Cheers to 7 Decades! British Airways Celebrate Barbados with Mount Gay Rum Service

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod

For the first time ever, British Airways travellers will have the chance to sip the ‘rum that invented’ on their journey to Barbados.

During the month of April, Mount Gay rum will be served on board all British Airways flights from UK to Barbados via London Heathrow and Gatwick gateways.

Specifically, Mount Gay, XO will be served in First and Club World and Mount Gay Eclipse in World Traveller Plus and World Traveller.

This historic gesture is in celebration of British Airways’ 70th anniversary of direct flights to Barbados. On April 1st, 1954, the first one-stop flight to Barbados departed from London Heathrow and 70 years later British Airways now has daily direct services via London Heathrow and Gatwick.

What’s so symbolic about this moment?

Rum is deeply rooted in Barbados’ history and cultural identity as the island literally invented rum.

According to historians, Mount Gay Distillery, formerly known as Mount Gilboa, may have been producing rum as early as the 17th century. However, the first official deed is dated February 20th , 1703 which gives Barbados the honour to be called the Birthplace of the oldest rum in the world.

Fun Fact: Barbados National Hero and global superstar Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty shares the same birthday as the deed that established Mount Gay Rum – February 20th

With the commitment of preserving over 300 years of history, Trudiann Brancker, the first and only female master blender continues to make the finest blends of this liquid gold.

So, when travellers get a sip of Mount Gay rum, they would probably will be enticed to book a rum tour, secure a bottle as a memory or learn how to make a few rum cocktails during their vacation on island.

A Platinum Celebration

The celebration also continues off board as Barbados will host an exclusive reception at Ilaro Court, the official residence of the Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados on Wednesday 24th April. The event will welcome distinguished guests including, Hon Ian Gooding-Edghill, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Barbados and Colm Lacy, Chief Commercial Officer for British Airways.

Also in attendance will be Mike Bannister, a now-retired Concorde captain, who has piloted many flights to the island including the final Concorde flight to Barbados. Barbados was one of the four countries with a regular Concorde flight and 2023 marked 20 years since the final landing of the Concorde at Grantley Adams International Airport.

The platinum celebration will also include, an exclusive Avios and Club Class promotion, familiarisation trips for media and top-selling UK travel agents, and other inflight activations.

As Barbados and British Airways mark this significant milestone, one should be proud of the many accomplishments created through seven decades of partnerships.

A New Junior Chef Cook-off Champion Crowned

Junior Chef Winner

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod

After three months of intense training sessions, culinary challenges and nail-biting showdowns, 20-year-old Jade Harewood was crowned the 2023 Junior Chef Cook-Off Champion.

The ultimate culinary showdown, which was held on October 28th, was one of the featured events of the 2023 Barbados Food and Rum Festival.

The Ultimate Culinary Showdown

The Junior Chef Cook-Off Competition was part of the Festival’s goal to empower the next generation of Barbadian cuisine. The competition originally commenced with twelve young chefs who spent weeks under the mentorship of the esteemed Chef Peter Edey honing their culinary skills and learning more about destination Barbados.

After a few elimination rounds, it was left to Dejuan Toppin, Domonique Grant, Raphael Blenman and of course, Jade Harewood to battle it out at the finals.

For the first time, the finals were held in front of a live audience, so friends, family and supporters were able to join in on the action and cheer on the contestants.

The show was hosted by Chef Peter Edey and Megghan Michael. Chef Edey kept the audience informed, while Megghan added a personal and entertaining touch to the show.

Adding New Competitive Elements

With sharp knives, higher stakes and bigger prizes, the competition was judged using the World Skills standards, which featured an additional round and mystery ingredients.

The final competition was separated into two rounds; the Carmeta’s Appetizer/
Roberts Manufacturing Entrée Round and the Wibisco Dessert Round. This was the first time the finals for the competition included a dessert round which added a sweet and challenging element to the mix.

In an effort to promote local, the mystery ingredients utilized were locally sourced from Barbadian brands.

For the appetizer round, the contestants had to create their dishes using Carmeta’s sweet potato flour and chicken liver. In the entrée round, pork loin, Robert’s Coconut Butter, Wibisco Tri-Grain Crackers and Yam were used. Finally, Wisbisco Shirley biscuits and local fruits including mango were used.

The Junior Chef Champion

Though everyone gave a stellar performance, ultimately, Jade won the grand prize of BBD $3000 cash, 6 months of training at the Caribbean Cuisine Culinary Institute and a 3-month internship at D’Onofrio’s at Crane Barbados.

Dejuan Toppin placed second, Raphael Blenman third and Domonique Grant placed fourth.

Noticeably shocked by this achievement Jade stated, “I am genuinely excited and ecstatic at the fact that I won. The hard work that was put in place during those long training sessions has paid off. For my culinary career, this is just one of the milestones I have set for myself and that I have achieved. I am opened to learning and taking in more knowledge to have a bigger understanding of this field I’m trying my best to persevere in.”

Jade’s winning dishes include:

  • Appetizer
    A duo of chicken livers
  • Entree
    A Honey and Garlic Pork Tenderloin, Biscuit Stuffed Croquettes, Carrot and Squash Purée and a Christophine Slaw.
  • Dessert
    Rum-soaked Doughnut Holes, Ginger infused Crumble, Mango Sauce and a rum-infused meringue
    It was her meringue that left the crowd speechless, many hinted that the meringue may have contributed to taking the win.

The Web Series

Since this year’s competition included a web series, one can watch the finals and take a peek into the young chef’s journey via the Visit Barbados YouTube page.

You can watch each episode of the series here:

The final episode featuring the final showdown will be aired on the Visit Barbados YouTube on November 9th.

Take a Bite of the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean…Literally

Take a Bite of the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean…Literally

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod

There is this lingering question many ask about Barbados; Why is the island the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean?

To answer simply, Barbados has over 400 diverse restaurants and eateries. On the island, you can indulge in street food, international cuisine and of course the best Bajan food.

The island is also home to the Barbados Food and Rum Festival; one of the most sought-after festivals in the world. This year the festival takes place from October 19th – 22nd and can be described as the ultimate foodie dream weekend.

For a foodie, attending the Festival is probably the best time to visit the island but if bad luck strikes and you can’t attend, there are still a myriad of restaurants and eateries on the island to tantalize your tastebuds.

To take it a step further, based on the letters that spell out Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, we will give you a list of diverse restaurants and eateries you can try on your next trip to Barbados.

  • C- Chefette

    You cannot travel to Barbados without trying something from Chefette. This is the island’s local fast-food chain, known for its tasty broasted chicken. It’s also one of Rihanna’s favourite food spots on the island.

  • U- UMI

    Located at Sugar Bay Hotel, Umi offers savoury Asian-Fusion specialities. You can treat yourself to traditional and contemporary sushi as well as Asian-themed cocktails.

  • L – La Cabane

    When you think of dining in paradise, La Cabane gets it right. This seaside feet-in-the-sand dining experience makes every meal unforgettable with its Mediterranean style cuisine.

  • I – Il Tempio

    They say when you enter as a guest you leave as a friend. This authentic Italian restaurant is situated on the west coast of the island and has been dubbed “the best Italian food in Barbados” by late Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti.

  • N – Nishi Restaurant

    Enjoy a diverse menu of English, Caribbean and Asian dishes at one of the island’s most popular sushi restaurants. Be sure to try the Volcano Maki Roll and thank us later.

  • A – Asian Spice Indian Restaurant

    If you love the taste of authentic Indian flavours and aromas, then this is the restaurant for you. The Asian Spice Restaurant offers a wide variety of authentic Mughlai cuisine, which is one of the most popular cuisines in North India.

  • R – Round House Restaurant

    With the world-famous “Soup Bowl” as your backdrop, spend your day on the scenic East Coast basking in Continental Caribbean cuisine. Round House offers unique history, great food, friendly people and a nice mellow vibe.

  • Y – Yelluh Meat

    Let Yelluh Meat ignite your tastebuds with their flavourful breadfruit bowls. Filled with fresh ingredients, an assortment of meats and plenty love, these breadfruit bowls are a must try.

  • C – Champers

    For Barbadians and even visitors, Champers is like home. It’s the go-to restaurant to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations or any treasured milestone. This waterside dining offers delectable Bajan cuisine, picturesque views and a friendly atmosphere.

  • A-Ackee Tree

    With a tagline of ‘Fabulous Foods’, Ackee Tree’s specialty is roti. They offer a variety of flavours and fillings including chicken, potato, pumpkin and lamb just to name a few.

  • P- Primo Bar & Bistro

    Primo is a bistro with style. It is a TripAdvisor Travelers’ choice and offers a diverse selection of international cuisine. You can try the Moroccan Curry, Greek Salmon or even the Lebanese Catch of the Day.

  • I- Irie Foods

    Taste a bit of Jamaica at Irie Foods. Enjoy Jamaican delights like jerk chicken, rice & peas, oxtail, patties, ackee and saltfish and so much more.

  • T- Tapas

    Situated on the south coast boardwalk, just a few feet away from the water’s edge is Tapas. The food is one thing but many rave about the drinks, especially the Botanist Botanical Punch.

  • A-Aeon Bar & Grill

    Open daily, Aeon Bar is known for its affordable dining and exceptional entertainment. There is always some type of special being offered but many love to flock to the bar and grill whenever it’s Disney Karaoke night.

  • L – La Baguette French Bakery

    La Baguette makes your day a little sweeter with their fresh French bread and pastries. Every morning the bakery’s boulanger (baker) prepares various baked goods from scratch including baguettes, croissants, pain au chocolat and more.

  • O – Oistins

    No one in the world can grill a fish like a Bajan and Oistins Bay Garden is where you can taste why. Friday night is the best time to experience the world-renowned Oistins Fish Fry where you can have various fish with grilled potatoes, macaroni pie, rice & peas and various salads.

  • F – FriiGuys

    What started out as a gourmet food truck, is now one of the island’s number one choices for anything fries. Located in Worthing Square, Barbados’ food truck hub, and the West Coast, you can revel in their home-cut fries with calamari, BBQ wings, shrimp, chicken and steak.

  • T – The Cliff

    Originally opened in 1995, the Cliff quickly became world-renowned as Barbados’ pemier dining destination. Its food, service and ambience were unparalleled. Reopened in 2022, the restaurant’s glass sea-facing kitchen allows guests to catch a glimpse of the culinary team as they create dishes that excite the eyes and wow the taste buds. 

  • H – Harlequin Restaurant

    Described as casual starlight dining, Harlequin Restaurant prides itself on being vegetarian-friendly offering a menu for any type of food lover. If you get the chance to pop in, you must order the pina colada cheesecake.

  • E – Eco Lifestyle + Lodge

    Barbados is a sustainable destination so of course one can find farm-to-fork experiences on the island. Eco Lifestyle is a great option as it offers a tropically-inspired plant-based menu. Dining here can always be quite spontaneous as the menu changes with the season.

  • C -Cuzz’s Fish Stand

    Perfectly seasoned grilled fish, sandwiched between soft fresh bread, topped with lettuce, tomato and your choice of condiments; a perfect fish sandwich. That’s what you get at Barbados’ favourite Fish stand.

  • A – ArtSplash Cafe

    ArtSplash provides the best, healthiest and locally sourced food possible with their selection of fresh breakfasts, lunches, snack, juices and smoothies. They also serve Lavazza Coffee that can be enjoyed alongside Free Wifi and their art gallery.

  • R – Rum Vault

    The Rum Vault is the first of its kind on the island of Barbados and is perfect for a date night. In this intimate dining experience, the Vault Chef and Rum Ambassadors take you on a culinary journey featuring exquisite rum-pairing dining experiences as well as rum-tasting flights.

  • I – Italia Coffee

    This list would not be complete without mentioning a Frescante Espresso from Italia Coffee. This cup of magic is a favourite at the island’s leading coffee house. You can also sip coffee from all over the world as there’s always a daily brew.

  • B – Baia

    Baia takes inspiration from the diverse culture and deep gastronomical heritage of Latin America. Situated on the famed West Coast, Baia brings to the Caribbean mouthwatering Peruvian-fusion food, exceptional cocktails and live entertainment in a laid-back, rustic luxurious setting.

  • B- Bikini Beach Barbados

    This is the island’s newest seaside restaurant and beach club located on the West Coast. The menu is a fusion of Caribbean, American and International favourites. This is a great atmosphere to unwind and relax while being served a delish teriyaki pineapple bowl.

  • E – East Moon

    Locals have said this is arguably one of the best Chinese restaurants on the island where you can enjoy all your favourite Chinese dishes. The food is authentic, the service is great and it is well priced.

  • A – Atlantis Historic Inn

    Sundays in Barbados are best spent with a plate filled with rice, macaroni pie, meats and every kind of salad possible. That’s why you should definitely try Atlantis’ famous Sunday buffet lunch. It’s a guaranteed delight with delicious Bajan food, refreshing cocktails and a beautiful view.

  • N – Naniki Barbados

    Nestled on the lush slopes of the scenic Scotland District, with a breathtaking view of the Atlantic is Naniki. Known for its “country dining” the menu features a variety of Caribbean delicacies, including; catch of the day, curried or grilled chicken or roast pork served with local favourites like yam, breadfruit, sweet potato and their special coconut bakes.

  • So, now that you have a very detailed guide and the lingering question has been answered, it’s time for you to eat your way through the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean…literally.

Savouring Barbados one Bite at a Time

Savouring Barbados one Bite at a Time

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod

The most exquisite tastes can transcend your palate and create memories that can last an eternity.

At the Barbados Food and Rum Festival, this is definitely the case as the festival can be described as a culinary nirvana filled with the most diverse and delicious cuisine. Every year, the festival is held in October and features famed chefs, mixologists and culinary personalities.

This year the festival takes centre stage from October 19th -October 22nd with eight unforgettable signature events. From an authentic Barbadian fish fry to the ultimate breakfast party and of course a sumptuous feast, there is something for every type of foodie to enjoy.

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod

The fan favourites are Rise and Rum which is a delectable sunrise party filled with endless breakfast delights and Liquid Gold feast which exudes opulence with a vast amount of skillfully crafted delicacies.

Other events include Culture of Cuisine Talks, Oistins Under the Stars, Chef Classics, the Junior Chef Cook-Off Competition, Rum Route and Bajan Fair which is a new family-friendly event.

Though the festival may be the biggest culinary event in Barbados, no matter what time of year you visit the island, there is a wealth of culinary experiences to enjoy. There are over 400 restaurants and eateries offering a myriad of cuisines for everyone to try. And with new spots constantly popping up around the island the options can feel immeasurable, so here’s a guide to help you dine around the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean.

We’ve picked a few of the island’s newest restaurants to add to your must-try list.

A Beachside Vibe

You can’t travel to Barbados without spending the day with your toes in the sand, listening to the murmur of waves as you are served the most sumptuous food. Therefore, places like Calma and Seashed should be on your foodie list.

A Beachside Vibe

Described as a Laissez-faire seaside vibe, dining at Sea Shed is time spent lounging by the beach and sipping cocktails with incredible food. The Sea Shed Nachos are a must-have and they are filled with local breadfruit crisps toasted in our firebrick oven and topped with sour cream, guacamole, spicy salsa and jalapeños.

Similarly, Calma is a new beach club in the heart of Holetown, Barbados. Together, the founders have created a space where both locals and tourists can come together and be served fresh and delicious food paired with wonderful cocktails.

From Farm to Fork

Barbados is a sustainable destination and that also translates into the island’s food. Around the island, you can find a few restaurants that specialize in the Farm to Fork experience. One of these restaurants is Local & Co which brings drink, love and local to your plate. Dining at LOCAL & Co means you are literally helping to grow local food systems while supporting the local economy.

The restaurant menu constantly changes depending on the crops, weather conditions & Chef’s mood so if you love spontaneity and sustainability then Local & Co is for you.

From Farm to Fork

However, one menu staple is the juicy Smash Burger. The bun is made in-house daily and the age Bajan beef is hand ground from Oink and Moo. From the bacon jam to the onion rings, each ingredient is made by hand and with love.

Another great option is Eco Lifestyle & Lodge which has a tropically-inspired plant-based menu. Similar to Local & Co, the menu changes with the seasons, so you can always expect something new and exciting on your plate.

A little Sweetness

For all the sweet tooths, Café de Paris may be your new fave spot. This premium café offers delicious pastries and delights that give you a taste of Paris in Barbados.

Sizzling Street Food

Imagine dining around the world in one evening. Savour the flavours of Arabian, Caribbean, French, Indian and of course Barbadian cuisine to name just a few. This is what your tastebuds can experience at Worthing Square, Barbados’ biggest food truck hub. This unique hub is filled with over 22 food trucks with delicious treats and cuisines.

Sizzling Street Food

Some must-tries are the kebab platters from Souriana, the succulent grilled fish from Meal Machine or the flavourful brick oven pizza from Bacco.

There is even a Mount Gay cocktail truck where you can have the most unforgettable rum mixes. Our pick is the Basil Lemonade! It’s refreshing, tasty and with a little kick.

A Night of Fine Dining

Immerse yourself in the finest epicurean delicacies at restaurants like Baia, The Cliff or the Sipping Room.

Baia takes inspiration from the diverse culture and deep gastronomical heritage of Latin America. Situated on the famed West Coast, Baia brings to the Caribbean mouthwatering Peruvian-fusion food, exceptional cocktails and live entertainment in a laid-back, rustic luxurious setting.

A Night of Fine Dining

The Peruvian infused cuisine takes your senses on a journey with dishes like Pollo al Josper which is Charcoal grilled Peruvian half chicken with chocolate cream and Papa Seca con Seta y Trufa which is stewed sun-dried Peruvian potatoes, a trio of mushrooms with white truffle oil.

On the same coast, you can also find the Cliff Barbados which is known for its unparalleled food, service and ambience. Originally opened in 1995, the Cliff quickly became world-renowned as Barbados’ premier dining establishment. Reopened in 2022, the previous structure has been modernised and the Cliff has been replaced with an elegant, sophisticated design. The restaurant’s glass sea-facing kitchen allows guests to catch a glimpse of the culinary team as they create dishes that excite the eyes and ignite the taste buds.

Some other popular spots that are hits among the locals are Champers, QP Bistro and Fish Pot so be sure to add those to your list as well.

With this introductory guide, you have almost everything you need to eat your way through Barbados. All you have to do now is book the next flight!

A Rum-Infused Night

A Rum-Infused Night

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod

If you didn’t have at least two rum sours minimum, then you didn’t do Rum Route right!

On the Friday night of the Barbados Food and Rum Festival weekend, the bars and restaurants in St Lawrence Gap were taken over with food and drink specials all night long.

Bar Hopping

Selected bars and restaurants all offered a different experience and various house specials for patrons. However, one thing that remained common was the rum sours. Rum is a big part of the Festival and our Barbadian heritage, so it only made sense to indulge in a few rum cocktails, especially ones that included the festival’s official rum sponsor Mount Gay Rum.

‘Catchin’ the Vibe

The kind of experience you wanted for the night, determined which bar and restaurant you selected.

If you wanted to simply mingle with friends, grab a rum sour, and have a few bar bites then Cocktail Kitchen was the bar for you. Many people seemed to prefer this vibe as the bar was packed with people taking advantage of the rum specials and the Breadfruit Nachos. Those that were lucky to get there at the right time enjoyed the soulful sounds of Ch’an.

People who just wanted to quietly mingle and catch up with friends ventured to Primo with live music by Mylon Clarke.

Now, if you went to the gap strictly for a live music session, then Crave Restaurant was the place to be. Sonnay Meraki had the patrons singing along to his nostalgic reggae and alternative set. Many took advantage of the ‘Rum Route’ food and Mount Gay Rum specials.

Tobagonian couple Aloysia and Leandre Weekes thoroughly enjoyed the Fish and Chips special and made room to also try the Rum and Coke Wings. Tourists and locals could also be seen with cups of Mount Gay Eclipse sours in hand.

The late birds who strolled through the gap after 11:30 pm came for two things only, rum sours and Edwin Yearwood so they found their way to Halo Ultra Lounge.

Edwin and Hypasounds gave the true partiers a little warm-up for the next event… Rise & Rum!

Rise & Rum

Rise & Rum

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod

How do you usually spend your Saturday morning? Running errands, doing some housework, or maybe just sleeping in?

Well, scores of Bajans and tourists spent this special Saturday morning with a rum cocktail in one hand and Buljol in the next as they chanted “All is Rum”.

Yes, if you haven’t yet figured it out, we are talking about Rise & Rum: The Beach Breakfast Party, the newest event at the 2022 Barbados Food and Rum Festival.

More than just Breakfast

Copacabana was filled to the brim with people wholeheartedly enjoying themselves at the most anticipated event of the festival weekend.

There was food in abundance, an array of rum cocktails, and an entertainment setlist that had patrons dancing all morning.

The experience started from the time you entered the event. Patrons were welcomed with branded fans, sunglasses, and a specialty cocktail by mixologist Shane Mclean to ensure everyone was awake.

Some started the morning by heading to the henna station and got beautiful designs drawn on their hands by Amina from Henna Barbados, while others opted for a shoulder or foot massage.

The HyperDrive team and DJ Hutchy and Sizz set the tone for the morning with sweet soca,
as the ‘early birds’ decided which food and cocktail stations they would try first.

Endless Food

It was a bit difficult for some as the choices felt endless. Breakfast was served by chefs Rodney Corbin, D’Sean Miller, Shakayla Bovell and Ann-Marie Leach, who represented the vegans.

Chef Anne-Marie felt amazing to be chosen to represent all those who love vegan food.

“Not too long ago vegan food was considered bush but it’s not bush, it’s great and tasty. It’s so good that vegan food finally has a seat at the table,” she happily said.

Her vegan dishes were a top pick as her roasted breadfruit and vegan Buljol were especially enjoyed by many non-vegan patrons.

International chef Huda Mu’min was also present at the event with her famous mac and cheese served with a ginger beer braised short rib. People could not get enough of this dish.

As this was their first time attending the Food and Rum festival locals David Yearwood and his friend indulged in almost all the foods. However, they couldn’t stop talking about Chef D’Sean Miller’s cornmeal porridge and pigtail.

All is Rum

The event was called Rise & Rum so of course, there was bottomless rum.

As Californian Carrie Bell said, “there is no shortage of rum here. If you like rum this is where to come”.

This was Carrie’s first time in Barbados and at the festival and she said it would not be her last.

Mixologists Dameain Williams gave patrons the choice of the ‘Petit De’jeuner’ or the Tiki Expressions and Antonio Busby had patrons covered with the ‘we is gree’ and the ‘ya good?’

Explaining the name choice, Antonio said “The inspiration of the drinks was to bring people in, and it is something that is said throughout Barbados. When you go to the bar and the bartender would probably ask, “Ya Good?” and Ya good has been a fave for the morning.”

Patrons also had the choice of ‘Rise & Rum’ cocktails from the Mount Gay station or Frosteez-infused cocktails served by mixologist Philip Antoine.

Sunrise Party

When the food settled, and the drinks kicked in, the partiers came out!

A line-up of local artists graced the stage giving everyone a little ‘Crop Over tabanca’. There was Mikey, Leadpipe and Saddis, Blood, Faith, Nikita, Hypasounds and Peter Rum.

Lil Rick was the climax of the set as he sang the true anthem of the morning, “All is Rum”.

Entertainment duo Reko Chase and Andwele kept the crowd dancing and chanting until the party ended.

Rise & Rum wasn’t just a typical all-inclusive party, it was a memorable experience that left people anxiously waiting for round two.

Fish, Rum and Vibes

Fish, Rum and Vibes

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod

No one in the world can grill a fish like a Bajan and we proved that!

People from Spain, Australia, Texas, and of course, Christ Church flocked to Oistins Bay Garden to kick off the 2022 Barbados Food and Rum Festival at ‘Oistins Under the Stars’.

It was the return of a fan-favorite event and the best opportunity to eat the most mouth-watering fish, drink some rum cocktails and enjoy live local music.

Bajan Delicacies

The night began with a live cooking demo that featured local chef Creig Greenidge and
was hosted by international chef Anne Burell.

Chef Greig described the event as the most natural event.

“Anybody can be here. From the people that go to the fancy events to the regular guys that sit in the rum shop. Simple Barbadiana at its best,” He expressed.

Like many others, Oistins is Chef Anne Burrell’s favourite event, so she was ecstatic to be this year’s host.

“This was my fourth time doing the Barbados Food and Rum Festival and I had always seen Marcus Samuelsson do it here before and this was always my favourite. So, when they came to me and asked me to do it, I was like absolutely yes! I felt like I grew up a bit. I love the food, I love the people, and just the feeling of family. Everyone is beyond welcoming here,” she said.

Chef Creig gave her the best Bajan welcome by showing her how to make a local delicacy, Bajan fishcakes but with a twist.

He made the fishcakes with all the regular components like saltfish, local herbs and flour but he added in breadfruit and salmon. So, when you bit into the fishcake you would taste pockets of salmon and breadfruit. On the side was the Chef Creig Tar Tar sauce, which is made of lime juice, mayonnaise, Bajan pepper sauce, sweet chili sauce, fresh thyme, fresh dill, and a little brown sugar.

Anne Burell described the fishcakes as a slow burner and the ‘talk up’ of the fishcakes was so good that even international chef David Rose, made a surprise appearance on stage to try them.

The Vibe of Oistins

Throughout the night people were seen lining up to try food samples from members of the 2022 Food and Rum Accelerator Programme while others could be seen with cocktails in hand from mixologists Adrian Byran and Natasha Jules.

Many were raving about the ‘Coffee and Cake’ cocktail from Adrian Bryan which was a cake and rum infusion with a lemon and vanilla tincture, rum and raisin syrup, sprayed with pure essence and garnished with a slice of cake.

Others kept going back for the ‘Island Star’ by Natasha Jules which contained Five Fingers studded syrup, passion fruit juice, lime, vanilla-infused vodka, and orange bitters. You had the choice of an alcoholic or non-alcoholic option.

PK Graham, from Texas was lining up for one of the cocktails raving about the food she had eaten earlier. She and her Trinidadian friend Miranda Ropchan went to Mo’s Grill and had the most delicious Mahi Mahi, Snapper and King Fish.

Another vendor many could not stop talking about was Uncle George’s Fish Net and Grill.

This was Jodie Robert’s first time at the Barbados Food and Rum Festival, and she was having a blast.

“We have been here since 4’o clock. We ate at Pat’s and had kingfish with grilled potatoes. Our fave Bajan food is definitely fish. We have had all the fish we can have. Every day here we have tried something different, and we love all the fish,” she said.

It’s time to Party

After the dining was the entertainment!

Patrons got a cultural escort with a tuk band, stilt walkers, steel pan and a mother sally to the entertainment stage.

The night’s entertainment took people on a musical journey from spouge down to soca. The performances started with spouge renditions from Shadia Marshal and Ishaka McNeil.

Then Dale Marshall switched the vibe to soca and had the crowd jumping to ‘Soca Junkie’. Queen of Soca Alison Hinds graced the stage and made the crowd ‘wukkup all down to de ground’.

And Red Plastic Bag ended the night serenading the crowd as they formed a congo line.

The night left people ready for everything the festival weekend had in store for them.

The Most Luxurious Grand Finale

The Most Luxurious Grand Finale

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod

The 2022 Barbados Food and Rum Festival came to a spectacular end in the most delectable way.

Liquid Gold Feast brought hundreds of people to Ilaro Court to experience the grand finale event.

Attendees were welcomed to an elegant ad hoc ballroom, through a red carpet, to the renditions of Angel Stringz. The décor beautifully represented the title of the event as gold and black were draped throughout the room.

Behind the Menu

With 14 local chefs and seven mixologists, attendees truly got a taste of what the best of Barbados had to offer. Behind the chef menus were Andres Antoine, Marvin Applewhaite, Danielle Gibson, Javon Cummins, Rhea Gilkes, Creig Greenidge, Nicholas Ifill, Anne-Marie Leach, Damian Leach , Shamar Griffith, Seth Hasin-Bromley, Thaddeus Sealy, Trevon Stoute and Jamal Whittaker. The mixologists were Ryan Adamson, Philip Antoine, Jamaal Bowen, Dameain Williams, Alex Chandler, Shane McClean and David Barker.

Let’s just say there was a plethora of food and cocktails for all to indulge in.

One station that immediately caught everyone’s attention was Chef Trevon Stoute and Marvin Applewhaite. The station was designed to represent Barbados’ local offerings with the tabletop covered in grass, local edible flowers, local mushrooms and wood as they cooked a lot of their foods through wood fire smoking. On the right, was a shelf in the shape of Barbados “stacked with flavour from St. Lucy to Bridgetown” as Chef Marvin described it.

Speaking on the inspiration behind the menus Chef Trevon said “A bit of home cooking and a bit of the farm-to-table regime. We wanted to showcase that Barbados has quality ingredients because all that differs is the process and how you go about preparing.”

Chef Marvin added, “For me, it was about trying to utilize local cuisine, you see I have a ground provision Cou Cou on the menu and I was inspired by the wood fire cooking.”

Furthermore, what made the night extra special for Chef Marvin was seeing all the chefs attired in chef jackets designed by his best friend Chef Trevon Stoute.

The event was a first for pastry chef Danielle Gibson and words couldn’t explain just how privileged she felt to be at the event.

She worked for months to create the night’s menu, going with locally infused flavors mixed with a few international concepts. The favourites on the menu were her Rum N’ Raisin Bread Pudding and the Vanilla Bean Gateau.

The finale even brought a friendly pigtail showdown between Chef Creig’s Deep Fried Cornmeal Rosemary Crusted Pigtail and Chef Damian’s Ginger BBQ Pigtail. Each was exquisite so attendees couldn’t bear to choose which was the ‘best’.

More than a Cocktail

The mixologist pulled out all the stops as each drink of the night was a different experience.

Jamaal Bowen, who has been a part of the festival since its inception, explained that more of the local talents and ingredients are being utilized this year. His drink the ‘Kafuffle ya Brain’ embodies that sentiment.

“The name was because of an ingredient called Clitoria Ternatea, also known as the butterfly pea flower. We are utilizing the scientific term to make people think about what that could possibly mean. We used the Mount Gay Silver with the Clitoria Ternatea with locally made cucumber and ginger liqueur, citrus, and then topped it with lychee and pomegranate popping pearls and saffron,” Jamaal explained.

Mixologist Dameain Williams described the cocktail as ambrosia, only fit for the gods.

David Barker’s Moon Town cocktails also had attendees dazzled as he served them on fire and smoking.

Enjoying the Experience

The Moon Town was Californian Sarah Singer’s favourite drink of the night. She was very excited to attend the event after finding out about the festival from a Google search.

Lisa Ruck was ecstatic that she finally got the opportunity to attend the festival for the first time as living abroad always made her miss it. This year, she attended every event and named Liquid Gold Feast her favourite.

“I love elegance, pomp and pageantry so for me this is definitely the creme de la crème. This gala is definitely a beautiful top off to the weekend,” she said.

What also added to the experience was the diverse lineup of local entertainment. Some of the artists that had attendees were enthralled by 2 Mile Hill, Kirisie, Keisha Christian, Biggie Irie, Edwin Yearwood and Red Blastic Bag.

By the end of the night, ministers, chefs, mixologists, locals, tourists and staff were all on the dancefloor enjoying the last moments of an unforgettable festival weekend.

The Execution of a Vision

Aprille Thomas, Director of PR and Communications at the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc was overwhelmed seeing the vision of the festival come to life.

“Standing here now on the finale night and seeing hundreds of people enjoying exactly what we wanted them to enjoy is absolutely overwhelming. This moment at the very end is the highlight of the festival because you see all the work that has been done. I’m just really happy with how everything went,” she stated.

Ms. Thomas further gave her hearty thank you to the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc team, the National Cultural Foundation and everyone who played a part in helping to bring to life the vision of the event and overall festival.

Liquid Gold Feast brought a luxurious end to a successful festival weekend with many asking for a redo. Next stop…2023!

Two young chefs win culinary scholarships

Two young chefs win culinary scholarships

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod

After three weeks of rigorous training, nerve-wracking eliminations, and an intense cooking showdown, two students were victorious at the inaugural Barbados Food and Rum Festival 2022 Junior Chef Cook-Off Competition.

Out of the final eight contestants, Mikalee Williams and Samanta Greenidge were named the top contenders, and each was rewarded one full-ride scholarship to pursue their culinary studies at the Jean and Norma Holder Institute.

Here’s how it all went down.

The Semi-Finals

With a live audience cheering on the contestants, the battle started with the semi-finals.

Each person’s name was placed into a basket and the renowned Chef Peter Edey pulled randomly to choose the cooking order for each round.

The first chefs to cook were Deryka Grazette, Mikalee Williams, Destiny Alleyne and Zedekiah Parris. The second round included Aliah Hazzard, Deryka Grazette, Reese Ann Alleyne and Samanta Greenidge.

Like the quarterfinals, contestants were given a choice from three proteins to create their entrees. The choices were chicken breast, striped marlin, and pork loins, along with starches and vegetables.

Contestants only had 45 minutes to prep, cook and plate their dishes. Using various cooking techniques, contestants creatively utilised Glow Spread margarine and Sunflower butter provided by competition sponsor Robert Manufacturing.

As the cooking got underway, the sounds of searing and the culmination of spices made the audience anxious to see what the contestants had up their sleeves this time around.

As the competition was produced by the event’s sponsors, the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, co-hosts Paula-Ann Jackman and Chef Peter Edey kept audiences engaged and informed about what was happening in the kitchen.

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod

New Cooking Format

The contestants’ trainer Chef Edey reiterated that this programme was like no other as it is a new-age cooking format.

Contestants were judged using the WorldSkills assessment, which takes into consideration the entire cooking process. The junior chefs were not just judged by the taste of their food and presentation but hygiene, attire, time temperature, service window, kitchen safety, time management and wastage were also considered.

The panel of judges included Certified Sous Chefs Steve Phillips, Angela Garraway-Holland, Rashi Cummins and Jean and Norma Holder Institute chef instructor Natalia Reid.

Throughout the rounds, the judges could be seen walking around each station, observing the contestants and taking notes.

As the clock countdown, tension started to rise and at this point, the concern could be seen on the faces of families and friends as they anticipated if the contestants would finish in time. Luckily, each contestant did.

After both rounds ended, the judges deliberated and chose two contestants from each round to advance to the finals.

The judges said the contestants handled the time frame very well and were impressed by how they adapted after just three weeks of training.

The contestants that advanced to the finals were Samanta Greenidge, Mikalee Williams, Deryka Grazette and Reese Ann Alleyne.

New Cooking Format

The Final Cook-Off

Now, the pressure was on. The finalists had the same 45 minutes to get everything done but this time it was with secret ingredients. They had no idea what they were cooking until the mystery box was placed on the stations.

The mystery box included Eclipse biscuits, flying fish, fresh thyme, sweet potato and
Mount Gay Rum Eclipse, the festival’s official rum sponsor.

The tension was high as the contestants pulled out all the stops and upped their game this round. The junior chefs had to get inventive as they were all using the same ingredients.

The dishes created were:

  • Samanta Greenidge
    Panné flying fish infused with Mount Gay Rum, sweet potato croquettes with sautéed vegetables and Espanol sauce.
  • Mikalee Williams
    Herb-crusted Eclipse biscuit flying fish, deep-fried sweet potato medallions with Mount Gay infused beet sauce.
  • Deryka Grazette
    Sweet potato pancake, fried flying fish stripes, Bajan coleslaw and sorrel and rum glaze sauce.
  • Reese Ann Alleyne
    Tempura flying fish, sweet potato crisp, Eclipse stuffing, steamed veg and white roux sauce.

Developing the Youth

Though everyone’s performance was impressive, 21-year-old Mikalee Williams and 18-year-old Samanta Greenidge were the winners of the Junior Chef Cook-Off Competition. The second runner-up was Reese Ann Alleyne and third runner-up was Deryka Grazette.

When her name was announced Samanta was surprised and the tears of joy subsequently fell.

“I am very happy with the outcome and my advice to anyone who wants to join the competition next year is to go for it as Chef Peter Edey is a really good trainer,” she stated.

On the other hand, Mikalee was noticeably shocked as she was not confident after she plated her final dish.

“For me to hear my name was a big surprise. This means the world to me because I can pursue my studies in culinary arts and I really needed this push,” she said.

Chef Edey was very proud of all the contestants’ performances and was happy with the confidence they displayed throughout the rounds.

“These participants were all great. Before, my job was really difficult as I had to select the semi-finalists but today it was in the hands of the four judges and I felt very good just watching them perform at their best,” he stated.

Developing the Youth

Feed the Future

When the BTMI conceptualized the theme ‘Feed the Future’, this is the kind of impact that the organization wanted to achieve. Through the Barbados Food and Rum Festival, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) pledged to support education and training opportunities for youth in the areas of culinary and hospitality development.

Aprille Thomas, Director of PR and Communications, BTMI stated “Yes, the beaches, yes, the nightlife and everything but they want to talk to the bartender that’s mixing them a drink. They want to know who’s the chef that’s creating what they’re eating and where the food is coming from. These are the experiences that people want when it comes to Barbados and so we wanted to see how we can develop the future of culinary arts in Barbados.”

With the Junior Chef Cook-Off champions crowned, the phrase “actions speak louder than words” would be quite accurate in this instance.

Reimagining a healthier and more sustainable Barbados

Reimagining a healthier and more sustainable Barbados

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod

A Thursday night filled with thought-provoking discussions, delectable food and cocktails, and heartwarming stories. That’s how the first event of the Food and Rum Festival was kicked off at the Grande Salle of the Frank Collymore Hall!

The topic of the night was “The Slow Food Movement: Celebrating 10 Years of Service” and it was the first of the three-part “Culture of Cuisine” Lecture Series.

The Welcome

Hosted during Tourism Week, CEO of Barbados Tourism and Marketing Inc (BTMI) Dr. Jens Thraenhart​, welcomed the audience by congratulating the Slow Food Movement on their huge achievement and highlighting the relevance of the topic. He further spoke on the importance of hosting events like the lecture, during the Food and Rum Festival, to teach people about sustainable food practices.

The Master of Ceremonies for the evening Ms. Paula-Anne Jackman subsequently introduced the four featured speakers, Director of Slow Food Movement, Julie McNeel and partners Andrea Power, Charlotte Prud’Homme and Joel Headley.

The speakers provided the audience with a cultured discussion, giving a holistic view of each person’s contribution to the movement.

Capturing the Movement

Julie, enlightened us with a brief history of the Slow Food Movement, thanking her husband, Ian McNeel and farmer John Hunte who co-founded the movement, for their tireless work, activism and motivation to the cause. She further gave the audience insight into the tremendous work that is being done within local communities in their effort to promote the notion that “vulnerable people don’t have to eat vulnerable foods”. She also advocated for people to adopt more self-reliant and sustainable practices.

Following, Andrea introduced the audience to the term “Food Sovereignty” which is the right of people to healthy and culturally appropriate food, produced using ecologically sound and sustainable methods. To say the least, she left most people questioning the role each of us can play in achieving this.

Charlotte Prud’Homme made us reflect on the kind of Barbados we would like to see in the next 5-15 years and captivated us with her work as a Regeneration Specialist at Walker’s Reserve. She stressed the importance of green spaces and urged everyone to reconnect with nature and buy local organically grown food that is beneficial to our communities and bodies.

Wrapping up the presentation, Joel Headley recapped the touching story of the Slow Food Soup Drive and its impact on low-income households. He described the initiative as a “Labour of Love” which everyone got a taste of, as guests were invited to sample the soup.

Audience members were also given the opportunity to engage with the speakers during a final Q&A and were encouraged to join the Slow Seven social media challenge if they wanted to further contribute to the movement.

Dine and Rum

To end the night, guests were dined by Chef Creig and his mouth-watering gourmet bites and wined, but “rumed” in this case, by mixologist Shane McClean’s delicious cocktails.

The intimate event left the audience’s minds stimulated, souls motivated and bellies full, which marked a great start to a month full of excitement.

The next lecture will be held on October 8th at The Grande Salle of the Frank Collymore Hall on “A History of Barbados Rum” featuring Richard Seale.

See you there!