July 17, 2015
The view is breathtaking -- powdery white sand and gradients of turquoise water -- calming during the day and the most romantic setting at night. This perfection is all God's doing as Chef Jacques Carlino knows all too well. All he needed to do was complement the natural beauty on a plate with appealing and interesting food, hence the latest addition to his "Blue" empire -- the Blue Sail Bar & Grill Beach Tapas Bar & Restaurant.
It's at the venue located on the beach at Sandyport that Carlino who is a master of the kitchen is serving up classic fare that's deliciously prepared. And there's something to satisfy almost every palate at this Mediterranean inspired restaurant that also offers a nod to French fare with Provencal style cooking, Italian with D.O.C pizzas coming out of a wood oven pizza, classically prepared snapper and grouper served with French influences.
"For Blue Sail my goal is very simple -- an easygoing restaurant that I call shabby-chic where people can come more than once a week, because the prices are affordable," said the chef of the restaurant that has been open just over a month. "People want to go out and I want to give people a reason to go out and have the menu that's right for everybody's pocket. I want people to leave feeling that they had a great time and value for money."
Diners can partake in menu offerings like conch fritters with calypso sauce, calamari with aioli dipping sauce and a Mediterranean plate featuring pita, hummus, tzatziki and olive tapenade as some of the appetizer offerings.
Conch makes an appearance again in the soups and salads in chowder alongside Nicoise salad, arugula salad and a Caesar salad that is prepared unlike the regular chopped salad and is even sprinkled with bacon.
The menu also showcases a selection of ceviche, tartar and mini tacos -- BBQ chicken and jalapeno tacos; tomato, mozzarella and pesto tacos; grouper, mango and pineapple salsa with chili tacos; yellow fin tuna ceviche with wasabi lime juice and salsa and salmon tartar with salsa and chilled cucumber soup.
Crab cakes, quiches, and a burger section showcasing a vegetarian caprese burger, 12-ounce truffled burger with blue cheese and brioche bun; a bunless 12-ounce turkey burger with sweet pepper salsa and feta; 12-ounce Canadian bacon cheeseburger on brioche bun and an eight-ounce charred salmon with goat cheese and guacamole burger are a huge draw.
The main course offerings of fried snapper with peas and rice, grouper with ratatouille and an anchovy and caper vinaigrette, steamed salmon with asparagus and red pepper olive oil, chicken scaloppini picatta with artichoke heart and fingerling potato, and herb-crusted lamb chops with roasted potato and balsamic takes people's taste buds around the world. Chicken with sweet peppers and tomato kebab with humus and pita bread, a New York strip steak with peppercorn sauce, beef tenderloin with peppercorn sauce, thick cut pork chop with a mushroom sauce round out the entrees from the wood grill.
Pasta favorites like lasagna and mac and cheese are also prepared in the wood oven which adds a dimension of flavor because due to the wood flavor. Portuguese chicken peri peri, which is quite spicy is also among the offerings.
For his wood oven pizzas, Carlino had a master pizza maker, a three-time world champion come to the island to teach them how to make the thin-crust pizzas, including their specialty D.O.C. (denomination of control) pizzas that are the staple in Europe, for which they use high quality, special ingredient. The dough for the D.O.C. pizzas is raised a minimum of 48 hours, which means a higher fermentation and a lighter, crispier dough; as compared to the regular pizzas for which the dough is raised a minimum of 24 hours.
The pizza menu is quite extensive at 16 pizzas offered -- 11 regular pizzas from the classic margarita (tomato and mozzarella) to pepperoni, Bahamian hot (pepperoni, jalapenos, sharp cheddar), primavera (prosciutto cotto ham, olives, mushrooms and mozzarella), primarvera (cozzarella, prosciutto crudo, arugula) Provencal (goat cheese, baby spinach, roasted sweet peppers and cherry tomato), Napoli (tomato base with anchovies, capers and cherry tomato), Hawaiian (pineapple and ham), BBQ chicken (BBQ and tomato base, BBQ chicken, jalapenos and sharp cheddar), meat lover (ham, meatballs, chicken, olives, mushrooms and mozzarella) and Caprese style (pesto based, roasted cherry tomato and fresh mozzarella.
Specialty D.O.C. pizzas include Miss Italia (mozzarella buffalo, cherry tomato, arugula, shaved parmesan, prosciutto San Daniele and kalamata olives); Bulgari (tomato, mozzarella buffalo, carpaccio of beef, arugula and cherry tomato); Dolevita (tomato, mozzarella di bufala, grilled eggplant and zucchini and pecorino); Calzone (prosciutto cotto, burrata, mushroom and egg); and Blue Sail (mozzarella di bufala, prosciutto cotto, mushroom, provolone, arugula, cherry tomato and truffle oil).
He is also offering a drinks menu to complement his food perfectly.
Carlino's food speaks for itself. People know his reputation.
"We do a nice selection of classic fare that's simple with the goal of pleasing the people," he said.
Carlino started out with his first Blue Caviar location at Blake Road in 2009 (which has since closed its doors), he opened the second Blue Caviar in Lyford Cay in 2012, and now adds Blue Sail to his stable. As for the fascination with the word "blue" in his names, he says its not even about the color itself, but more about paying homage to the blue of the Bahamian ocean and sky.
Since he opened his door on June 9, people have flocked to Blue Sail. Carlino also put the edifice through extensive renovation to bring it up to his standard. He covered the outdoor seating area to protect his clients from the elements; relocated the bar and extended the deck to give patrons optimum views of the ocean; and even relocated the kitchen to make the dining experience aesthetically more pleasing.
The white restaurant with blue and brown accents which seats 150 inside and outdoors fits right into what he had hoped to establish, a chic restaurant with a relaxed and casual feel. Diners have a choice to sit in air-conditioned comfort indoors, or to enjoy the balmy breeze coming in off the Atlantic outdoors. The chef has even put together a relaxing area where people can hang out and in which is displayed pictures of old Nassau circa 1900s.
Blue Sail is currently open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. Carlino says they will soon offer Sunday seating as well.
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July 17, 2015
"Marvelous" Marv Cunningham followed up his Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's gold medal and Bartender of the Year win by pulling off a successful title defense at the 2nd Stoli Premium Vodka Cocktail Masters Competition.
Cunningham, a bartender in the Aura Nightclub at the Atlantis bested six other contestants to claim the coveted Stoli Cocktail Master title and bragging rights as the new Stoli brand ambassador, free Stoli for the rest of the year, $500, two paid quarterly training events, and an all-expense paid trip to St. Maarten for the August 21-23 Regional Stoli Cocktail Masters Competition where he will compete against other Stoli Cocktail Masters from other participating Caribbean countries.
Contestants had to create two Stoli cocktails. The first had to showcase a twist on a signature Stoli cocktail (either Stoli Lemonade or Stoli Moscow Mule); the second libation had to be the bartender's own creation in the Caribbean Freestyle competition, to demonstrate the versatility of Stoli through incorporation in the cocktails. Points were awarded for taste, aroma, appearance and presentation.
For the win, Cunningham presented a twist on a classic Stoli cocktail -- "Stoli elit Lemonade". His second drink was his "Stoli Passionate Caribbean Dream".
His libations, according to the judges were perfectly balanced.
Cunningham who has more than a decade-and-a-half of experience under his belt, not only stood out for his concoctions, but his flamboyant nature, technicality, and industry knowledge.
Gino Wilson, of the VIP Services at The Cove, Atlantis was second; third went to another Atlantis employee, Roosevelt Roberts from Harbourfront Lodge.
All of the winners received a bottle of Stoli elit -- the ultra-luxury vodka that is considered to be sleek, sexy, and sophisticated.
Winning was a relief for Cunningham. While he says a win is a win, he wanted to blow away the field and was a little disappointed in the fact that he only won the competition by two points overall.
"After the first round which I didn't win by a wide margin I felt a bit disappointed, so I was like I really have to pull up my socks," he said. "Trying to defend anything, is tough, and some people think once you win you ride off into the sunset and don't want to do it anymore, but that's not me. I'm competitive."
He recalled the judges telling him that he appeared to be too relaxed during the competition.
With the successful title defense he now looks ahead to the August regional finals. For Cunningham, nothing changes, it will be about the same regimen -- putting flavors together and presenting something unique.
