Barbados Food and Rum Festival

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod 

The 2022 Barbados Food and Rum Festival is more than just star-studded events, delectable food, and exquisite rum, it is also about developing the future of culinary arts in Barbados.

This sentiment was the driving force behind the Junior Chef Cook-Off Competition, under the theme “Feed the Future”.

Through this competition, two students will be awarded full-ride scholarships to pursue their culinary studies at the Jean and Norma Holder Institute. An open call was made to Barbados and twelve lucky students were selected to participate in the renowned Chef Peter Edey’s acclaimed culinary training program. 

Developing the Youth

“We didn’t just want to make the festival bigger and more excitable. We wanted it to be more meaningful and to really see the fruits of our labour coming out not just this year, but in five to 10 years from now. And what better way to do that than by focusing on the youth,” said Aprille Thomas, Director of PR and Communications at Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI).

Chef Edey stated that when he heard about the “Cook-Off”, he was very excited to jump on board as developing young people in the culinary industry has been his lifework.

“This is one of the best prizes I’ve ever seen for culinary arts in this country. I’m happy that the BTMI and the Food and Rum Festival are embracing the development of our young chefs and letting them understand that it is important not only to be able to cook but to be certified in this field,” he exclaimed.

Robert’s Manufacturing shared this similar vision and subsequently became the official sponsor of the competition.

Zaynah King, Marketing Representative, Robert’s Manufacturing said “We are proud to be aligned with a festival that highlights culinary excellence here in Barbados. This year we decided to highlight our Glow Spread margarine and our Sunflower line spreads. We’re excited to see how the students will use and showcase the versatility of our products.”

The Final Cook-Off


Using the WorldSkills assessment, the students were exposed to a different style and concept of the kitchen.

After three weeks of training and the conclusion of the quarterfinals, eight participants advanced to the semi-finals and finals. These participants are Samantha Greenidge, Zedekiah Parris, Shacoby Riley, Aliah Hazzard, Destiny Alleyne, Reese-Ann Alleyne, Deryka Grazette and Mikalee Williams.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, Shacoby Riley said the preparation for the competition was specular and described the experience as very informative. He praised his mentor Chef Edey for teaching him new skills and commended his fellow participants for being good competitors.

The final Showdown will take place on Sunday, October 16th. The semi-finals will be broken down into two (2) 45-minute segments. The first four finalists will compete as the other four observe and then they will switch places. The top four will then advance to the finals and the individuals with the highest scores from each round will be declared the winners of the Junior Chef Cook-Off.

The action will be recorded by event sponsor Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and will be broadcasted on CBC TV8 on Tuesday, October 25th.

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