The region's leading culinary professionals are gearing up for the much-anticipated Taste of the Caribbean event hosted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's (CHTA) at Hyatt Regency Miami, June 21-25, 2019.
Held in conjunction with the association's annual industry conference, the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) from June 21-23, and the Caribbean305 culinary and cultural consumer celebration (June 22), Taste of the Caribbean features culinary teams from 14 Caribbean destinations in a friendly but intense battle for cooking supremacy.
Participating destinations include Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Grenada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos.
Trinidad and Tobago are defending team champions, and this year marks Grenada's return to the competition following an 11-year absence.
Taste of the Caribbean is the region's premier culinary competition, food and beverage educational exchange, and Caribbean cultural showcase. Since 1993, the Caribbean's best chefs and culinary teams have gathered at Taste to compete, demonstrate their skills, learn from each other, and offer diners a scrumptious exhibition of the most delectable culinary treats of the islands.
Taste of the Caribbean is also a rich forum for food and beverage professionals to exchange practical information, develop skills, sample and purchase, strengthen and establish supplier relationships, and meet new vendors. Innovative and exciting professional development sessions enhance individual skills and increase the value of culinary enterprises.
Competitions focus on culinary themes, including chocolate, "mocktails," rum- and vodka-based cocktails, and beef-based dishes. Other competitions include "mystery baskets," in the style of popular Food Network show, Chopped.
At the end of the five-day affair, the Caribbean Chef of the Year, Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year, Caribbean Bartender of the Year, Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year, and Caribbean Culinary Team of the Year are crowned.
"The Trinidad and Tobago National Culinary Team is very excited and moving full speed ahead as we prepare for this year's Taste of the Caribbean," said team captain Jeremy Lovell, who disclosed that the twin island republic will this year field an all-student team.
"The team is determined to put their best efforts forward and we applaud our young, aspiring culinarians, mixologists and pastry chef as they create history and make Trinidad and Tobago proud. The Taste of the Caribbean experience provides enormous opportunities for Trinidad & Tobago Hospitality & Tourism Institute students to gain a better appreciation of the value and reach of careers in the hospitality industry."
This year's host sponsor is Interval International, while House of Angostura® is the Bartender of the Year sponsor. Event sponsors include The Best Dressed Chicken, Certified Angus Beef®, Figment Design, Food Export USA - Northeast, Marketplace Excellence, MasterCard, OBMI, RAK Porcelain, U.S. Meat Export Federation, U.S Pork, and the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism. Product sponsors include Angostura® Orange Bitters, Certified Angus Beef®, Food Export USA - Northeast, Halperns' Purveyors of Steak and Seafood, PromiseLand, RAK Porcelain, Superior Farms, U.S. Meat Export Federation, and U.S. Pork.