Barbados culinary team anxious to bring home the gold

Chefs and bartenders vie for top honours at Taste of the Caribbean competition.

After five days of intense competition, the BHTA Culinary Team members are just a short while away from finding out how they well they impressed the judges at the Taste of the Caribbean competition in Miami.

Accompanied by Team Manager Henderson Butcher, bartender manager Jamaal Bowen and bartender trainer Rohan Hackshaw, Chefs Damian Leach, Willis Griffith, Kirk Ruck and Wilwore Jordan; Pastry Chefs Javon Cummins and Ron Maynard; Junior Chefs Nicolas Ifill and Marvin Applewhaite and Bartenders Ryan Adamson and Philip Antoine, are competing against 13 other Caribbean countries.

“We’re here in Miami fighting for the gold. Fifty years of Independence and we’re trying to get every gold medal possible to represent Barbados in a very proud and strong way,” said Team Manager Henderson Butcher.

According to Butcher, Barbados has tunnel vision on emerging tops:

“We came here thinking about the task at hand – what we came here to do… We don’t have a Plan B. We’re not interested in Plan B. We’re executing Plan A – that’s it.”

He reported strong performances in all the categories so far, culminating with today’s battles to see who will earn the titles Junior Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year and Chef of the Year.

The winners of this year's competition will be announced at a dinner and awards ceremony tonight at 7 p.m.

According to Butcher, the Bajans have been impressing the judges with their kitchen and plating techniques, and it remains to be seen how the taste judges will respond to their dishes.

“We should be proud of the level of our chefs in this Caribbean,” he said.

Emphasising the developmental aspect of the competition, the team manager noted that it is a prime opportunity for Bajan culinary professionals to pit their skills against others from around the region, earn “bragging rights” and make their name.

In the 2015 competition, Barbados’ medal haul was two gold, two silver and one bronze, while also winning awards for the Most Innovative Dish Utilizing Indigenous Ingredients and Best Non Alcoholic Drink.

Barbados claimed the title Caribbean National Team of the Year in 2013 and 2010. Meanwhile, team members Mitchell Husbands and John Hazzard won Chef of the Year in 2011 and 2004 respectively. The title Caribbean Bartender of the Year was won by Jamaal Bowen in 2012.

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