Serious Fun In Sun — Jambalaya Cook-off To Support Habitat for Humanity

Get ready for some serious fun in the sun — the second annual jambalaya cook-off is all set for Sunday, December 17, on Cruz Bay beach.

Jodi Ray, owner of Dreams and Dragon Flies at Wharfside Village, launched the first jambalaya cook-off last October to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina and is reprising the party this year to support the local Habitat for Humanity organization.

“I actually hadn’t thought about doing the party again this year, but everyone kept coming by the shop and asking me when the cook-off was going to be,” said Ray. “Our local Habitat for Humanity, which is just getting started, is in the process of building a home. I just think it’s a really good organization, especially because there is a local chapter.”

Music All Day
In typical St. John fashion, the fun starts around  “9 a.m.-ish,” and food should be ready by “around noon,” according to Ray.

Jam Session will be rocking the crowd from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., when the Ah We Band will take over entertainment duties for the rest of the day.

“The music was great last year and I’m so happy that we got Jam Session this year and that Ah We Band has so graciously agreed to play again,” Ray said.

With the beautiful beach and all the great music, don’t forget about the food — there will be a serious cook-off going on.

Last year 11 teams went head to head with Crescent City Relief Team members Craig Sullivan and Suzanne Shlessinger, who currently offer the renowned Mexi-can night on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Inn at Tamarind Court, taking top honors.

While the duo are back this year looking to repeat their culinary victory, they will be facing some new stiff competition, Ray explained.

Looking Back-to-back Victories
“Craig and Suzanne are back with a vengeance,” said Ray. “But this year Woody’s is going to have a team and so is High Tide. So we’ll have a lot of alumni, but we’ll also have a lot of new folks.”

The competition is fierce, so expect to be wowed by the batches of smokey and spicy jambalaya.
“There is going to be a ton of really good food,” said Ray. “The people cooking are so excited and can’t wait to share their creations.”

For anyone looking to get into the fray, there are four booths left which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“We’ll Work It Out”
“People just need to see me at Dreams and Dragon Flies to pick up paperwork to get a booth,” said Ray. “This is a St. John party, so even if we have to double up on some booths or if we have empty booths, we’ll work it out. Y’all come and we’ll work it out.”

With a number of local restaurants and shops making donations, there will be plenty of incredible raffle prizes. And this year Ray is starting a 50/50 raffle.

“At the gate we’ll be selling 50/50 raffle tickets and we’ll be pulling tickets all day and giving out great local gifts,” said Ray. “We’ll put all the tickets back in, and you must be present to win, but we’ll pull out a ticket at the end of the day and that person will win half the pot. The other half of the pot will go to Habitat For Humanity.”

Community Support
Just like last year Ray has gotten a ton of help from different members of the community, she explained.

“Icy McClaine at Surf da Web did all of the art work and set-up for free — she’s a babe,” said Ray. “And Will (Culver) at Surf da Web let her do it all on work time and use all of his equipment. They were both so great.”

After sampling some of the treats, don’t miss Annie and Kendall’s Bloody Mary both, which Ray predicts will be a popular stop.

“The cook-off is the day after the prom, so I’m thinking we might have some people with hangovers,” Ray said. “Jamba-laya is perfect hangover food and with the Bloody Marys we’ll make everyone feel all better.”

Island Pride
For anyone who needs another reason to come out, support a good cause, enjoy great food and drinks and boogie down to good tunes — a little Love City pride could be your excuse.

“There will be a lot of folks from St. Thomas coming over and we need to show them how it’s done St. John-style,” said Ray. 

For more information stop by Dreams and Dragon Flies, open from “9 a.m.-ish to 9 p.m.-ish most of the time,” at Wharfside Village, or call the store 779-4212.