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The fusion of food, music, art & culture

New Providence is going to be lit this weekend as music, art and culture fuse for Ignite, Chef Simeon Hall’s latest venture that brings the talent of Bahamian chefs together with his culinary counterparts from around the region and the United States’ eastern seaboard in an event that will transcend the food, incorporating music and art, but will culminate in a main event that will be reminiscent of the way our ancestors prepared food.

For Ignite’s main event on Saturday, June 22, artists Julien Believe and Bodine have been tapped for the mini concert; along with a storyteller who will tell the story of Ignite and old-world Bahamas accompanied by her husband on the drums, which is expected to make for an exciting addition to the event; Allan “Pachino” Wallace’s art will tie together the display of Bahamian culture through food, music and art.

“The food and beverage are underlying to the music, art and location,” said Hall.

Ignite will be held at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) which is housed in the historic Villa Doyle, a mansion built in the 1860s as the home to the first chief justice of The Bahamas. After the addition of a new wing in the 1920s, it became one of Nassau’s prized stately homes. Positioned on the rise overlooking the top of West Street, Villa Doyle is typical of great houses of earlier centuries with surrounding verandahs that offer a commanding view of both the city and the sea.

“We’re talking about the diaspora and the journey of food from the Africas through the Caribbean and up to the Carolinas.”

Hall fanned the flames over the weeks and months, and now the blaze has set.

He will host chefs Eric Adjepong, Gal Kotzer, Erika Cline, Wayne Moncur, Digby Stridiron, Alpheus Ramsey, Jeremy Leven, Jamall Petty, Benjamin Dennis, Basil Dean and Neil Cline for the four-day event that concludes on Saturday, June 22.

The 12 incredible chefs, some of whom are restaurateurs, and who have competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef”, will combine their global skills for an amazing culinary experience on Bahamian shores.

It’s an eclectic group of wonderful culinary experts, cooking just for Ignite patrons.

“If you want to know the definition of a country’s culture, you must always examine their food, their music and their art. At Ignite the island we intend to encapsulate all of that under the skies of an event with 12 stellar chefs, talented Bahamian musicians and a world-acclaimed Bahamian artist showing our Bahamian culture to those who attend this exclusive true foodie event.”

Ignite will showcase farm-to-table as well as sea-to-table.

“Our chefs have foraging skills in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and are presenting underwater delicacies in ways never seen before Ignite.”

Reminiscent of the way our ancestors prepared food, Ignite chefs will have to do without the luxury of gas, electricity or modern equipment.

Ignite featured a chef’s welcome dinner on day one, a chef’s social on day two, the feeding of the 400 on day three, culminating with the main event.

During the week, the cohort of culinary heavyweights came together, supported by apprentices and student volunteers from the University of The Bahamas, to prepare 400 savory meals that were delivered and coordinated by Hands for Hunger to the underprivileged in homeless shelters and rehabilitation centers in New Providence, before having to rely solely on their culinary genius to prepare and serve a delightful meal without the use of gas, electricity or modern equipment in the main event.

The flames light on Saturday at 10 a.m. and the chefs start cooking on location. The gates open to the public at 6 p.m. with cocktails, leading into the show and the all-they-can-eat experience.

Hall stresses that the main event is not a dinner, but rather a cultural show at which food and beverage will be present from the moment patrons arrive until they leave. But that they will be doing that alongside music, alongside art and alongside some other things that he says make up true Bahamian culture. But definitely it’s one of those events where every stage of the way there will be food for everyone to enjoy.

Ignite is an event that was approximately nine months in the making and that became a reality after an ad hoc post that Hall, who presently serves as owner of the Simeon Hall Restaurant Management Group and the restaurant chef at La Hiki, Four Seasons, Ko’Olina in Oahu, Hawaii, made on his social media page last year, inviting some of his colleagues and industry partners to do something when he came home in June. He got immediate responses and the idea of Ignite morphed into reality.

The organizing committee commissioned a welder and grill crafter to fabricate grills with very specific designs for the chefs. Hall said people should expect an evening that will be reminiscent of the days when people would go to the beach with an old car rim with a screen on top, on which they would cook hot dogs and hamburgers in the sand.

Hall says Ignite will bring together talents for what he anticipates will be a memorable and emotional event.

Shavaughn Moss

Lifestyles Editor at The Nassau Guardian
Shavaughn Mossjoined The Nassau Guardianas a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor.Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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