Young chefs bring the heat in national cook-off

From left, Miss World Cayman Islands Jaci Patrick, judge Chef Frederic Morineau, winning coach Chef Jason Ao, with National Youth Cook-Off winners Joshua McLean and Bradley McLaughlin, and Miss Teen Cayman Islands Ashley Gooden.
From left, Miss World Cayman Islands Jaci Patrick, judge Chef Frederic Morineau, winning coach Chef Jason Ao, with National Youth Cook-Off winners Joshua McLean and Bradley McLaughlin, and Miss Teen Cayman Islands Ashley Gooden.

While Wednesday’s Agriculture Show showcased the best of what Cayman has to offer in livestock, plants, fresh produce, and arts and crafts, one corner of the show was given over to a competitive cook-off among some of the islands’ best young chefs.

By the end of the day, Bodden Town’s Bradley McLaughlin, 17, and Joshua McLean, 16, were named winners in the finals of the National Youth Cook-Off, when they scored 130 out of 160 points.

They will go on to represent the Cayman Islands at the Regional Caribbean Junior Dueling Challenge in Barbados in August.

In the competition, the top six district cook-off teams in the 16-25 age category showcased their skills before a panel of culinary experts.

“I am quite impressed with the quality of dishes that were presented today,” judge Frederic Morineau, executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, told the competitors. “Congratulations to all of you for an amazing job.”

The other judges were chefs Doran Zimmerman from Sandbar, Jessica Moore of Taste This Life, and Keith Griffith, vice president of the Cayman Culinary Society.

McLaughlin said of his team’s win: “For the past two years, I had placed third in this competition. I am thrilled that Joshua and I have emerged today’s winners.”

The winning dish - chicken roulade.
The winning dish – chicken roulade.

Their winning dish was a chicken roulade on a sweet potato puree, served with a callaloo cream, grated fried cassava, pickled beets and slaw, with a sprinkling of callaloo dust.

George Town district champions Kristofer Mason and Elizabeth Burey placed second, scoring 126 points, while
University College of the Cayman Islands School of Hospitality’s Jodianna Reid and Keimarnie Bogle were third, with 121 points.

The other finalists were Team Clifton Hunter, scoring 120 points; Team Kaibo (North Side district champions) with 119 points; and Team Bro Gad (West Bay district champions), who scored 112 points.

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