Food/Cooking

Dedar Williams and Tatian Major claim Young Chef titles

April 21, 2017

Jack Hayward High School student Dedar Williams and Old Bight High School's Tatiana Major are the respective senior and junior division Young Chef champions in the 25th anniversary of the competition.
Dedar's Mahatma Rice dish -- wildcat rice with medley of flavors, and her Robin Hood Flour dish -- down home seafood surprise with spicy mango sauce, both proved to be gold medal winning dishes.
Tatiana's exotic papaya spicy seafood rice in sweet potato curry with a sour orange carrot pineapple salsa rice dish, and her silver jubilee sour sop cake with coconut cream cheese filling 'n' beets mango sauce, astonished the judges in her junior division win.
N.G.M. Major School's Selva Hudson, who captured the junior title in 2014, placed second in the senior division. He has entered the competition every year since and placed fifth last year.
This year his peas 'n' rice bounded by cream cheese delight with glimmering pink pomegranate syrup with a fresh fruit salad, and his creamy greens in a puffy sweet potato choux drizzled with tangy tamarind sauce and served with spicy turbot salsa, gave him the runner-up title.
Preston Albury High School's Avery Hall placed third in the senior division with his lionfish stuffed cassava plantain rice cakes with cilantro dip rice dish, and his tropical tamarind and pumpkin delight flour dish.
Fourth place went to C.R. Walker School's Petrae Williams.
Second place in the junior division went to C.H. Reeves School student Jamal Munroe, who presented a calypso risotto rice dish and a papaya roll flour dish, both of which scored second.
Third place in the junior division went to Preston Albury School student Joshua Claridge, who presented a lionfish and lobster rice napoleon and tropical almond delight flour dish.
Abaco Central School's Alissa Swain was fourth with her exotic island rice salad and her bahamarap flour dish.
Judging this year's competition were chefs Debbie Wheeler, Mahatma Riviana Foods Test Kitchen, Houston, Texas; Edwin Johnson, Sapodilla restaurant; Celeste Smith, 2006 young chef winner; Davian Maycock, Jasmine Armbrister and Sterling Thompson, University of The Bahamas; and Jeremy Houghton and Tanjay Jackson, Johnson & Wales, Miami, Florida.
In marking the 25th anniversary celebration of the National Young Chef Culinary Competition, new challenges and prizes were added to the program. Special team challenges included the Young Chef Cupcake Challenge for two-member teams of senior school students in grades 10-12. And two-member teams of junior high school students grades 7-9.
NGM Major School's Yasmine Love and Paige Cartwright took the senior win. Chakelle Fortune and Helena Petit-Force from C.I. Gibson were second; Thillman Saunders and Dontez Williams from Anatol Rodgers School were third; with Xanthae Poitier and Chesleeann Finley from Akrephran International School fourth.
On the junior side, the win went to Antaol Rodgers School's Camuel Coakley and Noel Symonette. Old Bight High School's Junior Johnson and Crystal Stubbs finished second; L.W. Young School's Tavarian Rahming and Edward McKenzie finished third; with San Salvador School's Trevonia Tinker and Petra Butler fourth.
The Young Chef Mystery Basket Pastry Challenge for two-member teams of senior school students, 12th grade only; and the mystery basket challenge hot food for two-member teams of senior school students, 12th grade only, were also new to this year's competition.
On the senior side, Avani Curry and Romanique Johnson from C.C. Sweeting School took the win in the mystery basket pastry challenge. Preston Albury School's Michelane Darville and Avery Hall finished second; Old Bight High School's Tanaz Thompson and Juliet Brown finished third; with Anatol Rodgers School's Labrano McPhee and Darius Barr fourth.
The mystery basket challenge hot food for senior two-member teams went to Shaelyn Sands and Ranad Davis from Samuel Guy Pinder in Spanish Wells. C.C. Sweeting School's Shemar Morgan and Paul Davis finished second; Old Bight High School's Kenroy Ellis and Malik Moss finished third; with Akhephran International's Raymon Johnson and Deneisha Knowles fourth.
Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling presented the young chef winners with their awards at Government House. She told the students that their potential was limitless, and commended organizers, teachers and students.
Title sponsors Mahatma Rice and Robin Hood Flour with distributor Asa H. Pritchard and the Ministry of Education have provided more than $200,000 in scholarships, travel and accommodation for students and teachers, with more than 3,000 participants in the 25 years under the organization of Keith Parker P. S. Advertising and PR president.

