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Conference a boost for culinary arts

The 2016 instalment of the Caribbean Junior Culinary Conference, now in its third year, opened yesterday with the event’s mastermind being praised for raising the profile of culinary arts in Barbados and the region.

The weeklong conference is the only one of its kind in the Caribbean that is designed for young people interested in the industry.

Assistant director of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Michelle Smith-Mayers, who delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony, acknowledged creator Chef Peter Edey’s contribution to the culinary arts.

The Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association assistant director Michelle Smith-Mayers delivering the key note address.

The Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association assistant director Michelle Smith-Mayers delivering the key note address.

“Peter has been consistent and he is committed to seeing you succeed, and because of his work and the mainstream media, youth now want to get involved in the culinary arts. When Chef Edey created the Junior Duelling Challenge four schools joined; it wasn’t traditional education so no one was interested, but this year he had 16 schools,” she told the participants.

Smith-Mayers added that the conference had the ability to grow even further.

“It needs support. This is the only culinary youth conference in the Caribbean and so it has the potential to grow into being one of the most significant teams to achieve growth and sustainability for our local tourism industry,” she said.

The highlight of the conference will be the Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge which will see participants from the Bahamas, Dominica, St. Croix, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados competing in a National Dish Round and a Mystery Basket Round. The three highest scoring teams from those two rounds will advance to the finals on Sunday.

But Edey said there was much more to the conference.

“This is a very unique experience. It’s about more than the competition; you have workshops, demonstrations and of course the opportunity to network,” he told the youngsters.

Chef Peter Edey

Chef Peter Edey

Marketing Director of RMJ Agencies, Graham Greenidge also shared with the participants the various opportunities the industry has to offer.

“Not everyone in here will be a chef. Some of you can get into food styling or blogging or urban farming; the industry is now beyond becoming an executive chef,” he said.

The participants also got some tips on financial management from Stacy Mottley the Marketing Executive at Barbados Public Workers Credit Union.

She told them: “Ensure to save small amounts consistently; it adds up. Budgeting is important. Practice delayed gratification so you sacrifice something now to gain something greater later. Lastly, invest wisely, ensure to build a good relationship with your financial institution and understand that credit is a privilege not a right.”

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