Andros crab bisque, Long Island duck rillettes; citrus dusted Long Island hog snapper atop roasted fennel, artichokes, kalamata olives, saffron- coconut foam and island style coconut cakes with tropical fruit stew, mango rum cream and roast corn shebet were just some of the scrumptious dishes on the Taste of the Caribbean’s gala menu held at Baha Mar recently.
The 14-member National Culinary Team developed by the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), gave tourism officials, stakeholders and sponsors food for thought as they head to Miami, Florida to take on the region in the Taste of the Caribbean competition from June 22-26.
The culinary showdown is its 25th year and provides a platform for Caribbean chefs and bartenders to interact and learn from each other.
The Bahamas will spar with 10 other culinary teams including Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos.
The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation is a major sponsor of the National Culinary Team.
Director General of Tourism Joy Jibrilu said that’s because Bahamian cuisine is so important to the country’s tourism product.
“To see this cadre of young, professional chefs – the meal that they served us is beyond divine. The presentation, the taste and the way the meals are paired are all excellent. We’ve always performed exceptionally well in Florida and I know that this year we are bringing our A-game,” she said.
“A destination is known for its cuisine. It’s more than just sun, sand and sea – it’s the food. Bahamian food is something that we do exceptionally well but these young artisans have taken it to another level.”
Team Manager Mario Adderley said he is confident that The Bahamas will bring home Team of the Year when the competition is completed.
“It was a new team last year. We went over but a lot of us were not sure what we were walking into. We’ve practiced more and developed more skills and so we will see the results come next weekend,” he said.
On the team this year are chefs Kevyn Pratt, Tamar Rahming, Jeaneka Russell, Derrick Blackmon, Carvison Pratt, Hazen Rolle, Donavan Moss, Celeste Smith, Jamal Small, Deneisha Knowles, Chavano Jones and Owen Bain.
Chef Mario Adderley is the team manager and Charlotte Knowles –Thompson of the Bahamas Hotel Tourism Association (BHTA) is the team administrator.
Last year, The Bahamas won two gold medals including Junior Chef of the Year.
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Writer Credit: Kendea Smith
Photo Credit: Kemuel Stubbs