When Mario Batali asked his friend April Bloomfield to join him at the first-ever NyamJam Food and Musical Festival in St. Mary, Jamaica, saying yes was a no-brainer. The celebrated restaurateur behind the Michelin-starred restaurants the Spotted Pig and the Breslin worked for for a Jamaican chef in Birmingham, England, who cultivated in her an affinity for Caribbean ingredients like the scotch bonnet.
Hosted by Batali at legendary music producer Chris Blackwell’s iconic Goldeneye Resort, NyamJam was a first for the country. Batali also brought in other world-renowned chefs, including Seamus Mullen, Jose Enrique, and Johnny Iuzzini, while Blackwell recruited acclaimed musical acts, including the African singer Angelique Kidjo and the Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin. Blackwell also invited Rohan Marley, the entrepreneur son of Bob (who sold Blackwell the Goldeneye estate, which was originally owned by Ian Fleming), to serve up his popular Marley Coffee.
During a preparatory visit and her weekend at the festival, Bloomfield fell in love with the food, especially saltfish paired with ackee, a fruit that is plentiful on the island (“I pretty much ate that every day—it’s the perfect breakfast”), and the Jamaican people (“I just think they like life in general”). Here, she shares her snapshots of mouthwatering dishes and lust-worthy landscapes that may have you booking a ticket for your own Jamaican food-and-music experience.