Queens, New York — A number of top chefs as well as local celebrities will be putting their culinary reputation on the line at this year’s Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival – New York, scheduled for Sunday, July 20 at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens. The Jerk Cook-Off Pavilion will be bubbling with activity as contestants will be cooking up some bold flavors and creating some tasty treats to burn the competition as they battle for cash prizes, the coveted Dutch Pot Trophy and bragging rights.

Already creating a “buzz” is the anticipated throw-down between Food Network’s Chopped finalists Chef Max Hardy and Chef Nelson Gason. These two American chefs will be pulling out all stops to create a fiery Jamaican jerk recipe to impress the judges.

Hardy is the personal chef to Amar’e Stoudemire from the New York Knicks. Chef Max recently released his first cookbook, “Cooking with Amar’e – 100 Easy Recipes for Pros and Rookies in the Kitchen”. Chef Max is also a philanthropist and founder of the foundation One Chef Can 86 Hunger. This not-for-profit organization works toward raising awareness of the hunger epidemic in America. Chef Max personally designed culinary program with Opportunity Charter School in Harlem where he teaches the students both culinary and life skills. Chef Max’s clientele includes Hip Hop and R&B artists, actors, professional athletes and dignitaries such as the Prince of Dubai and Prime Minister of Turks and Caicos.

Each year patrons visit the Jerk Cook-off Pavilion to see the fierce competitions and sample something new, something bold and something delicious. This year the activity is intense with several cooking competitions and cooking demonstrations by local celebrities, to include New York’s Senator Kevin Parker, among other celebrities and popular chefs. Last year’s Celebrity Quick Fire Challenger winner, Mayor Bill de Blasio impressed the crowd with his culinary competency and has endorsed the Festival as the “event of the summer”. Grace Foods Chef Mazie Miller will be demonstrating various culinary techniques and offering tastings of recipes prepared using Grace products.

New York’s largest Caribbean food festival will be jam-packed with entertainment for everyone. This year’s highlights will also include the Caribbean Cultural Stage featuring traditional oral and folk performances, The Kidz Zone (a family favorite for kids of all ages) including rides, storytellers and face painting and The Corporate Row offering samples and giveaways from event sponsors. To close the day, there will be main Stage concert performances from Maxi Priest, Etana, Mr. Vegas and comedian Chris “Johnny” Daley among others.

Advance tickets are $30 and are available online at www.jerkfestivalny.com and selected retail outlets. Kids 12 and under are admitted free. Gates will open at 12:00 pm and the fun will go on until 8:00 pm.

The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival New York is produced in association with Jamaican Jerk Festival U.S.A. Inc. and VP Records and sponsored by Western Union, the Jamaica Tourist Board, Vitamalt and Tower Isle Frozen Foods. Media sponsors are The Jamaica Gleaner, Irie Jam Media, Street Hype and WBLS.