Caribbean culture isn’t just about soaking in the sun. In celebration of Caribbean Week in New York this week through June 7, The Daily Meal learned about the organic cuisine and hearty rum-based drinks of Barbados from some of the top chefs and mixologists on the island, including Cheahan Burnham, the executive chef of Blue Sky Luxury Villas.
“Barbados cuisine is exciting, flavorful, and there’s no such thing as preservatives,” said Burnham of the food in his island nation.
With no preservatives, Barbadian cuisine also has a tendency to be hearty yet healthy with plenty of starchy vegetables, stews, and fresh salads, said chef Creig Greenidge, the executive chef of CM Catering in Barbados.
If you visit Barbados, expect the local cuisine to be seafood-heavy, with a lot of local spices and seasonings incorporated, like the traditional island dish of flying fish stuffed with coucou (a Caribbean polenta) and onions, or the common pickled bananas side dish.
One of the key ingredients in most delicious Caribbean dishes is Barbados rum. “We incorporate rum in everything,” Burnham said, “From our cooking to desserts and cocktails.”
They’re not kidding. A few shakes from the bottle of local Barbados rum went into almost every dish and drink prepared, including the fried pumpkin fritters, which were dipped into a rum cream sauce made with cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. The rum itself is made from molasses, which is created from the raw sugarcane that grows abundantly on the island.
“Cocktail culture is definitely growing in Barbados,” said Jamaal Bowen, one of the top bartenders in Barbados. He and mixologist Dameain Williams made a hickory-smoked cocktail with bell peppers, cucumber, rosemary, and apple juice, in addition to the rum. “We have a saying here,” said Williams. “Anything you can eat, you can drink.”
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi
Bajan Bites: A Culinary Caribbean Vacation in Barbados
View from WAVES Resort & Spa | Coconut Crusted Barracuda, Thai Curry Cauliflower and Lime Sugar Cane Foam | Signature mocktail by the Koi Pond at COLONY CLUB
Island resorts can leave impressions that are more than favorable, but often fleeting when the entire experience, though extravagant, is expected and typical. After recently staying at two resorts owned and operated by the Elegant Hotels Group in Barbados, I certainly left impressed, but knew that my experience would not be soon forgotten. What has left an indelible mark with me after visiting the small Caribbean island is a deeper understanding of Barbados and what the island has to offer through its cuisine and welcoming locals. This Bajan excursion was truly unforgettable.
“Bajan” is another word for “Barbadian” and pronounced “bay-jun”.
This trip to Barbados was not only to rest, rejuvenate and get a final tan of the year. It was to learn and discover Bajan cuisine — from the traditional to the reinvented. Luckily for my group, we arrived at the perfect time to the Elegant Hotels Group resorts because they had recently finished publishing their first recipe book: TASTE. Truly much more than a cookbook, it was designed and produced specifically as a gift to resort guests as a Thank You. Additionally, it was a response to guests’ consistent requests for the recipes of dishes they’ve enjoyed at the various resorts. Created as a give-away, you may imagine that the recipe book would be a charming soft-covered booklet you’d tuck away on a shelf when you got home but you’d be wrong. TASTE is coffee-table ready with gorgeous pictures of not just the food and drink of the island and resorts, but the personalities who created, prepare and serve these dishes daily with affection. The hard cover book contains brief histories of the island, Elegant Group’s properties and the background of some of its culinary talent. Moreover, it’s a guidebook on Bajan flavors new and old. When you read and cook from this book it will be hard to ignore the attention to detail and the time and care it took to create it. Its undeniable value and the fact that it was created primarily as a present for guests is a true testament to what you can expect overall when you visit an Elegant Resort in Barbados.
Almond Basil Torte with Ginger Ice Cream from SHISO at WAVES | Tuna Carpaccio from DAPHNES at THE HOUSE | Assorted Filled Roti from SANDTRAP at TURTLE BEACH.
