So far, Food has highlighted several noteworthy individuals who have developed their skills and brand through being a part of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC). We have featured unique Jamaican culinary experts that can 'turn dem hand mek fashion' by using only local ingredients. We have decided to stir the pot some more in celebration of the JCDC's 55th anniversary with innovative Jamaican pastry by Marva Thompson, owner of Oven Delight.
"Baking was just a hobby which matured into a new career path," said Thompson, whose initial career involved working as an insurance risk underwriter for several years. In 1997, she took the plunge and decided to enrol in the University of Technology (then CAST), where she studied cake baking and decorating, baking and technology and catering techniques. "I also did several courses in sugarcraft with Canadian expert Clara Johnson," said Thompson.
The journey of love for cooking and pastry continued when Thompson decided to enter a JCDC competition in 1999. Her appreciation for the culinary arts gave her a boost in the amateur section. That year, she won her first medals - silver in the wedding cake category and gold in the regional competition for her mouth-watering guava tarts.
Her aim is not to be better every year and to instil the lessons she learned from being a part of the competition into the next generation. Between 2002 and 2004, she assisted in advancing students at the Girls Town (now Professional Development Institute) and 2004-2006 at Jan's School of Catering. With her help.
She won a gold medal in 2003 for her pumpkin bread and silver for her yellow yam and saltfish au gratin. In 2004, she walked away with a trophy and cash award for the best-decorated wedding cake, titled One Love, One Heart. Her best was in 2008, when she was awarded the JCDC Culinary Arts Pioneer Award. She currently serves on the JCDC panel of adjudicators for their annual regional culinary arts competition.