Jamaican Chef Sheron Chin-Barnes Defeats Food Network’s Bobby Flay At Jamaican “Throwdown”

KINGSTON, JAMAICA – Chef Sheron Chin-Barnes’ cuisine reigned supreme on Food Network’s primetime series “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” Wednesday, June 17. On the episode, Chef Bobby Flay challenged Jamaican Chef Sheron Chin-Barnes, owner of Harlem’s posh Mo Bay Restaurant, to a traditional Fried Fish Escovitch throwdown.

Miss Jamaica World 2007 Yendi Phillips who was one of two judges offered some personal insights into the cultural significance of the spicy Jamaican meal. Jamaica Tourist Board representative Chris Dobson also participated in the show.

“Cuisine has always been an important part of Jamaican culture,” commented John Lynch, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “We are so pleased that Chef Chin-Barnes was able to extend her knowledge and expertise of Jamaican cuisine to Food Network viewers and ultimately come out on top of this challenge.”

Viewers will have another chance to watch Chef Sheron Chin-Barnes’ victory over Bobby Flay when the episode re-airs June 28, 2009 at 11:00 PM ET/PT and June 29, 2009 at 2:00 AM ET/PT.

L-R: Miss Jamaica World 2007 Yendi Phillips, Food Network personality and chef, Bobby Flay, Chef and Throwdown winner, Sheron Chin-Barnes of Harlem’s Mo Bay Restaurant and Jamaica Tourists Board Representative Chris Dobson enjoy time together after the Jamaica “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” competition which featured the chefs preparing traditional Fried Fish Escovitch.

The History of Escovitch

Escovitch is thought have roots from the Spanish escabeche, meaning pickled, when brought to Jamaica in the early 16th century. As one of Jamaica’s oldest dishes, escovitch has always been popular, partly due to the fact that its acidic marinade of vinegar or citrus juice acts as a preservative, allowing it to keep well without being refrigerated. This was especially useful in the times before electricity and on religious days for Christians and Jews when no cooking was done. Escovitch now appears around the world, from Asia to Italy to North Africa, and is usually served as a lightly fried fish, served with onions, carrots, hot peppers and other ingredients in a marinade of vinegar. It is a popular dish to be brought to the beach or on a picnic in Jamaica.

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