Knowing very little about the tiny island nation’s cuisine, I had few expectations upon arrival. I’ve come to learn that, like many Caribbean nations, the food of Barbados is strongly influenced by different cultures such as Indian, African, British, Portuguese and Creole. Flavors are delivered by various techniques usually through comforting sauces and gravies with varying levels of spicy heat (Bajans do love their pepper sauce made of scotch bonnet peppers). Because Bajan cuisine is globally influenced, it’s no wonder that the chefs who create dishes for the resorts’ more international restaurants do it with such aplomb. From the Asian plates at SHISO, to the finely prepared Italian dishes at DAPHNES, to the Curries and Mediterranean dishes of SANDTRAP, you wouldn’t know that you were thousands of miles away from the countries these cuisines originated from. Notable dishes from these restaurants respectively are the velvety Chicken, Rum & Coconut Soup and Almond Basil Torte, the vibrant Tuna Carpaccio, and the flavor-packed Beef and Potato Roti. The extensive experiences and love for food that Senior Head Chef Oliver Hinds, Executive Chef Kirk Ruck, and Senior Executive Chef Satheesh Kumar display at their respective global fusion restaurants are undeniable. Their stories and the recipes of the dishes I mentioned can all be found in TASTE, as well.
BONA FIDE BAJAN BITES – FROM PAST TO PRESENT
Aside from the delectable international fare that can be tasted at Elegant Resorts you can undoubtedly get to know traditional Barbadian dishes at their eateries, as well. These are the dishes that helped me understand the island better. Our hosts and the chefs spoke with true pride and affection about the food they grew up with, how they enjoy it with friends and family and how it’s been reinvented and modernized. As a result, I got a better sense of Bajan culture, the island’s history and their love for their cuisine.
Chef Wayne Manard with the only catch of the trip | a few bottles from the wall of curated global rums | Roasted Beets with Arugula, Feta, Candied Walnuts, Roasted Bell Pepper and Mango | Rum Ambassador Corey Sobers explaining the evening’s rum pairings
Being the birthplace of rum there is nothing more traditionally Bajan than the sugar cane spirit. There’s truly no escaping it in Barbados and why would you? Even if you don’t care for the spirit as a drink, its distinct flavor is widely used to enhance dishes that vary from home-cooking to fine-dining. Colony Club resort has not only embraced the national drink, but took the opportunity to commemorate it while celebrating its 70 th anniversary with the grand opening of Barbados’ first Rum Vault. The Vault is a small yet sophisticated room that immediately warms anyone who enters it. Its dark wood interior and leather accents set the mood while complimenting the feature wall of romantically lit specialty rums from around the world. The 150 rums curated with the help of global rum expert Ian Burrell, are the perfect backdrop to the various rum events that are held in the Vault.
My group was privileged to experience one of the Vault’s coveted events: an intimate rum-paired dinner. At the only bespoke dining table in the vault, we enjoyed the meticulously prepared dishes by Executive Chef Wayne Manard and Pastry Chef “Smilie”. Earlier that day, off the coast of Colony Club, we went fishing with Chef Wayne who was the only one in our group to catch anything. If I were the only one to catch a fish on our excursion, folks around me wouldn’t hear the end of it, but Chef Wayne is a man of few words and instead lets his food speak for him. We met again later at the Rum Vault where he and Chef “Smilie” spoke volumes with a dining experience like none other. For the starter, I had to get the Rum Glazed Pork Belly, because like myself, Chef Wayne’s favorite food to cook and eat is pork and it showed. The pork belly was perfectly roasted with the succulent meat basted in its own flavorful fat. The seasoning of salt, pepper, chili, cinnamon, garlic, thyme and onion was subtle but evident. The richness of the fatty pork was balanced by the sweetness of the dish’s other ingredients like Butternut Squash, Smoked Golden Apple and of course the Rum Glaze. Crispy skin added all the crunch the dish needed and proved to me Chef Wayne’s skill in the kitchen exceeded his skill on the fishing boat.
