Fresh from winning the Embassy Chef Challenge in Washington, United States, last month, local chef Creig Greenidge has added another award to his list of accolades.
Greenidge picked up the Rum & Rhythm Chef Of The Year Award at the recently held Caribbean Week in New York, a win he said was particularly significant for him as Barbados had much to celebrate at the moment.
“I’m enjoying it because, as we all know, Barbados is celebrating its 50th year of Independence, and I don’t think I could have done it better any other year.
“I just enjoy cooking and representing Barbados; so [it’s] good stuff. I’ve been coming to Rum & Rhythm; this will be my fourth year. There was no competition last year; and the year there was competition, I came second,” he said.
Greenidge, owner of CM Catering and the restaurant Chef Creig By CM Catering, has represented Barbados in a number of international culinary competitions. His list of awards include Barbados Hotel Tourism Association Chef Of The Year –– 2004 and 2007; Barbados Culinary Team Member –– 2004-2010; American Chef Cook-Off Winner –– 2009; and Barbados Chef Ambassador Taste Of New York –– 2007.
He described his craft as using food he grew up on and making it “more elegant and adding bold flavours”.
“Simple things like sweet potato pie; but I just change the flavours in it. Doing pork; but I infused it with rum –– soaked in rum for hours,” the executive chef said.
While Greenidge was celebrating his latest achievement, one female mixologist could not believe she had emerged winner in her field.
Selma Slabiak began bartending at age 16, and has been in the business for the past 19 years. The native of Denmark has been plying her trade in the Big Apple for the past nine years.
“I’ve been doing tiki cocktails and working with rum for pretty much all the time I’ve been here in New York. And I did a cocktail that I guess someone heard about, and I got invited to be part of the female competition that led up to this. And somehow I won the female version and I got to go to the finals.”
Slabiak’s prize is a trip to the Cayman Islands, where she has been invited to participate in another cocktail competition
“I’m going to keep doing it until it stops being fun,” she said, adding she was looking ahead to her next major project.
“I’m in the process of opening a bar with some friends; actually later this month –– a Scandinavian bar here in New York, which I’m really excited about,” Slabiak said.
Rum & Rhythm is the highlight of Caribbean Week, and is a benefit for the Caribbean Tourism Organization Foundation, a charity that offers scholarships and study grants to Caribbean students who are pursuing studies in tourism and hospitality.