It`s All About Jerk For Caribbean Chef
CaribWorldNews, MIAMI, FL, Fri. Nov. 6, 2009:
Caribbean-born Chef Helen Willinsky developed an interest in the tropical fruits
and vegetables used in the region`s flavorful cuisine at an early age and this
weekend she will share her take at the 8th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival
gets underway on November 8 at Markham Park in South Florida..
Growing up in Jamaica, a former British colony, Willinsky
says she always thought that British cooking was `pretty dull` and so she turned
to local products to create one-of-a-kind tastes that are delicious, interesting
and perfectly balanced.
After completing high school in Kingston, Jamaica,
Willinsky trained at the Ecole Hoteliere in Lausanne, Switzerland. She spent
several years cooking professionally in Europe before returning home. In 1978
she emigrated to the United States bringing the secrets of the island recipes
with her and founded Helen`s Tropical-Exotics.
She sees herself as was the `originator` of bringing the
dry jerk seasoning to the United States to chefs and American consumer. Helen`s
Tropical-Exotics includes authentic jerk dishes of all kinds as well as
marinades, pastes, sauces and seasoning capture the zest and excitement of
In 1990 Chef Willinsky published `Jerk from Jamaica` and
in 2007 released a completely revised edition that begins by explaining exactly
what jerk is – `an authentic Jamaican method of cooking pork, chicken, seafood,
beef, fruits, and vegetables over a fire pit or on a barbeque grill` – and how
it`s seasoned (in general, a combination of scallions, onions, thyme, pimento,
cinnamon, nutmeg, chilies and salt).
She first explains how it`s done in Jamaica (where jerk
huts can be found everywhere), then demonstrates how these recipes can be
adapted to a kitchen or backyard grill. Recipes for jerk rubs, dry seasonings
and marinades are included in the first chapter, as well as a list of
traditional Jamaican ingredients, like breadfruit, a large starchy
To order visit Amazon.com or go to: www.helensjerkseasoning.com
or catch Chef Willinsky in South Florida by getting a ticket to the event at
Here are two of Chef Willinsky`s American adapted recipes using
her favorite spice.
Coleslaw and barbeque make
great companions. This version adds spice to give it a taste of
4 cups shredded cabbage
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Helen`s Dry Jerk Seasoning
In a large bowl
combine cabbage, carrots, and walnuts. Set aside.
In a separate bowl mix
together mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, and seasoning.
Combine the cabbage
mixture with mayonnaise mixture.
Mix well. Cover and refrigerate (at least
30 min) before serving. Serves 4.
Sauteed Mushrooms a la
1.5 lbs sliced mushrooms (approximately 4 cups)
1/4 cup olive
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon Helen`s Dry Jerk Seasoning
1 teaspoon fresh lemon
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley (optimal)
In a large
frying pan melt olive oil and butter together in medium heat.
Add onion and
saute until slightly softened (approximately 2 min).
Add mushrooms and
increase the heat. Saute until mushrooms become soft and produce quite a bit of
liquid and are rich and brown in color (approximately 5 min).
Add the white
wine and Helen`s Dry Jerk Seasoning.
Continue cooking until most of the
liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are perfectly coated.
Parsley and serve.
And Demos Add Spice To Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, November 8, 2009,
Published Oct 29,
Jerk cheese, jerk peanut butter, jerk caviar? Why not? Find out how and be
the first to sample some of the most creative jerk inspired dishes at the 8th
Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival on November 8 at Markham Park in the city of
The cooking promises to be hot and spicy as the Publix Jerk Cook-off pits
celebrity chefs against each other in a quick-fire contest. Patrons will get a
real treat when the celebrity cook-off gets under way with big-name
personalities such as NBC television broadcaster Sharon Lawson, 103.5 The Beat’s Vanessa James,
Rodney Baltimore of Hot 105, and WPLG 10 news reporter
Terrel Forney. The fun, and some serious cookin’, will begin when the clock
strikes and the celebs choose their favorite ingredients. Then it’s up to the
judges, to taste and crown the best celebrity chef of them all.
Hot and Spicy
“The Publix Jerk Cook-off pavilion is always hot and spicy
and full of excitement”, says June Minto, festival food and competition
coordinator, adding, ‘last year we had several celebrity contestants and judges;
this year will be no different”.
In fact, cooking demonstrations will be led by some of the industry’s best
known chefs. Irie Spice (Hugh Sinclair), always in demand and recognized for his
culinary flair across South Florida; Helen Willinsky, jerk aficionado, owner of
Helen’s Tropical Exotics, and successful cookbook author; and prominent chef and
top ranking participant on Bravo television’s Top Chef program Sara Mair, will
show patrons the limitless uses of jerk and officiate the big competition of the
The Publix Jerk Cook-Off heats up with ten participants who know seh fi dem
jerk a di bess. With all the ingredients they will need at their fingertips, the
expectant jerkers will show off their culinary skills to the renowned judges who
will make their marks based on taste, presentation, attire, and the ‘want more
factor’. With bated breath and satisfied taste buds, judges will declare the top
winner who will walk away with the $1500 first prize and the coveted Dutch Pot
award, indeed a mark of distinction among Caribbean
Over in the Grace Kitchen, patrons will also get in on the food arts with
cooking demonstrations featuring some of Grace Food’s newest products. Get ideas
for lunch box snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and formal meals from Grace’s cooking
expert Chef Mazie Miller. You might even get a chance to stir the pot at this
hands-on cooking station.
Stir the Pot
Get your tickets early for the much anticipated largest
Caribbean food festival in the United States. Remember, organizers have held advance
ticket prices at last year’s level -- just ten dollars, available online at www.jerkfestival.com or at selected
Caribbean outlets. Day of event tickets will cost $20 at the gate. Children ten
years and under will be admitted free. Special all inclusive VIP packages are
available through the festival office. Bring the whole family and make it a day
of jerk, fun, and entertainment.
The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, presented by Publix and Air Jamaica, is sponsored by Western Union, Digicel,
Tobacco Free Florida, Toyota of Hollywood, The Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica
National Money Transfer, and County Line Chiropractic Centers. The event is
produced by Jamaican Jerk Festival USA, Inc., in association with Jamaica Awareness,
Note: All prices in US Dollars
Customer Feedback and Testimonial
"I've tried many marinades, and Helen's marinade penetrates the meats like no other"
Charlie...Atlanta, Ga. "Jerk Festival" Sept. 2009