Bajan chefs settle for second
Barbados placed second in this year’s Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge, finishing behind Team Bonaire.
Interestingly, along with the Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge title earned last weekend, coveted trophy and bragging rights, the Bonaire side of Ronald Gosepa and Giovanni Veld, with guidance chef Floris van Loo, also won themselves the grand prize of a trip to Barbados for the culinary aspect of the National Independence Festival Of Creative Arts (NIFCA) in November.
Kemar Husbands and Janeé Denny, coached by Winifred Banfield, successfully represented Barbados.
Team Guyana, represented by Wonuta Cupidore and Brentnol Archibald, coached by Derrick Morris, cooked their way into third position.
Peter Edey, executive chef and executive producer of the programme, described last weekend’s event to Barbados TODAY as excellent. He noted that the event had started off as the Caribbean Junior Challenge, the cooking competition among regional islands, but had morphed into a conference as well.
The competition itself had two rounds: a national dish and a signature dish, the latter having a protein and a secret ingredient. Three dishes had to be cooked in 40 minutes for the judges.
“This year we had seven islands [coming in], because St Vincent pulled out at the last minute . . . ; they didn’t think their students were totally ready . . . . The reason we don’t try to do more is because of the cost.
“It’s a big cost to bring the teams in; there’s a three-man team from every island: two competitors and a manager or coach . . . . But we’re looking to take it to at least ten islands; so it’ll be the first ten islands to enter, come next year,” revealed Edey.
The producer also alluded to the “fantastic skills” displayed during the challenge, as most competitors were involved in a home economics programme at their schools.
“For example, [you have to go through] the local Junior Challenge to get into this one. The winners of the local Junior Challenge, which is the one with all the secondary schools, the winner of that then goes on to represent Barbados at the Caribbean Junior Challenge.
“And, you would find that countries like Guyana, Grenada and St Lucia had their teams picked since February and they were training with chefs in the island to get ready for this programme in August.
“It has become much more competitive. At first, it was easy for Barbados because we were the only people with a programme to train [the young ones]. But not you find the islands are coming with very well
“For example Bonaire’s team was present at the Taste Of The Caribbean in Miami; so that’s not an easy team at all,” Edey declared.