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Derrick Blackmon wins Baha Mar mixologist competition

April 21, 2017

Derrick Blackmon's Cloud 9, a remix of sky juice -- a gin-based cocktail that features fresh ingredients such as sour sop juice and coconut-infused syrup that resulted in a fresh take on a popular Bahamian classic, captured the spirit of the islands and the tastebuds of the judges. His Cloud 9 cocktail will be featured as an exclusive drink on a special Baha Mar cocktail menu.
Blackmon was also awarded a trip to New York's prime cocktail bars by virtue of his win.
In celebration of Baha Mar's launch, the resort, which officially opened yesterday, invited local cocktail creators to share their original take on the best of The Bahamas in a glass. That resulted in creative concoctions from the bartenders and spirit enthusiasts.
Along with Bristol Wines & Spirits, Baha Mar invited the top six finalists who submitted the most original and imaginative cocktails to a live presentation of their creations, at which Blackmon's Cloud 9 was announced the winner.
He was selected by a panel of judges that included Taste of the Caribbean's Bartender of the Year Marv "Mr. Mix" Cunningham, who says it's his mission to revitalize cocktail culture in the country; as well as visiting judges from New York -- Julie Reiner, bartender and co-owner of Clover Club and Leyenda who has over 15 years of experience elevating the cocktail scene in New York City; Mike Shain, general manager of Porchlight, a New York City bar and first standalone cocktail destination by Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group; and Mike DiTota, a graduate of New York Botanical Garden School of Professional Horticulture, who brings an expertise in herbs, spices and botanical treasures to his role as the cocktail director of The Bonnnie and Sweet Afton in Astoria, New York.
"We celebrated the best of The Bahamas through our local bartending talent," said Graeme Davis, president of Baha Mar/Chow Tai Fook Enterprises. "Guests will have the opportunity to experience the island's thriving cocktail culture and uncover their favorite Bahamian creations while at Baha Mar."

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Pizza Hut Nassau opens second location

April 21, 2017

Pizza Hut Nassau is giving residents of the east a reason to celebrate with the opening of its second Pizza Hut location in the Prince Charles Shopping Centre on April 18. The restaurant will offer a taste of the brand's fresh, high-quality food and top-notch service, with the full Pizza Hut menu of pizza, pasta, wings, appetizers and desserts, along with a sleek, modern, and inviting restaurant environment, including free Wi-Fi for its guests.
Pizza Hut returned to Nassau in 2015. Pleased with the success of its first location at Saunders Beach, the brand planned its expansion to better serve more pizza lovers with a convenient, accessible, eastern location. The new location features the same carryout and delivery service as the Pizza Hut Saunders Beach restaurant, along with centralized online and telephone ordering.
"True to Pizza Hut Nassau's high standards, we are excited to continue to provide the highest level of quality service and products with our newest Pizza Hut location. We look forward to our guests in the east celebrating this new store with us", said Willard Grant, director of operations at Pizza Hut Nassau. "Bahamians in the east of New Providence have eagerly awaited the return of Pizza Hut to their area, and we are proud to be able to offer the brand's delicious and high-quality products, such as pizza, pasta and wings that we're famous for, as well as adding much-needed jobs to the labor market."
The new location will serve up the brand's innovative pizzas, unique flavor profiles, and traditional favorites like the signature pan pizza, stuffed crust and more. The opening of Pizza Hut Nassau's second location will lead to a larger expansion plan as the brand plans to open more restaurants throughout New Providence over the next few years, according to brand officials.
The new location will open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
To learn more about Pizza Hut Nassau, visit www.pizzahutnassau.com or follow the brand on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pizzahutnassau). Order your Pizza Hut Nassau favorites from both locations by calling 603-3333.

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Presentation of Agrivision 2021 to Minister Gray

April 18, 2017

The Hon. V. Alfred Gray, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, was presented with AgriVision 2021: A Five Year Food and Nutrition Security Plan to Feed The Bahamas...

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Statement from The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources-Lifting the Ban on Brazilian Beef

April 12, 2017

The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, in consultation with the Chief Veterinary Officers of CARICOM, is satisfied that importation of beef and beef by-products from Brazil may resume with immediate effect...

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Statement from The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources-Advice Concerning Recall of Robin Hood Flour

April 12, 2017

The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources has been advised by our Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, that there has been a recall of Robin Hood Flour in Canada...

