Yardies ‘Jerk’ takes the prize

Cookin’ it: Chef Chris Diedrick grilling jerk chicken at “A Taste of Jerk” festival, at VP Records store in jamaica, Queens on June 3.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

For the love of jerk.

Hundreds came out to relish Jamaican culinary flavors at the seventh annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival kickoff, “A Taste of Jerk,” held at the VP Records Store on June 3. Guests got to sample various jerk seasoned meats and other foods from different vendors. A highlight of the mini food fest was a competition judged by executive chef of B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, Chef Wenford Patrick Simpson, to crown a winner for the best food. Queens-based restaurant Yardies, took home the revered Dutch Pot trophy and the honor was well earned, said a local woman who frequents the eatery.

“Yardies won and I was so proud of my little restaurant — the place that I’ve been eating in all this time,” said Lorna Levy, who came to the event with friends.

They beat out participating competitors Food R Us, Freckles Juice Bar, Miller Health and Nutrition, and Natwerks.

Pose off: Lorna Levy strikes a pose while showing off her hand painting at VP Records’ jerk festival.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The restaurant’s delectable cooking is why Levy is a big fan of the chain and likely why they won the contest, added Levy.

“They have the best jerk chicken and it’s seasoned to the bone,” she said. “They have 18 herbs and spices, and I’m so happy they won because I’ve been eating their jerk chicken and pork for a long time.”

Some 200 party goers at the six-hour event tasted different foods, but also danced to music, got some music records, and there were even snacks and activities for children such as cotton candy and face painting. The painting was a big hit with the youngsters, and that did not stop Levy from getting her hand painted.

“I had to get a little design for myself,” she said. “I was modeling my hand and I was Tyra Banks for the day — I was very proud of it.”

Happy ladies smile at “A Taste of Jerk” preview festival in Jamaica, Queens on June 3.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

There was no specific memorable moment for Levy because she loved the entire event and is a huge fan of events at the VP Records store. She says she always looks forward to the company’s gatherings and expects to be at all of their future events, as well as the official Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival next month.

“It was wonderful and I had beautiful time, and I loved the whole thing,” said Levy.

“Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival” at Roy Wilkins Park [Merrick and Baisley boulevards in St. Albans, (718) 425-1177, www.jerkfestivalny.com]. July 23 at noon. $35–45.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.
Flower face: Kids and adults got to get their faces painted at the event.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

More from Around NYC