Last year he did not fare well at all at the regional finals. He wasn't even top five out of the 10 competitors. Since then he's watched the replay of the competition a number of times so that he could try to get into the minds of the judges and what they're looking for.
"The key thing they said was that they wanted bartenders to push the boundaries and show how versatile Stoli is. And after working with the culinary team [during] Taste of the Caribbean, I can show tons of things," he said. "Taste 2015 was a journey and helped me dig deep into concoctions. I think I will be successful at the regionals."
But before he gets to St. Maarten, another boost to his confidence would be if he could snag the Hennessy title as well. Cunningham and 11 other competitors competed in the Hennessy preliminary last week; he was among the top five that will compete in the semi-finals on Saturday at Senor Frogs. He's confident he will be one of the top three moving onto the finals at Sapodilla on Saturday, July 25.
His thought processes with the Hennessy competition he said would be simplicity and flavors that go well together to showcase the quality of the cognac. He said his intention is to showcase the renowned, sophisticated delicate flavor and aromatics of the spirit and not ruin it.
Marv Cunningham's winning Stole elit Lemonade
4 ounces Stoli elit
3 ounces lime juice, fresh squeezed
4 ounces watermelon syrup (can be substituted with 4 ounces of simple syrup and watermelon juice from Welch's or Tropicana)
3 ounces coconut water
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and double strain over ice.
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July 17, 2015
Commonwealth Brewery Limited (CBL), the company that is synonymous with Heineken and Kalik has raised their glasses to two new beverages, launching a non-alcoholic version of Kalik -- Kalik Radler 0.0 percent -- and a reduced calorie, fruit-based natural malt soft drink -- Fayrouz.
Development of each of the beverages brews its own story.
Fayrouz is named after what CBL described as "a stunning turquoise gemstone found in nature." It is a beverage that starts out with fruit, barley, hops and all the makings of beer, and ends up, after the alcohol is withdrawn, as a refreshing, fruit-infused soft drink.
Available in pineapple or pear flavors, it is packaged in a green bottle with a turquoise label or a turquoise can with yellow trim.
Made with all natural ingredients and free from preservatives, additives and colorings, the brew is made with Stevia, a sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of the Stevia plant.
"Fayrouz is brewed with a blend of premium hops, fine barley malt, cereal grains and pure water," says non-alcoholic Brand Manager Stacy Mackey. "After full fermentation and maturation, the alcohol is gently removed to preserve the quality, flavor and body of the alcohol-free beer. And because it is all natural with no refined sugars, it is 20-30 percent less in calories than traditional sodas, plus it has a really crisp, refreshing taste."
CBL executives also have high hopes for the response to an alcohol-free version of Kalik which is deliberately canned and labeled in a way that is reminiscent of the beer.
"Kalik Radler 0.0% is the answer to those who want to drink with the crowd and enjoy a cold refreshing brew but really do not want alcohol," said Mackey. "We believe it will have special appeal to a young market, especially those under 30 who want the healthy alternative, even in the midst of a party atmosphere."
Like Fayrouz, Kalik Radler 0.0 percent begins with fruit, and is additive and preservative free. Its first brewing stages includes malted barley, hops, water and yeast, which are later removed.
While Fayrouz features pear or pineapple, Kalik Radler 0.0 percent starts with lemonade.
"We introduced the lemonade component in Kalik Radler two percent last year and it was so well-received that we were enthusiastic about investing in the development of the non-alcoholic version," said CBL Managing Director Hans Neven. "Given that this version starts out as beer mixed with fresh lemonade made from natural lemon juice, is free from artificial additives and the end product is a refreshing new taste experience without alcohol, we hope that it, too, will be well-received and think it will appeal especially to athletes and sports enthusiasts."
Neven said it is safe for pregnant women, but cautioned that because of its fresh lemons and no additives or preservatives, the beverage should be kept in a cool place and has a shelf life of six months.
The product launch marked another milestone in the journey of CBL according to Neven. He said the company demonstrates that they are an ever-evolving company, that recognizes and answers market needs by getting out in front of new industry trends.
"With the introduction of these two new brands, we are expanding our position in the non-alcoholic beverage category. Both beverages were years in development. And we believe that both the non-alcoholic Kalik Radler 0.0 percent and the two flavors of the new fruit-based malt drink Fayrouz will quench the thirst of customers and increase loyalty and satisfaction by offering drinks that are tasty, refreshing and healthy alternatives to existing options," said Neven.
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July 17, 2015
Peas and grits, chicken in the bag, conch chowder and conch fritters got rave reviews from Cubans recently as a nine-member culinary team took a taste of The Bahamas to delight Cuban palates.
The team, which included chefs Simeon Hall Jr., Sheldon Tracey Sweeting, Charon McKenzie, Ron Johnson, Alpheus Ramsey, Carvison Pratt and Tyrone Kemp cooked against the odds to create Bahamian dishes with a twist.
In a small kitchen with one stove and an oven, the chefs made delicious dishes like new-fashioned tuna fish and grits with a spicy seared deep water tuna; island harvest salad with passion fruit vinaigrette; Eleuthera pumpkin soup with Andros crab tortellini and cinnamon whipped cream; Kalik Radler sorbet infused with gin, seared sirloin steak with textures of onion, cauliflower, tomato confit and tamarind; and a three-chocolate dessert with a dark chocolate cake, sour sop sorbet, chocolate meringue kisses, mangola gel, white chocolate powder and a watermelon and raspberry sauce.
The group also held food demonstrations at Bahamas House, which was The Bahamas' culture headquarters in Santiago de Cuba. Thr demonstrations included dishes like conch chowder, conch fritters and chicken in the bag with guava hot sauce.
Hall and Sweeting the team leaders said they had planned for the events weeks in advance. However, they admitted that at times they had to think on their feet.
"I submitted a menu and he submitted a menu and it was similar," said Sweeting. "We just meshed ideas together. We kept in mind the conditions that we may [have had to] work in because we didn't know and we pulled it off."
Hall said they hadn't practiced anything in advance. "We knew that we were doing this for this event and that was it."
He also said they noticed that there were distinct differences in the way Cubans prepare food.
"They seem to not like spice as much as we do," he said. "They prefer their food to have very little peppers in it and we like to have our food with things like goat pepper and other spices."
The chefs said they used traditional herbs like thyme and tomatoes to create most of the dishes.
"Our way of cooking follows that of creole where we use a lot of garlic, thyme, onion and sweet pepper," said Sweeting. "In every course we wanted to create unique dishes and I think we accomplished that."
Hall also noted that in traveling to Cuba, planning didn't make much of a difference because they still had to end up doing a lot of things themselves, including making their own butter.
"As trained chefs, we strive for that adrenaline to know that we have to create in the moment. As long as we had fire and salt, we could cook," he said.
At the end of the day, Hall said the Bahamian and Cuban chefs learnt from each other.
"It was a good cultural experience," he said. "The chefs became students and everyone was asking questions and they work so hard. They came with a purpose of learning from us and I think that was fulfilled because the things that we take for granted they were so amazed by. With our terrible Spanish we tried to get some dialogue, but the common expression was cooking and that transcends any language barrier."
The chefs were among a delegation of 300 that traveled for the 35th Festival de Caribe in Santiago de Cuba.
Culinary Manager in the Ministry of Tourism DeAnne Gibson was the team's administrator.
"I chose initially Chef Simeon Hall Jr. and Chef Sheldon Sweeting and they picked the rest of the team. We wanted people who we knew could deliver. Everyone was working in conditions they were not used to and they really pulled their weight. It was really a team effort," said Gibson. "Our food quality was not minimized. Everything was of fine quality and as good as anything that would have been produced at Ocean Club in The Bahamas."
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July 13, 2015
Farm Manager Everson Parks, far left led the delegation on a tour of the Bahamas Agriculture Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) in North Andros on Saturday, 11th July 2015...
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July 08, 2015
“Island Flare’s Food fight a bigger success than two previous years.” Seven aspiring chefs will participate in Johnson and Wales’ summer immersion programme and four are able to begin its school year on full scholarships, thanks to the assistance of the Sandals Foundation...
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July 03, 2015
What does a pool engineer, a mechanical engineer, a part-time funeral director and a high school lad all have in common? They comprise the squad of men known as Da Snapper Crew who claimed the 3rd Annual Smokin' Hot BBQ title.
