Barbados’ culinary team is already busy training and preparing for this year’s Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s Taste of the Caribbean, which takes place in Miami, June 26 to 30.
Team managers, chefs Graham Licorish, Michael Harrison and Peter Edey, along with bar training manager and last year’s Bartender of the Year, Jamaal Bowen, met with other team members recently at the Dining Club for the first training sessions.
Assistant Executive Vice-president of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, Michelle Smith-Mayers, explained that the competition was just a few months away and the team was hoping to get in as much training and practice sessions as possible during that time.
“Over the years the Barbados team has done extremely well at Taste bringing home a number of medals and titles including Team of the Year, Chef of the Year and Most Innovative Menu among others, as well as the first Bartender of the Year title in 2012.
“This year we are looking to add to that list and training is very vital in achieving this. The sessions not only assist with sharpening and improving the skills of the members, but they also prepare them for the competition arena, which is very different to what they are accustomed to.
“In the arena they have to work as a team, prepare sometimes more than 40 plates all at once and deal with judges, spectators, mystery baskets and time schedules, among other factors.
“This is why these training sessions are so important, especially for the new members, as it gives them the opportunity to become familiar with working under these conditions while training with others who have been through the competition before,” Smith-Mayers explained.
Taste of the Caribbean is the annual celebration of Caribbean cuisine and beverage and also provides the opportunity for the contestants to network, polish professional skills and cheer on colleagues as they compete before a large audience of industry peers and consumer culinary enthusiasts.