Rum Glazed Pork Belly, with Oven Roasted Crackling Butternut Squash Puree, Smoked Golden Apple Chutney & Rum Glaze | Char-grilled Fillet of Beef with Glazed Sweet Bread, Cherry Mustard, Roasted Parsnips | Chef Wayne Maynard and Chef “Smilie” | “Vault Flight” of hand made chocolates and paired rums
This dish, along with all the other plates of the evening, was completed by a specific rum pairing. Effervescent and knowledgeable Rum Ambassador, Corey Sobers, guided us throughout the evening with all the rums we tasted. He made sure that facts and stories about the celebrated spirit and, of course, actual rum kept flowing the entire evening. He paired the pork starter with a Spiced Sorrel Rum Sour Cocktail that brightened up the dish with hibiscus and citrus flavors while accentuating the rum in the glaze. With such a strong start to a meal I knew the following courses and pairings wouldn’t disappoint. All the dishes and pairings proved why diners are already clamoring to reserve a spot at Rum Vault events even though it’s only been open less than a year. From the Roasted Beet starter, to the Coconut Crusted Barracuda, to the Banana Bread and Butter Pudding Dessert, the rum-inspired dinner was quite memorable. To finish off the meal, Chef “Smilie” and Rum Ambassador Sobers presented us with a Vault Flight of 3 hand-made truffles paired brilliantly with rums that showed the spirit’s range. Displayed like little treasures, the truffles and sips of rum that sat above them truly represented the rare value of the dining experience we enjoyed.
GARDEN TO PLATEHead gardener Sharon explaining the Aquaponics that nurture the organic garden.
On the other side of Colony Club from the Rum Vault, past meticulously manicured tropical foliage and snaking pools is a garden where Chef Wayne and his team harvest fresh produce on site. After being given a tour of the Garden by Head Gardner Sharon, we met Sous Chef Michelle at the foot of the garden where she treated us to a cooking demo. There we learned how to prepare Barracuda with Spinach and Red Quinoa. The cooking demo was not just culinarily informative but exposed us to more of the history of the island and its identity through the fun banter we had with the convivial sous chef. Chef Michelle, who has worked at Colony Club for over 15 years, revealed more of Barbados’ personality as she demonstrated how she came to learn to cook red quinoa and how she has incorporated it with more traditional Bajan flavors. She explained what Bajan spices to get at the market and why it’s more difficult to find flying fish on menus these days in Barbados. Chef Michelle taught us not only how to fry barracuda, she also let us into her world which made meeting her one of the highlights of my trip.
Aside from the fish dish, Chef Michelle found out that we had been looking to try the Barbadian version of mac n’ cheese called Macaroni Pie. Bajan mac n’ cheese is baked with no bread crumb topping and the milk used to make the roux is steeped with aromatics like onion and cloves. She prepared it for us ahead of time to finally satiate our hankering for the traditional Caribbean favorite. It’s this level of forethought and consideration that stays with Colony Club guests and keeps
Dishes: Barracuda with Red Quinoa & Spinach | Bajan Macaroni Pie | Conkies steamed in Banana Leaf | Chef Michelle
them coming back, year after year. The meal was finished with another Bajan favorite – Conkies. Conkies are a semi-sweet dessert made of pumpkin, cornmeal flour, coconut, sweet potato and raisins which are all steamed in a banana leaf. It reminded me of a sweet rice dessert Filipinos eat that is also steamed in banana leaves called Suman. But unlike Suman the combination of the different starches give it a more savory flavor and less sticky texture with the raisins adding pops of extra sweetness here and there.
Noreetuh : Upgraded Hawaiian Fare in NYC’s East Village
No story about Bajan cuisine can exclude the mention of their national dish: Cou-Cou with Flying Fish. We were treated to it when we visited the Tamarind Hotel via super convenient inter-resort water taxis that are complimentary to guests. There we met the winner of the resort group’s Cou-Cou contest, Cook Donna Forde, who has irrefutably earned her nickname: “The Cou-Cou Boss”.
Cook Donna Forde stirring Cou-Cou | her final plated Cou-Cou with Flying Fish & Pickled Cucumber | Cou-Cou ingredients from when i created Cook Donna’s dish (used Lobster instead of Flying Fish) | My final plated Lobster Cou-Cou.