Dwayne Murray, the team manager; Al Fernander, assistant manager; Garner Dawkins, the chief griller; Don McDonald, the second griller; Stephen Beneby, the seasoning technician; Jeffrey Moncur, the sauce technician and his son Jaylen, a high school student who helps them out and Rodney "Red Snapper" Russell, the group's coordinator, describe themselves as a bunch of guys who come together daily at Red Snapper at Arawak Cay to have meaningful competition, eat conch salad, enjoy a few cocktails, indulge in a few cigars and maybe throw some pork, chicken and ribs on the grill when they want something to eat.
And boy, do they like to talk, especially about their grill, which they think is the best on the island, and that they could enter a competition with it. If the judging is anything to go by, they've twice been judged the best grillers on the island having won the Bahamas Fire and Welding title, then turning around and claiming the grand champion title at last weekend's Smokin' Hot BBQ competition.
"We must give credit to Rodney "Red Snapper" Russell who we actually sit and talk with everyday," said Moncur. "He actually pushed us into doing it. He told us to stop talking and go out there," so he deserves the credit. "
With Russell's words in his ear, Murray put his money where his mouth was and entered the team they called Da Snapper Crew in the Bahamas Fire and Welding Competition. The win there gave them the confidence to enter their second grilling competition in as many weeks, a title they now have under their belt as well.
In winning the competition, Da Snapper Crew claimed the title in the toughest category -- brisket, a cut of meat they had never even cooked before. Their weekend grill usually just has the staples of the Bahamian BBQ scene -- pork, chicken and ribs.
"We were all shocked when we won brisket because we had never done it, but it feels good," said Moncur of the division win and the overall title.
"We went in expecting to do our best, and at a certain point we knew that we had a good shot at winning. It was a feeling we all had. Initially we went out there just to have fun ... we didn't take it serious, and I think that was the key component to the whole competition, having fun with it," he said.
He believes it was their flavors that put them over the top, and like Kentucky Fried Chicken, they refuse to share the secrets to their recipes.
Da Snapper team will go on to compete in San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 2016, and also compete in either Memphis in May or the Jack Daniels World Invitational competitions to which they intend to take the flavors of The Bahamas.
Starting on July 17, the public will be able to get a taste of Da Snapper Crew's BBQ, as they will be grilling at Red Snapper every Friday and Saturday to raise money to defray the cost of their travel expenses to the international competitions they will be traveling to. On one of those fundraising days he says they just may surprise people with their award-winning brisket.
Smokin' Hot BBQ
Competition overall results
Da Snapper Crew
Da Pit Boys
K and J
EZ Like Mudder Sic Grillers
Da Gone Fishin' Group
Smoking Hot Ventures
Flaming Hot Boys
Bahama Bar B King
Charlie & Da Boys
CHMI Student Jr. Team
Chicken (top three)
Da Gone Fishin' Group
CHMI Student Jr. Team
Pork Ribs (top three)
Pork (top three)
Flaming Hot Boys
K and J
Da Snapper Crew
Brisket (top three)
Da Snapper Crew
Da Pit Boys
Hamburger (top three)
Smoking Hot Ventures
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June 19, 2015
Countless times a day, there's the steady hiss of steaming milk, the whirl of blenders and the splash of coffee filling cups in Starbucks stores, as passionate, hardworking baristas handcraft countless beverages for customers daily -- and 15 of them stepped up to the handoff to display their talent in beverage artistry and knowledge -- with the winner earning the right to represent Starbucks Bahamas at the 2015 Starbucks Barista Championship later in three months.
Emerging out of last week's pile of 15 to go head-to-head in the July 24 final were partners from Starbucks' Palmdale location -- D'Andrea "D" Smith and Steven Hepburn. They both go into the final at the Palmdale store with clean slates, evenly scoring 50 points each in the semi-final. The final showdown will take place on July 24 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
The winner will take a one-week trip to Seattle in September to visit the Starbucks Support Center (headquarters) and iconic Starbucks locations such as the first store in Pike Place Market and the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room.
Smith was ecstatic and shocked that she made it into the final.
"It's not that I doubted my skills, but I'm just so proud," she said.
In preparation for the final she said she was prepared to work hard by getting her hand on any and all information she can find, do her research and sharpen up her skills.
"I'm going to look for the areas of opportunities that I can grow in, so that when the time comes I'm going to take it home," said Smith who has been a Starbucks barista for just three years in which time she said her passion for coffee has been ignited.
