Andrew Williams now has bragging rights and the title of ‘Best Bajan Cook’.
The 23-year-old secured the title at the end of Saturday’s fourth annual competition held at the Dining Club in the Newton Industrial Estate.
The competition, which started with 16 passionate home cooks, came down to the best four, with 2015 champion Kerry-Ann Walters, three-time finalist Kimberly Bourne and two male newbies – Williams and Lester Moore – pulling out all the stops to woo the judges’ senses of sight, smell and taste.
In the end, Williams would trounce his rivals with his ‘246’ dish which embodied everything Bajan, including the Pride of Barbados flower and lamb infused with Black Barrel Mount Gay Rum. The dish beat out Moore’s ginger infused lamb soup, which was inspired by a Vietnamese dish called pho, as well as Bourne’s pork chops stuffed with Eclipse biscuits and bacon and Walters’ Disaster Preparedness one pot meal.
Williams, whose mantra is victory loves preparation, told Barbados TODAY that he had worked incredibly hard, day and night.
“From the time I found out I was in the finals I was preparing, I had to go in the canefield myself to get the sugar cane and it wasn’t easy finding any this time of year,” he said.
Williams, who works in the hotel industry, intends to become an entrepreneur, hopefully cooking food for the Caribbean.
“I get to see lots of work by some very talented and creative chefs and I just watch, learn and spend most of my off days trying my hand at food,” he said.
Along with bragging rights, Williams walked away with the Enid Maxwell Award, comprising of $2,000 cash, $500 in Massy groceries, a trip on Jetblue and a trophy, along with other prizes.
The Bajan Cooking extravaganza is the brainchild of certified executive chef Peter Edey and coincides with the culinary arts season of the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA).
Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation Cranston Browne told Barbados TODAY that despite budget cuts The Best Bajan Cook remains an integral part of NIFCA.
“There is nothing more Bajan than cooking and this competition is a favourite of the Barbadian people,” he said.
Pleased with the response to this year’s competition and the overall turnout at other NIFCA events, Browne is anticipating even more growth in 2018.