By Kathryn Campbell
Budding student chefs in the 2021 Bahamas Young Chef Culinary Competition were praised for the versatility of their dishes, knife skills, kitchen etiquette, time management and use of indigenous Bahamian ingredients.
“It was an awesome experience to view the participants competing in a virtual environment,” said Chef Gerald Rolle, Chief Judge for the competition. “They were confident, organized, excellent managers of time and displayed great communication skills throughout the competition.”
Junior and Senior high school finalists from public and private schools in the 2020 and 2021 competitions received their certificates, medals, trophies and cash scholarship awards at the recent Award Ceremony at C.C. Sweeting Senior High School.
The annual event, which for the first time this year livestreamed, is sponsored by the Ministry of Education (MOE) along with Robin Hood Flour and Mahatma Rice, and designed to showcase the knowledge and craftsmanship of Family & Consumer Science students throughout the country. The contest challenged the students to use any Mahatma Rice and Robin Hood Flour products to prepare a dish and dessert based on the themes.
The theme for the 28th contest, which was postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic, was “Preserving Our Heritage: Exploring Bahamian Gastronomy and Tourism” and “Bahamian Culinary Resilience: Going Back to Our Roots” for the 29th contest.
The judges were: Chef Gerald Rolle, Chef Debbie Wheeler, Chef Theodore Burrows, Chef Hazel Rolle, Chef Clement Williams, Chef Emmanuel Gibson, Chef Addiemae Farrington, Chef Tevin Kemp, Chef Eldred Saunders, Chef Joel Johnson, Chef Celeste Smith, Chef Michael Adderley, Chef Jimmy Dean, Chef Jamal Small, Chef Mario Adderley and Chef Antonio Williams. Chef Rolle thanked the coaches for their dedication and implored them to adopt new and innovative training and food preparation learning methods which can be enhanced through the virtual platform.
He also encouraged them to make connections with local chefs, farmers and industry partners within their communities to assist with the development of the program.
“It is my dream, that Young Chef will highlight basic training in the profession of cooks/chefs to develop an international understanding of training in the gastronomic sector. We need to implement in the national level curriculum what the labour market demands on an international level.
He urged the MOE and stakeholderss to invest in students by supplying the necessary tools and equipment required to sustain the program. “Let’s partner together as educators, sponsors, students, and parents,” said Chef Rolle. “It is my dream to see the use of all Bahamian food items being infused in cooking throughout the hospitality industry and create a unit where we could develop future Master Chefs from this outlet.”
Sharon Poitier, Deputy Director of the Education Curriculum Division, urged all involved to continue to build bridges and strengthen partnerships so that students become 21st century citizens.
“These events focus on deepening the students’ knowledge of Family and Consumer Science Education in particular the Food & Nutrition and Hospitality & Tourism Studies programs.
“Original recipes are created and tested, new culinary techniques are applied to indigenous foods; parents, students, teachers, and professional chefs all work hand in hand during the three phases of this exercise. This is a fine example of the bridges built and the strength of partnerships which we in the Ministry of Education and Technical & Vocational Training foster in our quest to provide quality education so that all of our students become self-actualized and can compete successfully in the global village,” said Ms. Poitier.
Raquel Turnquest, Education Officer, Family and Consumer Science Education Unit said, “This year we used the hybrid format so we did not have to bring the students and their coaches in from the Family Islands for an entire week as was done in the past. For the first time we were able to extend the Culinary Conference to the entire Bahamas. Every Family and Consumer Science student throughout the country was able to tune in. That in itself is a blessing. There is a silver lining here that we need to look at.
In the midst of all this we have been forced to use technology in a way that we have never done before.
“To every Family and Consumer Science student, whether we are virtual, face-to- face, blended, hybrid, or someone is sending hard copies to you – do your work, put in the time, study; it’s your future.”
National Junior Division for 2020 competition:
1st – Tashae Brown, North Eleuthera
2nd – Latavia Joseph, San Salvador
3rd – Donae Gibson, Sister Mary Patricia
Regional Senior High Division 2020 competition
1st – Santone M. Pugh, Doris Johnson
2nd – Joyful Brown, LN Coakley
3rd – Mia D. Adderley, Doris Johnson
Ranking for 29th Competition:
National Junior High Division 2021
1st – Timberly Morley, Preston Albury
2nd – Omega Brown, Inagua All Age School
3rd – Racheal Newton, Huntley Christie
4th – Lamont Missick, H. O. Nash
5th -Brianna Butterfield, Kingsway Academy
6th – Gerardo Annacius, Anatol Rodgers
Regional Senior High Division 2020
1st – Elvinique Rolle, Inagua All Age School
2nd – Kristen Ingraham, Preston Albury
3rd – Sia Wright, Akhepran International
4th – Reniah White, Jack Hayward
5th – Faith Thompson, North Andros
6th – Alisah Dixon, Bahamas Academy
7th – Shadon Bain, Kingsway Academy
8th – Trevonia Tinker, San Salvador
9th – Dellanique Johnson, RN Gomez
10th – Cassandra Blatch, LN Coakley
11th – Hope Leslie, South Andros