The small twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago continued their dominant run at the Taste of the Caribbean Showcase in Port of Spain, Trinidad this past June.
Described as “an avenue where the Caribbean’s most talented and creative gastronomic practitioners blossom”, Trinidad’s national culinary team amassed six gold and two silver medals at the event. Additionally they earned the prestigious Caribbean National Team of the Year, Junior Chef of the Year, and Chef of the Year.
The country itself has a complex history that intertwines the African slave trade and East Indian immigration and indentureships. This along with an influx of Chinese and Middle Eastern immigrants in the 20th century created a unique culinary destination marked by chefs’ use of fresh fish, Indian and African spices, whole animal butchery and the freshest produce found anywhere. Famous for street food delicacies including Doubles (an East Indian combination of curried chickpeas and fried flatbread), gyros and fried chicken, Trinidad also has a strong fine dining culture that can be found along Ariapita Avenue in the capital.
These flavors shined through in dishes created by Chef of the Year Brandon Maharaj, Junior Chef of the Year Anneica Mendoza and Pastry Chef of the Year Kimberly Jagassar. These were just three of the eight individuals who took home medals on a team spearheaded by captain Adrian Cumberbatch. The team finds talented chefs and assistants through a local competition and program called Making the CUTT which helps to identify culinary talent on the island.
The event is hosted by the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, an organization “dedicated to excellence in hospitality, leadership in marketing and sustainable growth in tourism”. The Trinidad and Tobago team was backed by Trinidad’s own Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association or THRTA. Their most recent success is one in a long line of dominant appearances at the event. Over a sixteen year period the Trinidad and Tobago team has collected 23 gold, 20 silver and 9 bronze medals.