Bahamas, Puerto Rico Top Taste of the Caribbean Competition

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - June 18, 2015

Above: the Bahamas team celebrates their victory

By Dana Niland
CJ Contributor

The Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition brought together some of the region’s top chefs at the Hyatt Regency Miami last weekend.

The competition, presented by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, included cooking and bartending competitions between 10 culinary teams from Anguilla, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Suriname, and The US Virgin Islands.

The Bahamas National Culinary Team won the award as the Caribbean National Team of the year, with an individual honor to Bahamian Marv Cunningham as Bartender of the Year and Sheldon Tracey Sweeting for Pastry Chef of the Year.

Jonathan Hernandez of Puerto Rico brought home the Caribbean Chef of the year medal, while Edna Butcher of St. Lucia won the Junior Chef of the Year category.

Other winners included Martha Hippolyte of St. Lucia for the Cheesecake Competition, Miguel Saragoza of Bonaire for the Beef/Seafood Competition, among others.

See the full list of winners below:

Caribbean National Team Medals
• Winner: Bahamas
• Gold Medals: Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, Jamaica and Puerto Rico
• Silver Medals: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, Suriname and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Caribbean Bartender of the Year Medals

• Winner: Marv Cunningham, Bahamas
• Gold Medal: Marv Cunningham, Bahamas, and Philip Antoine, Barbados
• Silver Medals: Jamal Hodge, Anguilla, Everson Rawlings, British Virgin Islands, Adrian Johnson, Jamaica, Jorge Olivera, Puerto Rico, Mario Alexander, St. Lucia, David Deul, Suriname, and Frank Robinson, U.S. Virgin Islands
• Bronze Medals: Jay Frans, Bonaire

Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year Medals

• Winner: Sheldon Tracey Sweeting, Bahamas
• Gold Medals: Jimmie Matthews, Anguilla, and Sheldon Tracey Sweeting, Bahamas
• Silver Medals:Alberto Febo, Puerto Rico, and Gilroy Samuel, St. Lucia
• Bronze Medals: Javon Cummins, Barbados, Junior Janga, Bonaire, and Skehera Cassie, Jamaica
• Honorable Mention: Neville Tucker, British Virgin Islands, Xaviera Mijnhijmer, Suriname, and Anthony Peets, U.S. Virgin Islands

Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year Medals

• Winner: Edna Butcher, St. Lucia
• Gold Medals: Crystal Morley, Bahamas, Suzette Diaz, Puerto Rico, and Edna Butcher, St. Lucia
• Silver Medals: Stephanie Sawyers, Barbados, Giovanie Veld, Bonaire, and Ariq Flaxe British Virgin Islands
• Bronze Medals: Theron Thompson, Anguilla, Marlon Brown, Jamaica, Svaenny Soekotaroeno, Suriname, and Anissa Rhymer, U.S. Virgin Islands
Taste of the Caribbean also featured individual competitions that took place during the event.  Results are as follows:

Best Beef / Seafood Competition
• Winner Beef / Seafood Competition: Miguel Saragoza, Bonaire
• Best Use of Beef, sponsored by Certified Angus Beef: Miguel Saragoza, Bonaire
• Best Seafood: Tatiana Connor, U.S. Virgin Islands
• Gold Medals: Miguel Saragoza, Bonaire
• Silver Medals: Lester Gumbs, Anguilla, Kenneth Molyneaux, British Virgin Islands, Gerald Lugo, Puerto Rico, Caron Jean, St. Lucia, and Tatiana Connor, U.S. Virgin Islands
• Bronze Medals: Charon McKenzie, Bahamas, Michael Thomas, Jamaica, and Lorenzo Harper, Suriname.
• Honorable Mention: Cristian Rebolledo, Turks and Caicos
Cheesecake Competition, Sponsored by Anco, Aloutte and International Dairy Farms
• Winner Cheesecake Competition:Martha Hippolyte, St. Lucia
• Gold Medals: Alberto Febo, Puerto Rico, and Martha Hippolyte, St. Lucia
• Silver Medals: Sheldon Tracey Sweeting, Bahamas, and Tiffany Grant, Jamaica
• Bronze Medals: Ronald Gosepa, Bonaire, Tonya Malone, British Virgin Islands, and Sarah Meehan, U.S. Virgin Islands
• Honorable Mention: Xaviera Mijnhijmer, Suriname

Following are the special awards that were bestowed at Taste of the Caribbean:
• Hans Schenk Commemorative Award for the Most Innovative Dish Utilizing Indigenous Ingredients: Barbados
• Best Rum Drink: Marv Cunningham, Bahamas
• Best Vodka Drink: Frank Robinson, U.S. Virgin Islands
• Best Non Alcoholic Drink: Philip Antoine, Barbados
• Most Creative Bartender:Jamal Hodge, Anguilla
• Tony Mack Spirit of the Competition: Little Bill and the Backenders comprised of Daniel Schweizer, Eric Sywak, Michael Dannecker, Ravi Anne and Steve Sowa; and Junior Chefs Suzette Diaz, Puerto Rico, and Svaenny Soekotaroeno, Suriname.

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