Explore Unique Caribbean Flare at Grace JerkFest
There is nothing quite like the mixture of spice and smoke on the palate like you get with a traditional jerk cooking.
Now in its 17th year, is built around the unique flavours of Caribbean culture, particularly the jerk style of cooking that is native to Jamaica. The Festival takes place August 10 th to 12th at Centennial Park in Etobicoke; preceded by a Boat Cruise on August 9th . “Jerk cooking is not only delicious, it is historically and culturally important to the Caribbean,” says Anthony Plummer, Executive Director of the Festival. “Today it is more than just a flavour from the islands. Jerk food can be found pretty much anywhere around the world. At Grace Jerkfest, we’ll take you back to its roots with some unique twists and variations that honour traditional jerk cooking and seasoning.”
The Jerk style of cooking was developed by escaped African slaves who fled into the mountainous regions of Jamaica in the 17th century. While variations exist, the seasoning is basically allspice with scotch bonnet peppers providing the heat to a meat that is slowly smoked over hardwood charcoal.
When the Festival opens this year, here are the top five items you must see:
• The Grace Food Experience Tent — This mouthwatering journey is guided by Chef La-Toya Fagon who will be preparing scrumptious dishes in her unique style that fuses her Caribbean roots with some Mediterranean flavours.
• Unique Jerk Creations — Explore jerk in a whole new way. While jerk is typically enjoyed with chicken or pork, sample it at Da House of Jerk with jerk rabbit, jerk crocodile and jerk lobster, or at MJ Catering which has jerk frog’s legs on the menu.
• Meet & Greet Boat Cruise — Kicking off Grace JerkFest is an excursion on the exquisite double-decker River Gambler on August 9th. Dine and dance under starry skies during a three-hour tour on Lake Ontario, and have a chance to meet Canadian R&B songstress Melanie Durrant and legendary Jamaican reggae duo Chaka Demus and Pliers. Setting sail from Pier 31 in downtown Toronto’s harbour, enjoy a great evening before the festival begins at Centennial Park.
• Ladies of Soul — The third annual Love & RnB edition features former American Idol, Grammy Award-winning and platinum-selling artist Fantasia, with an opening performance the Juno-wining Durrant. They will take the stage on August 10th.
• Platinum Garden Experience — Spoil yourself with the festival experience that caters to you like no other. Secure reserved seating right in front of the stage, including a delicious jerk chicken dinner, two appetizers, two alcoholic beverages, swift access past lines at the Festival gates, a Grace JerkFest gift bag, a meet and greet with festival headliners, and a chance to win a three-night vacation for two, accommodation only, compliments of Travellers Beach Resort Jamaica & Caribbean Promotions Arts & Culture Inc.