The State of Emergency had pushed the food industry's big night back to coincide with the music industry's big night (well, one of them anyway), but much as we appreciate the Killer and wish him well, for TD the choice between Dancehall and fine food was a clear no-brainer, more so given the presence of 3-Michelin starred master gourmand Marco Pierre White on hand.

The rain threatened at the start and later intervened. although thankfully at the end of the formal presentations, and even then, only briefly - more of a blessing than a bummer and with the wet interlude over, the eating, drinking tasting and applauding made famous in the Awards promo line resumed in earnest and as TD departed the venue approaching midnight, things were just winding down. 

All in all, it was another applause-worthy effort form Awards Conceptualiser and Observer Lifestyle Editor Novia McDonald-Whyte and the event team. On entering the grounds, the layout was considerably more appealing than in previous years and not only for the presence of the ATL Autohaus team with their gleaming Land Rover Audi and Jaguar vehicles on show. Some wondered about the inclusion of luxury autos at a food event, but for us the mix worked fine, and with the formalities over, ATL founder and head honcho Gordon Butch Stewart could be seen trying out the "merchandise" coaxing some sweet notes out of the more than willing 2.0 litre engine in the Audi A5 coupe

Appetizers, desserts and generally lighter fare were grouped together along with the drinks (with a few exceptions) with Tru-Juice, Caribbean Producers and Cafe Bleu ready to slake the thirsts of patrons. They all played second fiddle however to the Royal Plantation pavilion: Their Paradise martini wins our unofficial poll for the best "effin" cocktail of the entire show. In the wine category, Bin 26 and several of the hotel exhibitors poured great vino, but our hearts and palates were stolen by the New York-based DPEC Partners, whose Algogdon range - Malbec and Bonarda varietals each offered a thrilling symphony of
flavours, complemented by the genuine warmth and insouciance of principals Keith, Lauren and Karen.

On the eats side, Garry Ferguson's whole roasted pig, the cured pigtails from Best Dressed Foods, Colin Hylton's cheesecake, Denise Forbes' divine tiramisu and theplum pudding (Christmas cake) - made from packaged mix - by newcomers Annilu were among the s

Indeed, all were outstanding, and the large turnout validated the event's position at the pinnacle of the still emerging modern Jamaican lifestyle and cultural cosmos.

Source: TurboDonkeycart