September 18, 2020

Cayman Youth Cook-Off

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Cayman Islands’ Bodden Town team serve up thrilling cook-off final win

Government’s Youth Services Unit dished up an exciting final to the National Youth Cook-Off Competition on Wednesday, 1 March 2017.

The culmination of a year-long quest to find the best district youth culinary team, the event took place at the 50th annual Agricultural Show, Stacy Watler Pavilion in Lower Valley.

A large crowd of enthusiastic spectators watched the competition unfold from the shelter of the pavilion. Starting at 1pm, when all district champions received the prizes from their winning rounds, the competition fielded six teams for the final.

Having fired up their Home Gas propane stoves, the teams proceeded to cook up some marvelous dishes for the six judges.

The teams, who by then were well used to the drill, each made a chili appetizer. That dish was followed by the preparation of a lion fish entrée. Having succeeded in the earlier district contests, teams were well-drilled culinary units, helped by additional tips learned from their very own master-chef trainers in the weeks leading up to the final.

The last round of the competition had each team create a tempting dessert and a refreshing cool-down drink.

“The final of the National Cook-Off Competition 2017 was a thrilling end to a very competitive contest. Each team that got to the final certainly earned their spot and pulled out all the stops to try and win the title,” said the of the Youth Services Unit, James Myles.

“This event is attracting ever increasing crowds and participation is keener each year. Its popularity is also evident from the number of sponsors who signed up. This included: lionfish suppliers C.U.L.L., Ocean Frontiers, the New Self Help Community Foundation, Home Gas Ltd, Cayman Islands Agricultural Society, Miracle Brokers International, A.L. Thompsons, the Department of Environment, the , Foster’s Food Fair IGA, Cayman National Bank and the Ministry of Tourism,” he added.

Kerry Forbes-Akinnibosun, Secretary/Administrative Coordinator, Cayman Islands Agricultural Society, was equally pleased by the level of commitment shown at the final.

“It was highly gratifying to see the contestants being put through their paces yet working so well in their respective teams. Everything went smoothly which is a true testament to the hard work put in by the Youth Services Unit in organising the event,” she remarked.

While the five judges deliberated as to which team would be the 2017 National Cook-Off Champions, Chef Macdonald from the Reef Resort, wowed spectators by creating an angelfish ice carving.

Head judge, Chef Vidyadhara Shetty, President of the Cayman Culinary Society and Executive Chef of Blue Cilantro, made the final announcement shortly after 3pm. The results announced in reverse order were – (3rd) (2nd), Team Straight Outta Spot Bay and were crowned the National Youth Cook-Off Champions 2017.

As well as placing overall first and winner of the Best Chili, Team Bradley also received the Tanya Foster Trophy for winning the title of Best Young Chefs.

The Bodden Towners prepared a homemade chili with crispy bottler chips and shredded cheese (Appetizer), pan seared lion fish with mango salsa and white rice (Entrée), “Tropical Delight” mini cassava cake with strawberries and pineapples (Dessert) and homemade tamarind nectar (Drink).
Chef Shetty said, “This year the competitors have taken the food one step up. The dishes were tasty, the presentation was wonderful and the competition only continues to grow and become better each year.”

“The cooking skills have improved and we would like to see even more students and kids get involved in the competition. We would especially like to see more young students enrolling in culinary studies, including the UCCI culinary programme and receiving training from our wonderful restaurants and hotels,” he added.

The teams in the final were – George Town – Team Girl Power – Ayanna Davis-Eden (Triple C School) and Tya Bovell (Triple C School), trained by Chef Master Cubbon (Food Revolution); Bodden Town – Team Bradley – Bradley McLaughlin and Tarec Francis from Clifton Hunter High School, trained by Chef Thomas Tennant (The Brasserie); North Side – Team Mo – Mohyndra Brown and Amber McLaughlin from Clifton Hunter High School, trained by Chef Jennifer Dodd (Ritz-Carlton Cayman); East End – Team Jaeda – Jaeda Kirchman and Kristin Kirchman (Clifton Hunter High School), trained by Chef Elardo Macdonald (Wyndam Reef Resort); Cayman Brac – Team Straight Outta Spot Bay – Eugenio Myles and Ronaldinho Vassel (Layman E. Scott High School), trained by Chef Thushara Jayalath Siriwardana (Grand Old House) and UCCI School of Hospitality Management – Team UCCI – Henricho Swaby and Mikayla Hydes trained by Chef Narayan Thapaliya (Grand Old House).

Add Image ; Winners from left to right Bradley McLaughlin, 15, and Tarec Francis, 15, from Clifton Hunter High School .
(GIS)

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