It was nothing short of a tremendous experience for the Barbados culinary team who returned home last night from Taste of the Caribbean 2018 in Miami.
The team copped seven silver medals, including in the ‘Team of the Year’ and ‘Junior Chef of the Year’ categories. They were also awarded two bronze medals in the ‘Pastry Chef’ and ‘Seafood’ competitions and brought home the coveted ‘Chocolate’ competition title following the June 22 to 26 event.
Training Manager Henderson Butcher was pleased with the young team’s overall performance. In fact, he described it as “tremendous”.
“I can’t fault or complain about anything that they did. I think that they were the best team performing in the competition,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“When you saw the . . . plating of Barbadian chefs, it was something different, something for the ages,” he explained, adding that “going forward, we believe that it is about, as the chief judge said last night, . . . cooking like granny, but plating like an international chef and this is what we’ve always done and will continue to do”.
Also hailing the performance of members of the culinary contingent, Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Steve Austin said the BHTA was committed to ensuring their growth and development.
“In Miami, the pressure was there, but you saw the practice and the dedication of these young people,” he said in reflecting on the overall Miami experience which was marred by Shanese Phoenix’s injury during the ‘Beef’ competition. However, Nicholas Ifill literally stepped up to the plate and replaced Phoenix, assuring the team of a silver medal in that category.
Kiara Riley also copped a silver medal in the ‘Junior Chef’ competition, which she said was the result of training and hard work.
Rodney Corbin, whose chocolate dessert with rum and raisin filling and guava and lemon grass jelly put him in winner’s row, is still basking in his Miami success.
“The competition for me was really, really great. It was an invaluable experience,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Upcoming bartender Alex Chandler, who brought home a silver medal, described the experience as unlike any other, while promising chef Derio Boyce, who was also a silver medallist, said “it was an eye opener”.
“The fun, the passion of being able to put yourself out there and letting people see what you are in the reflection of your dish, it was amazing,” he said, adding that he was ready for Taste of the Caribbean 2019.
Of the 12 regional teams in competition, Trinidad and Tobago emerged the overall winner of Taste of the Caribbean 2018. (KW)