Barbados Food and Rum Festival

Anxious young chefs were seen bustling through the kitchen for the quarterfinals of the Junior Chef Cook-Off competition which was held on October 8th, 2022.

Under the theme ‘Feed the Future’, ten budding young chefs successfully made it through the training phase and went head-to-head to see who would make it to the semi-finals.

About the Competition

The Cook-Off competition is a part of the Barbados Food and Rum festival’s pledge to support education and training opportunities for youth in areas of culinary and hospitality development.

The two most outstanding participants from the competition will receive two full-ride scholarships to pursue their culinary studies at the Jean and Norma Holder Institute.

For the past three weeks, the participants were mentored and trained by the renowned Chef Peter Edey through his culinary training programme.

Chef Edey commented on the competition stating, “Today, they are supposed to apply what they learned these past weeks. This is a competition where we are trying to find someone to go to school so what we are looking for people who show that they can perform well in the intended culinary schools. The hard job now is to pick the final people from this good bunch”.

The Process

To kick things off, the participants were divided into two groups of five, with each given an hour to prep, cook, plate and clean. 

The first five junior chefs were Mikalee Williams, Destiny Alleyne, Zedekiah Parris, Deryka Grazette and Gabrielle Bynoe. In the second round were Aliah Hazzard, Shacoby Riley, Reese Ann Alleyne, Michaela Bowen and Samanta Greenidge. 

They were judged throughout the hour process using a variation of the world skills standard. The panel of judges included, Chef Peter Edey, Chef Jessica Cummins from WorldSkills Barbados and Chef Alicia Bristol from Cookology.

To create their dishes each person had to choose from three protein items, striped marlin, chicken breast or pork loin, along with starches and vegetables. 

The Cook-Off

When the cooking commenced, the kitchen was aromatic with the smell of true Bajan cooking.

What really captured your senses was the smell of sauteed herbs cooked with margarine and oils sponsored by Roberts Manufacturing. 

Though many participants were nervous, Chef Edey commended them for their good effort and described the day as a final practice as the ‘The be all and end all’ is the semi-finals and finals

The Participants said they enjoyed the experience and felt confident in what they made though it was a little stressful.

The Finalists 

The top eight that qualified for the semi-finals were assessed by their performance during the mentorship period and their performance at the quarterfinals.

The choice was a difficult one for the judges as the participants were described as ‘a talented bunch’. However, after a difficult deliberation process, the top eight were chosen.

The participants moving onto the semi-finals are:

  • Samantha Greenidge
  • Zedekiah Parris
  • Shacoby Riley
  • Aliah Hazzard
  • Destiny Alleyne
  • Reese-Ann Alleyne
  • Deryka Grazette
  • Mikalee Williams

These lucky eight junior chefs will go head-to-head at the semi-finals and finals on October 16th and it will be shown on CBC TV8 on Tuesday, October 25th.

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