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KFC: Age ain't nuttin' but a number

March 31, 2017

Donna Green is the KFC 2017 chicken champion after winning the competition that was developed to ensure that the best product is available and continues to elevate the quality and standards around the production of great chicken, according to KFC officials.
KFC cooks were evaluated on best cooking practices and procedures for breading evaluations, cleanliness and food safety to build pride in their product.
The Chicken Championship they say demonstrates KFC's dedication to delivering the best product to its customers and sharpen their cooks' skills.
Alexious Coakley was second behind Green, with Quetelle Deveaux and Michael Thompson the runners-up.
The chicken championship competition happened as KFC celebrates its 50th year in The Bahamas.
KFC kicked off its yearlong celebration of 50 years with a launch event at its Mackey Street location, with longtime fan Ronnie Butler on hand.
KFC at the time debuted its 50th anniversary jingle featuring the godfather of Bahamian music.
During the event they recognized the contributions of longstanding employees and their Chicken Olympics winners.
The first KFC store was opened on Mackey Street in February 1967, and was just south of the present location (directly opposite Salon Sophia). In August of that same year, a second store was opened downtown. Two years later, in 1969, the third location was opened in the East Bay Street Shopping Center.
IN 1971, the Robinson Road store was opened to the public. Early in 1977, the downtown store was destroyed by fire and on August 20 of that same year, the Oakes Field store was opened. In July 1979, the Charlotte Street store was opened (this store replaced the one that was destroyed by fire).
In March 1985, the West Bay Street store opened (this store was later transitioned to Saunders Beach). The following year, March 1986, the Prince Charles store was opened to meet the increased demand in the east. It was the first KFC in The Bahamas to have the open kitchen concept. They said prior to this all the stores had closed-in kitchens. In November 1987, the Golden Gates store opened.
In September 1993, the store on Village Road was opened (this store was later closed because of the extended road construction). With the increased demand in the southwest, the South Beach store opened in May 1998.
In December 2002, the food court location opened in the Mall at Marathon. In July 2005, the Saunders Beach location opened. In February 2007, the Harbour Bay location was opened (this store was later closed in 2011). In December 2008, the Mall at Marathon opened and replaced the food court location with a larger modern facility.

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Crawfish Season CLOSED April 1st-July 31st, 2017

March 30, 2017

The Department of Marine Resources wishes to advise the general public that the closed season for the capturing of crawfish is the period April 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017 inclusive...

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Regional Partnership Strengthens Bamsi's Research Capabilities

March 29, 2017

The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Instituteís (CARDI) representative Michele Singh has, to date, initiated five research topics which are being studied, analyzed and evaluated by BAMSIís professional/technical staff...

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Nearly 1 million pounds of chicken recalled

March 28, 2017

Nearly 1 million pounds of breaded chicken products are being recalled by Oklahoma City company OK Food, Inc., according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture release...

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Brazil officials urge caution over alert on meat imports

March 24, 2017

BRAZILIAN officials in The Bahamas yesterday urged caution as international concern mounts over the quality of meat imports from that country and sought to downplay fears that prompted several bans...

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Bamsi Treats Scotiabank to Farmer's Market

March 23, 2017

The Distribution Centre of The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) recently treated the staff of Scotiabankís main branch to a mini farmersí market...

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Bahamian government bans meat imports from Brazil
Bahamian government bans meat imports from Brazil

March 22, 2017

According to a Facebook post by Hope Strachan, Member of Parliament for Sea Breeze and Minister of Financial Services and Local Government, "The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources is aware of the meat scandal unfolding in Brazil relative to food inspectors taking bribes to allow sales of rotten and salmonella-tainted meats. Sr. Blairo Maggi, Brazil's Agriculture Minister, advised that the government of Brazil has suspended exports from 21 meat-processing units.

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Fishermen in North Andros Receive Assistance Vouches

March 20, 2017

A delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) recently visited Nicholls Town...

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Eleuthera's Centre for Training and Innovation Showcase their First Year's Accomplishment

March 20, 2017

Proactive steps to reverse a high employment rate that reaches up to 70% in some areas, strengthen a workforce that is largely unskilled, and decrease a poverty rate that is a little over 20%, are strong commitments embraced by three non-profit organizations...

