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Bahamas wins three gold medals

Jamall Small and Hazen Rolle claim top honors at Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition

Jamall Small and Hazen Rolle picked up individual gold medals in their respective chef and junior chef of the year categories, as Team Bahamas was awarded a gold medal in the Caribbean National Team category to lead The Bahamas’ seven medal haul — three gold medals, two silver medals, and two bronze medals — at the Taste of the Caribbean competition.

Small returned home the conquering hero with the Caribbean Chef of the Year title, while Rolle ruled the juniors winning the Junior Chef of the Year title. Rolle was also awarded the Hans Schenk Commemorative Award for the most innovative dish utilizing indigenous ingredients. Team Bahamas claimed team of the year.

By virtue of their wins, Small and Rolle brings the Bahamian Hall of Famers at the Taste of the Caribbean competition to six. They join Sheldon Tracey Sweeting who won pastry chef of the year title four years (2013-2015 and 2006), and Sally Gaskins (2004) who won in the same category, as well as Bartender Marv Cunningham (2016 and 2015), and Kenria Taylor, who took the junior chef title in 2016.

Small prepared “Your Typical Bahamian Sunday Dinner” which included a down home roasted snapper with steamed gravy emulsion, guava BBQ Certified Angus Beef, backyard pigeon peas and grits, warm cabbage slaw and plantain textures.   

Due to his victory, Small will return to Taste of the Caribbean as a judge for the competition.

It’s something he’s always wanted.

“I’m excited because it’s been seven years, since I’ve been fighting for this,” said Small. “Last year, I took a break and this year I said I was coming back for this and I got it. It’s awesome. I always wanted to be a judge. In 2015, I told the team that I was going to come back as a judge and this year I will be doing it.”

Rolle, a student at the University of The Bahamas, won a $1,000 scholarship. His dish dubbed “A Taste of Bahamian Culture” also won the most innovative dish of the competition.

Rolle wowed the judges with a duo of pan-seared Certified Angus Beef tri-tip with seagrape essence and coconut curry shrimp, tropical fruit salsa, plantain mash, spiced carrot puree, glazed turned carrots, sauteed cabbage and okra and plantain chips.

“I want to give thanks to God,” said Rolle after his win. “My team captain Chef Devin Johnson was my backbone in the competition. I gave it my all and I said my prayers,” said Rolle.

Team Bahamas was awarded a gold medal in the Caribbean National team competition. Individually, gold medals were awarded to Small in the Caribbean chef competition and Rolle in the junior chef competition; silver medals were awarded to Celeste Mitchell in the pastry chef competition and Owen Bain in the beef competition; with bronze medals awarded to Kevyn Pratt in the seafood competition; and Derrick Blackmon in the bartender competition.

Team Captain Owen Bain said he felt that the team performed exceptionally well in their win of the overall team of the year.

“I’m extremely elated. It’s been a long time coming and we have been training really hard. We have been pushing hard and pushing forward and the medals today show our hard work,” said Owen Bain, team captain.

Trinidad and Tobago, the most winning team in the competition’s history captured overall honors and was named Caribbean National Team of the Year for the sixth year. T&T teams also won in 2016, 2011, and pulled off the three-peat between 2006 and 2009.

Barbados (2017, 2013 and 2010) and Puerto Rico (2014, 2012, and 1997) are tied for second with three wins each;

The Bahamas which won in 2015 is tied with one team win with St. Maarten/St. Martin (2005), Jamaica (2003), Bermuda (2000), Curacao (1999) and Aruba (1996).

Trinidadians in the winners’ row included Shana Rajahram who won the Caribbean Bartender Competition, and Tricia Gregoire, who captured the Certified Angus Beef-sponsored Beef Competition.  The Best Non Alcoholic Drink award also went to T&T.

A dozen teams participated in the regional Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition at the Hyatt Regency in Miami, June 22-26

Vadivel Raju from Turks and Caicos won the Caribbean Pastry Chef competition; Radiance Modeste of the British Virgin Islands topped the Seafood competition, while Rodney Corbin of Barbados won the Cemoi-sponsored Chocolate category.

Best Rum Drink went to Bonaire; St. Lucia topped the vodka drink category and Best Mystery Bar Drink, sponsored by Angostura, went to Curacao.

A combined team representing chefs from some of the Caribbean destinations that were impacted by last September’s hurricanes also competed. The team which included members from Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, won the Tony Mack Spirit of the Competition Award.

