Back to Antigua and Barbuda Mango Festival

Monday 13th July 2015

Winners in the Pastry chef competition, with two of the Judging Chefs. Centre Chris-Ann Dover, with Alicia Wilson (to her Left), and Adrian Peters (extreme left).

The Antigua and Barbuda Mango Pineapple Culinary Competition an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism and The Ministry of Agriculture spotlighted fantastic talent this weekend, as chefs from the destination’s hotels and restaurants produced mouth-watering dishes with unique twists.

Twenty one professional chefs from Hermitage Bay, Nonsuch Bay, The Verandah Resort and Spa, Galley Bay, Curtain Bluff, Sandals, Grand Pineapple, Sugar Ridge, Ana’s On the Beach and Castaways, participated in the activity which included a 60 minute savoury competition and a 90 minute pastry competition.

Established eight years ago, the culinary competition highlights important linkages between the destination’s agriculture and tourism sectors, by challenging competing chefs from hotels and restaurants across the country, to create their dishes, using as key recipe ingredients the mangoes and pineapples produced in Antigua and Barbuda.

Chefs prepared and plated their dishes, for judging by a panel of 7, consisting of kitchen and tasting judges at the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute.

The judging chefs were: US based Executive Chef, Jeffery Rotz, Jean Francois Bellanger of Coconut Grove, Simon Christey French of Sheer Rocks, Vernam Banham of Jumby Bay, Patrick Gauducheau of Le Bistro, Marika Anthony of Nonsuch Bay, and Maurine Bowers of Curtain Bluff.  Shirlene Nibbs, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Consultant and Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute along with, Darren Matthew-Ward Media Personality completed the panel. Chefs were judged on criteria that included: culinary techniques, portion size, flavour, balance of ingredients, creativity, innovation and presentation.

Winners in the Savoury competition, Rochelle Anthony (right)  Naomi Thomas (centre) and Zariah Christopher (left)

Participating in the savoury competition, alongside 17 other competitors on July 11, was Rochelle Anthony, a 25 year old Sous Chef, who has been working at Sandals Grande Antigua for eight years. Anthony placed first in the competition with her winning dishes: Habenero Shrimp served with spiced glazed pineapples, avocado mousse, lemon, mango mojuto and herb flowers, and a pastrami wrapped salmon, served with warm potato salad, pineapple melee, asparagus, carrot, beet puree and mango butter.

The savoury competition saw women taking home all the top awards.  30 year old Chef Naomi Thomas of Ana’s on the Beach Restaurant, one of only two restaurant entries in the competition, was awarded  second place, while 22 year old Zariah Christopher a Cook 2 at Curtain Bluff placed third.

Galley Bay Chef, Chris-Ann Dover emerged the winning chef in the pastry competition held on July 12. The 23 year old, Pastry Cook 3 who has been at Galley Bay for five months impressed judges with a citrus Pina colada mango mousse, garnished with mango caviar, caramel popcorn, rum glazed pineapple and a mango pineapple flambé served in a chocolate basket.

In second place was Alicia Wilson, Prep Cook at Galley Bay, while Sandals Sous Chef Adrian Peters received the third place.

High marks were given to all the competing chefs by the judges over the two days of competition, with the event being seen as a stepping stone towards greater culinary endeavours.

Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Consultant Shirlene Nibbs said “This is where we start the journey for the creation of ‘Taste of Antigua and Barbuda’ that will lead to chefs being entered in the 2016 ‘TASTE of the Caribbean.’”

‘Taste of the Caribbean’ is one of the Caribbean’s not to be missed culinary competitions.

Tourism Officers distributing Mango Festival treats to passengers arriving at VC Bird International Airport.

Discussion has also begun amongst the chefs on the creation of a Culinary Association which will create a stronger framework for the development of chef skills and be responsible for providing opportunities for chefs to showcase their talents.

The winners and all participant chefs in the Mango Pineapple Culinary Competition will be presented with their awards and prizes at the Antigua and Barbuda Mango Festival which opens in Christian Valley on July 26, and runs until July 27.

On the weekend, visitors entering Antigua were greeted by tourism officers promoting the Mango Festival, with tasty samples of the Antigua Black Pineapple and mango pineapple treats.

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