Rashindra Donge, Bonaire, First Female To Be Named 'Caribbean Chef of the Year' - Food & Beverage Magazine

Rashindra Donge, Bonaire, First Female To Be Named ‘Caribbean Chef of the Year’

Rashindra Donge of Bonaire has been crowned the first female Caribbean Chef of the Year in the 21-year history of Taste of the Caribbean, the Caribbean’s most prestigious culinary competition.  Puerto Rico won top honors for the third time in the event’s history as the Caribbean National Team of the Year, sponsored by Alouette, Anco and International Dairy Farms.  Individual honors were also bestowed upon Brandon DeCloux, U.S. Virgin Islands, forCaribbean Bartender of the Year; three-time winner Sheldon Tracey SweetingBahamas, forCaribbean Pastry Chef of the Year; and Sanju Smit, Jamaica, for Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year.

Taste of the Caribbean featured head-to-head competitions between 10 Caribbean culinary teams from Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Suriname and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  This year’s event was held at the Hyatt Regency Miami from June 28 – July 2, 2014.

“We are proud of the level of professionalism and skill demonstrated by all of this year’s Taste of the Caribbean participants,” said Jeffrey S. Vasser, CHA, director general and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, organizer of Taste of the Caribbean.  “We thank all of the teams who competed in the competition as well as the hotel associations, sponsors, tourist bureaus, culinary professionals, students, judges and everyone who supported the teams on their quest to be named the best in the Caribbean food and beverage industry,” Vasser added.

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Caribbean Chef of the Year presentation ceremony featuring (l-r) Jeffrey S. Vasser, CHA, director general and CEO, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association; head judge Peter Olsacher, Bahama Breeze; first female Caribbean Chef of the Year Rashindra Donge, Bonaire; and Emil Lee, president Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association.

Caribbean Chef of the Year Medals

 

  • Winner: Rashindra Donge, Bonaire
  • Gold Medals: Rashindra Donge, Bonaire, and Jethro Wirth, Suriname
  • Silver Medals: Jamal Small, Bahamas, Jason Joseph, Barbados, Siegfred Alexander, Curacao, Silverio Marrone, Jamaica, Raul Correa, Puerto Rico, Elijah Jules, St. Lucia, and Ron Duprat, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Bronze Medals: Lester Gumbs, Anguilla

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 Puerto Rico celebrates winning the coveted Caribbean National Culinary Team of the Year title, sponsored by Alouette, Anco and International Dairy Farms

Caribbean National Team Medals

Awards sponsored by Alouette, Anco and International Dairy Farms

 

  • Winner: Puerto Rico
  • Gold Medals: Anguilla, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Silver Medals: Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Lucia and Suriname

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Caribbean Bartender of the Year presentation pictured (l-r) Jeffrey S. Vasser, CHA, director general and CEO, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association; Caribbean Bartender of the Year Brandon DeCloux, U.S. Virgin Islands; Josue Merced Reyes, head bartender judge; and Emil Lee, president Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association. 

Caribbean Bartender of the Year Medals

 

  • Winner: Brandon DeCloux, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Gold Medal: Brandon DeCloux, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Silver Medals: Taffy Hodges, Anguilla, Marv Cunningham, Bahamas, Rohan Hackshaw, Barbados, and Alva Preville, St. Lucia
  • Bronze Medals: Jay Frans, Bonaire, Chin Ping Li, Curacao, Leoned Broomfield, Jamaica, Jose Franceshi, Puerto Rico, and Michel Blackson, Suriname

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Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year presentation featuring (l-r) Jeffrey S. Vasser, CHA, director general and CEO, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association; Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year Sheldon Tracey Sweeting, Bahamas; Augusto Schreiner, head pastry judge; and Emil Lee, president Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association.

Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year Medals

 

  • Winner: Sheldon Tracey Sweeting, Bahamas
  • Gold Medals: Sheldon Tracey Sweeting, Bahamas and Mizraim Melendez, Puerto Rico
  • Silver Medals:Jimme Matthews, Anguilla, Keisha Nurse, Barbados, Carlos Anthonij, Curacao, Teresa Clarke, Jamaica, and Ryan Cross, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Honorable Mention: Junior Janga, Bonaire, Sherma Peter, St. Lucia, and Giovanni Asmo, Suriname

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Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year presentation featuring (l-r) Jeffrey S. Vasser, CHA, director general and CEO, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Associationho; head judge Peter Olsacher, Bahama Breeze; Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year Sanju Smith, Jamaica, and Emil Lee, president Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association. 

Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year Medals

  • Winner: Sanju Smith, Jamaica
  • Gold Medals:Sanju Smith, Jamaica
  • Silver Medals:Mtima Daniels, Anguilla, Dwayne Sinclair, Bahamas, Giovannie Veld, Bonaire, and Christopher Vega, Puerto Rico
  • Bronze Medals: Clevie Henry, St. Lucia, Algeray Ravenberg, Suriname and Danika Joseph, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Honorable Mention: Trevon Stoute, Barbados and Aisheron Phillips, Curacao

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The 2014 Taste of the Caribbean Hall of Fame. Pictured (l-r) Jeffrey S. Vasser, CHA, director general and CEO, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association; Caribbean Chef of the Year Rashindra Donge, Bonaire; Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year Sanju Smith; Bill Moore, Honorary Member, Creative Food and Beverage Solutions, Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year Sheldon Tracey Sweeting, Bahamas; Caribbean Bartender of the Year Brandon DeCloux, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Emil Lee, president Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association. 

Individual Competitions

            Following are the results of the individual competitions that took place during Taste of the Caribbean:

Caribbean Ice Carving Competition

 

  • Gold Medal & Ice Carver of the YearRohan Henry, Jamaica
  • Silver Medal: Indra Solihin, Bahamas
  • Bronze Medal: Randie Anderson, Jamaica 

 

Beef Competition, Sponsored by Certified Angus Beef

 

  • Winner Beef Competition: Darren Connor, Anguilla
  • Gold Medals: Darren Connor, Anguilla, and Gian Stewart, Jamaica
  • Silver Medals:Charon Mckenzie, Bahamas, Antonio Sivers, Barbados, Withney Libier, Curacao, Luis Castillo, Puerto Rico, Caron Jean, St. Lucia, Tirsa Braumuller, Suriname and George Sittig, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Bronze Medals:Tjitte Knol, Bonaire, Richard Pinnock, Jamaica, and Elijah Jules, St. Lucia

Seafood Competition

 

  • Gold Medal and Winner Seafood CompetitionPeter Lawrence, St. Lucia
  • Silver Medals:Richmond Fowler II, Bahamas, Andy Carolie, Curacao, Luis Castillo, Puerto Rico, and Refer Leonce, St. Lucia
  • Bronze Medals:Marvin Applewhaite, Barbados, Willis Griffith, Barbados, Ronaldo Mauricio Gosepa, Bonaire, Alberto Atiles, Jamaica, and Sherwin Alexander, Suriname
  • Honorable Mention: Ashohary JulianaCuracao and Taj Siwatu, U.S. Virgin Islands

 

Cheesecake Competition, Sponsored by Anco, Aloutte and International Dairy Farms

  • Winner Cheesecake Competition:Sheldon Tracey Sweeting, Bahamas
  • Gold Medals: Sheldon Tracey Sweeting, Bahamas, and Mizraim Melendez, Puerto Rico
  • Silver Medals: Carlos Anthonij, Curacao
  • Bronze Medals: Trenel Ifill, Barbados and Giovanni Asmo, Suriname
  • Honorable Mention: Katrina Depeize Hall, Barbados, Tjitte Knol, Bonaire, Shekera Cassie, Jamaica, Martha Hippolyte, St. Lucia, and Gary Klinefelter, U.S. Virgin Islands

Following are the special awards that were bestowed at Taste of the Caribbean:

 

  • Best Team for Taste of the Islands: U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Taste of the Islands People’s Choice: Puerto Rico
  • Hans Schenk Commemorative Award for the Most Innovative Dish Utilizing Indigenous Ingredients: Barbados
  • Best Rum DrinkRohan Hackshaw, Barbados
  • Best Vodka DrinkBrandon DeCloux, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Best Non Alcoholic DrinkRohan Hackshaw, Barbados
  • Most Creative Bartender:Alva Preville, St. Lucia
  • Tony Mack Spirit of the CompetitionBonaire
  • Honorary Hall of Fame Inductee – Bill Moore, Creative Food and Beverage Solutions, was inducted into the Hall of Fame after stepping down as technical advisor to Taste of the Caribbean, a role he has held since 2003.  Moore was instrumental in the creation of Taste of the Caribbean when he was executive vice president of CHTA’s Caribbean Culinary Federation (CCF).

 

Taste of the Islands

 

One of the highlights of Taste of the Caribbean was the Taste of the Islands festival, which was open to the public and saw 687 consumers who came to sample gourmet Caribbean appetizers, desserts and signature cocktails, gather information about their favorite Caribbean destinations, and listen to authentic Caribbean music.

The Taste of the Islands highlights the street foods that are common throughout the region.  Each competing team was given a “protein mystery basket” with a large selection of ingredients in a common pantry.  From these ingredients the teams created two savory dishes, one dessert item and one rum-based cocktail.  The U.S. Virgin Islands took home “Best Team for Taste of the Islands” while Puerto Rico won the “People’s Choice” award.

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