During the Starbucks Championships, baristas compete in three categories -- Barista Craft, Signature Beverage and Personal Coffee Tastings. Baristas showcase their latte art skills, create their own signature beverage using ingredients that currently exist in Starbucks stores, and provide a coffee tasting of their choosing. That tasting may include a food pairing, music or any other sensory experience that enhances the coffee experience.
The Bahamian baristas competed in two categories --the lucky pick coffee tasting where the competitors had to choose a coffee at random which simulated a customer walking into the store and the barista having to have the ability based on their coffee knowledge to sell the customer a coffee that fit their needs; and latte art.
Going into the semi-final Hepburn said he had felt intimidated because of the coffee knowledge his peers had.
"I honestly felt that I was one of the people that was behind, but I studied hard, was passionate about it, went out and did my thing," he said.
In preparation for the final he said he planned to engage in a lot of reading and practicing public speaking in front of his friends and peers as if he were leading a coffee seminar.
Starbucks' global coffee and tea education manager, Chad Moore, said the idea behind the championships is to celebrate what their baristas do daily. He said the championships give baristas the chance to demonstrate their passion and pride for coffee, and showcase their skills.
With Starbucks Bahamas sending a Bahamian champion to the Starbucks Championships for the first time, the local competition also gives their partners the opportunity to improve their beverage quality, according to Javan Smith, Bahamas market learning and development manager for Starbucks.
"I've seen a whole lot of growth, and seen people who couldn't bear tasting coffee who are now expert coffee tasters. And I can only imagine what will happen after we finish the coffee master component of this 14-week program," said Smith.
While only one person taking the coveted Seattle trip, all of the baristas that participated in the program will be "winners" as they will have the designation of coffee masters.
Dino Matsas, general manager, food and beverage John Bull said the competition has been inspiring for the team.
"As we've grown over the last nine years we've been blessed to have such a wonderful public following, and now what we've done with the help of our team has been to elevate the experience to the customer by educating and expanding on coffee knowledge with the partners, so it's really empowered the team to become better at what they do each day, and to share that knowledge and that passion with our customers," said Matsas.
The food and beverage general manager said their partners were all engaged, inspired and passionate throughout the process which he said spoke to the culture of the company.
"Our company is not about serving coffee, it's about connecting with customers and making those human connections which is the long-lasting experience that we would wish our customers to have when they come into any one of our stores."
As for the upcoming final, Matsas said with both finalists scoring even, that it's a level playing field.
"Competition is going to be tough, but competition is good -- competition raises the bar, and one thing about this whole initiative is that it's raising the bar in our stores and how we operate, and representation of the brand. We definitely want to continue to elevate not only the partners' experience but the customer's experience," he said.
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June 19, 2015
The Bahamas National Culinary Team won three of the five top categories at the Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition, earning honors for the first time in the 16-year history of the competition as Caribbean National Team of Year. Individual honors went to Marv Cunningham (Caribbean Bartender of the Year) and four-time winner Sheldon Tracey Sweeting (Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year).
Presented by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, Taste of the Caribbean featured cooking and bartending competitions between 10 Caribbean island culinary teams.
The eight-member squad won three gold medals, two silvers and one bronze medal. Gold medals were won by Bartender Marv Cunningham (best rum drink), Chef Sheldon Tracey Sweeting (pastry chef of the year), and Crystal Morley (junior chef of the year). Silver medals went to Richmond Fowler II (chef of the year) and Sweeting (cheesecake competition). Charon McKenzie took a bronze medal in the beef/seafood competition. The competition was held June 12-14 at the Hyatt Regency in Miami, Florida.
In the win, Team Bahamas saw two members inducted into Hall of Fame (HOF) -- Sweeting and Cunningham. Sweeting pulled off the three-peat, winning Pastry Chef of the Year for the third consecutive year. (He also took the title in 2006). Inducted into the HOF with Sweeting was Cunningham by virtue of his best rum drink win. The only other Bahamian to secure a HOF berth in the 16 years of the competition was Sally Gaskins in 2004.
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June 11, 2015
A new casual dining restaurant, ‘Blue Sail,’ has opened on the beach at Sandyport Beaches Resort and Hotel offering spectacular beach bar and outdoor dining views with a Mediterranean French fusion menu with Bahamian favourites...