Cou-Cou is basically a polenta dish with okra incorporated into the cornmeal as it cooks. It is finished off with flying fish that is stewed in a tomato-based gravy and spicy pickled cucumbers. To avoid a lumpy end product the cornmeal is continuously stirred as the water that the chopped okra was parboiled in is intermittently added. As Cook Forde stirred the polenta you can see that she earned her title, not just by her technique and flavors, but by the quiet authority and confidence she mixed the ingredients with. Standing tall and proud the Cou-Cou Boss showed us how, by using her senses, she knew exactly when to add more okra water and how much. When she was done, the polenta was silky and had a very slight gummy texture. She plated the starch in a shallow bowl and spooned a generous amount of flavorful gravy with rolled up flying fish over it. She added just enough cucumber to brighten up the comfort food and give it some heat. Properly made, it is easy to see why this Caribbean favorite has, from its introduction by African slaves, stood the test of time.
Versatile ingredients and familiar flavors make it also easy to reinvent and elevate the traditional dish. In fact, the contest that Donna won also produced a winner for the “Modern Cou-Cou” contest and a dessert that received honorable mention and is also showcased in the book. The winner of the modern Cou-Cou was from The Tamarind Hotel, as well. Senior Sous Chef Jamal Blackman won by creating a Cou-Cou Sushi Roll with the traditional ingredients. Even more unconventional, Cook Elizabeth Carrington from Daphnes created an Offset Cou-Cou dessert which incorporated the ingredients into a cornmeal cake, tomato jam, flying fish caramel sauce and an okra ice cream. It was not only innovative and delicious, but it truly evoked the combined flavors of the treasured dish.
CERTAIN TO RETURN
Surely, the attraction of Elegant Hotels Group Resorts can be largely attributed to the gorgeous beaches they sit on and the breath-taking sunsets and tropical climate that they offer. But what makes vacationers come back to them, and what will make me return sooner rather than later, is their greatest asset – their talented and warm staff. In my experience, islanders in warm climates are inherently accessible, friendly and constantly want to feed you. All the Bajans I met strengthened this cliché in the best ways possible. And when they’re constantly trying to feed you excellent food, you know a return trip is inevitable.
Special thanks to The Barbados tourism board who made this trip possible and introducing us to PEG farms and Nature Reserve. PEG farms not only showed us the farming advances that they are pioneering at their biodynamic farm, but also introduced us to their farm fresh food at The Chrysalis Café. Their dishes at the café really highlighted the clean, fresh and flavorful produce. Clearly the technique in making these dishes successful came way before the ingredients even reached the kitchen.
images from PEG Farms and its Chrysalis Cafe.
I learned early in life to embrace your awkwardness. now, are you going to eat your chicken skin?
Here are some fantastic Barbados beverages from Rita G. Springer's Caribbean Cookbook. These are sure to bring back wonderful memories.
One of sour - One part pure lime juice (1/4 cup)
Two of sweet - Two parts sugar (1/2 cup)
Three of strong - Three parts Barbados rum (3/4 cup)
and Four of weak - Four parts water (1 cup)
Dissolve sugar in water, add rum and lime juice. Blend well. Chill and serve with bitters or nutmeg. Makes 4 servings.
2 wineglasses rum
1/4 cup honey or granulated sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon bitters
Combine ingredients and whisk until well blended. Pour into cocktail glasses half filled with finely crushed ice. Serves 4.
1 wineglass rum
1/2 tin (175g or 7oz size) evaporated milk
Piece of orange or lime rind
1 tin (325g or 12oz size) condensed milk
1 teaspoon bitters
Beat eggs well with the rind. Remove rind. Add milk. Stir well. Add rum and bitters and mix thoroughly. Bottle. Chill and shake well before serving. Makes 12-16 servings in liqueur glasses.
This is a popular Christmas drink.
1/4 cup rum
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup fresh pineapple juice
1 teaspoon bitters
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Shake all ingredients well together, put some ice into tall glasses and fill halfway with mixture. Finally pour on soda water to fill glasses. Stir and serve. Makes 4 servings.
Posted on 24 November 2017.
The Barbados Food and Rum Festival which culminated in Barbados last weekend has gone some way to cementing the country’s image as “the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean”.
