When the first annual NyamJam Festival kicks off in Oracabessa Bay, Jamaica this week, a flock of celebrity chefs are going to find themselves working a few thousand miles outside of their comfort zones. In honor of the festival, a group of top toques, including Mario Batali, April Bloomfield, Jose Enrique, Johnny Iuzzini and Seamus Mullen, will descend upon the GoldenEye resort to cook a series of private dinners and to work at a day-long culinary bazaar featuring live music and food from around the globe.
During a recent test run for the festival, Mullen—the Food Network regular and chef behind New York eateries Tertulia and El Colmado—found himself knee-deep in the area’s rich culture. “I think the thing that is really wonderful about being there was just how incredibly welcoming and outgoing everybody was,” he says. “Everybody that we met was just so incredibly warm and knowledgeable and passionate about Jamaica.”
Here, in anticipation of the coming festival, the chef shares some of his favorite moments from his last trip to the island.