Jamaica will host its first international food festival, The Jamaica Epicurean Escape (JEE), November 29 to December 2, 2012 in St Ann. The four-day event will include different types of activities at three different venues targeting different markets.
It will kick off on Thursday 29 with a black tie dinner, an exclusive, high-end affair which will be catered by a team of Jamaica’s best gourmet chefs and will be held at the UDC’s (Urban Development Corporation) Roaring River Great House. Proceeds from this event will finance a foundation which will target the feeding of needy Jamaican children and will also support the development of young and upcoming chefs. On Friday 30, the action will be on Main Street Ocho Rios which will host restaurateurs and street food vendors against a backdrop of music and entertainment. The main event is on Richmond Estate in Priory, St Ann, from Saturday to Sunday and will host some 80 Jamaican chefs as well restaurants and food vendors.
Marcia McDonnough, managing director of Touchstone Productions and team leader of the JEE project elaborates on the concept. “Although Jamaica is well known for its delectable and varied food offerings, and while we do offer many food events, we do not currently have a sophisticated, international food festival such as the likes of the Aspen Food Festival, South Beach Food and Wine, and so on. We feel that in light of the island’s 50th anniversary year celebrations, the time has come for this to change as we are a prime destination to offer a world-class food event. The festival will bring together the best of everything local and international in the food industry; chefs; food; music. It will feature classy sidewalk cafés and lounges in themed zones within the festival grounds. In addition, it will feature unique and exciting food and table displays, show cooking, demonstrations and symposia. A fully manned Youth Village will offer interesting edutainment for children while giving parents the chance to enjoy the offering. The weekend will be a one of a kind experience for all ages, visitors and locals.”
Miss McDonnough went on to explain that the Jamaica Epicurean Escape is being developed as an annual signature event that will harness Jamaica’s culinary and cultural appeal and thus provides the ideal vehicle for promoting the island to foodies at home and abroad.
The event will have the benefit of an intensive marketing campaign both locally and among the Diaspora as the patronage of some 10,000 foodies worldwide will be targeted to come and enjoy the offerings of food an entertainment at all JEE events.
To facilitate attendance an integral element will be a shuttle service that will ferry patrons from central points across the island to and from the event. In fact the JEE experience begins on entering the vehicle that will transport the guests. Karen Peart of Y Stress, the official concierge partner of the JEE who will also manage the transportation programme, noted that “driving long distances can be stressful and tiring so we believe that stress-free travel arrangements can only bring added value to our guests.