Ital Food Fest kicks off with Brooklyn launch – Jamaica Gleaner

Jamaican personal chef, author and media personality, Troy Levy, is known for bringing the vibrant flavours of home to New York with his Taste of Ital brand. Yesterday, at the Bellyful Restaurant and Bar in Brooklyn, he hosted the media launch of Jamaica’s first Ital food festival, appropriately dubbed Ital Food Fest.
This is the first of two launches; the second is scheduled for Kingston, Jamaica on Friday, June 2. This launch marks the start of a concerted effort to draw yardies and afficionados home and abroad to the island’s shores for Ital Food Fest, an immersive event slated for Saturday, July 15 at the Plantation Cove in Priory, St Ann, where patrons will enjoy elevated Ital cuisine, live performances, and discover amazing herbal remedies, artisanal offerings, and rejuvenating therapeutic treatments.
The family-friendly showcase is being held by British-Caribbean promoters Michael and Felicia Cunningham to celebrate holistic livity (lifestyle). Levy is an official partner of the festival. Their tagline, ‘Before vegan, before plant-based, there was Ital’, refers to the purpose of the event, which is to pay homage to the Rastafari community and its influence. It references the fact that Rastas are the forerunners of plant-based eating and sustainable living, and coined the term Ital to describe unprocessed, meatless, salt-free foods and living consciously with nature. This concept has now become a global movement, partly due to the cultural influence of reggae music.
Ital Food Fest will, as a result, feature an abundance of acclaimed food and holistic wellness practitioners much like Levy, who is known for his innovative, soy-free Ital creations and will be at the festival as a guest chef. Yesterday evening’s Brooklyn launch targetted the Caribbean diaspora in New York to encourage them to travel to Ocho Rios for Ital Food Fest, while giving them the chance to whet their appetites with the same elevated, high-frequency foods to come.
We spoke with an excited Levy earlier, who shared he was looking forward to evening. “It’s an Ital launch of course, so it’s an honour to bring it back to Bellyful Restaurant where it all began with my Taste of Ital pop-ups. My goal is always to spread the love, share the joy and continue the healing with food, so we’re bringing all that together with good music and great vibes. It will show people what’s coming to Ital food Fest, and after travelling the world as a personal chef, I can say this is exactly the kind of food the world is yearning for, and Jamaica has a big hand in that.”

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