There was a sense of euphoria as The Reggae Chefs’ (TRC) third Passport Dinner Series dubbed Scattered Jamaica: Panama landed its biggest audience to date. The 250 patrons attending the event witnessed first-hand through food, dance, music and decor the similarities and differences between the rich cultures of Jamaica and Panama. The event which was held on Saturday, August 19th at The Golden Hall, St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn New York featured many enchanting elements including special giveaways from Delta Air Lines and entrées served to patrons upon their arrival by guest Panamanian Chef DJ Elias.
According to Scattered Jamaica Creator and The Reggae Chefs CEO, Peter Ivey, “The Jamaican and Panamanian flags floating in the air, the red, white and blue balloons and the Panamanian traditional clothing hung on the walls were just a few items used to set the ambience for our patrons to experience both countries’ cultures. We were able to creatively transport our patrons to Panama through the vivid descriptions of TRC’s visit to that country, our interactions with the locals and the recreation of some of the delectable dishes sampled on our journey such as pescado relleno and arroz con coco.” Ivey continued, “We were also delighted to unveil Mission Food Possible which will assist in feeding the hungry in Jamaica and Panama on October 16th, World Food Day.”
Fully clad in their traditional wear, members of Balet Folklorico Nuestro Panama delivered a magnificent dance performance while the Braata Folk Singers had the audience singing along to their renditions of popular Jamaican folk songs. Panamanian Natty Cat treated the audience to Reggaeton while Jamaican artiste, Synga Splaash wooed them with Reggae. Delivering the Feature Address on “The Role of Events like Scattered Jamaica in Preserving and Celebrating our Heritage” was Dr. Waldaba Stewart, Director of the Caribbean Research Center at Medgar Evers College.
Dr. Lewanza Harris, one of two winners of two first class tickets to Panama, said “Scattered Jamaica: Panama was a great way to experience the food, dance and culture of Panama in NY. I’m excited that I will have the personal experience by traveling to Panama courtesy of The Reggae Chefs and Delta.” Ivey said, “Delta’s gesture will go a far way in supporting our initiative geared at conserving Jamaica’s culture as well as that of our selected destinations. While hundreds of people have learned about Jamaica and other countries through our various Dinner Series, it is always a great opportunity when one can visit a destination and become immersed in the culture.”
Honored at the event were Professor Louis McGrath Walker – Former Director of Brooklyn College SEEK Program – Community Service Award; Laura P. James – Director of the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and the Work, Learn and Grow Program at Medgar Evers College – Community Service Award; Andrew Clarke – Founder of Braata, Actor & Singer – Creative Arts Award and Irwine Clare O.D. – Founder of Team Jamaica Bickle and Radio Host – Community Service Award. A special award was also presented to 17-year-old Carlos Morales, a young Panamanian who is ranked second in the USA by Princeton University as an Orator.
Just one week prior to the event Peter Ivey received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for “Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Community”. This award from the United States Congress highlights the importance of his work in heritage conservation through projects like Scattered Jamaica. Scattered Jamaica: Panama was made possible through the benevolence of Flatbush Caton Market, WhereItzAt Magazine, Team Jamaica Bickle and The League of International Chefs Association. Special thanks also to Delta for providing amazing prizes for the world culture enthusiasts.