Chef Lawrence was a prestigious judge at last year’s 10th annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival; this year however, he wanted to be in the action of the ‘HOT’ kitchen, which is why he entered himself as a chef participant. He knew the competition would be strong, but was confident he had the goods to take the coveted Gold Dutchie and win the title of Publix Jerk Cook-off Champion. With family of Jamaican and Cuban descent, Chef Lawrence flaunted his Caribbean roots and along with his 14 plus years of cultivating and mastering various cooking techniques incorporating a myriad of Caribbean products. The chef says, “I am blessed to have grown up in a vibrant diverse NY (Queens) community, tasting great home cooked West Indian meals. This instilled in me a heightened awareness of seasonings, an increased appreciation of spices and a greater understanding of how to blend food with spices to create flavorful dishes”. Chef tries his best to be a culinary Caribbean ambassador to people who’ve never had the pleasure of tasting island flavor!
Chef Lawrence dazzled the judges this year with his three offerings. Each chef had 30 minutes to prepare an appetizer, 20 minutes for a salad and 40 minutes to serve an entrée. This year’s mystery ingredient was fresh Basil. Chef Lawrence’s appetizer was a grilled jerk chicken blue cheese & basil slider. He served up a jerk guava rum BBQ sauce to accompany along with a cucumber/pineapple relish to cool the pallet.
For his salad offering the chef prepared a grilled jerk Maine lobster and tangerine salad, marinated in a citrus vinaigrette dressing served over watercress basil minted greens. For his final plate he prepared pistachio/plantain crusted red snapper served over coconut, basil and jerk scented tri-color Israeli couscous. Lawrence also grilled asparagus spears which were tossed in a jerk compound butter. He then made another unique sauce to accompany the fish which was a scotch bonnet papaya jerk coulis to finish. Having had some extra time, chef made the judges a refreshing cocktail to cool them off on a warm day.
Chef Lawrence paid tribute to Grace Foods Jerk sauce by incorporating their products into all his creations on the day of the event. He unashamedly says, “why not use a tried and true product that I grew up eating as a youth and still use today in my kitchens. I used their Jerk sauce and my creativity, to transform a dish and make it uniquely new, possibly one that no one has ever tasted before, I hope! Now that’s a recipe for success". Chef Lawrence will be back next year to defend his title with his trusted assistant Chef Felix at his side.
If you’d like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview with Chef Lawrence please call 561-376-8837 or email Chef Lawrence at firstname.lastname@example.org.