The Bahamas National Culinary Team is looking to keep up that gold standard when it
comes to The Taste of the Caribbean 2018. The fierce competition to be held June 22-26 at the Hyatt Regency Miami is a chance for countries of the Caribbean show their culinary prowess. The premier competition is in its 27th year and Team Bahamas is already meticulously preparing dishes to go head to head with the Caribbean’s best teams. On the team this year are chefs Kevyn Pratt, Tamar Rahming, Jeaneka Russell, Derrick Blackmon, Carvison Pratt, Hazen Rolle, Celeste Smith, Jamal Small, Deneisha Knowles and Owen Bain. Chef Mario Adderley is the team manager and Charlotte Knowles –Thompson of the Bahamas Hotel Tourism Association (BHTA) is the team administrator.
Knowles-Thompson said the team is more than ready to take on the Caribbean once again.
“They have been practicing every Thursday and they are coming up with some amazing
dishes and so we are looking forward to the competition,” she said. Adderley says the team that is relatively new learned from last year’s competition and is already fired up with a new winning strategy. “This year we are looking to zone in on what we need to do, have a little more structured practices and work on specific areas so that we are more prepared for Taste this year,” he said. “The atmosphere is good, their spirit is great. They are driven as a team, the practice sessions are always fired up and these guys leave here and go to their respective jobs and they are working on different things throughout the week and so when they get to practice they are excited to show us what they have been working on. So they are psyched to get to Taste and bringing home team of the year.” Bain, who is the team captain, has similar sentiments. He said that the intensity level of practices has risen.
“We are pushing every day to try to get better, to produce the best dishes that we can
from The Bahamas,” he said. “I think the most challenging part has become comrades together. I think this year we are gelling much better and overall for a team concept we will produce our gold, which is our theme for the year.” Bain said the team is experimenting with a lot of Bahamian flavors like benny, soursop, cassava and yams. “We are focusing on our standards. We are going to our gold standards. We are looking for precision in terms of flavours and execution and so our standard is definitely gold,” he said. Last year, Team Bahamas scored two gold and several silver medals at Taste of the Caribbean. The team also won Junior Chef of the Year.