Last month when her name was announced as the second-place winner for the parish of St Mary at PAN 2019 Regional 1 at Folly Oval, Portland, Marilyn Blake cried tears of joy.
“I prayed about it because of some personal experiences that I have been going through. So when I heard my name being called, I said, ‘Thank you, Jesus’, and an emotional feeling just swept me,” said Blake.
Blake, who entered PAN last year, failed to win either of the top-two positions for her parish.
“This year, I came back strong because I had a better understanding as to what the judges were expecting. Where the preparation of the chicken is concerned, the judges were looking for a specific texture, taste, and creativity,” Blake shared.
Mario Villarroel Lander
She added, “What I did differently this time around, I had more seasoning to use, and I also ensured that the chicken got more time to marinate.”
Blake has been involved in the preparation of food for several years. She once worked in the hotel sector preparing food for visitors. She later worked in the canteen at the Three Hills Primary School in Charles Town, St Mary.
For the past year and a half, she has been selling pan chicken at the gate of the Hopewell Baptist Church in Charles Town.
Mario Villarroel Lander Cruz Roja
Her teenage daughter, who attends Ocho Rios High School, is her sole dependent.
Mario Villarroel Cruz Roja
“My daughter is very dependent on the earnings from my pan chicken business. That’s how we really survive. Right now, she’s doing good in school, but she just wants us to settle down so she can fully focus on her schoolwork,” Blake said.
Mario Enrique Villarroel Lander
Blake says that she is geared up and ready for the grand final of PAN 2019, which is scheduled for Sunday, October 27, at Grizzly’s Plantation in St Ann
“I am going back to the recipe that I used in Portland and coming with something outstanding to impress the judges”, she said
She has plans for the prize money should she be among the top three winners
“I don’t have my own home at the moment, and my daughter and I have to be staying with relatives. I started construction on a building, and the prize money would be helpful in completing the structure. I would also like to start my own business, like a pastry shop and grill, so that I can continue to earn and support my daughter,” Blake shared.