(CNS Local Life): Two budding chefs from Bodden Town are the National Youth Cook-Off Champions 2017. ‘Team Bradley’ (Bradley McLaughlin and Tarec Francis from Clifton Hunter High School), who were trained by Chef Thomas Tennant from The Brasserie, not only took the top prize, they also won Best Chili and received the Tanya Foster Trophy for winning the title of Best Young Chefs.
At the end of the final to the National Youth Cook-Off Competition on Wednesday, 1 March, head judge, Chef Vidyadhara Shetty, President of the Cayman Culinary Society and Executive Chef of Blue Cilantro, made the final announcement shortly after 3pm.
‘Team Straight Outta Spot Bay’ (Eugenio Myles and Ronaldinho Vassel from Layman E. Scott High School on Cayman Brac), trained by Chef Thushara Jayalath Siriwardana from Grand Old House, took second place, followed by George Town’s ‘Team Girl Power’ (Ayanna Davis-Eden and Tya Bovell from Triple C School), trained by Chef Master Cubbon from Food Revolution, who placed third.
The other teams who reached the finals were: ‘Team Mo’ from North Side (Mohyndra Brown and Amber McLaughlin from Clifton Hunter High School), trained by Chef Jennifer Dodd from the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman; ‘Team Jaeda’ from East End (Jaeda Kirchman and Kristin Kirchman from Clifton Hunter High School), trained by Chef Elardo Macdonald from Wyndam Reef Resort); and ‘Team UCCI’ (Henricho Swaby and Mikayla Hydes from the UCCI School of Hospitality Management ), trained by Chef Narayan Thapaliya from Grand Old House.
The winning team from Bodden Town prepared a homemade chili with crispy bottler chips and shredded cheese (Appetizer), pan seared lion fish with mango salsa and white rice (Entrée), “Tropical Delight” mini cassava cake with strawberries and pineapples (Dessert) and homemade tamarind nectar (Drink).
Organised by the Government’s Youth Services Unit, the National Youth Cook-Off Competition took place at the 50th annual Agricultural Show, Stacy Watler Pavilion in Lower Valley.
The teams each made a chili appetizer. That dish was followed by the preparation of a lion fish entrée. The last round of the competition had each team create a tempting dessert and a refreshing cool-down drink.
“The final of the National Cook-Off Competition 2017 was a thrilling end to a very competitive contest. Each team that got to the final certainly earned their spot and pulled out all the stops to try and win the title,” said the Acting Head of the Youth Services Unit, James Myles.
“This event is attracting ever increasing crowds and participation is keener each year. Its popularity is also evident from the number of sponsors who signed up. This included: lionfish suppliers C.U.L.L., Ocean Frontiers, the New Self Help Community Foundation, Home Gas Ltd, Cayman Islands Agricultural Society, Miracle Brokers International, A.L. Thompsons, the Department of Environment, the Cayman Culinary Society, Foster’s Food Fair IGA, Cayman National Bank and the Ministry of Tourism,” he added.
While the five judges deliberated as to which team would be the 2017 National Cook-Off Champions, Chef Macdonald from the Reef Resort, wowed spectators by creating an angelfish ice carving.
Chef Shetty said, “This year the competitors have taken the food one step up. The dishes were tasty, the presentation was wonderful and the competition only continues to grow and become better each year.
“The cooking skills have improved and we would like to see even more students and kids get involved in the competition. We would especially like to see more young students enrolling in culinary studies, including the UCCI culinary programme and receiving training from our wonderful restaurants and hotels,” he added.