Brac chef finalist in culinary contest

Brac Reef Beach Resort’s head chef Gregory Gooden is to represent the Cayman Islands at an international culinary competition in Mexico next month.

Gregory is to be one of twelve Caribbean Basin chef finalists in the sixth International Foodservice Competition sponsored by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Gregory’s first time in this competition, he is excited about going to Mexico to represent the Cayman Islands at the beginning of August.

According to a press release, the competition required chefs working at foodservice operations in the Caribbean to prove (with purchase invoices) that meat used on their menus had its origins in the U.S. Each chef received points based on the amount of U.S. meat appearing on the menu. The more variety of meat from the United States used on the menu, the higher the total points. The twelve finalists received the highest scores. To extend the reach of U.S. red meat beyond the restaurant, participants also had to submit unique red meat recipes that could be prepared by at-home cooks. The recipes will be the basis for a cook-off in Mexico City where the chefs will be competing for six ‘winner’s spots.’ The recipes will also be used in various promotions this year.

As a finalist, Gregory Gooden will be going on an all-expense paid trip to Mexico City August 2-5. In Mexico, tours are set up to go to a typical ‘Mercado’ or market, the famous pyramids of Teotihuacán, and sampling of the very traditional cuisines of Mexico. The twelve finalists will be competing with their recipes along with fifteen finalists from Mexico at a cook-off at the illustrious ‘Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School.’

Gregory’s recipes include a pork dish and a beef dish: glazed porkloin with chunky mango sauce and coconut sweet potato rosti; marinated tri-tip beef with passion drizzle accompanied by bacon and mushroom rosti.

‘The interest in this foodservice competition continues to grow in the Caribbean with more chefs using meat products from the United States on their menus,’ said Elizabeth Wunderlich, Caribbean Manager, US Meat Export Federation. The number of entrants continues to increase and the competition heightens each year for that finalists spot: there were over 150 preliminary entries from 18 islands (35 actually completing all entry requirements) into the contest from throughout the Caribbean Basin, Bahamas and Bermuda-with only 12 finalists selected.

Wunderlich also explained that these chefs rely on U.S. red meat products to enhance their menu selections. ‘The twelve Caribbean chef finalists have introduced diners to US beef, pork, lamb and veal with their unique ability to use US meat in indigenous, Caribbean-style applications,’ she said. ‘As a result, more people throughout the Caribbean Basin are aware of U.S. red meat products and how to enjoy them – whether dining out or preparing a meal at home.’

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is a non-profit trade association working to create new opportunities and develop existing international markets for US beef, pork, lamb and veal. Headquartered in Denver, USMEF has offices in Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Beijing, Moscow, St Petersburg, Mexico City, Monterey, and London. USMEF also has special market representatives covering, the Middle East, Central and South America and the Caribbean.