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.
read more »
March 20, 2017
A delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) recently visited Nicholls Town...
read more »
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...
read more »
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.
read more »
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.
read more »
March 02, 2017
FARMERS across the country were said to be at breaking point as they battle livestock challenges, including deaths of pigs, allegedly due to contaminated and poor quality feed from the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation's Gladstone Road Feed Mill...
read more »
February 24, 2017
The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) has introduced hydroponically grown lettuce and leafy greens to its produce line. The products are being grown in a 65,000-square foot shade house on BAMSI's North Andros campus, and several red and green lettuce varieties are being offered -- Concept, Tropicana, Lollo Rossa, Romaine, Butterhead, Magenta and Red Fire varieties, along with other leafy products like basil, arugula, Swiss chard, and kale.
The lettuce varieties are excellent for use in fresh salads and their tastes can be compared to mild romaine lettuce flavor and a flavor blend of romaine and iceberg lettuces, respectively.
BAMSI officials say a reliable and consistent supply of the lettuce products and other leafy greens are available and will be available at the BAMSI store in March. Because the products are being produced hydroponically, growing time is significantly shorter than would be required in the ground, making it easy to quickly provide a healthy and reliable product, according to officials.
Institute officials say they use no toxic pesticides or herbicides. And because the products are grown in water, they control and ensure that they receive the highest quality of nutritional elements for growth and taste.
They say their preparation and packing methods ensure that products remain fresh longer within consumers' refrigerators compared to soil grown lettuce.
Concept lettuce, a green summer crisp lettuce with open heads (the leaves are a mix of Romaine and a Greenleaf), are arranged in a whorl, giving it a vase-like shape. Leaves are thick, juicy and flavorful.
Tropicana lettuce, a dark green, frilly, leafy lettuce is great for salad mixes to add a gourmet touch.
Lolla Rossa is a frilly, red, loose-leaf lettuce with leaves that have a crisp, semi-succulent, hardy texture and ruffled tips. Lollo Rosso's flavor is bold, slightly bitter and nutty, and is ideal for adding a bright, gourmet touch to salads. This lettuce is high in vitamins A and C.
Jericho lettuce is a traditional romaine variety and a taste favorite. Bright green leaves with a silky texture and sweet, flavorful crunch.
Butterhead lettuce, a bright green variety with broad crisp leaves, is ideal for lettuce wraps and for topping sandwiches.
Red fire lettuce has frilly leaves with a festive red color.
Magenta lettuce is a red summer crisp with good flavor. This lettuce has shiny, slightly puckered, red-tinged leaves from a whorled, conical head with a crisp green heart.
read more »
February 20, 2017
THE Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) has introduced hydroponically grown lettuce and leafy greens to its produce line. All of the products are being grown in a 65,000 square foot shade house on BAMSIís North Andros...
read more »
February 20, 2017
AS one of several vendors at Atlantic Medicalís Health and Wellness Fair, held at Charlotte House, the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) received a slew of questions and interest from participants anxious to try out the native delicacies...
read more »
February 17, 2017
Internationally accepted as the month of love, February is shaping up to be particularly special for visitors to Grand Bahamaís Happiest Hotel, as local and international guests are invited to Find Love this Valentineís Day with the first ever Scavenger Hunt Competition...
read more »
February 09, 2017
BAHAMIAN EXPERT IN FEED BIO TECHNOLOGY RETURNS HOME TO WORK WITH BAMSI...WITH over a decade of research and field work in feed biotechnology, Dr. Jason Sands brings a wealth of international experience, industry...
read more »
January 27, 2017
MINISTER of Agriculture & Marine Resources Alfred Gray on Wednesday justified the more than $20 million investment the Government made in the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), pointing to the returns of a growing employment rate...
read more »