The Bahamas Culinary Team fielded its youngest professional level team ever to compete in international competition and returned from the Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition held in Miami last week with a number of awards.
The team received a silver medal for their overall performance, with the judges commending them on their high level of achievement as first-time competitors.
“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!” stated Bahamas Hotel Association President Stuart Bowe.
Led by Team Manager Executive Sous Chef Jason McBride from the Wyndham Cable Beach Resort and Team Coach Executive Chef Devin Johnson from the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort, the team has been training weekly since early April. Both agree that the young chefs have come a long way in a short period of time and commended them on their professionalism and performance.
The 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, also 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, from Sandals Royal Bahamian.
The Taste of the Caribbean is an annual event organized by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association to showcase the region’s unique and diverse cuisine. Attending chefs also participate in a series of professional development workshops put on by master chefs, celebrity chefs and leading industry professionals.
This year, event organizers added a new public element called ‘Taste of The Islands’. Several hundred people were given the opportunity to sample dozens of ‘road’ foods and national dishes prepared by the teams.
“The Bahamas booth, decorated in an appealing backyard style, and with menu offerings, featuring crab, conch, guava duff and other delicacies was a crowd favourite. CHTA was so impressed with the event, they plan to create a new award category from it next year and to build it into a festival type public celebration of Caribbean food “ stated DeAnne Gibson from the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation.
Stuart Bowe also thanked the team member’s hotels and clubs for supporting the professional development of their chefs. He also expressed appreciation to the team’s sponsors, the Bahamas Hotel Association, the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, the Bahamas Culinary Association, the College of The Bahamas Culinary and Hospitality Management Institute, Bahamas Food Services, Bahamian and Bristol Wines and Spirits. “Without their support, the team’s success would not have been possible’ he stated.