Slow cooking

Slow Food Barbados co- founders John Hunte (left) and Ian McNeel.

by Shawn Cumberbatch

Made in Barbados is taking on a whole new meaning. In a partnership involving the island’s agricultural, tourism and related culinary sectors, a new chapter of the globally known Slow Food movement has been launched in Barbados.

And already Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy and one of the founders of the local arm of the programme are hailing its potential.

It became reality recently at Cin Cin By The Sea when the first of a series of Slow Food Farm-to-Table dinners, which are seeking to create stronger linkage between local farms, consumers and restaurateurs took place.

Guests at the sold-out event included Sealy, celebrity chefs Paul Yellin and Aaron McCargo Jr., and Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association Executive Vice President Sue Springer. They and others feasted on a six-course tasting menu with wine pairing of meals prepared from produce from local and organic farms.

The event was part of a plan to foster a greater relationship between local farmers and restaurateurs, while recognising the importance of food security here.

Barbados recently became the 161st nation to offer the globally-recognised Slow Food platform to seek out greater food security, food sovereignty and food justice for local farmers, producers, and consumers.

Co-founding member of the Barbados chapter, Ian McNeel, said there was a “need to reconnect Barbados with where our food comes from and how it is produced so we can understand the implications of the choices we, as consumers, make about the foods we put on our plates and encourage consumers and chefs to choose good, clean and fair food, from local, organic, sustainable and environmentally friendly sources”.

Sealy saw the event as a important part of the effort to grow culinary tourism in Barbados.

“The foray that we have been making with respect to culinary tourism has not been an accident. We recognise as a Government that we had all of the elements in place and that Barbados had already earned a reputation for having a number of world class eating experiences,” he said.

“When I say this, I do not simply refer to high-end restaurants, I mean across the board from Oistins to Holetown, Barbados has a cross section of dining experiences.

“If Barbados has this cross section of high quality culinary offerings, and the island is a tourist destination, and persons are coming and enjoying what you have, why not harness it?”

The organisers said the dinner series would continue to host similar farm-to-table events across the island during the upcoming winter season and into 2013 with the help of local participating chefs. These chefs will continue to highlight local farms and fishers by crafting culinary dishes using local and organic farm and ocean ingredients.

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