Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart, presenting Caribbean Chef of the Year Mitchell Husbands with his certificate of recognition. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

Barbados’ culinary team, which accomplished a major medal haul at this year’s Taste of the Caribbean competition, was celebrated with an awards reception yesterday evening at Ilaro Court, hosted by Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart and Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy.

Team representatives, led by team manager Henderson Butcher, were given certificates of recognition by Mr. Stuart and were offered congratulations by Mr. Sealy, who noted that their accomplishments were proof that the industry belonged to all Barbadians.

"…you would have heard me constantly repeat the theme of empowerment for our people, especially those that work in the sector… with respect to tourism, there’s always been a view held by too large a segment of our population that… it’s an ???us and them’ [situation].?? So I think it’s really great when we can celebrate our own Barbadians who are born and bred here, who are doing world class culinary work," he said.

Mr. Sealy singled out the three junior chefs on the team; Tristan Whitehall and Dominic Bennett of St. Leonard’s Secondary School and Stephanie Sayers of Queen’s College, for special mention. He added that he was heartened by the progress made in the industry over the years, disclosing: "…possibly 20 to 25 years ago, almost all the chefs in Barbados in major hotels and restaurants were expatriates…and in 2011 as we are celebrating the success of our culinary team, the antithesis obtains…it is a wonderful accomplishment and the celebration of these [persons] is as eloquent a testimony as you could want of how far we’ve come".

Mr. Sealy acknowledged that the team members were trailblazers for those who would follow and assured that support and development of the culinary sector would continue.

"We’re going to continue to develop that aspect of our product offering. ??We’re going to continue to see to it that the Food, Wine and Rum Festival [in November] is something etched in the calendar of food festivals the world over. You will be hearing about Aspen, South Beach and Barbados, that is what we are aiming for and we can get there," he stressed.


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