The value of global exposure

This is the time of year when I do most of my travelling for inspiration and keeping up-to-date with new culinary trends. This field is extremely dynamic and, as such, it is vitally important to visit shows and conferences to stay in tune with what is happening around the world .

One of the events I visited at the beginning of June was the Taste of the Caribbean, which was held in Miami. I always see this event as important, as it tells you the standard of food and drink available across the Caribbean since the region’s top chefs and bartenders are the ones who compete here.

This was the first time in about three years that I have attended Taste, as I had taken it off of the my list of “to do events” because I had seen a constant decline in the quality of the competition. Additionally, as this “form of education” is very expensive, you therefore must choose carefully where you will be spending your, these days, hard to come by dollar.

At this year’s Taste of the Caribbean, I could see the hard work being done by the organizers but, to my mind, there are still some issues that need to be addressed. If you take a critical look at the event, the competition has not really grown in the direction which one would expect and the presentations fall short of what is seen at international competitions. I can’t comment about the flavours, as I was merely an observer and therefore, not involved in the tasting, but I must assume that they were in order.

I am a firm believer that the only way you can grow is to be exposed to the best of what is happening at the time. This will require visits to international competitions to see some of the world’s best in action and also to attend the numerous workshops and demonstrations which are again conducted by some of the very best in the food and beverage fields. Only then would you be able to see the true level to which your craft can grow.

So yes, we had some teams that did very well at Taste of the Caribbean, but again, that was to the level of this competition. I would suggest that they bear in mind that there is another standard out there which is still very achievable by our most talented chefs. They only need to have the strong desire to be a
part of this elite group and be prepared to spend some time on their personal development and they will be amazed at how much there is to learn in this most exciting field.

With all of this being said, kudos to all of those who participated in the Taste of the Caribbean as I am fully aware of the pressures that competition bring and the hard work and countless hours that are required to become competition ready.

About two weeks after the Taste of the Caribbean, I headed to Louisville, Kentucky, for WorldSkills USA, at which the USA selects its team for , which will be held this year in Abu Dhabi.  was an eye opener, proving once again that what I have been discussing in this article is extremely important. We will delve into  in more detail next week.

Until then, here are some recipes for you to try.

Braised Cabbage

INGREDIENTS

1  Cabbage Head

1  oz Margarine

1  tsp Chives, chopped

2  ozs Sweet Peppers, sliced

2  ozs Onion Sliced

2  pods Garlic chopped

2tsp Mustard

16  ozs water

Scotch bonnet pepper to taste

salt to taste

pinch nutmeg

METHOD

1.  Remove heart of cabbage and cut into eight pieces and sit in a baking dish

2.  Melt margarine in a saucepan and sauté the herbs, chives, peppers onion and garlic

3.  Combine mustard water, salt and pepper and nutmeg and add to the pan

4.  Simmer for two minutes then pour over cabbage

5.  Bake in oven at 350 F for approximately 20 minutes until cabbage is cooked.

6.  Should be crunchy in texture.

Corn-Crusted Pasta

INGREDIENTS

1  Cabbage Head

1  oz Margarine

1  tsp Chives, chopped

2  ozs Sweet Peppers, sliced

2  ozs Onion Sliced

2  pods Garlic chopped

2tsp Mustard

16  ozs water

Scotch bonnet pepper to taste

salt to taste

pinch nutmeg

METHOD

1.  Remove heart of cabbage and cut into eight pieces and sit in a baking dish

2.  Melt margarine in a saucepan and sauté the herbs, chives, peppers onion and garlic

3.  Combine mustard water, salt and pepper and nutmeg and add to the pan

4.  Simmer for two minutes then pour over cabbage

5.  Bake in oven at 350 F for approximately 20 minutes until cabbage is cooked.

6.  Should be crunchy in texture.

Country Chicken

INGREDIENTS

8 ozs  Chicken

2 ozs  Sweet Peppers – red, yellow & green

1         Large Onion

1 pod  Garlic minced

1 tsp   Mixed Fresh Herbs, chopped

           Salt & Pepper

           Fresh Lime Juice

METHOD

1.  Cut chicken into strips

2.  Slice sweet peppers and onions

3.  In a hot pan, sauté sweet peppers, onions and garlic

4.  Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes

5.  Add mixed herbs and cook for a further 2 minutes

6.  Salt and pepper to taste

(Peter Edey is a Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation, a graduate of l’École Ritz Escoffier, Paris and a Certified Caribbean Hospitality Trainer. Email: peter@dcbarbados.com)

 

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