Beefed up cooks contest for NIFCA
The culinary arts will take centre stage at this year’s National Independence Festival Of Creative Arts (NIFCA).
Speaking at this afternoon’s Press conference to launch the festival, Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley revealed that there were many welcome changes to this discipline of NIFCA.
“We have significantly upgraded the programme in culinary arts. The competitors called for it. We want to see the skill being showcased across the world, because I believe we have some fantastic home cooks in Barbados,” Lashley said.
He also noted that the culinary arts competition would be rebranded because of the involvement of first-time title sponsors Roberts Manufacturing. The competition will now be known as the Roberts NIFCA Culinary Competition.
“The competition will now feature a two-day culinary market which provides selling opportunities for the winners at the Wildey Gymnasium. This promises to be one of the major events,” Lashley added.
Another new addition to the competition is the NIFCA Best Bajan Cook Competition, a zonal cook-off for non-professional chefs.
But the other disciplines are not be left out. Lashley noted that a number of other initiatives had been implemented to improve the overall look of NIFCA.
“What is being offered this year has benefited from the input of the stakeholders. We had some meetings with them, and this helped to give a voice to those who don’t usually have one,” Lashley said.
Also for the first time, there will be People’s Choice Award that will foster greater public participation.
“Our aim is to get as much public support as possible. So the public can vote for who they like best. I believe that this will create much excitement among the public,” the minister added.
With many new and more attractive prizes planned, Lashley said he believed this would encourage greater NIFCA participation.
“NIFCA is a critical element, and we should not underestimate its true value. NIFCA helps to bring out the brilliance and creativity of Barbadians.”
Some of the new prizes include The Cynthia Wilson NIFCA Producer’s Prize, Historic Bridgetown And Its Garrison Heritage Prize, The Barbados Landship Award, The Barbados Gospelfest Award, The Carolle Bourne Award and The Supreme Counselling For Personal Development Anti-Bullying Award.
To allow for greater participation, Lashley said that a number of the registration deadlines had been extended.
Believing the standard of NIFCA to be improving, Lashley said: “I am very pleased and continue to be impressed with what I am seeing. The audiences that I have been seeing at the various venues have been very encouraging.”
The minister also highlighted plans being put in place to open a new multicultural centre.
“We have the potential to host major events, but we lack a cultural centre. We have venues in mind and we are hoping that this can come to [fruition] very soon,” Lashley said.
This year’s NIFCA begins with preliminaries on September 6, the festival concluding on November 4.