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August 10,2020
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Wednesday 5 August, 2020

7-time charm: T&T named Caribbean National Culinary Team of the Year

For the seventh time, Trinidad and Tobago has copped the title of Caribbean National Culinary Team at Taste of the Caribbean.

The annual culinary competition took place from June 22 to June 26 at the Hyatt Regency Miami. Team T&T also captured the titles of Best Non-Alcoholic Cocktail, Caribbean Bartender of the Year, Caribbean Chef of the Year (Beef Category).

The winning team includes: 

Team Captain: Jeremy Lovell (Courtyard by Marriott)

Senior Chef: Rondell Thompson (Chaud Cafe)

Senior Chef: Tricia Gregoire (Kiddies Cook Culinary Program)

Junior Chef: Zaria Sealey (Heroes Restaurant and Sports Bar)

Pastry Chef: Anton Lee James (Hyatt Regency)

Bartender: Shana Rajahram (Shana Stirs it Up)

Alternate Bartender: Dale Sebro-Jospeh (Trini Bartenders)

Trinidad and Tobago bested Barbados, the reigning champions of 2017 and several other Caribbean territories including Bahamas, Belize, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Suriname, and Turks and Caicos. 

Hosted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), each team selected their best chefs and mixologists from their country to vie for several titles including Caribbean Chef of the Year, Caribbean Bartender of the Year, Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year, and Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year.

The members of the T&T National Culinary Team 2018 were an immediate hit at the CHTA’s ‘Caribbean305’ event held on June 23 at Jungle Island. Their mouth-watering offerings of geera pork, curried chicken, eggplant and tomato pholourie (with a range of sauces), and a sorrel swizzle rum cocktail were all in high demand by patrons from both the Caribbean and Southern Florida, and their booth was cleared out within the first hour.

TT Caribbean National Culinary Team 2018

For the Team of the Year competition dinner held on June 24, the National Culinary Team presented a scrumptious, well-executed three-course dinner offering that creatively infused many of Trinidad & Tobago’s local flavours and spices, much to the delight and appreciation of the judges and dinners alike. Trinidad & Tobago won a Gold medal for this dinner offering.

Team members also participated in several Individual competitions where they amassed six additional medals including one Gold, one Silver, and 4 Bronze. 

Trinidad and Tobago has a known track record for performing exceptionally well over the years at the competition, with a total of 87 medals (including 40 Gold, 31 Silver, and 16 Bronze), numerous individual titles such as Caribbean Bartender of the Year; Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year; Caribbean Chef of the Year; and Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year.

The country has also earned the coveted title of Caribbean National Team of the Year six times--2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2016--a feat that continues to be unmatched by any other participating destination.

"The THRTA recognizes the pivotal role that its hospitality training institute, the Trinidad & Tobago Hospitality & Tourism Institute (TTHTI) continues to play in achieving these successes, given that five of the six members of the 2018 T&T National Culinary Team are either past or present students of the TTHTI. The THRTA and the TTHTI remain committed to the development of Trinidad & Tobago’s youth by providing them with a regional platform and relevant training to expand their culinary and bartending skills," according to a media release by THRTA on Wednesday. 

"The THRTA sees this continued culinary excellence as a compelling value proposition for Destination T&T to attract international tourists to share in our cuisine, culture and local experiences. Additionally, the continued, demonstrated success on the international stage creates opportunities for the development of our young citizens and the establishment of defined career pathways within the local hospitality and tourism sector."




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