Barbados stamps its mark on Caribbean food

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
 
 
The Barbados Food and Rum Festival kicked off with the Oistins Bay Gardens Cookoff where locals and tourists sampled fresh seafood.

The Barbados Food and Rum Festival which culminated in Barbados last weekend has gone some way to cementing the country’s image as “the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean”.

Barbados might not have the diverse culinary influences of its neighbour Trinidad but it can point to a cadre of chefs and mixologists who are pushing the envelope in the culinary world. In June, the Bajans won Taste of the Caribbean, a prestigious annual competition hosted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association in Miami. It was the chefs from this victorious team who were the headline stars at the 2017 Food and Rum Festival.

The event is now in its eighth year and according to Barbados Tourism and Marketing Inc (BTMI) chairman Alvin Jemmott, the Food and Rum Festival which took place from November 16 to 19, is “creating a fusion between our visitors and locals.”

Jemmott told the T&T Guardian that the promotion of the country’s chefs has been vital to the Festival’s success.

“Another thing that has happened with the evolution of the Festival is the elevation of our chefs,” he said. “What I have been encouraging is the use of local ingredients in our culinary events.

“It’s not just the local chefs who are using the produce but the foreign chefs as well,” he said. “It helps the farmers, it gives them the avenue to get their products out there and helps to create the commerce in the agricultural sector.”

One event that showcased the award-winning chefs and mixologists was Taste of the Exotic: A Signature Rum Event, held at the Concorde Experience, a stone’s throw from Grantley Adams International airport. For this event, the chefs worked closely with mixologists to produce complementary items. It was a celebration of Bajan flavours, as the dishes were created using mainly local produce and spirits.

Among the popular dishes on the night were Damian Leach’s Lionfish and Tuna Poke which was paired with Philip Antoine’s Bajan Mango fusion, a drink with Cockspur rum as its base. Craig Greenidge’s Deep Fried Cornmeal and Herb Crusted Pigtails was paired with Shane McClean’s Spice Passion Rum Sour made using Doorly’s Rum and John Taylor’s Velvet Falernum.

Over the weekend, tourists and locals had several opportunities to taste fantastic food, kicking off with the Oistins Bay Gardens Cookoff on the Thursday, the Polo Rum Spirits event, and signature dinners hosted by international chefs Chris de La Rosa from Toronto via T&T, Tom Aikens from the UK and French master Jean Georges.

The Barbados Food and Rum Festival should be considered a “must do event” for serious foodies. In fact, food has become such a big draw in Barbados, the BTMI has said that 2018 will be the “Year of Culinary Experiences”, beginning in January with the start of the Rum and Sugar Season.

“Every day from January until March, something is going to be happening with sugar and rum. It’s part of our history, our culture and our heritage. We used to be a sugar economy and it’s part of what we are as a people,” said BTMI chairman Jemmott. The aim of the BTMI is to host events every month leading up to the Food and Rum Festival in November which will develop the awareness of the culinary industry.

 

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Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
 by Franka Philip
 
 
The Barbados Food and Rum Festival kicked off with the Oistins Bay Gardens Cookoff where locals and tourists sampled fresh seafood.

The Barbados Food and Rum Festival which culminated in Barbados last weekend has gone some way to cementing the country’s image as “the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean”.

Barbados might not have the diverse culinary influences of its neighbour Trinidad but it can point to a cadre of chefs and mixologists who are pushing the envelope in the culinary world. In June, the Bajans won Taste of the Caribbean, a prestigious annual competition hosted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association in Miami. It was the chefs from this victorious team who were the headline stars at the 2017 Food and Rum Festival.

The event is now in its eighth year and according to Barbados Tourism and Marketing Inc (BTMI) chairman Alvin Jemmott, the Food and Rum Festival which took place from November 16 to 19, is “creating a fusion between our visitors and locals.”

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Jemmott told the T&T Guardian that the promotion of the country’s chefs has been vital to the Festival’s success.

“Another thing that has happened with the evolution of the Festival is the elevation of our chefs,” he said. “What I have been encouraging is the use of local ingredients in our culinary events.

“It’s not just the local chefs who are using the produce but the foreign chefs as well,” he said. “It helps the farmers, it gives them the avenue to get their products out there and helps to create the commerce in the agricultural sector.”

One event that showcased the award-winning chefs and mixologists was Taste of the Exotic: A Signature Rum Event, held at the Concorde Experience, a stone’s throw from Grantley Adams International airport. For this event, the chefs worked closely with mixologists to produce complementary items. It was a celebration of Bajan flavours, as the dishes were created using mainly local produce and spirits.

Among the popular dishes on the night were Damian Leach’s Lionfish and Tuna Poke which was paired with Philip Antoine’s Bajan Mango fusion, a drink with Cockspur rum as its base. Craig Greenidge’s Deep Fried Cornmeal and Herb Crusted Pigtails was paired with Shane McClean’s Spice Passion Rum Sour made using Doorly’s Rum and John Taylor’s Velvet Falernum.

Over the weekend, tourists and locals had several opportunities to taste fantastic food, kicking off with the Oistins Bay Gardens Cookoff on the Thursday, the Polo Rum Spirits event, and signature dinners hosted by international chefs Chris de La Rosa from Toronto via T&T, Tom Aikens from the UK and French master Jean Georges.

The Barbados Food and Rum Festival should be considered a “must do event” for serious foodies. In fact, food has become such a big draw in Barbados, the BTMI has said that 2018 will be the “Year of Culinary Experiences”, beginning in January with the start of the Rum and Sugar Season.

“Every day from January until March, something is going to be happening with sugar and rum. It’s part of our history, our culture and our heritage. We used to be a sugar economy and it’s part of what we are as a people,” said BTMI chairman Jemmott. The aim of the BTMI is to host events every month leading up to the Food and Rum Festival in November which will develop the awareness of the culinary industry.