the Trinidad Hotels Restaurants & Tourism Association started the quest for the best onsunday, january 16th as chefs and junior chefs from some of the top hotels and restaurants, as well as some independents and even students came to try out for the Trinidad & Tobago Culinary Team. it’s a big deal. this is the team of chefs, pastry chefs and bartenders that represents the country at the international culinary competitions, so everybody brings their A game. simply put, it’s 2days of food and beverage fun.
4 pastry chefs (Anslem Allette – Chaud Restaurant, Kendall Mulzac – Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Cheryl-Ann Shortt-Charles – Independent, Marisa Julien – Courtyard by Marriott) go at it in a battle of flavours that could tease almost any taste bud.
for the chefs and junior chefs, the competition took the mystery basket format which always adds an element of excitement. the challenge was to use all the items in the mystery basket along with elements from a community pantry to create 2 plates. 1 for the judges to sample and 1 for display.
trini style ravioli trio with orange fish, curried eggplant and provision foo foo, tossed in a tomato choka and cream cheese sauce, served on a pumpkin puree. pan seared chicken breast on braised patchoi, topped with coconut and chocolate chutney accompanies the trio.
molasses/almond cookies sandwiching orange bitters cream, nesting in mango compote. sorrel pudding topped with torched lime meringue and a sorrel reduction. pumpkin mousse topped with portugal jelly and candied pumpkin.
this one came out a little late, so we didn’t get the menu. we’ll follow up on it though. for now, lets just call it a balanced flavoured, well executed slice of heaven that displayed a great level of technical skill as and creativity.
pigeon peas and provision filled omlete on a crusted snapper fillet, accompanied by sauteed ginger vegetables. duck flavoured sausage on a clove and rum reduction sauce, topped with a fresh caribbean salsa.
pan seared rum and raisin fillet of fish, accompanied by a ginger chocolate beurre blanc, orange glazed duck breast accompanied by trini eggplant pancake and sauteed provision, plantain flavoured butter served with garlic sauteed vegetables.
orange infused duck breast pan seared to perfection, accompanied by a papaya cream sauce resting on a bed of sauteed green peas and patchoi. provision oil down with a cinnamon plantain chutney and a chive and shadon beni infused souse, garnished with a breaded pan seared eggplant slice.
and the final plate of the day also came out a little bit into the other excitement, so we have to get that menu too. but you can still enjoy its pure beauty. not to mention the nerves of steel the chef had calmly plating his dish with only seconds left to go. no sweat at all.
imagine what a task it must have been for judges raymond, debbie and rachel (left to right) to go through all these meals and eventually select from all this talent. luckily it doesnt have to come down to one, but from this line up they will select a pastry chef, a junior chef and two junior chefs. still not easy, but they knew the job was tough when they took it. trust us, they love it!
the next leg happens on tuesday january 17th from 11am to 5pm at TTHTI Chaguramas. that’s when the mix masters will come to try out for the ony bartender spot on the team. it’s open to the public, so come down if you can. if not, i guess you can check us back and we’ll link you up with some more pics and a cool video like this one: