Troy Levy wants to take ital food to new heights

June 09, 2023
Chef Troy Levy speaking during the press launch of the Ital Food Fest at Devon House, St Andrew, on Wednesday.
Chef Troy Levy speaking during the press launch of the Ital Food Fest at Devon House, St Andrew, on Wednesday.

Furthering his mission of elevating Rastafarian food, local chef Troy Levy is bringing his brand of plant-based cooking to the Ital Food Fest.

Levy, who was also featured on the hit Food Network show Cooks vs Cons, told THE WEEKEND STAR that he has long been a proponent of ital eating, though he did momentarily stray when he moved to New York to work in a restaurant. After gaining a significant amount of weight and feeling unlike himself, Levy returned to his roots through his pop-up series, 'Taste of Ital'.

"I went back to New York and started doing the ital that I grew up eating and you know, that's taken me a lot of places, including South and East Africa, Dominican Republic, and all over the world where I'm needed. I'm definitely there promoting, creating new ital recipes, and just enlightening people on how I grew up. Ital, from my perspective," he said.

He continued, "People are too used to regular, typical ital food and that's one of the bad things when people look at it. They don't want to partake in it, only because them think seh a just some flavourless and saltless food in a bowl. I always consider myself a one-man band, because I really think that I don't see a lot of people doing it, especially not outside of Jamaica. In Jamaica, you'll have authentic ital people, but outside of Jamaica, there's not really a lot of people really taking ital to that level that I'm tryna take it."

Now through the inaugural staging of the Ital Food Fest, of which he is a co-producer, Levy said he is hoping to expand the conversation around the genre of food and ital livity as a whole.

"I'm gonna be on the main stage. We're gonna speak a lot about ital food and the root of it, but also I'm gonna do an awesome presentation of something a lot of people have not tried before. This has been in my arsenal. This is something that I saved for the right moment, and getting the opportunity to do that on such a huge stage, it's definitely gonna be good."

The one-day festival is set for July 15 at Grizzly's Plantation Cove in St Ann and will showcase holistic practitioners, along with more than 150 vendors, offering elevated ital cuisine, natural products, fashion, arts, and wellness services.

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