Above: the Puerto Rican team at the CHTA Taste of the Caribbean competition
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Puerto Rico’s national culinary team won the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association’s Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition in Miami last week.
The Puerto Rican squad won the “Best Culinary Team in the Caribbean” crown competing against representatives from nine countries and territories in the region.
Puerto Rico’s team included five chefs and a barman and won the People’s Choice as well.
The other award winners included Bonaire Chef Rachindra Dongen, who took home the award for Caribbean Chef of the Year; Sanju Smith of Jamaica, who was named Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year; the Bahamas’ Sheldon Tracy-Sweeting, who won Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year for the third time and the USVI’s Brandon DeCloux, who was named Bartender of the Year.
“We are proud with performance of our Culinary team who once again brought back to Puerto Rico the competition’s most coveted award, where the key to win it is to showcase the tastes of our island along with a presentation of a vanguard dish, the most important dedication and team work,” said Clarisa Gimenez, president of the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association. “This year, our chefs won various gold, silver and bronze medals, which makes us enormously proud but above all it’s a great satisfaction that they continued to elevate our culinary status outside the island.”
Puerto Rico’s Mizraim Melendez won the gold medal in both the Pastry Chef of the Year and the Cheesecake competition, while the team won five other medals as well.