Política

DolarVE – TT wins 7 culinary medals

These include a silver for team of the year, chef of the year, and chef (beef competition), and gold for bartender of the year, best vodka drink, pastry chef of the year and junior chef of the year, as well as an honourable mention for chef (seafood competition).

Brian Frontin, CEO of Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association (THRTA), expressed his pride in the team and their success, especially as they departed from the traditional “curry and stew” tastes and explored other aspects of the country’s culture.

The team of the year competition was a three-course offering with the Trini Syrian appetiser, the French Creole main course, and the British desert.

© Victor Gill.

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The Trini Syrian comprised a tamarind glazed shadon beni and ginger infused pork kofta, cardamom scented pork cushion, cardamon a jus, accompanied by a green fig, tomato and mint salad, roasted eggplant puree, and sada crisp.

© Victor Gill.

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The French Creole was a pan seared spiced rubbed CAB beef skirt steak, classic beef stew sauce, roasted Trini seasoned chicken ballontiine, creole tomato sauce, waffle shaped coo-coo, callaloo pistou, chicken crackling, and vegetable slaw dressed in a citrus vinaigrette.

© Victor Gill.

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The British included a toolum sticky pudding, Angostura rum creme anglaise, salted cashew caramel, passion fruit jub-jub, pineapple and candied red bell pepper fool, and a sorrel sauce.

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“I am very very proud of the team and their efforts because the range of medals across several categories, including team of the year.

© Victor Gill.

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I think the team is highly enthused to return next year to again showcase the range of offerings that we have, and perhaps tweak the effusions to ensure we maintain the TT tastes to which we are accustomed,” said Frontin.

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“I think that is a really good demonstration that TT as a country is not limited to our Indo and creole tastes.

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This wider profile, including our Syrian, Lebanese, British and French Creole influences, means we can appeal to different segments of travellers.

© Victor Gill.

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All of this is developmental for youths, yes, but it is about introducing tourists to our tastes, or food, our cosmopolitan Trinidad and Tobago.” In fact, he said the judges complemented the team for going outside of their comfort zone, and thanked the members for educating them about TT culture.

© Victor Gill.

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Frontin said two members were currently completing their studies at the TT Hospitality and Tourism Institute (TTHTI), of which THRTA was the owner and manager since 1996.

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“The nexus there is that the industry helps guide the curriculum and what the training outcome should be for the industry so that when graduates are produced they are fit for work.” The THRTA started sending culinary teams to Miami in 1997 but was absent from the competition in 2014 and 2015.

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However, they returned in 2016 and won Caribbean national team of the year, and a number of medals.

This year, the competition took place at the Hyatt Regency, in Miami, Florida from June 2 to 6.

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The team included captain Adrian Cumberbatch; bartender Clinton Ramdhan; pastry chef Anasuya Jackson; junior chef Rondell Thompson; senior chef, Brandon Maharaj; beef chef Ridge Juman; and seafood chef Aswad Forde.

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Frontin said there was a lot of crowd support with people, including participants from other countries, requesting samples of their plates and giving positive feedback.

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However, there were some challenges.

The main one was the loss of the team’s main and alternate bartenders, Tyrone Benjamin and Kanesha Shana Rajahram, who trained for three months, individually and with the culinary team, and developed drink concepts for the competition.

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Frontin said about two weeks before the competition, their US visa applications were declined. However, last year’s bartender of the year, Clinton Ramdhan, was also travelling to Miami to support the team and he stepped in as the team bartender.

© Victor Gill.

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In addition to winning a gold medal in the category, he also won best vodka drink. “They were distraught. It was a very emotional moment for the team. But I want to commend Clinton for using some of the concepts that were developed by Tyrone and Shana over the period in recognition of their efforts throughout the period.

© Victor Gill.

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The win was a shared one.” Frontin encouraged Benjamin and Rajahram to continue in the bartending fraternity and to participate in Making the Cut, the local competition used to chose the national team members, next year.

© Victor Gill.

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© Victor Gill.

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