The triumphant Barbados Culinary Team received a hero’s welcome from friends and family on their return from the Taste Of The Caribbean Competition in Miami.
In the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) contest, they vied with 13 other Caribbean teams, winning two gold medals, five silver and one bronze.
Barbados TODAY spoke with the members of the team who were proud of their victories.
Nicholas Ifill received a silver medal in the Junior Chef Of The Year Competition. He admitted the experience was intense, but said the outcome was positive, as all of his practice paid off.
He looks forward to next year’s competition where he will be aiming for gold.
Damian Leach brought home the gold plate for the Caribbean Chef Of The Year.
“I definitely dreamt about this moment for a long, long time,” he said of his achievement, adding that his next step was opening his new restaurant Cocktail Kitchen this month in St Lawrence Gap.
Javon Cummins, a chef at Colony Club Barbados, saw the competition as a great opportunity, even though the additional teams posed a challenge. Cummins said the Junior Chef level and Pastry Chef Of The Year were totally different categories, and that while it was difficult, he would continue to work at it. In the future, he hopes the team will gain exposure globally, participating in the Culinary Olympics.
For bartender Ryan Adamson, his first time at Taste Of The Caribbean was euphoric. “It was a fierce competition; lots of previous gold medal winners, and Bartender Of The Year winners as well; but, all in all, we showed that Barbados could hold her own among the best,” Adamson said alluding also to the cocktails he had prepared.
His vodka cocktail was a replica of pudding and souse; his Surreal Passion, inspired by how he met his wife, was non-alcoholic; and Mr Harding paid homage to sugar cane workers.
Adamson hopes Barbados will capitalize more on the culinary arts, even establishing a culinary school or arena for frequent training of up-and-coming chefs. From talented chefs and bartenders to mixologists, culinarily and cultural-wise, Barbados has much to offer, he says.