every year around this time, the THRTA (trinidad hotels, restaurants and tourism association) has a grand competition to select the National Culinary Team that will represent us at the Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition in miami. it's a big deal. t&t happens to be the most winning team, so the expectations are high and the demands tall. that's why they engage in a series of practice dinners that the public can attend. it's a great opportunity to operate under competition conditions and raise some money to help with the expenses of taking a team to miami. they were cool enough to invite the bloggers' table to check one out and we gladly accepted.
the team is made up of some of the best in the industry.
Sabrina Rosales of Sabrina Exotic Chutneys - Vice Captain
Janelle Ollivierre of Hilton Trinidad - Alternate Chef
Adrian Cumberbatch of Magdalena Grand Resort - Chef
Cheryl-Ann Shortt-Charles of TTHTI - Pastry Chef of the Year 2013
Jeremy Lovell of Courtyard by Marriot - Chef of the Year 2013
Naomi Lovell student Chef - Junior Chef
Karlina Permell of Hilton Trinidad - Alternate Bartender
Raymond Joseph of Courtyard by Marriot - Team Captain
and of course, Clinton Ramdahn of Martini Makers - Bartender of the Year 2013
behind the scenes, the team worked the kitchen to prepare a full meal under competition conditions.
so corey of learning patience, melissa of trindad lookbook, the trinichow and myself sat down to see the type of work the team was doing thus far. because it's a competition, we couldn't take pics of the menu or blog openly about the dishes and their ingredients. so this entry is more pretty pics than anything else.
for starters, there was this take on pepper roti. probably the best course. at least the best course in my books.
the team's bartender gave a display that looked like part mixology, part chemistry experiment.
the attractive end result was very unique. some refinement needed though. flavors were overpowering.
shrimp 2 ways was next. interesting. an innovative use of the ingredient. it was a very brave move, but an interesting local spin on the ingredient. the presentation was nice though.
truth be told, i wasn't a fan of the main course that night. conceptually all over the place. and the presentation didn't scream please eat me. but the individual ingredients were well prepared, so i wasn't that scared.
dessert was visually appealing. but not appealing enough to make a dessert skipper like me me dive in. as i'm no dessert fan, i didn't think my word on it would be that powerful anyway. the rest of the table didn't seem impressed enough to encourage me to try it either.
all in all, i wasn't as impressed as i was last year, but that's what practice is for i guess. the ingredients were well prepared, but the concepts sat in the shadows of the executions. i'm curious to see if they will tighten it up for the big fund raiser coming up at the hilton again on june 17th. i'd say join them. it would be an interesting stage of the journey, but a most delicious way to support.