Junior Chefs Dawn Williams and Rodney Ashwood are heading to Trinidad to compete against 13 countries in the Inter-Caribbean Charity Cook-Off this spring.
The University of the Bahamas’ Culinary School hosted a cook-off on April 20, 2017, to determine which talented chefs would represent The Bahamas and in a shocking win the excited pair came out on top.
There were four teams consisting of two persons in the competition. Each team was challenged to create a Bahamian meal using indigenous foods and were required to make a three-course meal.
The winning team prepared a plantain crusted crab cake as their appetiser, grilled grouper served with a Caribbean style couscous accompanied with vegetable bouquets and tropical salsa as their entrée and their desert was a moist guava cake with a light mango moose served with guava puree.
As the judges announced the winners, Williams and Ashwood sat in the crowd nervously rocking as they awaited their results. When they were announced as winners, Williams cried out in disbelief.
Believing they were doomed because they completed their meals 20 minutes late, Williams said she felt nervous the entire time.
“Time itself was against us, I felt very pressured and my heart started to pound so my partner said, ‘Dawn relax start something else,’” she said.
“I told myself I got this and our time ran out a little bit but they told me to keep going and to finish. So, I said we can probably scrape up couple more points but when they told us that we won, we were like ‘we won?’’’
Preparing for Trinidad will be no easy task but the pair is up for the challenge and they’re already ahead of what needs to be done to bring the gold home.
“We really have to work on our time, sanitation for sure and getting an elegant yet extravagant dish to present to the judges in Trinidad,” Williams said.
Ashwood added that they would perfect their dishes.
“We’re going to try our best to refine our dishes to make it a bit more suitable for the judges so the presentation will be over the top and we can bring the gold home,” he said.
Deanne Gibson, manager of Culinary Arts in the Ministry of Tourism, said competitions like this ultimately prepares chefs to share the Bahamian culture.
“It’s important for the Ministry of Tourism to be involved because food culture is one of the fastest growing niche markets in tourism right now and we have a great interest for private chefs. So, ensuring that we have a solid culinary industry is very important so we don’t just want to send our students through basic training we want to ensure that they are ready for the world and ready to share the Bahamian culture with all those that come here. Competitions like this allow them to use basic skills as well as basic recipes and to be very creative in how they present it,” she said.
Teams were judged on culinary skills, taste and flavor and the development of the Bahamian culture.
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