by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Grenada will be participating in the Taste of The Caribbean Festival
- Samesha Dominique and Shemar Clark topped Junior Chef qualifier
Two junior chefs from the TAMCC Culinary Arts Department are part of the Grenada culinary team for the annual Taste of The Caribbean Competition in June.
After a 10-year hiatus, Grenada will be participating in the Taste of The Caribbean Festival where chefs and bartenders from around the region have been competing for the Caribbean’s top culinary honours since 1993. The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) will be hosting this event from 21-25 June at the Hyatt Regency, Miami.
In the Junior Chef qualifier on Friday, 15 March, Samesha Dominique and Shemar Clark topped the judges’ scorecard, competing against 4 other students vying for a spot on the team.
The 6 students had 2 hours to prepare and cook delicacies from a mystery basket of ingredients while under constant monitoring of Chef Belinda Bishop, Founder/CEO of Flavours of Grenada, Jean Louis-Brocardi, Culinary Director at Silversands Grenada, and Carl Howell chef and lecturer at TAMCC.
Samesha Dominique, 20, dreams of being executive chef at her own restaurant. Her knack for presentation and her ability to cook gained her the judges’ approval to join the team. She prepared parmesan stuffed tomato chicken with pasta and vegetables, in a coconut ginger sauce.
Dominique said her main secret ingredient for her recipe was ginger. “The main ingredient in all my dishes was ginger, that was my secret ingredient. I also blanched my vegetables and I glazed it with sugar and I also made a coconut ginger sauce with a hint of white wine. For my presentation I did my best, I drizzled the sauce around my ingredients and the judges loved it.”
Chef Bishop, explained the judges’ decision to select Dominique to join the team. “What sets them both on the top of the score chart was that Samesha had a good presentation, she aligned all her food in the centre of the plate, her portions worked well, she was able to cook the pasta really well, better than the others and her allocation of the sauce on the plate was well done.”
Dominique agrees that if she is to remain on the team, she will have to improve on timing taken to prepare meals. Shemar Clark was also mindful that speed in preparing meals is one of his weaknesses. Clark is a St Lucia born student, who grew up in Grenada. He too dreams of being a world-renowned chef. Last Friday he presented meal was blackened mahi-mahi with creamy pasta and stuffed chicken.
He said the challenge was fierce as they were given limited time to prepare a meal. “The stressful part about it was the amount of time I had, because coming up to the last second it was kind of hard to plate because there was a lot of pressure on me to plate at the same time so that I can serve the judges.”
Chef Bishop praised Clark’s excellent knife skills and ability to chop vegetables in correct proportions. “Shemar had great knife skills. He was fast at chopping, he knew what size to chop the vegetables so that kind of set him apart from the rest of the team.”
Flavours of Grenada is a movement to showcase Grenada’s culinary prowess, sustainable agricultural practices, and healthy eating, as well as provide internship scholarships to TAMCC Food and Beverage and Culinary Arts students.
Now that the junior chefs have been chosen, the team will spend the next few months training to function as a single unit going into this year’s competition. The National Grenada Culinary Team will consist of 2 Senior Chefs, 1 Pastry Chef, 2 Junior Chefs, 1 Bartender, and 1 Team Captain.
Selection for the rest of the team took place during the week of 11-17 March as various hotels nominated senior chefs and bartenders to compete and be judged by a series of culinary and beverage professionals. The initiative is supported by both the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA).