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Published on August 25, 2017

AS PART OF our 65th Anniversary celebrations the BHTA hosted its inaugural Art of Cuisine – Barbados Meets the World culinary festival.

The festival, which featured culinary events and workshops to promote the use of local products in the industry, was led by UK based Barbadian chef Jason Howard, who was joined by international chefs Jason Licker, Marco Maestoso and Angel Batencourt.

CEO Rudy Grant explained that the two specialty dinners held at Oceans Two Resorts and Daphne’s Restaurant and the High Tea at the Crane, all lived up to Chef Jason’s promise to utilise only Barbadian products to create mouthwatering masterpieces.

He said, “This of course is very important because it demonstrates that here in Barbados we have all of the ingredients necessary to provide world class international menus that are tasty, that are appealing and that are beautiful to observe.

“The festival focused heavily on strengthening linkages between tourism and agriculture and clearly demonstrates how we can strengthen these linkages in such a way that both sectors benefit.  It represented import substitution in action, where we are utilising Barbadian produce and strengthening the linkages so that the benefits, the economic benefits, through the development of the tourism industry, are not only restricted to tourism enterprises but also includes other sectors as well.”

Grant stated that another major highlight of the festival was the educational component as Art of Cuisine also provided the opportunity for local chefs to enhance their skills and techniques as it relates to preparation and presentation.

“We wanted to showcase the international chefs and their use of our local products but we also wanted to expose our local chefs to their expertise. To this end, we held daily workshops where local chefs got a chance to gain valuable knowledge, learn new skills and work along with the visiting chefs. We believe that this will go a long way in the further development of our culinary industry, which is extremely important to us at the BHTA.”

Grant added that the first Art of the Cuisine also gained international exposure for the island and its culinary offerings: “The event attracted major attention from the international culinary world, thanks to coverage from ChefsTalk, an online culinary forum with over 1.7 million followers. ChefsTalk documented every aspect of the festival on all of its social media platforms. The visiting chefs also utilised their social media platforms to showcase what the island has to offer to their many followers.

“Tourism is our major economic earner and while we started this year with this programme which is geared towards providing training for our local chefs and also ensuring that there is further utilization of Barbadian products, we also recognise that there is a further potential for the further development of this activity into a marketing initiative which we can use to bring more visitors into Barbados.”

Adding to this Chef Jason noted that the visiting chefs totally enjoyed the festival especially sharing their knowledge with the local chefs who participated in the workshops and the ‘exploration and discover’ aspect which focused on recovering traditional knowledge of herbs and other produce found on the island.

“We have won lots of awards in Barbados but we need to do more work and this for me means more events like Art of Cuisine which gives Barbadian chefs more exposure to international chefs, holding seminars where they can learn about food trends and how the market is evolving. This is not an exercise to make us the best in the Caribbean, this is an exercise to make us the best, one of the best in the world and with that we can operate with the best. We are going to get Barbados packaged as a culinary destination to the world.”


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