The Bahamas 2018 National Culinary Team was named team of the year at the prestigious Taste of the Caribbean competition last week, in addition to other top awards.
The team that comprised 15 of The Bahamas’ top culinary talents represented the country at the international event, held in Florida, and created a number of award-winning culinary delights.
Team Bahamas captured top prize for Caribbean National Team of the Year, Top Chef of the year and Junior Chef of the Year, which went to 19-year-old Hazen Rolle – a freshman at the University of The Bahamas (UB).
Upon its return, the award-winning team was welcomed with Junkanoo fanfare at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).
Team captain Owen Bain said while training lasted six months, it was well worth the effort.
“It gave us a chance to come in and show our best from The Bahamas,” he said.
“Being the team captain was a bit of a challenge in the beginning, trying to get everybody together. But at the end, it was most exciting to have these industry professionals being led to gold.”
Rolle, the junior chef of the year winner said, “It’s ecstatic because I worked hard for it.”
“This is something I wanted to do for all of my life and I went out there and gave it my all. I said my prayers and I came out with gold.
“The judges were blown away. I got the most influential dish of the whole competition as a junior chef. I was a junior chef and I won the whole show.”
Five of the team’s chefs currently work at Baha Mar. The resort’s Senior Vice President of Administration and External Relations Robert Sands said their success underscores the importance of Bahamian culture and tourism.
“The culture is such a significant part of the ethos of Bahamian tourism,” Sand said.
“And certainly our ability to be creative, innovative in the presentation of food. It will be one of the major attractions as to why tourists will continue to come to the Bahamas.”
BHTA President Carlton Russel confirmed that preparation for the next year is already underway.
“The next two years will be about transition and building the team,” Russel said.
“What we are seeing coming out is unbelievable.”