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The flavor renderer

March 11, 2017

A "Bahamian-ized" version of a popular Japanese street food known a takoyaki (a popular Japanese street food served traditionally with bits of octopus or other alternatives, inside a slightly crispy shell) was just one of a number of elevated food items culinary artist Chef Ron Johnson showcased for the Bahamian palate at the fourth annual Festival RumBahamas. His version entailed lobster and plantain with a sweet potato, rum and coconut puree.
And you couldn't help but salivate at just the thought of his Coca-Cola and tamarind sorbet; guava duff donuts; rum and vanilla bean ice cream with a rum toffee sauce in a mini waffle cone; and his crispy shrimp grits. Johnson was one of those people that brought the flavor to the festival -- and utilized rum in food in various creative ways; because as he said, you can't have food without rum and rum without food.
The festival gave the culinary artist and private/personal chef a platform to express himself culinary wise. It also gave the general public the opportunity to indulge in the offerings of a chef that on any given day couldn't partake of his food, because they won't find the chef in any restaurant on island as he services high-end clients and is in demand in the yachting industry.
Johnson donned triple hats for the three-day festival. He did demonstrations in the sugarcane kitchen where he utilized rum in food in creative ways, and demoed a rum and vanilla bean ice cream with a rum toffee sauce in a mini waffle cone; the lobster and plantain takoyaki; and his crispy shrimp grits with rum Creole sauce.
He was also the man in charge of the Coca-Cola VIP Party for 100 people in which he utilized Coca-Cola soda in different ways -- a Coke braised pulled pork on a pigeon pea pancake; mushroom Parmesan strudel with a Cuba Libre shot; double chocolate chip cookies with Coca-Cola and chocolate dipping sauce with a Coke and tamarind sorbet.
On the personal side of things he showcased his own unique offerings with his Flavour Unit booth from which he fried up many yummy offerings, like his much-requested guava duff donuts with guava sauce glaze; shrimp corn dog with spiced rum banana dressing; conch taco with avocado cream, tomato rum salsa and rum pickled jalapeno. A Bahamian stew chicken with crispy creamed corn and herbed cornbread; banana rum cake with butterscotch ice cream and raisin pepper; a pulled pork, pigeon pea pancake and crisp onions were also among his culinary offerings.
Johnson says it was a lot over the three days, and overwhelming at times, but he said he kept his composure and just prayed that all went well. His main goal was to ensure that everything was tasty first and foremost.
"When you're cooking, your name is on the line every single time. Consistency is key," said the culinary artist.
And exactly just how did he come up with his many flavor profiles?
They came to him in his head -- and about a month out from the festival.
"I'm amazed at how these flavors just come about, because sometimes they come spontaneously. I come up with flavors in my mind before actually doing the dish, so that's a positive thing and a scary thing, because sometimes I'm doing those dishes for the first time and passing it off as if I've done it for quite some time. But you get to develop those flavor profiles either through experience or reading detailed books, so I credit it to being well read and well-versed to a point. Granted you won't know everything, but that's what I credit to developing those flavor profiles."
When he thinks about everything he put out, asking him what was his favorite was almost like asking him to choose between his children. He almost couldn't, but after giving it some thought, he admitted to really liking his Coke and tamarind sorbet on the Coca-Cola side. He said he personally gets a kick out of making his guava duff donuts, just to showcase that aspect of Bahamian cuisine can be flipped for a broader audience, but the local base would still be able to identify with the flavors.
"I'm always glad to be able to elevate Bahamian cuisine," he said.
In terms of his demos, he said the lobster takoyaki with the sweet potato puree was a challenge that he was happy to tackle because making it isn't as easy as it looks.
In getting everything done, he tapped into his friendship with Chef Sheldon Sweeting to give Bahamians the opportunity to partake in elevated cuisine.
"I'm very thankful to have a friend like Alexandra [Maillis-Lynch, festival founder] to give me the platform and opportunity to express myself culinary-wise."
Going forward, Chef Johnson said he wants people to realize that they are coming to Festival RumBahamas for the rum and food. He said too many people think of it as all about drinking, and not the food.
Johnson said he and Maillis-Lynch have engaged in discussions about him spearheading the culinary side of the festival in a major way going forward.
"We have to find ways to emphasize that it's about food too. Yes, rum is the integral part of it, hence the name, but I guess people develop an opinion when they hear the word rum, but rum has been such a major part of our history and I credit her [Maillis-Lynch] for trying to showcase the food with the rum, because you can't have drinks without food," he said.
Johnson, who was the team manager of the Bahamian squad that captured the Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition in 2015, said going forward he encouraged people to support the unique festival that's getting rave reviews internationally.

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BTC Making Its Rounds Through The Islands
"BTC Making Its Rounds Through The Islands"

March 08, 2017

Newly minted Vice President for the Family Islands, Talbot Collie has been making his rounds across the country. One of his recent stops was at the Bahamas Agriculture, Marine and Science Institute (BAMSI)...

