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Culinary artistry

students at hospitality instituTe show off their skills

Local chefs need to be more open to creativity in their presentations as such can even help them secure jobs.

That’s the belief of chefs at the Hospitality Institute of the Barbados Community College at yesterday’s showcase for the seniors of their culinary arts programme.

Teacher of vegetable, fruit and butter carving, Chef Xiangguang Fan and Executive Chef Antonelle Byer told media at the showcase held at the PomMarine Hotel, operated by the hospitality programme, that the skills the students learnt in the programme could take them far.

Fan noted that there was a lot of skill exhibited in the programme that was not often seen in the hotels on island, suggesting that chefs needed to be a bit more open in their experiences.

“In other countries, Europe and China use it [food carvings], especially for garnishing dinner plates. Some young people do not realise it is used in work or to get a job. Every chef can do it. Some of them need their minds open, to go more places and see it. They need a challenge in art,” he stated.

Executive Chef Byer said he and others were working on a project to help young people challenge their creative edge of culinary arts.

“One thing I must say is the right now we, myself and a couple chefs from overseas, are planning to host a workshop with about 10 people who are interested in this specialised area. It would bring back more to the young people across the island. The fat and the fruit and the vegetable is something that once you have a love for it you can succeed.”

He noted that often the culinary arts were restricted in people’s minds to just food or pasty, but there was a creative side that could also be tapped.

“When people hear a chef they think only of cuisine and maybe about pastry, but there are several different genres of the culinary arts and you will find students who have an eye for art and craft do very well in this segment because you have to have a creative eye, a certain flair for art and a certain skill set to do well in this.

“This work you will see a lot of it when you travel Europe, North America, you will see these types of carvings and artistic displays. You don’t see a lot of it in the hotels here anymore because of lot of places that do buffets tend to shy away from it or have just one or two pieces, but it might come back to the skills of the chefs in their brigade,” he said.

The Culinary Arts II showcase, he explained, was a chance for students to show off their fat, vegetable, fruit and ice carvings, as well as sugar work, pastillage and chocolate work, all of which was done by about 55 students in their final semester, with the help of Chefs Fan and Ezra Beckles.

After the programme students would then go in different directions, he said, with some going on to the Disney University for a study and work experience at Disney World. Others he said, went on to the world of work exclusively, or to further their education, either here at the Cave Hill Campus or abroad. (LB)

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