Need another reason to head to Jamaica?
If beach and sun isn’t enough, gastronomy may seal the deal. Steve Sowa, the executive chef at Half Moon, a RockResort with 197 luxury guest rooms and 33 whitewashed luxury villas located on island’s northern coast, enjoys not only redefining the old classics; he gets a kick out of making food tales part of the Jamaican adventure for groups of all sizes.
Prevue: What are some of the special culinary options at Half Moon that aim at groups?
Steve Sowa: We have an extensive Wedding and Banquet Menu planner and are extremely flexible customizing menus for groups. Our Beach BBQ event is very popular, with Jerk Suckling Pig and Jerk Chicken prepared in a very traditional bamboo village setting that is directly on the beach.
P: Are you noticing any culinary trends emerging in Jamaica?
SS: The biggest Culinary Trend in Jamaica at the present time is “Eat what we Grow and Grow what we Eat” encouraging chefs to use as much local ingredients as possible in creative ways. Out of this was born “Contemporary Caribbean Cuisine” which we offer in our Sugar Mill restaurant.
P: Do you offer any food-centric activities for groups?
SS: We offer groups a “Cook Off Challenge” where we set up cooking stations and the guests divide themselves into teams and have a mini “Iron Chef” competition.
P: What are some fun wine/spirit offerings at Half Moon?
SS: We have done many Wine/Food Pairing dinners in our Italian and Sugar Mill restaurants. We have recently held a Rum/Food pairing dinner, also we have Rum Tastings and Cocktail Mixology lessons. There is also a Wine Cellar located at the Sugar Mill. This award-wining wine cellar is one of the finest in Jamaica which graces the entrance of the Restaurant. It boasts over 150 superb varieties from around the globe. Guests can enjoy a tour with the sommelier, choose a bottle and savor the unique atmosphere of local cedar wood blended with the alluring aroma of perfectly aged wine.
P: Are there any authentic Jamaican influences over your menu development?
SS: Absolutely. We use as much local produce and products in our restaurants as possible and we are always looking to develop traditional Jamaican dishes in a more modern, creative way, as in, say, Jerk Chicken Springs with Sorrel Chutney, which we serve at Sugar Mill.