The Bahamas National Culinary Team is bringing home a record haul of honors following their outstanding performance at this year’s Taste of The Caribbean competition in Miami, Florida. The Bahamas captured team gold and several top regional and individual honors in the 20th anniversary of the prestigious regional event held by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.
Team Bahamas Wins Gold
“We are extremely proud of what our chefs have accomplished, particularly this year as our nation celebrates its fortieth year of independence. Their results show how far we’ve come as a nation in developing our people and their culinary talents,” said a joint statement issued by Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe and Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association President Stuart Bowe. BHTA, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Bahamas Culinary Association host the team annually.
In addition to team gold, the country received the Tony Mack Spirit of Competition Award, given to the team that exhibits amongst themselves and with the other teams throughout the region character and a willingness to go above and beyond to help one another.
The Bahamas also received the regions top team award for the Best Use of Chocolate, presented by AUI Fine Foods.
Chef Sheldon Tracy Sweeting set a Bahamas record when he was named the Caribbean’s Pastry Chef of the Year for the second time, a distinction which regionally has only happened once before regionally. He was also inducted into the Taste of The Caribbean Hall of Fame for his achievements.
One of the younger team members Chef Jamal Small from the Dune at the One and Only Ocean Club was awarded the Chef of the Year in the beef category, sponsored by Certified Angus Beef.
Looking to the future, twenty-year old Bahamas Junior Chef Dwayne Sinclair, a student at Lincoln Institute, received a gold medal in the junior chef category.
Silver medals were awarded to Executive Chef Emmanuel Gibson from the One and Only Ocean Club in the Chef of the Year category. Chef Ron Johnson also received a silver medal in the cheesecake competition.
A silver medal was also achieved by Chef Charon Mckenzie from the Lyford Cay Club in the bartender category, the highest achievement by The Bahamas in recent years and the first time a chef competed in this category. It was a determined effort by the team to blend food and beverage, a growing trend.
Rounding out the team’s performance, Chef Ron Johnson also received a bronze medal in the seafood category. Bahamian Chef Ancilleno Solomon from Luciano’s also received a bronze medal in the ice carving competition. Chef Simeon Hall Jr did not compete in any individual categories and served as an integral part of the team and their success.
Team manager Chef Devin Johnson praised the team members for their accomplishments. ”This is a very special group of professionals who showed great determination and skills, particularly over the past six weeks. They trained hard, starting last fall. Their hard work and focus paid off”.
In addition to support from BHTA and the Ministry of Tourism, the team’s participation was possible through corporate sponsorships. This year’s major sponsors are: the Bahamas Telecommunications Company, Bahamas Food Services, Bahamian Brewery and Beverage (Sands beer), Royal Bank of Canada, Bahamasair, the American Hotel Register, Bristol Wines and Spirits, the One and Only Ocean Club, Atlantis, the Sheraton Nassau Beach, Luciano’s of Chicago, and the Lyford Cay Club.
By Clarence Rolle,
Ministry of Tourism
National Culinary Team Wins Big. Team members and Ministry of Tourism, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association and Bahamas Culinary Association supporters display a record number of Bahamas awards from this year's Taste of the Caribbean regional competition.