Escovitch Lionfish

Charmaine Browne is Top Chef and Shawn Daniel is Top Fisher at Lionfish Fest

Chef Charmaine Browne and Minister Crenston Buffonge.

For the second time this year Charmaine Browne captured a top chef prize. This time, it was at the Lionfish Fest Cooking Competition, which took place on Sunday, December 15 at Marine Village.

Lionfish Fest is part of an initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture to help control this beast of a fish which is wreaking havoc on ocean life in our waters and across the Caribbean. Since efforts have been unable to stem their growth, Montserrat is encouraging everyone to catch more and eat more.

Five teams competed for the honours, which saw the reigning chef Carlton O’Garro dethroned, despite his tasty contributions of a Lionfish Cake, Lionfish Nuggets, and a Grilled Lionfish.

Each chef submitted three entries, with Browne creating Grilled Lionfish with Coconut Curry Sauce, Yard Vibes Spicy Lionfish Stew, and Coconut Lionfish with Pineapple Ginger Sauce. Earlier this year, the chef, who hails from Jamaica, captured the Best Chef prize in a local televised cook off.

Among the hundreds who came down to Scoreboard at Marine Village to enjoy the entertainment and sample the lionfish creations was the Minister of Agriculture Crentson Buffonge. “I would like to thank the chefs who took up the challenge and I am extremely pleased with the presentation and taste of everything I have sampled today,” he said before assisting with the distribution of prizes.
Part of the competition included the catching of the lionfish. Minister Buffonge shared that within a month local fishers removed over 100lbs of this invasive species from our reefs. Cash prizes were handed out to the fishers who brought in the most fish by boat and diving.

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All of the days winners are listed below:

Winning catch by boat –

  • $1000 – 1st Place – Ivason “Jim” Fagan
  • $750 – 2nd Prize – James Weekes
  • $500 – 3rd Prize – John Lee
  • $100 Consolation Prize – James Boastwain

Catch by Diving

  • $600 – 1st Place – Shawn Daniel
  • $450 – 2nd Place – Shane Caesar
  • $250 – 3rd Place – Curvin Strose
  • $150 – Youngest Diver – Shane Caesar
  • $600 – Largest Quantity – Shawn Daniel
  • $100 – Consolation Prize – David Brade

Top Lionfish Chef

  • $1000 – Sharmaine Browne
  • $750 – 2nd Place – Tropical Mansion Suites
  • $500 – 3rd Place – Wendy Thomas
  • $200 – Consolation Prizes for Carlton O’Garro and Nicole Duberry


Best Dish Prize

  • 1st Place – Tropical Mansion Suites – Lionfish Ceviche
  • 2nd Place – Sharmaine Browne
  • 3rd Place – Wendy Thomas – Pumpkin Lionfish Soup

The LionFish Fest was sponsored by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and the UK Government.