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Pan champions – The people behind the stories

Jamaica Gleaner /  

The final Regional for PAN 2017 took place at the Folly Oval in Portland recently, and 14 lucky pan vendors were put through to the grand finals that takes place in Half-Way Tree on October 29. This week, we look at a few of the lucky winners who have a shot at the ultimate prize ­ PAN CHAMPION!

Portland’s Oneil Skeen reaps success the second time around On any visit to Port Antonio in Portland, you will be greeted by the smell of jerk emanating from Tibby’s Jerk Centre.

The jerk centre is managed by Oneil Skeen. “One-day Mr Tibby who owns the jerk centre asked me help him do some cooking at a weekly Sunday event. That’s how I got into doing jerk,” Skeen shared.

Skeen finished second for the parish of Portland in PAN 2017 Regional 2.

“I entered because I wanted to gain some experience from the competition. I got to meet a lot of people so I would say my objective was achieved,” he shared.

Skeen entered PAN 2016 Regional 2 last year, but failed to make it among the winners. He explained what he did differently this time around. “I added some more spice to give the chicken a better taste and I also improved on the quality.”

The 31-year-old father of two plans to go into a partnership with his boss if he wins at the grand finals. “I am trying to enter a partnership with my boss, to have another leg of the business extend to another part of the parish. That money would help in the process,” he revealed.

 

Tatrice Balliston salutes father with PAN win Tatrice Balliston’ father Carl was a competitor in the CB Foods promoted PAN event a few years ago. Tatrice decided to follow his advice and give the competition a try.

Her efforts paid off, as she was named first place winner for the parish of St Thomas at the recently held PAN Regional 2 in Portland.

“My decision to enter was because my father always told me to give it a try. He entered several years ago and didn’t place. But, he passed away recently, and I dedicate my win to him because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have entered,” Balliston explained.

The 18-year-old is from the district of Leith Hall in St Thomas. She currently attends the Caribbean Maritime University (formerly the Caribbean Maritime Institute) where she is studying Freight Forwarding and Immigration.

“I had a very good experience in the competition even though the rain fell. I loved it,” said Balliston. She attributed her win to creativity and use of natural herbs. “I used a lot of different natural herbs, and I also tried to be creative. My father taught me that if I followed his recipe, I couldn’t lose,” If she is triumphant at the grand finals, she hopes to use the funds to complete her studies and open a jerk centre to provide employment for persons within her community.

“My community sees me as someone with ambition, and a role model. I want to make them proud,” she ended. 

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