By mid Sunday afternoon, patrons were ready to treat their taste buds at the grand Cook Out which was part of the third and final day of the Guyana Festival at the Providence National Stadium.
No amount of heavy rains deterred the will of the chefs who flaunted their talents for the grand cook out title at the last day’s competition.
A total of 15 stalls vied for the attention of passersby as the foods on display were from a variety of Guyanese multicultural recipes.
The booths showcased foods such as pepperpot, duck curry, wild meat, cook-up rice and black and white pudding. Much more were in high demand as watering mouths made their way around the stadium grounds.
One Grenadian dish known as “Oil Down” made its national debut at the King’s Jewellery Booth. The dish incorporated its own Guyanese spin, with the ingredients such as breadfruit, pumpkin and okra. This gave the dish a soupy quality that is best served hot. It was humorously commented on that the recipe is “responsible for pregnancy and longer levels of stamina” by Minister of Tourism Mohammed Irfaan Ali. He had already consumed two bowls during the first half of the day.
The festival also garnered a number of talented chefs, including self-taught cook Felicia Ossorio who was in charge of the Amerindian booth. For sale there were chicken and beef pepperpot along with Tuma pot, accompanied with a choice of rice or cassava bread. As a self-taught woman, Ossorio caters various dishes and sells cassareep from her home in Duncan Street. Her hard work is evident in her cooking as her pepperpot produced a savouring experience.
To the benefit of the organizers, not even the rains managed to put a damper on the cooking activities as most of it was done on gas stoves. This was not, however, the case for the Pakaraima Mountain Safari group that used traditional “bush cook” methods to prepare their foods. Their showcase not only included pointers on cooking without gas stove but also equipment necessary for a safari adventure. Camping materials such as tents, grills and even the appropriate vehicles for a jungle expedition were on display. These did not detract from their grilled wild meats such as boar and tapir.
Interestingly, the Guyana Festival contained a mix of both small and established businesses. These included establishments such as Princess Hotel and GK Inc. The latter’s presentation included duck curry, with the former brewing up a large pot of cow heel soup. This further highlighted the indispensable presence of Guyanese cuisine in the current society.
The final day of the Guyana Festival definitely concluded with a plethora of local tastes. Despite concerns of shelter from the elements and misdirection of stall locations, attendees still found solace in the assortment of flavours and food available at the exhibition. It provided a wide range of local dishes to satisfy any food enthusiast.
Following the cook off, festival patrons also had the opportunity to attend the Generation Next concert which included performances from Jumo “Rubber Waist” Primo, Adrian Dutchin, Melissa “Vanilla” Roberts, First Born, Big Red, Rajesh Dubraj, Kwasie Edmonson and other rising Guyanese artistes. ABC’s local Rising Star Lisa Punch made an appearance on stage with much fanfare from the crowds.
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