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South East Queens Hit With Sweet Curry Smells & Soca
Cricket Chef Captures NY Duck Curry Championship

By John L. Aaron
Idlewild Park in Rosedale, Queens normally associated with first-class cricket was last Sunday transformed into an aromatic field of spices, as the taste buds tingling sensational 2nd Annual New York Duck Curry Competition took over.

With thirty-six competitors ringing the cricket pitch and almost as many area companies and businesses advertising their wares, while helping to either sponsor the competition or supply the some three thousand spectators with give-aways, Idlewild was transformed into and oasis of Caribbean people anxious to follow the ten or so judges in the tasting exercise, or gyrate to the live sounds of calypso, chutney, soca and traditional Indian rhythms.

With some top class entertainment provided by Terry Gajraj, The Caribbean All Stars band and noted artistes, such as Trinidad & Tobago’s 2006 national chutney champion Ricky Jai and the renowned St. John’s Tassa Band, direct from the twin-island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.

The 2nd Annual New York Duck Curry Competition attracted competitors primarily from Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago, although some non-Caribbean curry aficionados participated in the very lively and highly competitive contest, with top money prizes, trophies, travel vouchers and expensive jewelry awarded to the winners. In the end the top contest winner was the Seven-Star Company with the best duck curry in the park.

Cricketers Can Cook Too
Ironically, the curry Chef was well known cricketer and former Cavaliers Sports Club cricket captain Sam Duke. Mr. Duke’s double-breasted black Chef’s tunic and headgear could have easily been mistaken for a Kung-fu masters fighting attire.

Indeed it was a fight befitting champions, as the taste buds of the expert panel of judges were no doubt challenged, not to mention their lower storage areas. The contestants did everything to catch the judge’s attention, from beautiful table displays, to fine plate ware arrangements, to colorful outfits, decorations and some serious cajoling of the judges. I am sure there was not a single pot of curry that tasted bad in the entire ground. It was just that some scored more than other and a few hit the judges out of the ground for sixes.

Sponsored by some of the well-known businesses in Queens, such as Kings Jewelers, NMCRA Realtors, Sherriff Jewelers, Ahmad Group of Companies, Travel Span and countless others, who willingly gave to make the annual event the tremendous success it was.

The party continued long after the 6:00 pm scheduled completion, as revelers were in the mood for more entertainment from the stage set up just south of the cricket pitch. In addition, there was a mobile blood pressure checking unit and live radio broadcast of the mammoth event.
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