The Barbados Culinary Team exited the Arrival Hall of Grantley Adams International Airport with face-ripping smiles and to applause, as gold medal winners of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Taste Of The Caribbean competition.
Henderson Butcher, culinary manager of the team, said: “When the awards were given out, I was so relieved. I thought I was going to pass out at one point.”
The Culinary Team brought home yet again the Hans Scheck Commemorative Award For Most Innovative Menu Utilizing Indigenous Ingredients.
By basing their menu on the reinventing of traditional Barbadian cuisine, the team made a “twist on our [Barbadian] pudding and souse”, also incorporating a captivating plate presentation for the judges.
Butcher noted the fierce competition in both the culinary and bartender segment.
“In the chef’s competition we saw a lot of innovation,” he said. “[However], the bar competition has really stepped up.”
This, he added, was evidenced in the surprising gold medal Bartender Of The Year win of first-time competitor Philip Antoine.
When questioned on his win, Antoine proclaimed: “I feel amazing!”
He attributed his outstanding performance to his instructors Rohan Hackshaw and Jamaal Bowen.
“Being alongside Rohan Hackshaw and Jamaal Bowen, it’s like the elite in bartending in Barbados. All I wanted to do was make Jamaal proud by competing and executing what I do.”
Another unexpected performance came from Javon Cummins who received a bronze medal after competing in the pastry division. Cummins, who is trained as a culinary chef, was up against seasoned pastry chefs. He said though “ the experience was good”, he was “a bit disappointed” in himself.
More elated with herself “now than ever before” was silver medal Junior Chef Of The Year Stephanie Sayers.
“I got silver in my personal competition, as well as gold with the team,” said Sayers who was participating for the third time.
The Culinary Team brought back one gold, two silvers, a bronze and “tons of team spirit”.
Michelle Smith-Mayers, Culinary Team coordinator from the Barbados Tourism & Hotel Association explained: “This competition is about contributing to the body of knowledge that is contemporary Caribbean cuisine. This process really helps to develop our young people; it helps to develop our cuisine; helps [the team] to understand how to present our cuisine in international styling.”