Taste of The Caribbean

The Bahamas fielded its youngest professional level team ever to compete in international competition, and returned home with a silver medal for their overall performance with the judges commending them on their high level of achievements as first-time competitors at the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association’s (CHTA) "Taste of the Caribbean" culinary competition hosted at the Hyatt Regency in Miami.

Along with the team silver, Team Bahamas received the award for the Caribbean’s Most Innovative Dish, with Junior Chef Kevyn Pratt, from Kerzner International, receiving this honor traditionally awarded to senior level chefs.  His plate included Abaco spiced rub beef and pan seared Exuma scallops, served with Nassau sweet potato and plantain cheesy croquettes, coconut infused warm vegetable slaw accompanied with Eleuthera pineapple chutney finished with Andros mango reduction.

Individual honors went to Chef Mychal Harris, from Kerzner International, who received a silver medal in the Chef of the Year competition.  Chef Shanique Bodie, from Old Fort Bay Club, captured a silver medal in the Best Seafood Dish category.

Junior Chef Kevyn Pratt, a College of The Bahamas Culinary and Hospitality Management Institute intern with Kerzner International, also received a silver medal in the Junior Chefs category.

A bronze medal was awarded to Hugh Jones from Kerzner International in the Bartender of the Year category.  Team Captain Chef Jamal Small, from Albany, received a bronze medal in the pastry category.

Chef Charon McKenzie, from the Lyford Cay Club, was also awarded a bronze medal in the beef category.

Joining the other team members in receiving a silver medal for their overall team performance and rounding out the team was Chef Charon McKenzie from the Lyford Cay Club, and Chef Charlicia Greene, fromSandals Royal Bahamian.

Team manager, Executive Sous Chef Jason McBride, from the Wyndham Cable Beach Resort, and coach Executive Chef Devin Johnson, from the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort, commended the team members on their professionalism and performance.

“We’re extremely proud of the performance of our young chefs and bartender. They exhibited great team work, professionalism, and high standards in representing our nation and the quality of our culinary offering.  The future is bright for these young stars,” said Bahamas Hotel Association president Stuart Bowe.

Trinidad & Tobago received top honors as Caribbean Culinary Team of the Year.  The highest individual honors were bestowed upon Mitchell Husbands, Barbados, for Caribbean Chef of the Year, sponsored by

Bahama Breeze Island Grille; Humphrey Lew Jen Tai, Curacao, for Caribbean Bartender of the Year; Kunal Chakrabarti, U.S. Virgin Islands, for Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Albert Uster

Imports, Inc.; and Mikhala Bagot, British Virgin Islands, for Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year.

The Taste of the Caribbean is an annual event organized by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) to showcase the region’s unique and diverse cuisine.  Attending chefs also participated in a series of professional development workshops put on by master chefs, celebrity chefs and leading industry professionals.

Ten teams participated in Taste of the Caribbean — Anguilla, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States Virgin Islands.

This year, event organizers added a new public element called “Taste of The Islands,” where several hundred people were given the opportunity to sample dozens of “road” foods and national dishes prepared by the teams.

The Bahamas’ team booth was decorated in an appealing backyard style, and with menu offerings featuring crab, conch, guava duff and other delicacies being crowd favorite.

CHTA was so impressed with the event that they plan to create a new award category for it next year and to build it into a festival type public celebration of Caribbean food said DeAnne Gibson from the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation.

The Nassau Guardian
July 2, 2011