Nevis is celebrating the success of the sixth annual Nevis Mango & Food Festival, that took place July 4-7, 2019. The four day festival featured 16 local Nevisian Chefs, participation of four local restaurants, the first ever Caribbean Mango Cooking Competition and was headlined by celebrity Chefs Judy Joo and Simon Jenkins. This was the third time UK Iron Chef Judy Joo, a Korean-American French-trained chef based in London, and frequent Food Network host and guest, participated in the Mango and Food Festival. With tripled attendance the Nevis Mango & Food Festival is quickly cementing its position as a the leading Mango and culinary event in the Caribbean
Nevis mangoes, of which there are 44 varieties, are truly special and prized for their texture and flavor. They inspire culinary creativity among celebrity and local chefs who carefully select their favorites and turn them into everything from soups and salsas, to marinades, sauces, cocktails and fabulous desserts. Locals, however, happily eat them fresh off the trees!
The four-day mango extravaganza began with a press conference hosted by Johnson Johnrose of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), and a demonstration by UK Iron Chef Judy Joo and Simon Jenkins of the UK with tips for using mangos in cooking. The press conference was held at the new restaurant, Cleveland Gardens, where Nevisian chefs, Berecia Stapleton and Wentworth Smithen also gave demonstrations highlighting local mango varieties. Afterwards, Iron Chef UK Judy Joo conducted a mango cooking masterclass with leading international media. Michelin starred Chef Simon Jenkins hosted a cake decorating clinic for Nevisian bakers in the afternoon. The Festival featured masterclasses, special hosted evenings at restaurants, tastings, and guided food trails. The highlight of the festival is the Chefs Mango Feast that took place on July 7th where the first ever Caribbean Mango Cooking Competition was held with culinary teams from Antigua, Barbados, Nevis and St. Kitts. Judged by Chefs Judy Joo, Simon Jenkins, and Texas food critic Mai Pham, Barbados was the inaugural winner. The Feast also featured the Mango Baking Competition, and was an opportunity for 16 local Nevisian Chefs to provide samples of their signature mango dishes, and samples from four local restaurants. The event was a real celebration, with the inclusion of Nevis’ Green House Band, providing a taste of local music.
As an added bonus, many of the local restaurants and resorts feature “Mango Fest” menus. Guests from all over the island are happy to reserve their spots for lunches and dinners that feature this special ingredient.
Organized by the Nevis Tourism Authority, the Mango & Food Festival is not only a culinary celebration of Mango for residents and visitors, it provides educational opportunities for local businesses and students. The Festival provides internships for culinary students, mentoring opportunities from headline Chefs, a commercial festival where local businesses sold products made from mangos, and the promotion of the culinary use of mangos to drive the local mango industry. Greg Phillip, CEO, Nevis Tourism Authority shared, “The Nevis Tourism Authority is tremendously pleased with what the Nevis Mango and Food Festival has become. It has earned a much deserved spot in the Caribbean’s annual calendar of ‘must see’ events and is poised to grow even more. We are grateful to the individuals and business who supported us this year. It was an incredibly positive experience to welcome the culinary teams from St. Kitts, Barbados and Antigua who participated in the first annual Caribbean Mango Cooking Competition. We are already looking forward to the 2020 Mango and Food Festival.”