Taste of the Caribbean results at a glance

Caribbean National Team of the Year

Winner

Trinidad & Tobago

Gold medals

Bahamas

Cayman Islands

Trinidad & Tobago

Turks & Caicos

Silver medals

Barbados

Belize

Bonaire

Curacao

Jamaica

Saint Lucia

Bronze medals

Suriname

Caribbean Chef Competition

Winner

Bahamas — Jamall Small

Gold medals

Bahamas — Jamall Small

Silver medals

Barbados — Derio Boyce

Cayman Islands — Joshua Saldanha

Turks & Caicos — Charles Joseph

Bronze medals

Belize — Eva Longsworth

Curacao — Jereld Balentien

Jamaica — Michael Barntee

Saint Lucia — Niguel Gerald

Suriname — Yamuro Zuiverloon

Trinidad & Tobago — Rondell Thompson

Honorary Mention

Bonaire — Miguel Saragoza

Caribbean Bartender of the Year

Winner

Trinidad & Tobago — Shana Rajahram

Gold medals

Curacao — Jurnick Merced

Trinidad & Tobago — Shana Rajahram

Turks & Caicos — Aristotle Florida

Silver medals

Anguilla — Jamal Hodge

Barbados — Alex Chandler

Bonaire — Kelvin Ventura

Cayman Islands — Cornell Scruggs

Jamaica — Kemp Beckford

Saint Lucia — Germain Sydney

Bronze medals

Bahamas — Derrick Blackmon

Belize — Mark Jacobs

BVI — Everson Rawlins

Suriname — Stefano Feliksdal

Caribbean Junior Chef competition

Winner

Bahamas — Hazen Rolle

Gold medals

Bahamas — Hazen Rolle

Silver medals

Barbados — Kiara Riley

BVI — Ariq Flax-Clarke

Cayman Islands — Brittney Bodden

Curacao — Brayan Arroyo

Jamaica — Stephaun Farquharson

Saint Lucia — Billy Mauricette

Turks & Caicos — Christin Greene

Bronze medals

Bonaire — Josue Chalabi

Suriname — Shannon van Ommeren

Trinidad & Tobago — Zaria Sealey

Honorary mention

Belize — Einar Marin

Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year

Winner

Vadivel Raju — Turks & Caicos

Gold medals

Cayman Islands — Thomas Zimmerman

Turks & Caicos — Vadivel Raju

Silver medals

Bahamas — Celeste Smith

Bonaire — Maria Mastrangelo

Saint Lucia — Robert McDonald

Bronze medals

Barbados — Javon Cummins

Belize — Maria Urbina

Curacao — Sjagnon Winklaar

Jamaica — Oneil Anglin

Suriname — Mitchel Klaiber

Trinidad & Tobago — Anton-Lee James

Beef Competition

Winner

Trinidad & Tobago — Tricia Gregoire

Silver Medals

Bahamas — Owen Bain

Barbados — Nicolas Ifill

Cayman Islands — Joshua Saldhana

Trinidad & Tobago — Tricia Gregoire

Turks &  Caicos — Derrick Carter

Bronze medals

Anguilla — Lester Gumbs

Bonaire — Dustin Libier

Curacao — Jevgeny Hasselmeijer

Saint Lucia — Nissa Paul

Suriname — Gredchan Radibin

Honorary mention

BVI — Ariq Flax-Clarke

Jamaica — Shanika Clarke

Seafood competition

Winner

BVI — Radiance Modeste

Silver medals

Baonaire — Sherundly Bernabela

BVI — Radiance Modeste

Cayman Islands — Nicolas Sanchez

USVI — Ralph Motta

Bronze medals

Anguilla — Leontes Richardson

Bahamas — Kevyn Pratt

Barbados — Willis Griffith

Curacao — Jereld Balentien

Jamaica — Nickal Stennett

Saint Lucia — Klent Abel

Suriname — Peggy Merkus

Trinidad & Tobago — Rondell Thompson

Honorary mention

Turks & Caicos — Martin Wilkiens

Chocolate competition

Winner

Barbados — Rodney Corbin

Silver medals

Barbados — Rodney Corbin

Cayman Islands — Prabhakaran Mathiyalagan

Curacao — Dane Ribiero

Bronze medals

Bonaire — Sherundly Bernabela

Turks & Caicos — Vadivel Raju

Honorary mention

BVI — Lakesha Barry

Jamaica — Monecia Lawrence

Saint Lucia — Kishap Prosper

Bartender special awards

Best non-alcoholic drink

Trinidad & Tobago

Best rum drink

Bonaire

Best vodka drink

St. Lucia

Best mystery bar drink

Curacao

Hans Schenk Commemorative Award for the most innovative dish utilizing indigenous ingredients

Bahamas — Hazen Rolle

Tony Mack Spirit of the Competition

Caribbean Strong Team  — Anguilla, BVI, Puerto Rico, USVI

Bonaire

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