Barbados might not have the diverse culinary influences of its neighbour Trinidad but it can point to a cadre of chefs and mixologists who are pushing the envelope in the culinary world. In June, the Bajans won Taste of the Caribbean, a prestigious annual competition hosted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association in Miami. It was the chefs from this victorious team who were the headline stars at the 2017 Food and Rum Festival.
The event is now in its eighth year and according to Barbados Tourism and Marketing Inc (BTMI) chairman Alvin Jemmott, the Food and Rum Festival which took place from November 16 to 19, is “creating a fusion between our visitors and locals.”
Jemmott told the T&T Guardian that the promotion of the country’s chefs has been vital to the Festival’s success.
“Another thing that has happened with the evolution of the Festival is the elevation of our chefs,” he said. “What I have been encouraging is the use of local ingredients in our culinary events.
“It’s not just the local chefs who are using the produce but the foreign chefs as well,” he said. “It helps the farmers, it gives them the avenue to get their products out there and helps to create the commerce in the agricultural sector.”
One event that showcased the award-winning chefs and mixologists was Taste of the Exotic: A Signature Rum Event, held at the Concorde Experience, a stone’s throw from Grantley Adams International airport. For this event, the chefs worked closely with mixologists to produce complementary items. It was a celebration of Bajan flavours, as the dishes were created using mainly local produce and spirits.
Among the popular dishes on the night were Damian Leach’s Lionfish and Tuna Poke which was paired with Philip Antoine’s Bajan Mango fusion, a drink with Cockspur rum as its base. Craig Greenidge’s Deep Fried Cornmeal and Herb Crusted Pigtails was paired with Shane McClean’s Spice Passion Rum Sour made using Doorly’s Rum and John Taylor’s Velvet Falernum.
Over the weekend, tourists and locals had several opportunities to taste fantastic food, kicking off with the Oistins Bay Gardens Cookoff on the Thursday, the Polo Rum Spirits event, and signature dinners hosted by international chefs Chris de La Rosa from Toronto via T&T, Tom Aikens from the UK and French master Jean Georges.
The Barbados Food and Rum Festival should be considered a “must do event” for serious foodies. In fact, food has become such a big draw in Barbados, the BTMI has said that 2018 will be the “Year of Culinary Experiences”, beginning in January with the start of the Rum and Sugar Season.
“Every day from January until March, something is going to be happening with sugar and rum. It’s part of our history, our culture and our heritage. We used to be a sugar economy and it’s part of what we are as a people,” said BTMI chairman Jemmott. The aim of the BTMI is to host events every month leading up to the Food and Rum Festival in November which will develop the awareness of the culinary industry.
The Taste the Islands Experience 2020
Our community’s safety is of the greatest importance to us. Due to guidance from the CDC advising that large events through April / May should be postponed, the Taste the Islands Experience has been rescheduled to new dates of August 22 and 23, 2020. The well-being of attendees, vendors, sponsors, staff, volunteers and all involved is the team’s top priority. Ticket holders should retain their tickets as they will remain valid for the new event dates. For issues or questions, please contact us at [email protected]
We’ll keep you posted, and we wish the best possible health for you and your families as we go through this challenging time.
Enjoy authentic sights, sounds and flavors of the Caribbean at the food-inclusive 4th annual Taste the Islands Experience (#TTIX2020). An official Signature multicultural Fort Lauderdale event. Details at ttiexperience.com .
The Taste the Islands Experience Main Event
On Saturday evening, enjoy:
- Island Pavilions - mouthwatering food and drink samples by visiting chefs and mixologists from the Caribbean islands, and meet the reps who can help you plan your next Caribbean getaway.
- Restaurant Row - a variety of South Florida restaurants and caterers sharing their most delicious small plates and cocktail samples.
- Celebrity DJ and Live Music - DJ GQ (Y100) and live island beats from one of South Florida's hottest bands.
- Cooking and Mixology Demos - on-stage stylings of some of the most engaging chefs and mixologists in our lineup.
- Culinary Museum and Theater - a cultural journey into the history of Caribbean food.
