After weeks of preparation and cooking trials, the Cayman Culinary Team headed to Miami for the Caribbean National Culinary Team Competition from June 2-6. They were ready to do battle against the best from the rest of the Caribbean, and when all was done, they came up trumps.
The team brought home five gold and two silver medals, highlighted by Melissa Logan of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman winning the coveted title of Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year.
It has been 14 years since the Cayman team participated in this competition, so the results were gratifying for everyone involved.
“All our practice was well worth it, and it helped the team to achieve [multiple medals] in the Taste of The Caribbean Competition,” says team leader, chef Vidyadhara Shetty. “The team was led by manager chef Keith Griffin, and we have to also thank chef Frederic Morineau from The Ritz-Carlton, who has been a great support.
“Tanya Foster, chef Keith and myself are very proud with the results, and everybody’s hard work has paid off.”
Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell notes in a statement, “On behalf of the Ministry and Department of Tourism, I am pleased to extend sincere congratulations to the Cayman Islands Culinary Team for winning five gold and two silver medals at the Taste of the Caribbean Culinary competition in Florida.
“Such stellar performance, particularly against the region’s most elite chefs and bartenders takes a great deal of hard work, expertise and persistence and attests to the incredible culinary talent that exists here in the Cayman Islands. Having co-sponsored this national team with Progressive Distributors, to enable their participation in this contest, the Ministry could not be more proud of their unprecedented result. We applaud the achievements of each member of the team and also recognize and thank Chefs Vidyadhara Shetty and Keith Griffin for their exemplary management and contribution to this endeavor.”
Caribbean National Culinary Team Competition
In a mystery basket competition, teams are assigned items from the basket from which a three-course menu is developed within one hour. After the menu is developed, teams have three hours to prepare the menu (appetizer, entrée and dessert), which is then served to attendees. The top-scoring team in the competition receives the award of Caribbean Culinary Team of the Year.
The Cayman team received gold overall and was only 0.17 points short of winning Team of the Year title.
Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year
Pastry chefs from the competing national teams create in advance a dessert recipe, which they prepare during four hours at the event. The top pastry chef is selected the Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year.