This brings the number of wins for Barbados in this category to three, with Mitchell Husbands and John Hazzard having been named Chef of the Year in 2011 and 2004 respectively. Barbados now ties with Puerto Rico for the most wins in this category.
Leach, whose win has inducted him into the Taste of the Caribbean Hall of Fame, led the way for the Barbados medal haul tonight at the awards ceremony of the 2016 Taste of the Caribbean competition at the Hyatt Regency in Miami.
Overall, Barbados captured two gold medals, five silvers and one bronze.
The top award of Caribbean Team of the Year went to Trinidad & Tobago. Barbados earned a silver medal in that category.
Bartender of the Year was won by Marvelous Cunningham of The Bahamas; Kimberly Jaggasar of T&T won Pastry of the Year; and the Junior Chef of the Year is Robinangel Simmons of the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Barbados' team was made up by 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, accompanied by Team Manager Henderson Butcher, bartender manager Jamaal Bowen and bartender trainer Rohan Hackshaw.
They were in Miami from June 6 – 10 for the prestigious regional culinary competition, going up against 13 other Caribbean countries in several different categories including Beef, Seafood, Pastry, Bartending and more.
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.
See how the team performed in 2016:
CHEF OF THE YEAR (Winner) – Damian Leach
CHEF OF THE YEAR (Gold) – Damian Leach
BARTENDER OF THE YEAR (Gold) – Ryan Adamson
CARIBBEAN TEAM OF THE YEAR (Silver) – Barbados
PASTRY CHEF OF THE YEAR (Silver) – Javon Cummins
JUNIOR CHEF OF THE YEAR (Silver) – Marvin Applewhaite
SEAFOOD (Silver) – Wilwore Jordan
CHEESECAKE COMPETITION (Silver) – Ron Maynard
BEEF COMPETITION - Sponsored by Certified Angus Beef (Bronze) – Kirk Ruck