Bajan duo are Junior top chefs
Barbados walked away with the Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge Trophy and an all-expenses-paid trip to Lincoln Culinary Institute in Puerto Rico, after winning this year’s round of the competition last weekend.
Following three days of cooking and competing with teams from seven other islands at The Dining Club in Newton Industrial Park, Christ Church, D’sean Miller and Tonia Brereton of The Lodge School were announced as the Caribbean’s top junior chefs.
They both thanked their coach Reginald Farley for the long hours he spent helping them to prepare, and told Barbados TODAY they had done it all for
their country. “It took days of training and a lot of practice. Some days we were training until our feet hurt; so we know that we couldn’t
just go up there and lapse around. We know we had to give our best to make sure the training paid off,” Miller said.
The budding chefs agreed that in what they described as a “heated” competition sound knowledge, simplicity and an added touch of elegance were the secret they used to cook their way to the top position.
“Don’t try to be too extravagant, because you will fall down somewhere in there,” Miller said.
“Teamwork is important for competitions, and we had great teamwork. That is what brought us to the finals, and that is what also brought us the win,” Brereton added.
For Miller, this win was more special to him than those who congratulated him could imagine. He explained that his love for cooking started while frying chicken nuggets for himself. He said that while in fifth form, he was seeking to attain perfect grades in sciences, however, that was not going well for him; so he made the switch to food and nutrition with the intent of sitting it in the Caribbean Council Examination.
That was a wise move for Miller, who had to repeat fifth form, but nevertheless received good grades in that subject. His teachers also thought they would keep the best candidate to compete in the local chapter of Junior Duelling Challenge.
“From there I just kept going higher and higher, and getting better each time. Even if it takes an extra year to find yourself, take that year and find where you want to go,” Miller advised.
Brereton said that because she loved her “belly”, from a young age, she could be found in the kitchen cooking her interpretation of a good meal.
The winners commended the planning committee that organized the competition, and hoped it would continue to remain relevant in years to come.
Grenada placed second, and St Lucia took third position.
The annual competition, launched and hosted by Barbadian French cuisine chef Peter Edey, was attended by internationally acclaimed Puerto Rican chef Josue Merced-Reyes and executive pastry chef Mandred Schmidtke of Lincoln Culinary Institute.
Stressing that he was happy with the success of the event, Edey said it took about six months to plan.
“As I always say, the only thing we have in the Caribbean that is still authentically ours, is our food. Look at it; people eat for every reason.
“If a child is born, people eat; if somebody dies, people eat; if it is an engagement, people eat. It is natural for food to bring people together,” Edey said.