We are happy to see that the success of the Caribbean Junior Culinary Conference (CJCC) has inspired and motivated the senior colleagues enough to move towards the formation of a similar organization for the seniors across the region.
The Caribbean Culinary Alliance (CCA) was launched this year, using the CJCC’s platform. For this week’s edition, we bring to you an edited version of the feature address given by one of the CCA’s stakeholders, the Representative of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in Barbados, Mrs. Ena Harvey.
“Across the Caribbean region, the culinary profession is evolving from an expatriate-focused sector (with foreign hotel owners, foreign chefs, and foreign-trained local chefs) to a sophisticated profession, which includes Caribbean Executive Chefs, Chefs and Caterers, Mixologists and Bartenders and Food Stylists.
There have been some attempts to elevate our local culinary artisans through the establishment of hospitality training centres; scholarships for training at culinary institutions worldwide; work attachments; culinary and bartender competitions, and membership in small local associations with affiliations in larger overseas bodies such as the American Culinary Federation.
However, to date, there has not been the creation of a sustainable body which brings together culinary professionals in a way that seeks to facilitate personal and professional growth and establish the Caribbean region as a dynamic culinary destination on the world stage. Moreover, such a body needs to be linked in an integral way with the producers of the food, viz. the farmers, fisher folk, or local processors or fisher folk – with a development perspective. This essentially is the goal behind the establishment of a Caribbean Culinary Alliance (CCA).
In an attempt to address this situation, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) have been working in partnership with chefs in the Caribbean, and in collaboration with World Certified Executive Chef Peter Edey of Caribbean Cuizine, to launch the CCA. Through the Culinary Alliance, we now have the opportunity to brand Caribbean Cuisine and secure its future through a network of senior and junior chefs and mixologists, dedicated to showcasing the rich culinary heritage of the Caribbean.
The inaugural Caribbean Culinary Conference and the 4th edition of the Caribbean Junior Culinary Conference – hosted annually by Chef Edey – represent the continuation of efforts by the IICA, the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) in Brussels, a committed group of Caribbean Chefs and regional partners, including the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), to endorse culinary professionals as champions to promote the use of local foods in our cuisine.
IICA is pleased to have sponsored the participation of five Caribbean chefs who, together with regional partners, advanced discussions and plans for the establishment of a Caribbean Culinary Alliance. The goal of the CCA is to unite culinary professionals across the Caribbean region in a common dedication to personal and professional excellence and the growth and development of the Caribbean as a food tourism destination. It speaks to national and regional pride in our culinary heritage, validation and ownership of what is uniquely ours, and to multi-destination marketing of the Caribbean through Food Tourism.
CCA is a not for profit organization focused on a mission to build vibrant and enduring relationships between people who are professionally engaged in providing food, beverage and hospitality across the Caribbean region. It will include as members in various categories, all public and private sector stakeholders from Farm to Table, Boat to Throat… along the value chain who provide goods and services to the culinary trade and to our regional tourism sector.
The Alliance will focus on education, training, certification and accreditation of our existing chefs, mixologists, and culinary professionals through certification in NVQs, CVQs, in the American Culinary Federation and the World Association of Chefs Societies; internships and externships; online courses, scholarships, apprenticeships and job placements across Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as internationally; networking and knowledge sharing and access to experts and resources.
We have established a Core Team comprising four Executive Chefs, who will receive support from IICA, CTA, CHTA, and CTO. These four chefs are: Chef Stephan Berrouet Durand, internationally acclaimed Haitian chef; Chef Jacqui Tyson Neiderhauser, an amazing Jamaican chef and owner of her own company “From Thought to Finish”; Chef Peter Edey of Caribbean Cuizine and Chef Anton Doos, Chefs Rock, Chefs Doos and Don’ts.
Over the next six months, this Core Team will put in place the institutional and management structure and all of the information and necessary content for registration and membership in the Caribbean Culinary Alliance. We do not intend to re-invent the wheel, but instead, to leverage existing initiatives, including the CTA’s Chefs for Development Platform for ACP countries, the annual CHTA’s Taste of the Caribbean, the annual CJCC and the existing national Culinary Alliances and Associations operating in countries such as Jamaica, Cayman Islands, St. Croix, Haiti, Bahamas and Barbados.
The Alliance will be supported by private sector companies operating in the Caribbean, which provide products and services to the culinary sector. We will also be seeking the endorsement of the CARICOM Secretariat, the CTO, the CHTA and international agencies at various meetings including the CTO Week in New York, the CHTA’s Taste of the Caribbean and the Caribbean Week of Agriculture in Barbados in 2018. The Caribbean Culinary Alliance will also be involved in generating revenue through various fund-raising events and activities at national and regional levels.
The establishment of this Alliance is evidence of a renewed pride in our culinary heritage, of recognition of the importance of food tourism to the diversification of our tourism product, to a sustainable future for our young people and to a renewed path to self-discovery through our food”.
Next week we turn our attention to the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) and the Best Bajan Cook competition.