The prestigious regional culinary competition will pit the culinary prowess of the Bahamian team against a dozen Caribbean teams; all vying to emerge from the competition victorious; adorned with Gold Medals and hopefully the coveted title of Caribbean National Team of the Year. The 2017 Bahamian team consists of a new slate of chefs and mixologists who have been training at The University of the Bahamas’ Culinary Hospitality Management Institute (CHMI) for a number of months in preparation for the high-stakes competition.
The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) facilitates the “Journey” to Taste, and the team’s attendance at the Competition” each year, as part of an overarching effort to support and promote Bahamian culture and culinary “awareness”, as destinations throughout the region, and on an international scale, recognize the importance of having a unique, distinct, indigenous and delectable culinary component as an integral part of their tourism product. In addition, the competition provides a forum for learning as the teams young, burgeoning chefs, are exposed to varying intense environments throughout the training process and during the Taste competition.
“The most important, and gratifying part of the BHTA’s participation in The Taste of the Caribbean, is watching the young chefs flourish, as they work side by side with established, “seasoned” chefs. They revel in the experience, and soak up everything they can from the older chefs” states Carlton Russell, President of the BHTA “not just cooking skills, but foundational life skills; self-discipline, determination, tenacity, confidence; how to deal with fear, pressure. The mentoring that takes place is invaluable for our next generation of culinarians.”
The Chefs on the National Culinary Team are sponsored by their respective employers who represent a wide cross section of hotel properties and institutions in The Bahamas including: The University of the Bahamas’ CHMI, Atlantis, Baha Mar, Courtyard Marriot, Melia Nassau Beach Resort, Sandals Royal Bahamian; One and Only Ocean Club. In addition, a young Chef from Grand Bahama is supported by the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board (GBITB). CHMI provides the training facilities for the team as they prepare for competition.
In addition to the Chef Corporate Sponsors, The National Culinary Teams’ participation is made possible through partners and sponsors such as; The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Cable Bahamas (Rev On), Key Platinum Sponsors of the team; Sandals Royal Bahamian, Gold Sponsors, Bahamian Brewery (Sands Beer), Bahamas Food Services, Bahamas Air and Betty K Shipping, Cassava Grill and Manuelo Lettuce Eat.
Pictured from left to right: Chef Carvison Pratt, Chef Kevyn Pratt, Chef Jamal Petty, Pastry Chef Angel Bantacourt, Team Captain Chef Emanuel “Manny” Gibson, Mixologist Gino Wilson, Chef Asteir Dean, Chef Owen Bain, Apprentice Ryan McIntosh and Chef Tamar Rahming. (not pictured; Chef Mario Adderley, Team Manager, Junior Chef Kenria Taylor, Charlotte Knowles-Thompson, Team Administrator, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association and Bridget Murray, UB Liaison for the team).