Jamaica turns on the style for FPC Annual Dinner

JAMPRO at Fresh Produce Consortium Annual Dinner




FPC’s 69th Annual Dinner was a sell-out success as a capacity crowd of diners packed the River Room and Lancaster Ballroom at London’s The Savoy Hotel on 14 February.

Guest nation Jamaica helped party-goers celebrate Valentine’s Day in style thanks to sponsors the Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, export promotion body JAMPRO and UNIVEG UK.

Guests were greeted in The Savoy’s River Room with reggae classics sung by Troy Ellis and treated to cocktails Jamaican SorrelKingston Breeze andSousop Calada specially created for the event by The Savoy American Bar head bartender Erik Lorincz, before moving into the iconic Lancaster Ballroom for dinner where tables were laden with stunning tropical flower and plant displays prepared by Sophie Hanna of New Covent Garden Market.

FPC president Jim Rogers welcomed diners and guest of honour Hon. Derrick Kellier minister of agriculture with permanent secretary Donovan Stanberry and Her Excellency Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, high commissioner for Jamaica to the UK. Under the theme of “the ties that bind” minister Kellier thanked all the event’s sponsors and spoke of the important relationship between Jamaica and the UK. “We have been increasing our agricultural production and productivity and this is critical to our economy and to ensure food security for our people,” he said.

“In this regard, the UK market is very important and the ties that bind Jamaica and Great Britain are long and deep-rooted…We are very encouraged to begin this partnership with the FPC; it seems like a match made in paradise. So as we take this leap of faith, we are assured that there are bright days ahead for Jamaican produce.”

The minister told his audience that it is not only the Jamaican diaspora in the UK that has a healthy appetite for Jamaican yamsbreadfruit andsweet potatoes but that there is an expanding taste for its bananas,tamarind and Scotch Bonnet peppers among the wider population which could see “Brand Jamaica become a household name like Bolt andMarley,” said Kellier. “There is always something in season in Jamaica and we are confident of being able to supply year round.”

Jamaica’s produce and flavours were showcased in a sumptuous menu that included the best the island has to offer with snapper and jackfish fillets, oxtail stuffed tenderloin, pulled pork, jerk ham, goat, yam,watermelonmangoplantainScotch Bonnet, June plum, passion fruit,sweet potato and renowned Blue Mountain coffee and Jamaican chocolates.

In true Jamaican style, the dancefloor was packed after dinner and revellers danced until the early hours to ska and reggae tunes provided by Jamaican-British band The Dualers.

Pictured: Top, guests enjoy the cocktail reception

Second, the amuse bouche course showcases Jamaican produce

Third, the sumptuous surroundings of the Lancaster Ballroom

Fourth, Minister Kellier tells diners partnership with FPC "seems like a match made in paradise"

Bottom, dancing until late with The Dualers

Published Date: 
Monday, February 16, 2015