- "Duty Free" Shopping - curated island-style products from condiments to candles, clothing to coffee table books.
- Full bar - while drink samples will abound, full sized drinks are also available for sale.
Brunch on the Sunny Side
- Brunch Buffet - Caribbean buffet includes food items from across the West Indian region. Kids welcome.
- Tropical Mimosa Bar - curated selection of island style mimosas
- Couture fashion show - multi-generational models wearing Tanya Marie Designs for ladies and Garcon Couture for men.
- Steel Drum Music - live steel pan welcoming guests.
- Live Serenade for Moms - by an island soul singer.
- Exciting Giveaways - last year someone won a trip to Barbados courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc!
Food and spirits enthusiasts with a taste for island indulgences will gather August 22nd and 23rd, 2020 for events anchored at the new Charles F. Dodge Center in Pines, Florida. It's an interactive indoor celebration, offering an exciting program of uniquely Caribbean activities.
Support has been provided by the Community Foundation of Broward, the Helen and Frank Stoykov Charitable Endowment Fund, the David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation, Ann Adams Fund and the Mary and Alex Mackenzie Community Impact Fund.
Sponsored by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau in partnership with Island SPACE, Island Syndicate and History Fort Lauderdale.
Food and drink samples, great music and entertainment, light shopping, amazing company.
Due to the presence of alcoholic drinks, we do not encourage bringing children to the main event, although they are not barred from attending. No discounted pricing is offered for kids on Saturday night. Children are welcome to attend on Sunday at discounted ticket prices.
Do I have to pay for parking?
General parking is free to all attendees. Valet parking may be available at $17.
Is it indoors or outdoors?
We've moved from our riverside location in downtown Fort Lauderdale. We're now indoors at the beautiful Charles F. Dodge Center.
How can I become a sponsor or vendor?
Visit ttiexperience.com/become-a-sponsor , call 417-812-5663 or email support [at] islandsyndicate.com
Just for clarity, is it ALL-INCLUSIVE?
Not quite - it's food inclusive. Full sized drinks are not included with your cover price, but all your food and drink samples are. Full sized drinks are available on sale.
Do you have weekend packages?
Yes, discounted weekend packages are available in the ticketing options on Eventbrite.
Do you have group packages?
What islands will be represented?
Thus far we've had culinray talent from Jamaica, Barbados, the US Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Haiti, Trinidad, and the Dominican Republic. We're looking to expand that roster this year. Stay tuned!
The lasting influence of the Chinese in Jamaica is explored by Chef Walter Staib in the kitchen and on the street. Unique Asian-Jamaican fusion recipes include janga eggrolls with star fruit relish, and spicy shumai with Thai chili.
Penn’s Personal Brewery
William Penn’s approach to ale making is brought to life at his home, Pennsbury Manor. Recipes include sausage dumplings with a mushroom ale sauce, and roasted potatoes with sausage & sage.
America’s First Penitentiary
Chef Walter Staib tours the historic corridors of Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary. Recipes include white bean & beef stew, and red bean chili.
Camden & the Controversial Quaker
The wealth of New Jersey’s waterfront and the story of Marmaduke Cooper is uncovered by Chef Walter Staib at Pomona Hall. Recipes include stewed pheasant, and fricassee of sweetbreads & veal tongue.
Salt Cay: The Island that Time Forgot
Chef Walter Staib travels to Turks and Caicos to explore the historic salt ponds of Salt Cay. He also assists in the preparation a Caribbean queen conch tasting menu with local chefs.
Southern Fare at Rattle & Snap
Chef Walter Staib visits Tennessee and cooks at one of its oldest antebellum estates, Rattle & Snap. Recipes include cream of peanuts, stuffed pork roulade, and braised green beans.
Chef Walter Staib teams up Chef Pete Mims to enjoy Laredo’s local food favorites and the interesting history of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande. Recipes include puffy chalupas, and beef tenderloin with huitlacoche.
Washington’s Winter Headquarters
Chef Walter Staib and General George Washington brave the elements to discuss the winter of 1777 at Valley Forge. Recipes include veal kidney mushroom pie, and fried cauliflower.
