Several tourism partners and specially invited guests were ???blown away??? by a mixologist and a master chef and his team, who used locally grown produce to create a sumptuous four course dining experience that was a true epicurean delights.
The Chef???s Table Series: A Gourmet Experience private launch was held at the well-appointed Bellevue Plantation House, Waterford, St. Michael, last Saturday.
The series is a culinary exploration where guests are treated to a journey through the eyes of the culinary artist ??? the Chef.??The initiative is also designed to sensitise the public that Buy Bajan was not a national duty, but a choice from which pleasure may be derived.
And, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, gave it the thumbs up. He said the agro-tourism initiative demonstrated the need for the incorporation of sustainable consumption and production into the tourism sector, the importance of culinary and agro-tourism to the sector and the value of private-public sector partnerships.
???This initiative ??? the Chef???s Table – is a fitting corollary to the sustainable consumption and production workshop that my Ministry hosted last year, which focused on the need to create linkages between our farmers and restaurants. Similarly, this event will allow farmers chefs and bartenders, over the next 10 months, to utilise locally procured inputs to create traditional culinary tourism activities,??? he added.
Mr. Sealy further stated: ???The Ministry of Tourism and International Transport remains committed to the??? consumption of sustainable and protection practices across the tourism sector and especially in the culinary sub-sector. Barbados continues to increase its market share in this intensely competitive tourism arena and, therefore, it is imperative that we continue to explore new and emerging niche markets to differentiate our products.???
The tourism minister proffered the view that culinary tourism, when fused with local agriculture, local agri-business and manufacturing, would ???provide a sound blueprint for pursuing this niche???.??Noting that culinary tourism was an emerging market that was being vigorously pursued in Asia, Europe, the Americas and in the region, Mr. Sealy said ???foodies??? traversed the world daily to indulge in the culinary fare of the destinations.
Meanwhile, President of the Barbados Agricultural Society, James Paul, said his organisation was committed to meeting the needs of the hotel and restaurant sectors.?????Undeniably, no amount of imports can substitute for high quality, straight from the farm table and vegetables and produce. Undoubtedly, fresh is best!??? he emphasised.
Likewise, President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, Patricia Affonso-Dass, acknowledged that while traditional marketing activities were placed on the sun, sea and sand, more tourists were travelling for the experience that encompassed the island???s culture, its people and fine cuisine.
???Barbados has earned the enviable reputation as the culinary capital of the Caribbean and many of our restaurants can compete with the very best in the markets from which our guests originate.
???The wonderful thing however, is that there is also a fantastic array of alternate food experiences that can be had from the amazing fried fish at Oistins and Martin???s Bay, to ???finger-licking??? souse and roast pork at Lemon Arbor, to a world-class fish cutter beachside at Cuz. In Barbados we are certainly spoilt for choice,??? she quipped.
Mrs. Affonso-Dass said there were many examples of strong linkages between tourism, agriculture and manufacturing that had resulted in significant collaboration over the last 15 years.
This partnership had not only resulted in a regular supply of local agricultural and other products to restaurants and hotels, but ???in the form of a number of events that have already taken place and [those] events to be held in the future, that promote local produce and showcase its use???.
After the formalities were over, it was time to ???dig in???!??Patrons watched carefully as Team Manager of the Barbados Culinary Team, Michael Harrison crafted the first course that included freshly caught Bajan seasoned flying fish melts paired with a red cabbage slaw, sweet pickled cucumber and scotch bonnet ginger pool.
As photographers positioned themselves at every vantage point to capture Mr. Harrison???s creations, patrons sampled the first course, and then got ready for the second one that consisted of menu items such as smoked peppered Black Belly lamb??carpaccio and chicken with lime cherry tomatoes accentuated with caramel popcorn, micro beans and edible flowers.
In the next course, seared yellow tail tuna, grilled watermelon and roasted carrot cumin puree served with baby bok choy, cassava and sour sop beurre blanc finished with fresh lemon grass air, was served to the guests.??The dessert was also a hit with patrons. Coconut Panna Cotta layered with seasonal fruit jelly accompanied by a rosemary biscuit was eaten in a flash.
Mixologist Jaamal Bowen, whipped up a cucumber ginger cooler and grapefruit crush to create an unforgettable culinary experience for the guests attending the event. The Chef???s Table series will continue this month and end in December and will continue to showcase the best culinary delights that Barbados and its chefs have to offer!