Our Belizean chefs have made us proud once again by bringing home bronze medals from the Taste of the Caribbean Competition. Not only did they beat many other countries in the region who also competed, but they were able to showcase the cultures and flavors of Belize. Love News Reporter, Courtney Menzies, was able to meet them as they returned home yesterday.
Courtney Menzies: “Last week Love News brought you a taste of the Taste of the Caribbean Competition where we showed you the culinary crafts from some of the most renowned chefs in Belize. Over the weekend the Chefs traveled to Miami to participate in the competition and brought home Bronze medals. We were right there at the airport yesterday to welcome them home. Rob Pronk the team manager told us that despite not getting gold they are still proud of what they have accomplished.”
Rob Pronk – Team Manager: “It is a team competition, Taste of the Caribbean. A heavy competition which we found out this year again. We did well but we could have done better, we can always do better of course. We came back with bronze medals so we did well, the bartender came back with silver, a couple of more bronze medals so all in all we are proud of ourselves.”
Courtney Menzies: “What was it like in the team competition?”
Rob Pronk – Team Manager: “It was tough, it was hard but we did well. It is like a mystery basket, you don’t know what you are getting. You can prepare certain things but you cannot prepare everything, we have an idea of what we are going to do. We were hoping for fish, we did not get fish but all in all I think we did well.”
Courtney Menzies: “Like Pronk said the competition involves a mystery basket meaning that the Chefs have to be on their toes. For Chef Sean Kuylen he participated in the street pork portion of the competition which was a category that had never been done before.”
Sean Kuylen – Senior Chef: “This year they had a pork competition, never been done so the Caribbean three of five which we were supposed to cook, we did cook for thirteen hundred guests, they put a pork competition that day so we entered. I went with the Mayan Pibil and I carried my recado, actually we came in first for the entire Caribbean so we have the plaque here. That is saying that the spices, actually it is just the culture my brother, we rub it and we put the plantain leaf, we put all the love in it, explained well and that came home with this Whole Hog Competition first place prize for the entire Caribbean which is amazing. Like we said we didn’t know what we were going to get so we carried the mata, the hudut, the Garifuna. Eliza did a great job with that, she came in bronze for that, she won two medals because she went to beat plantain and grated coconut too. The only thing that we can say is that it is a learning experience because culture will take you so far but it is also a contemporary Caribbean cuisine, that is what they’re looking for. Like Eva could tell you it is very challenging, you have to have a lot of culture but you have to be very up to date with 2019 and be very culturally molecular inclined and these types of techniques, it is challenging.”
Courtney Menzies : “While the team itself came home with bronze Chef Maria Urbina and Rohell Lisby also won bronze in the desert and Jr. Competitions respectively and the mixologist, Mark Jacobs won silver in the Bartending competition.”
Mark Jacobs – Mixologist: “What I brought to the table is I brought the ingredients from Belize. We had a non alcoholic cocktail which I brought all the fruits and herbs that we have in our country and I put it together to make it taste really good. For my Vodka Competition I brought my culture into that, my drink was out of turmeric which was yellow ginger. It was a really good cocktail, for the rum I put in a little Mayan flare to it so I did a rum swizzle.”
Rob Pronk – Team Manager: “You can’t win all the time, we have to do better next time. Like I said it is a really tough competition, it is not an easy one so you know you are up to heavy competition, heavy challenges there and we just have to do better next time.
Courtney Menzies: “ Reporting for Love News I am Courtney Menzies.”
The competition took place in Miami, USA, from June 22 through to the 25th. /////////