to Chef Hall is Johnny "Journey" Cake, which, he said, was traditionally fried in a skillet before people starting placing them in baking pans.
At the Miami competition, he will transform Johnny Cake into a savory island donut filled with smoked jerk pork glazed with honey goat pepper. It's a recipe he worked on last week while in Grenada and which he said worked well.
"I think it's going to be fantastic," he said.
"The competitions will be fierce, intense and maybe even cut-throat [but] at the same time participants having loads of fun," said Minto, who is also one of the festival organizers. "This year's Celebrity Quick Fire Challengers will wow the crowd with their culinary competency. Just imagine Bahamian and Haitian cuisine fusion with the number [one] spice in the world -- jerk."
Hall, who was invited to participate in the cook-off, said that, for him, the invitation meant that The Bahamas was finally getting recognition in outside arenas.
Hall is encouraging Bahamians living in Florida, and those who will be visiting that weekend to attend the event en-masse to lend their support.
"It's a huge event, so I encourage people to come out. And even though it's Jamaican-centric, it's a Caribbean event," he said.
Consul General Franz Hall and newly elected representative of the Diaspora Board, Wayne Golding will duke it out in the Celebrity Quick Fire Challenge. There will be no room for diplomacy in this fierce cook-off.
Publix Cook-off defending champion Jimmie Jackson will go up against newcomers, chefs Rocco Nankervis and Andre Walker, along with two other competitors.
Other cooking demos will come from Sandi Morales, fitness lifestyle coach and author of "Recipe For Life", a vegetarian/vegan cookbook. Other judges include Chef Chad Cherry from Bring Organics Back, who has cooked for President Barack Obama, and Hilton Hotel Executive Chef Nicole Rhone.
In keeping with the family-friendly nature of the festival, organizers have included a cooking competition with children nine to 12 from the City of Tamarac's "Cooking for Kids".
"We have added this new element to the cook-off area as a way to get the kids even more involved in the festival. And, it's also a means by which they can show that they can create wonderful dishes too," said Minto.
The festival has also partnered with Joshua's Heart, a charity founded by a Joshua Williams with the mission to stomp out hunger. For eight years, Joshua, who is now 13, has been working to ensure the less fortunate in Miami have food. To help in his quest, organizers are encouraging patrons and their children to bring a non-perishable food item to the festival. Joshua, along with volunteers from the Partners for Youth foundation, will be on-hand to accept the gifts. For a list of items to bring and to learn more about this charity, visit joshuasheart.org.
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November 03, 2014
For entrepreneur Gina Mortimer-Storr and her daughter, Raeh Williams, mixing business and sweet treats is in their DNA. The producers of Sugar Rush 2: The Original Sweet Feast are descendants of Ulric Mortimer, Sr. of Mortimer Candies fame. And while their last name is synonymous with confectionery treats, the pair has taken their family's business model to a new level.
"We launched the first Sugar Rush in 2012 as a way for small, mostly home-based confectioners to showcase their products to a broad consumer base and capitalize on a target audience before the busy holiday season," said Williams, co-owner of Sugar Bay Events, the company behind Sugar Rush 2.
On November 2, Harbourfront Lounge, next to Green Parrot, will transform into a dessert paradise at the second incarnation of the sweet food fest. On tap to showcase their treats at Sugar Rush 2 are Mortimer Candies, Gramma's Treats, Da Bahamian Vegan, the Tart Man, Bake Bahamas, Lexi's Sinful Treats and Pop-Stop (frozen treats). Jack Daniel's Honey will provide a sweet buzz with samples. Patrons can also look forward to giveaways and prizes from Dairy Queen and Outback throughout the event. There will also be the Sweet Spot kids corner, where young bakers can decorate cupcakes or make their own candy-flavored lip-gloss.
"Through Sugar Rush 2, entrepreneurs from bakers to candy makers can reach a captive audience without extensive capital output," said Mortimer-Storr. "With each event, the demand is evident. Vendor spots were practically filled out in less than a month," she said.
The entrance fee of $4 includes free cotton candy for kids. Sugar Rush 2 runs between 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
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October 17, 2014
The metro Atlanta area got a chance to see how to cook a Bahamian meal when Maurice Randal appeared as guest on a top rated NBC affiliate show...
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September 20, 2014
The annoying thing about Dorie Greenspan is that no matter how much you don't like to bake, aren't good at baking, don't even want to bake... If you listen to her long enough, you'll find yourself hankering to get your hands into some flour, certain even you can whip up some laborious, glorious baked treat. Her can-do attitude is that infectious.
It's okay to hate her just a little bit for it.
Luckily, Greenspan's latest cookbook, "Baking Chez Moi" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014), has little tolerance for time -- or skill-intensive baking. The idea for it came from the realization that even in France -- the country from which much of her culinary inspiration is drawn -- home cooks lack the time, tolerance and skill for anything but simple home baking.
"Real French people don't bake! At least they don't bake anything complicated, finicky, tricky or unreliable,"she writes in the book. "Pastry, the fancy stuff, is what pastry shops are for, and France has plenty of them."
We spoke with Greenspan recently and asked her what desserts Americans are too intimidated to make at home, but really should. The lesson, of course, is that the more you bake, the better you bake. She suggests picking a handful of easy items to master.
"It's really great to have these basic building blocks that you feel really good about and confident about.
And then you can play with what you're making. Then the pleasure of baking is doubled," she said.
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September 18, 2014
On June 27th- 28th 2014, Chef Jamall Petty, host of the “Island Flare” television show, in conjunction with the Sandals Foundation, Johnson & Wales University...
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August 28, 2014
10 lucky winners to vie for grand prize...
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