Jamaican cuisine to take centre stage at Gastronomy forum in Thailand
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett gets cooking lessons.
Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett has left the island to participate in the 4th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in Bangkok, Thailand. While there, the Minister will participate in a cooking demonstration of Jamaican cuisine.
“Thais have expressed that they are excited about the prospect of Jamaica’s Run Down, coming to compete with their Rengdang. While we were talking about the cuisines in South Korea recently, they asked us to look at the two and have a cook-off. So, I agreed on the condition that at the end of the demonstrations we create a new cuisine that is a fusion of both the Rengdang and Run Down, which we can call Jamdang,” said the Minister in a news release.
The Minister explained that he first noticed the similarities in the Thai Rengdang and the Jamaican Run Down while at the last UNWTO Gastronomy Forum, which took place in San Sebastian, Spain.
“We saw a cooking presentation from the Thais last year which struck a note. When we looked at the Rengdang closely, we noticed that they used coconut cream to make a sauce for mackerel – similar to the way we prepare Run Down. So I knew that in Thailand, Jamaica would have to be represented in the presentations,” explained the Minister.
He further noted that the fusion of the two cuisines could create a new market for local manufacturers and culinary experts in the Asian economy.
“I have talked about it with some of our producers here and they are excited about it because it has the potential for us to create a new line of products for a new fusion cuisine that may be popular in Jamaica and Asia – which is the new frontier of wealth and power. It’s an exciting prospect to have Jamaica inserted in that narrative from a culinary perspective,” said the Minister.
In preparation for the cooking presentation in Thailand, the Minister received lessons from the Executive Chef of the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Mark Cole with assistance from Grace Food’s Chef, Andre Sewell.
The Minister received the official invitation to participate in this year’s forum from UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili and the Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul.
The forum is an opportunity for leading experts in gastronomy tourism to discuss currents trends and challenges in the sector, exchange best practices and inspire discussion on intercultural dialogue, gastro diplomacy, and the importance of technology for sustainable gastronomy tourism.
During the forum, the Minister will be joined by Head of the Tourism Linkages Network, Carolyn McDonald-Riley and Head of the Ministry’s Gastronomy Network, Nicola Madden-Grieg.
The Minister is expected to represent Jamaica at the high-level round table discussions on May 30. While Mrs. Madden-Grieg will give a presentation of successful initiatives and best practices in Gastronomy Tourism at the UNWTO’s member panel discussions, on the following day.
The theme of this year’s forum is ‘Harnessing the Power of Technology and Community Tourism as drivers for a Positive Global Impact.’ Minister Bartlett explained that his Ministry’s Linkages Network is ‘leading the way in this regard with the development of several gastronomy-themed mobile applications’
“We have embraced gastronomy tourism as one of the driving elements of bringing in more visitors to our destination. More countries across the world are also moving to Gastronomy Tourism in a very strong way and Jamaica as usual, has to be on the cutting edge. We feel that we can develop it even more, by using more technology,”
While in Thailand, Minister Bartlett will also use the opportunity meet with Asian Ministers regarding Multi-Destination Tourism.
The Minister and his team are expected to return to the island on June 1, 2018.