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May 19, 2015
MORE than 4,000 residents of New Providence are now part of the Department of Social Services' modernised food assistance programme...
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April 24, 2015
Now well into the second quarter of 2015, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) continues to build its team as it moves full steam ahead with new events, shows, talks, film screenings and plans for its Mixed Media Summer Camp.
Director Amanda Coulson, who returned home in late 2011, has been leading the NAGB's team for over three-and-a-half years since taking over from Dr. Erica James. By her side have been Office Manager Luann Morris, a cherished member of the National Art Gallery team since before its physical existence, almost 17 years ago, and New Media Technician and Videographer Jackson Petit, who has spent 10 dedicated years with the gallery doing everything from directing promotional videos to co-ordinating gallery events. Assistant Curator, Averia Wright has spent almost four years promoting the gallery's mission, moving up from her original curatorial trainee post during that time. Under Wright's supervision, Jodi Minnis has worked as the gallery assistant for the past year.
This year, both Wright and Minnis will be taking the next steps in their professional development. Wright will be going on to pursue her master's of fine art in the U.S. in August, and Minnis looks forward to completing her Associate of Fine Art at the College of The Bahamas this May and moving toward an art history degree .
Believing in life-long development and learning, the National Art Gallery is proud to continue fostering an environment that encourages personal growth and celebrates team transformations resulting from educational and professional maturation. Former Collections Manager and Assistant Curator Ashley Knowles went on to pursue higher education, completing her master's degree in anthropology at Oxford University after working at the NAGB for 2 years. Similarly, John Cox, the gallery's former chief curator, now heads The Current - the art team responsible for filling mega resort Baha Mar with Bahamian art works.
Over the past few months, the NAGB has welcomed a group of fresh and talented staff members, each committed to leading the Bahamian art movement through promotion and education.
The year began buzzing with the excitement of the Seventh National Exhibition, which opened in December 2014. Education Officer Corinne Lampkin joined just in time for the show's installation; since then, she's been keeping busy with the gallery's educational outreach efforts, events and communications. Growing up on New Providence, Lampkin attended university in Canada and the U.K. and has developed a background in communications and public relations. These days she can be found spreading the word on the gallery's new and upcoming happenings and working in tandem with Education and Curatorial Support Associate Abby Smith giving tours, putting together in-class presentations and planning memorable events.
Smith joined the NAGB team a month later, in January, bringing her background in fine art, international relations and diplomacy and global studies in international affairs and cultural and social policy to the team.
An avid Junkanooer, Smith has been designing Junkanoo costumes for years. In more recent times, she's been popping in on classrooms around New Providence passing on information about Bahamian art and art history to students of all ages, she can be found coordinating events, assisting the curatorial team and utilizing her creative prowess through digital design. Smith is also the creative mind behind the spirited videos that have been popping up on the NAGB's Facebook page of late.
One of the smiling faces recognizable from the NAGB's videos belongs to Natalie Willis, who has recently moved back to The Bahamas from the U.K, where she studied for four years. Originally from Grand Bahama, Willis has been putting her passion for visual art and knowledge of digital media to good use as a curatorial trainee, working with Assistant Curator Averia Wright and Smith. When she's not ensuring operations at the gallery run smoothly on a daily basis, Willis is often busy editing the gallery's promotional videos, helping manage the collection of works at the gallery and putting together exhibitions like "If" by cousins Margot and Nicolette Bethel.
The newest addition to the NAGB team will be Holly Bynoe, who has accepted a post as chief curator. The appointment comes after well over one year of searching for a suitable candidate with both the training, practical experience, and knowledge necessary for the important position. The founder of ARC Magazine, Bynoe has extensive knowledge of the region's histories, social movements and relationships with visual art. For years she has been dedicating to working throughout the Caribbean and North America, building connections with art communities in the respective countries. She has demonstrated her curatorial skills in this nation with the Seventh National Exhibition, Antillean: an Ecology. The exhibition, now on display at the NAGB until May 10, prompts discussions about identity in relation to race, class, economy and gender. Bynoe co-curated the show with COB Art Lecturer Michael Edwards.
