Jamaica Food and Drink Festival — a burst of flavour in the nation’s capital

The fifth annual staging of the Jamaica Food and Drink Festival (JFDF) is making its way across the Kingston Metropolitan area. While revelling in patrons’ overwhelming support for the series of food events, the JFDF hosted its International Media Mingle at the exquisite Terra Nova Lounge and Bar on Tuesday (Oct 29.)

The Mingle’s festive mood was punctuated with guests enjoying signature cocktails, and some, investing themselves in the unique hors d’oeuvres being served.

Festival Director, Alicia Bogues, shared with BUZZ that since its inception in 2014, the company is elated to have garnered the capacity to attract international sponsors such as VISA.

Jamaica Food and Drink Festival, Director, Alicia Bogues

“In year five, we are really happy because we have a presenting sponsor, VISA, and you know, we are just getting our feet wet with this collaboration and it is the start of a long partnership. We are really. really happy that we can attract international companies to see the strength and potential in this project,” she shared with delight.

She noted that the efforts made by the JFDF are intentional, as it seeks to re-energise Jamaica through its creative industry, while generating international attraction.

“In five short years, the Jamaica Food and Drink Festival has catapulted one of the most noted national events in the island and that is deliberate in trying to drive inbound travels and allow locals alike to enjoy,” she told BUZZ.  

“We want to allow people to enjoy Kingston in a new way. Nowadays, when people travel they want to consider food, authenticity and culture. A huge part of who we are as Jamaicans resides and resonates in Kingston as the country’s capital and JFDF has offered the festival tourism to kick off and showcase all that,” she added with exuberance.

The JFDF reached out to different bloggers across the world to join them as they embark on a journey that will redecorate Kingston, Jamaica into a never seen before entertainment hub. One such blogger was Erica Key who is a food blogger – EatingWithErica who resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

Food blogger, Erica Key

She shared that the JFDF had reached out to her on the premise of the recommendation made by one of her followers.

“The Jamaica Food and Drink Festival reached out to me. I was recommended by a follower and they (The JFDF) looked me up to see that I was legitimate and everything and they extended an invitation,” she said.

She added that through JFDF, it has allowed her to develop an intimate relationship with the island and its unique culture and she can’t wait to divulge what she had garnered with her over 22 thousand followers on Instagram.

“I just love the cuisine here! You can taste the passion, the soul, the love and the food and I am really excited to document it and show it to my followers,” she added.

“I am really excited because I love Jamaican cuisine. So, I am really excited to meet some chefs, some great mixologists and just find a different love for Kingston,” she added.

We also spoke with Chef Patrick Simpson, a Jamaican native – originally from Clarendon – who now practises his craft internationally. Simpson says he’ll be bringing his own unique element to the event he’s slated for.

Chef Patrick Simpson

“I will be doing the Picante night and I am representing WalkersWood, as I am their brand ambassador. This is now my second year doing the festival and I am bringing the spice and the flavour. I am doing jerk shrimp and chicken fried rice and I am also doing a vegan vegetarian dish,” he shared.

The BUZZ team will continue to track this year’s JFDF and bring you all the juicy details.

Tell us in the comments what are your favourite events and dishes from this year’s staging?

Andre is a final year student at the Caribbean School of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) pursuing a bachelors degree in Journalism. He is particularly fervent about the areas of food, pop culture, lifestyle, entertainment and politics.