PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad – Held annually under the auspices of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), “Taste of the Caribbean” showcases the best chefs and bartenders from around the region. Led by team captain Adrian Cumberbatch, the energetic Trinidad and Tobago team will join other Caribbean teams as they display the most delectable treats of the islands.
Amidst cheers and approving laughter in a room filled with budding chefs and bartenders, the Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants & Tourism Association (THRTA) announced the team of culinary experts selected to represent the twin island Republic at the prestigious “Taste of the Caribbean” competition in Miami in June.
Aptly described as an avenue “to provide education and inspiration through tastings and demonstrations,” Taste of the Caribbean also offers participants an opportunity to receive expert advice from culinary connoisseurs, all on hand to help build the region’s food and beverage industry.
Since 1993, Taste of the Caribbean has been the Caribbean’s leading culinary competition. The first Trinidad and Tobago National team entered the competition in 1997 and won a bronze medal for kitchen standards and a gold medal in the centerpiece competition. Several national teams were subsequently sent for an additional 11 appearances over a 16-year period and have collectively amassed a haul of 52 medals-comprising 23 Gold, 20 Silver and 9 Bronze medals.
In preparation for this competition, the THRTA has developed a local competition to identify competent practitioners to represent Trinidad and Tobago. More than a competition, Making the CUTT is regarded as a training and development tool for local cuisine practitioners, providing an excellent avenue to share our country’s flavors and abundance of dishes.
According to the THRTA, over 40 competitors registered for this year’s event, including 15 Chefs, 9 Pastry Chefs, 2 Junior Chefs and 14 Bartenders. The turnout was the highest ever recorded in THRTA’s history –with entrants coming from major hotels, top restaurants and in some cases, their own catering service.
Attracting culinary enthusiasts and representatives of the tourism industry, including Chairman of the Tourism Development Company, Ms. Dennise Demming, Making the CUTT is also supported through partnerships with Angostura Aromatic Bitters, Brydens Trinidad and Tobago, My Destination Weekend, Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality & Tourism Institute (TTHTI) and Ocean Delight Products/Trinidad Seafood Ltd.
From March to May 2016, an estimated 12 practice dinners will be held as the local team prepares for the ‘Taste of the Caribbean’ competition. These dinners will be open to the public to allow for direct interaction and feedback opportunities with the culinary members.
THE 2016 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO NATIONAL CULINARY TEAM
Brandon Maharaj-Chef Brandon Catering & Gourmet Services
Jeremy Lovell, Chef, Courtyard by Marriott
Clinton Ramdhan-Bartender, Verve Creations Ltd
Kimberly Jagassar-Pastry Chef, Hyatt Regency Trinidad
Annelca Mendoza-Junior Chef-Iesa Events
Adam de Freitas, Alternate Chef-The Anchorage
Kishion Guillaume, Alternate Bartender-CJ Lounge
Team Captain-Mr. Adrian Cumberbatch, Executive Sous Chef, Hyatt Regency Trinidad.
Trinidad & Tobago is located in the southeastern region of the Caribbean. With its careful approach to tourism, the dual-island nation offers a distinct blend of culture, eclectic cuisine and an assortment of eco-adventure activities. Trinidad, the ‘cultural capital of the Caribbean,’ is home to the world famous Carnival and the birthplace of the steel pan, the only new musical instrument to be invented in the 20th century. It is also home to one of the world’s top three nesting sites for endangered leatherback turtles and world class fine flavored cocoa. Tobago, sister island to Trinidad, is the quintessential Caribbean paradise with secluded beaches, quaint villages, private villas and award-winning eco-attractions that include the Main Ridge Rainforest, the oldest protected reserve in the western hemisphere and the six-time award winner for World’s Leading Ecotourism Destination by the World Travel Awards.
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