Bourbon: The True American Spirit
Oak barrels, spring water and corn take center stage as Chef Walter Staib discovers the history of bourbon in Kentucky. Recipes include pepper-crusted pork tenderloin, and bourbon-glazed apples.
Little England in the Caribbean
Barbados’ history, cuisine, and folklore are explored by Chef Walter Staib. Recipes with local chefs include Bajan macaroni pie, sea cat, and Bajan souse with pig ear.
From Kitchen Garden to Table
Chef Walter Staib cooks “garden to table” at William Penn’s 17th century home. Recipes include baked stuffed flounder with sorrel & summer squash.
Taste the Caribbean with Barbados Chefs and Mixologists - Recipes
MIAMI (June 26, 2019) – Barbados was named the Caribbean National Culinary Team of the Year, while Jason Thomas Ao of the Cayman Islands was crowned Caribbean Chef of the Year when the 2019 Taste of the Caribbean competition results were announced last night at Hyatt Regency Miami.
Jason Thomas Ao of the Cayman Islands is the 2019 Caribbean Chef of the Year.
Taste of the Caribbean featured 14 Caribbean destinations, competing in a friendly but intense battle for cooking supremacy.
The culinary tournament was held in conjunction with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) annual industry conference, the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) from June 21-23, and the Caribbean305 culinary and cultural consumer celebration on Saturday.
The teams included the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Grenada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos.
Hazen Rolle of the Bahamas was named Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year. From left is CHTA’s CEO Frank Comito, President Patricia Affonso-Dass and judge Peter Olsacher.
Hazen Rolle of the Bahamas was crowned Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year Rajasekar Ravindran of Turks and Caicos Islands named Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year while Bonaire’s Dhanesh De Kok and Elise Weerstand took home the glory in the beef and chocolate competitions respectively. The Cayman Islands’ Dimuth Munasingha reigned supreme in the seafood category.
Caribbean Bartender of the Year Jurnick Merced of Curaçao celebrates in Miami.
The Caribbean Bartender of the Year award went to Jurnick Merced of Curaçao, and his nation also won Best Vodka Drink. Trinidad and Tobago won Best Non-Alcoholic Drink, St. Lucia captured Best Rum Drink, while Cayman Islands won Best Mystery Bar Drink.
Grenada won the Josue Merced-Reyes Spirit of the Competition award, while Floris van Loo of Bonaire took home Tony Mack Spirit of the Competition honors.
“We congratulate this year’s Taste of the Caribbean participants, their national hotel and tourism associations, team managers and sponsors for an exhibition of excellence, competitive spirit and camaraderie,” said Patricia Affonso-Dass, President of CHTA. “The future of food and beverage in the region is undoubtedly in good hands.”
Rajasekar Ravindran of Turks and Caicos Islands was named Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year. From left is CHTA’s Frank Comito and Patricia Affonso-Dass, and judge Augusto Schreiner.
High resolution photos are available upon request.
Taste of the Caribbean’s host sponsor was Interval International, while House of Angostura® was the Bartender of the Year sponsor. Event sponsors included The Best Dressed Chicken, Certified Angus Beef®, Figment Design, Food Export USA – Northeast, Marketplace Excellence, MasterCard, OBMI, RAK Porcelain, U.S. Meat Export Federation, U.S Pork, and the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism. Product sponsors included Angostura® Orange Bitters, Certified Angus Beef®, Food Export USA – Northeast, Halperns’ Purveyors of Steak and Seafood, PromiseLand, RAK Porcelain, Superior Farms, U.S. Meat Export Federation, and U.S. Pork. For further information, visit www.chtataste.com.
About the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is the Caribbean’s leading association representing the interests of national hotel and tourism associations. For more than 50 years, CHTA has been the backbone of the Caribbean hospitality industry. Working with some 1,000 hotel and allied members, and 33 National Hotel Associations, CHTA is shaping the Caribbean’s future and helping members to grow their businesses. Whether helping to navigate critical issues in sales and marketing, sustainability, legislative issues, emerging technologies, climate change, data and intelligence or, looking for avenues and ideas to better market and manage businesses, CHTA is helping members on issues which matter most.