With its capable crew, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas looks forward to a rewarding future of promoting and preserving art, linking creativity with history and social movements and educating the public on the country's blossoming visual art community.
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April 24, 2015
The English have their ice lolly which New Zealanders refer to as icy poles, and the Irish call freeze pops. In the United States they're called popsicles or ice pops.
Europeans have the granizada. Hawaiians enjoy the shaved ice, while Italians partake in granita. Kulfi is the go-to treat for Indians, and shares the same creaminess as American ice cream, but tends to be denser, even a bit chewy owing to the rice or corn flour added to it. Halo halo is a popular Filipino dessert with mixtures of shaved ice and evaporated milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans, jello and fruits; while patbingsu which in its most basic form is Korea's rendition of shaved ice which get a simple topping of sweetened adzuki beans; raspao, a shaved ice is popular in Panama. It is sweetened with artificial flavors or fruits, and you can add sweetened condensed milk or maple syrup, and the Mexicans have their popsicles known as paletas.
Even though it's still the beginning of spring, the mercury on the thermometer makes it feel like summer's already here, and there's no better way to enjoy the heat than sucking on a cool treat. Around the world, the icy treats are all different, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are definitely the go to summer treat. Wherever you go in the world, there is that perfect cool treat that helps to keep you cool as the mercury soars.
In The Bahamas in days of yesteryear, the "cup" or "baggie" -- a simple mixture of the flavor Kool-Aid of choice, water and sugar, frozen in a plastic Cup or plastic sandwich bag -- was the go to treat for kids seeking a cooling moment as they went about their fun in the sun.
It was a normal sight to see a kid sucking and licking on their frozen treat during those lazy, hazy hot days. It was normal to see children with their lips plastered into the plastic cups sucking away at the icy treat, or turning it upside down after sucking the "sweet" liquid from the top to get to the sugary goodness at the bottom; and the baggie lovers using their teeth to nip a corner out of the sandwich plastic bags through which they sucked their treat.
While the treat can still be found in some neighborhoods, or at school fairs opting to give students a taste of yesteryear, sadly the days of knocking on the neighbor's house to purchase that "cup" or "baggie" simply just isn't the norm -- and it's even rarer to see neighborhood kids running about the yard or in the streets, because they're indoors playing with their latest electronic gadget.
Chef Simeon Hall who considers himself a curator of Bahamian culinary arts who recently addressed students at a culinary school was in awe and disbelief that many of the students did not know about "cup" or "baggie" or even have a concept of what it was.
"Their responses scared and disappointed me," said Hall. "But their answers prompted me to challenge them to create what I believe will be the next generation of the 'baggie' Bahamian frozen treat.
While the chef was one of those kids that enjoyed the "cup" and "baggie" treats in his youth, as a chef, he says the professional in him could not prepare red, purple and orange Kool-Aid flavored "baggies" and "cups" and as a result, he created a template for the treats that would allow anyone to take fresh fruit and herbs, and transform the "cup" and "baggie" it into an upgraded, modern version of the nostalgic treat.
Now that spring is here, and summer around the corner, he says you can use his basic stepped up recipe to make the treats, and introduce your children to a favorite icy treat from your past if they have not had one as yet.
"A cold frozen drink in a plastic bag would take any and all of us back to a time and place filled with incredible memories. My hope is that this will remind people of a great past and take our younger Bahamians into a great future," said Hall.
CHEF SIMEON HALL'S
MANGO THYME BAGGIE
(frozen Bahamian summer treat)
1 cup fresh mango puree (substitute your favorite summer fruit puree)
3 cups distilled water
4 sprigs fresh thyme, optional
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 cup fresh cane juice (substitute 1/4 cup light brown sugar and 3/4 cup distilled water)
Simmer the water and thyme on low heat. Reduce the 3 cups to 2 cups to infuse the thyme flavor. Strain and cool.
Combine all the remaining ingredients and thyme water. Place in sandwich bag with twists. Freeze for 5 hours.
Serve semi or fully frozen on a hot day.
Pomegranate, beet root and strawberry, orange mango, tangy lime and white grape are also favorite combinations of mine for this cool summer treat.
Chef's tip: Freeze recipe in ice trays and add it to any glass of distilled water to make naturally flavored water the entire family will enjoy.
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