We’ve uncovered the ultimate way to prepare for Thanksgiving. Freeze some casseroles and pie dough, then set your mental state to irie from November 13 to 14 via a little pre-holidays jaunt to Jamaica. That’s where F&W chef-in-residence Mario Batali is headlining the first ever reggae-and-food festival, NyamJam.
Founded by Island Records legend Chris Blackwell and executive producer Reyna Mastrosimone, the event takes place at Blackwell's GoldenEye resort and brings together local darlings like jerk chicken maven Mama J, above, with U.S. all-stars like April Bloomfield, Seamus Mullen, Johnny Iuzzini and Jose Enrique (of San Juan). To psych up for the event, the guest chefs toured Reyna's island picks for a better understanding of just why Jamaica needs a food festival. The answer: The homegrown food is really good! In addition to raising cattle and sheep, Blackwell's 2,500-acre Pantrepant Farm alone produces a laundry list of flavorful ingredients, including avocado, orange, papaya, pineapple, sorrel, scotch bonnet peppers, honey and cheese. The weekend showcases these native ingredients and cult dishes like jerk, roasted corn and “rundown" (fresh mackerel in coconut sauce). Here, another prep tip: Maybe stay through Thanksgiving?
For tickets, go to nyamjamfestival.com.