First of all, how fun is callaloo soup to say out loud? This soup is a firm favorite recipe on the small island of St Lucia. The vegetable callaloo is leafy green, a cross between kale and spinach. High in protein, callaloo is perfect for vegetarians.
Callaloo soup makes a great light lunch or appetizer to a main meal. Infused with turmeric, garlic ,and fresh ginger this soup is abundant in flavor and super healthy too. You will also need some coconut milk to thicken the soup as well as sweet potato and a tin of black-eyed peas for texture and a carbohydrate kick.
You can make a batch in under and hour, so if you’re pressed for time, get cooking callaloo soup.
Preparation Methods for Barbadian Cooking [ edit | edit source ]
In the Barbados cuisine there are used elements from various cooking traditions borrowed from their neighbors and developed from their own traditional dishes. While there are no specific or unique preparation methods for Barbadian cooking, we should point out that attention to detail is important in the Barbadian cuisine. Using the right amount of spices for example is essential – either for spicing up the taste or for coloring the dish. The variety of vegetables and cereals found in Barbadian is also noticed in the delicious dishes belonging to their cuisine. The visual attractiveness of the dish is also important, and a balance between colors and proportion differentiates. Each traditional dish has a special cooking method, which is more or less general in all of Barbados’s regions. Meat is one of the main elements of most Barbadian dishes and cured and smoked hams are often parts of delicious dishes.
Vegan codfish buljol offers a taste of the Caribbean in under 15 minutes
It’s the dead of winter, and most of the fun holidays are behind us—but there’s still months of cold and slush to get through. So we’d like to welcome you to Tropical Staycation , a week of island-inspired recipes and other stories that will transport you to much warmer, sunnier places. Just don’t look out the window while reading.
A perfect bite of food has the power to make the world around you fall away. That’s what happened to me last fall in the sun-streaked atrium at the center of the Baltimore Museum of Art, where four female chefs gathered to celebrate the bounties of the African diaspora. It was here that Chef Lee Bentick brought me, for a fleeting moment, to her home of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Saint Vincent is the largest of the 32 small islands that make up this nation in the southern Caribbean Sea that I, sadly, have never had the privilege of visiting. Bentick told me that though the country welcomes tourism, it’s not the nation’s primary industry as it is in nearby Barbados and Saint Lucia. Over two-thirds of the land is still covered in vegetation, and what land that has been developed has primarily been cultivated for agriculture. Saint Vincent is, quite literally, a food lover’s paradise.
When you ask Bentick to talk about Saint Vincent, her eyes light up. It’s a country where time seems to pass a bit slower, she tells me where each and every one of the 110,000 people who call the islands home is, in some way, connected. Growing up behind the counter of Caribbean Magic, her mother’s restaurant located in the capital city of Kingstown, Chef Bentick knows that all food is a celebration of sorts, and in Saint Vincent, life is too beautiful not to be celebrated. Every morsel of her food seemingly radiates this philosophy, and when I eat it, I’m transported by its botanical herbs, invigorating spices, explosive jolts of atomic chili peppers, and pungent ginger.
I have greedily asked Bentick for every recipe she’s willing to share, as her cooking has made it clear to me that there’s an entire universe of flavors I have yet to experience. She says that when she misses home the most, she’ll make codfish buljol, a classic dish of cured or salted cod, sauteed peppers, and onions that is the very definition of comfort food in Saint Vincent. Bentick is a vegan chef—a way of eating she says is natural, or even unintentional, when one comes from a place where the finest fruits and vegetables grow wild at every turn—so she substitutes the traditional dried codfish with meaty, tropical jackfruit. If you’d like to use dried salt cod, you may just remember to soak it well for at least 48 hours, changing the water every 12, before starting this recipe.
Start to finish, this buljol is done in under 15 minutes, and is often devoured in a fraction of that time. It needs little as far as accompaniments go, though I personally like drowning mine in scotch bonnet hot sauce like a woman with a death wish. My real wish, though, is to visit a place as lovely as Saint Vincent.