Bahamas won top honors in the 2015 Taste of the Caribbean team competition in Miami this past weekend, marking the first time the coral-based archipelago has won the award.
The event, which began in 1993, was held at the Hyatt Regency Miami June 12–14. It is the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s premier annual culinary competition and showcase.
Joining Bahamas as a gold-medal winner in the National Team of the Year culinary competition were Barbados, Bonaire, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Each team was given items to make a three-course menu in one hour. After the menu was created, teams had three hours to prepare a three course meal (appetizer, entree and dessert), which was then served to attendees.
Participants in the Taste of the Caribbean event were Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Surinam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Winners in the other categories were:
Chef of the Year: Jonathan Hernandez, Puerto Rico
Bartender of the Year: Marv Cunningham, Bahamas
Pastry Chef of the Year: Sheldon Tracey Sweeting, Bahamas
Junior Chef of the Year: Edna Butcher, St. Lucia
Beef/Seafood Competition: Miguel Saragoza, Bonaire
Cheesecake Competition: Martha Hippolyte, St. Lucia
Most Creative Bartender: Anguilla
Best Non-Alcoholic Drink: Barbados
Best Vodka Drink: U.S. Virgin Islands
Best Rum Drink: Bahamas
Each year, the Caribbean culinary competition brings the top teams and chefs together to compete and to learn from each other. Participating teams, event sponsors and attendees all benefit from exploring industry trends and exchanging ideas, skills and techniques.
Last year, Puerto Rico won the National Team of the Year award and Rashindra Dodge from Bonaire was named the Caribbean Chef of the Year.