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Elevating food and drink

March 03, 2017

Why do people love Festival RumBahamas? For the rum, duh. But for me, Festival Rum Bahamas is more than just rum. It's a celebration of rum, food and culture. And it's where you should expect to find the best of these offerings. But what makes them even more special is when they're offered with a twist.
While I know I can probably get a good conch fritter or fried chicken and French fries meal, or even a corn dog, why bother? I save tummy space for that food/drink offering that will make me go hmmmm! -- something out of the ordinary that I can't get any day of the week or anywhere for that matter. I opt for food that's not familiar, and even if it's familiar it has to be elevated to another level. It has to be exciting. It was with that attitude in mind that I attended this year's Festival RumBahamas.
Actually, there is one young lady who never ceases to amaze me with how her mind works or what she will come up with -- Alexandra Maillis-Lynch at Events by Alexandra. In the days leading up to the festival she had me salivating at the thought of her cracked sheep tongue fries, and knowing that they had to be a must-have at the festival. Going in, in my head I had sort of conceptualized how I thought she would pull it off, slicing the sheep tongue lengthwise, coated with a breading and deep-fried, and that's exactly what she did. The final result produced a tender portion of tongue between a crisped, but soft breaded coating that was drizzled with white rum-mint pepper jelly sauce. Delicious!
I had found my dish of the festival. At least that was
until I next tried Alexandra's crunchy snapper fingers in waffle cones with spicy tamarind-tomato vinaigrette on salad greens. Wow!
Two dishes in and I didn't feel like I needed to take another step from her booth because she also offered a Guinness, rum, molasses and goat pepper glazed beef brisket sliders; codfish cakes on spicy cheese grits with Solomon Gundy mayo; octopus and lobster ceviche on fresh salad greens in mini taco shells; crispy fried Coca-Cola rib nibs on tropical Asian slaw with sesame miso sugarcane dressing; sugarcane salsa chicken and caramelized plantain spring rolls with sugarcane, garlic, chili and white rum nuoc cham; and Trinidadian chickpeas doubles with sugarcane-mint-chili chutney.
In between my nibbles at Alexandra's -- and I indeed took nibbles -- because I wouldn't have had space to try anything else. And I'd heard about Chef Ron Johnson's guava duff donuts that I understood were like an addiction; and that once you've had one, you will practically beg to find out where he lives in search of more. I agree.
I had the privilege to watch Chef Ron make a batch of dough that was chockfull of chunky guava pieces so-much-so that I wanted to stick my finger into the raw dough for a taste. I watched him fry them up, then give his lovely donuts a dunking in a rich, guava sauce to coat. It was pure heaven. I took two donuts home -- one for me and one for the hubby; he ate both. (I hope Chef Ron takes the hint and realizes I need more guava duff donuts.)
Actually Chef Ron was one of three members of the country's Taste of the Caribbean gold medal winning team (Chef Sheldon Sweeting and Mixologist Mar Cunningham) that presented at Festival RumBahamas who I knew would have offerings that would intrigue.
Under the Flavor Unit banner Chef Sheldon took the conch out of fritters and opted for salt fish fritters, and took the hot dog out of the corn dog opting for a shrimp corn dog with banana aioli. I opted for the shrimp corn dog, which he served up piping hot out of the fryer. There's nothing like when a shrimp is perfectly cooked.
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder was his teammate Marv Cunningham who has become famous for his concoctions under his Mr. Mix moniker. To wash everything down, I went down his 10-drink list and went with the sour sop extreme, which is exactly how it sounds, but is churned in the machine and served up slushy. I also couldn't resist his guava colada, which was creamy to the point of tasting like ice cream. (In all honesty, I'm a fan of Marv's because he adjusts to my specifications, and never fails to deliver.)
In the spirit of honesty and clarity, I did not indulge in all of this decadence in one day. It took me two days to get through all the indulgences. And if I'm being totally truthful I have to add in that bowl of tropical scorched conch I purchased from Dino's stand, because it's not something that I have often.
I also indulged my sweet tooth with red velvet cupcake form The Sweet Life 242 at which Leslie Kemp's slogan speaks aptly to me -- "sweet things for sweet people".
And I would be remiss if I didn't add that Cara Douglas, Caribbean Bottling Co. (CBC) Ltd's marketing manager stumped me in a blind taste test of their Coca-Cola Zero Sugar versus a regular Coke. CBC debuted their new packaging for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar at the festival. I got it totally wrong. I could not tell the difference.
With so much more options, and too little time (and stomach space) Festival RumBahamas satisfies my appetite for adventure, and it's one of those festivals that I look forward to every year.

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