Bahamian Chefs Show off Their Culinary Talents

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Chef Tiffany Barton from Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino shows off the vegetable wonton stuffed with sweet peas, plantain, potatoes, which was one of the resort’s signature dishes for the night. (Photo/Patrick Hanna)

By: Llonella Gilbert 

NASSAU, Bahamas — The public turned out in large numbers to taste the culinary delights created by chefs from three major hotels and The College of The Bahamas Food and Beverages Department at the 16th Annual Bahamas Culinary Classics, Thursday, November 8.

Chefs from RIU Resort, Atlantis and the Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino and the COB added unique Bahamian flavours to traditional hors d’oeuvres at COB’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Studies, Thompson Boulevard.

Chef Edwin Johnson, Chairman and immediate past president of the Bahamas Culinary Association explained that the Culinary Classic is registered by the American Culinary Federation and is being judged by a panel of three internationally certified judges headed by Chef Rick Potter, who has been coming to judge the competition for several years.

Mr. Potter is aided by Certified Master Chef James Hanyzeski and Francesco Abbinati.  Chef Johnson will serve as apprentice judge.

Each hotel had a team of four to seven persons who worked together to came up with their unique creations.  They had to prepare several cold and hot dishes and desserts.

RIU’s most desired specialities of the night seemed to be the crepes filled with coconut curried shrimp created by Sous Chef Anthony Carey and the lobster lollipop.

Chef Renaldo Dorsett from the Cove Atlantis was all too happy to explain what was in his resort’s popular mixed drinks.  One of the most colourful drinks of the night, a Margatini, consisted of the classic margarita mix with a hint of Triple Sec (a clear orange flavoured liqueur) topped with olive foam.

The Atlantis chefs also created an onion petal hors d’oeuvre with roasted duck and spice cabbage.  Then there was a scallops, shrimp with mango creation that was served on shells.

Chef Tiffany Barton pointed out several items that the Wyndham chefs created for the Culinary Classic.

She explained that they had native mutton fritters with a curry mint dip, smoked grouper on Johnny cake crackers topped with melon jelly and capers.

They had also had sushi with a Bahamian twist.  They used native grits, steamed conch and pigeon peas wrapped in seaweed. For the vegetarians there was a refreshing cucumber salad served with carrots and a Dijon dressing.

As for signature desserts, the Wyndham chefs created Johnny cake crusted cheese cake lollipops, a pineapple upside down cake with ginger and orange, and éclairs stuffed with mango.

The COB chefs also created culinary masterpieces that had people returning to their area.  Pastry chef Eldred Saunders and Mario Adderley who is in charge of the Apprenticeship Chef Programme explained their creations.

They prepared roast beef tenderloin on a slice of toasted bread that was garnished with a little bit of garlic and blue cheese.

They also had shrimp on which they drizzled on lemon butter and lemon zest.  They placed it on toasted pumpernickel and herb cream cheese.

They also made a lamb rack that used a tambourine glaze rather than rosemary, which was so good that they were asked if they wanted to bottle the glaze to sell at the college’s food store.

For the vegetarians, they created a cucumber basket.  The chefs took out the centre of the cucumbers and placed inside the same ingredients used in conch salad but without the conch.

And for the persons with a sweet tooth, they took a twist on the Austrian apple strudel using instead guava.

Mr. Saunders said, “We took traditional dishes that the tourists can identify with, but added some of our own Bahamian flare to it.”

The hors d’oeuvres were not judged Thursday, but on Friday, the teams were scheduled to participate in the mystery basket challenge, where each team must make prepare a meal from whatever is provided in a basket given to them.