Food and Rum Festival wins prestigious international award
By Shamar Blunt
Since its significant rebranding after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Barbados Food and Rum Festival has established itself as the region’s top culinary event, and it has a top award to show for it.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Ian Gooding-Edghill disclosed on Wednesday that the festival, which has become a must-see event for the late summer season, had captured a prestigious international award.
“On Monday, October 16, it was announced that the Barbados Food and Rum Festival had been awarded the title of the Caribbean’s Best Culinary Festival of 2023. It was done so by the prestigious World Culinary Awards; the announcement was made at a special awards ceremony in Dubai,” he said during a Barbados Food and Rum Festival media reception at ZaZen Villa, Bathsheba.
“Now when we say we are the culinary capital of the Caribbean, we can add the best culinary festival in the Caribbean.”
Gooding-Edghill went on to praise the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), along with the chefs and bartenders associated with the festival for their efforts.
“Thank you for continuously creating the most delectable cuisines and crafting the finest cocktails. You have helped to make this festival a world-class experience. I am happy that you have yet another award to showcase to the world.”
Director of Public Relations and Corporate Communications at the BTMI Aprille Thomas spoke proudly of the growth of the festival, stating that the culinary extravaganza has expanded significantly this year.
“This year, we have doubled capacity on a number of the venues, so you will see more people, more food, more chefs at Rise and Rum, and at Liquid Gold. We have four completely sold out events…. That Junior Chef Cook Off competition, before I left home we had one ticket left and it is gone. We are completely sold out.
“That is a huge milestone – being able for us to sell out these events, some of them a full two weeks before the event happens,” she said.
Thomas said the BTMI was particularly delighted with the interest shown by locals and visitors this year, with ticket sales showing a healthy split between the two groups.
“The Chef Classics which are cooking demonstrations, we have seen a split with 56 per cent of visitors attending the Chef Classics; the Junior Chef Cook Off competition, 80 per cent visitors purchased tickets for that; the Rise and Rum Breakfast Beach Party, 33 per cent are visitors [as] ticket holders; the Liquid Gold Fest, 24 per cent of visitors are ticket holders; and lastly, the Rum Route on Friday night, a whopping 93 per cent of those ticket holders are visitors.
“This shows us that we have created a festival that people want to fly into Barbados for and want to be a part of…. After COVID, we had no idea what was going to happen next, but we took a chance on an idea that we had and it’s just so amazing to see it blossom,” Thomas added.