Caribbean culture will be on display at the annual Taste of the Caribbean where chefs and bartenders from the region take center stage to compete for the Caribbean’s top culinary honors. Presented by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) from June 26-30, the event will host a gathering of culinary enthusiasts and experts at the Hyatt Regency, Miami.
“The Caribbean is united in the promotion of the region’s indigenous flavours and products. From the world’s best spices to the best coffee, rums, beers and tropical fruits, our national cuisines are an important part of our destination marketing,” said Josef Forstmayr, chairman of CHTA and chairman of Taste of the Caribbean. “Our distinct cuisines are part of our national identities and Taste of the Caribbean showcases our region in a very powerful way,” Forstmayr added.
There are currently nine Caribbean culinary teams registered for the event including Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each participating team represents a Caribbean country that has held individual competitions to select their national team, comprised of two senior chefs, one junior chef, one bartender, one pastry chef and one manager. The participating team members represent hotels, restaurants or educational institutions in the Caribbean which are members of CHTA.
The teams are vying for top honors including Caribbean Culinary Team of the Year, Caribbean Chef of the Year, Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year, Caribbean Bartender of the Year and Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year.
This annual Caribbean food and beverage event is designed for culinary professionals to network, polish professional skills and cheer on colleagues in competition. Taste of the Caribbean also provides education through seminars, workshops, tastings and demonstrations, created to enhance performance, style and profitability in food and beverage operations.
This year’s program includes an enhanced “Taste of the Islands” festival for consumers on Saturday, June 29 from 6 – 9 pm featuring a pavilion of tourist boards where consumers can experience Caribbean culture through a variety of gourmet appetizers and desserts, sample signature cocktails, listen to authentic Caribbean music and gather information about exhibiting Caribbean countries. The Taste of the Islands highlights the street foods that are common throughout the region.
“Consumers participating in Taste of the Caribbean will be treated to a world-class experience as they sample the unique cuisines and beverages of our region,” said Richard J. Doumeng, president of CHTA. “The participating teams have worked hard to hone their skills and are culinary ambassadors for their countries as well as the Caribbean region,” Doumeng added.
Taste of the Caribbean also includes an International Caribbean Culinary Team Competition Lunch and Dinner which features a three-course meal prepared by the competing teams. Each team in the competition meals are given a “mystery basket” of ingredients (the provisions for the competition consisting of a meat, fish, poultry or game) which they must use to develop a three-course menu. The chefs have one hour to create and submit the menu and three hours to prepare and serve an appetizer, entrée and dessert for attendees at the luncheon or dinner.