SOURCE: Jamaica Tourist Board

August 10, 2007 16:00 ET

Food Network Personality and Chef Bobby Flay "Throwsdown" With Jamaica's Nigel Spence, Executive Chef of New York's Ripe Kitchen and Bar

Tune in August 12 to Find Out Who Hails as the King of Jerk

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - August 10, 2007) - Food Network celebrity chef and personality, Bobby Flay, goes "grill to grill" with Jamaica's own Nigel Spence, owner of Ripe Kitchen and Bar in Mount Vernon, New York on "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" airing this Sunday, August 12 at 10 p.m. on The Food Network.

The show positions Flay, against an absolute master chef known for a special type of cuisine. In this episode, Executive Chef and Owner Nigel Spence stepped up in a tension-filled but exciting challenge. As the title of King of Jerk was up for grabs, the two Chefs battled it out over Spence's Big Jerk Rib-Eye Steak recipe. Spence is a Culinary Institute of America graduate and former Food Network intern.

According to Bon Appetit Magazine, 81% of Americans grill outdoors and according to Spence jerk cuisine is a way for Americans to put some variety into their normal grilling habits. Authentic Jamaican pre-made marinades, spices, produce and sauces are readily available in the grocery stores. These marinades and spices are made by Jamaican companies such as Walkerswood, Busha Browne and Grace Kennedy and allow cooks to explore their creative side.

Chef Nigel Spence explains the growing popularity of jerk cuisine: "The American palate has grown more sophisticated and has developed a huge appetite for zest and spice. With its extensive ingredients list and complex flavors, 'Jerk' cooking has satisfied this craving and has rightfully earned a place on the culinary map. It's particularly satisfying to me to see Jamaican food that I grew up with finding popularity here -- especially being noticed by Bobby Flay." Spence recommends that Jerk cuisine can be nicely paired with a lager-style beer such as Jamaica's Red Stripe or a slightly sweet rose or full-bodied Reisling as the sweetness counteracts the spicy flavor of jerk.

History of Jerk

The technique of "jerking" is thought to have originated with the Maroons, slaves who were freed by their Spanish masters just before the British captured the island. These ex-slaves escaped to the island's most remote mountain areas. Meat is first marinated for hours in an incendiary mixture of peppers, pimento seeds, scallion, thyme and nutmeg, then cooked over an outdoor pit lined with pimento wood. (The Maroons did the cooking underground to camouflage the smoke.) The low heat allows the meat to cook slowly, retaining the natural juices while becoming infused with the flavor of the wood. Jerk stands can be found all over the island, especially at Boston Beach just outside Port Antonio.

About Nigel Spence, Executive Chef Ripe Kitchen and Bar

Chef Spence, a Culinary Institute of America alumnus, hails from Kingston, Jamaica. Ripe is Mr. Spence's first entrepreneurial endeavor outside of a road side "jerk shack" that helped put him through school.

As part of CIA's intense training program, Nigel interned at the Television Food Network. Upon graduation, Nigel was asked to stay on at the network. TVFN afforded Nigel the opportunity to work with culinary luminaries such as Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali and Bobby Flay.

For more information on Chef Spence and Ripe, please visit www.riperestaurant.com.

About the Jamaica Tourist Board

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), founded in 1955, is Jamaica's national tourism agency based in the capital city of Kingston. The Jamaica Tourist Board was declared the Caribbean's Leading Tourist and Convention Bureau by the World Travel Awards (WTA) for 2006, while Jamaica earned the WTA's vote as the World's Leading Cruise Destination, the Caribbean's Leading Destination and the Caribbean's Leading Cruise Destination.

JTB offices are located in Kingston, Montego Bay, Miami, Toronto and London. Representative offices are located in Düsseldorf, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam and Tokyo.

Details of upcoming special events, attractions and accommodations in Jamaica are posted on the Jamaica Tourist Board's Web site at www.visitjamaica.com.

RECIPE FOR RIPE'S BIG RIB EYE JERK STEAK

Ingredients for jerk paste:

1 tsp Nutmeg
2 tsp White Pepper
1/4 C Black Pepper
1/2 C Kosher salt
3/4 C freshly ground Allspice
3/4 C Brown Sugar
3/4 C Orange Juice
1 whole Scotch Bonnet pepper
1 bunch Jamaican Thyme
8 whole Garlic cloves
3/4 C chopped Scallions
2 cups Ajicito pepper (flavorful but not hot)

METHOD:

Put ajicito peppers, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic cloves, thyme and scallions in food processor and pulse until it forms a paste. Then add the remaining ingredients except for the orange juice and blend. Slowly stream OJ into the processor. (Jerk paste keeps for approximately 1 week in the refrigerator). Smear paste over one side of steak and season the other side with salt and pepper. Marinate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Place steak on a hot grill and cook to desired doneness.

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