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Suriname culinary team wins two awards at Taste of the Caribbean 2007

National team receives bronze medal as well as Spirit of Competition award


Suriname (June 27, 2007) - The Suriname National Culinary Team, composed of chefs Mardian Amat, Ilja Martens, Arnold Fredrik, Clifton Edwald Nerkust as pastry chef and bartender Noel Benschop, took home a bronze medal, as well as the Spirit of the Competition Award for their performance at the Taste of the Caribbean 2007 regional culinary competition.

These awards culminated two days of events at the annual showcase of Caribbean cuisine, presented by the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), with sponsorship from Angostura Ltd, Bahama Breeze, Buckhead Beef, Certified Angus Beef, Halperns¡¯ Purveyors of Steak and Seafood and the US Meat Export Federation. The event was held June 18 and 19 at the Hyatt Regency Miami, in conjunction with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Conference (CHTC 2007).

¡°The Suriname National Culinary Team was recognized with the Spirit of Competition Award because they demonstrated an exemplary attitude of camaraderie and good fellowship during the competition, never hesitating when it came to helping other Caribbean team members,¡± said head judge, Rick Crossland, during the presentation of the award, adding that the team members had ¡°kept a good vibe throughout, with their constant smiles and singing during the preparation of the dishes. Suriname can be very proud of the team of chefs that showcased the best of Surinamese hospitality through culture and cuisine.¡±

The Suriname team presented a three-course menu, which started with an appetizer of creamy pumpkin-fish soup with smoked red snapper, followed by a locally inspired entr¨¦e: ketoembar (ground coriander)-seasoned grilled pork-pineapple skewers with a spicy ketjap sauce (Indonesian soy sauce); bakabana (deep-fried plantain); stewed tri tip of beef with mandarin peel, fermented black beans and Cointreau, served with goedangan flavoured with trassi (Sumatran shrimp paste) and a local herb blend, and local rice dish masoesa moksi alesi. For dessert they chose a ¡°culture shock¡± of lapis, a firm Javanesian starch pudding flavoured with guava and almond and topped with roasted almond; a ¡°Bojo¡± Creole cassava pastry with raisins; and soursop mousse topped with mango jelly, served with a papaya-chili flake sauce.

During the awards ceremony on June 18, Crossland also took the opportunity to draw attention to the high points of the cooking competition and urged competitors to continue on the same path. ¡°Continue to embrace and showcase the unique dishes, ingredients and methods of preparation that make your island¡¯s cuisine distinctive,¡± encouraged Crossland. ¡°Continue to incorporate artful and colourful presentations with your demonstrated understanding of portion size and nutritional balance.¡± He also lauded the initiative of many of the teams, which bring students and apprentices to the competition to provide them with a learning and growing experience.

Taste of the Caribbean 2007 brought teams of chefs from Anguilla, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cura?ao, Grenada, Puerto Rico, St Martin/St Maarten, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and the United States Virgin Islands to compete in a live-kitchen environment in which each team prepared a three-course meal in under four hours. The menu is designed from a mystery basket of ingredients, whose contents are not revealed until the beginning of the competition. In addition to the culinary competitions, each culinary team manager hosted a demonstration of its country¡¯s indigenous cuisine, highlighting the Caribbean¡¯s rich diversity and variety.

In the Taste of the Caribbean 2007 culinary competitions, national teams (including chefs and bartenders) competed against established criteria rather than each other, which allows for a clear definition of excellence, unaffected by the relative levels of the competitors¡¯ skills. In addition, all received detailed critiques of their performance from competition officials, adding a professional development component to the event.

Taste of the Caribbean, established in 1987, strives to promote the development and refinement of contemporary Caribbean cuisine.

For your FREE on-line Suriname travel guide, visit www.caribbean.com.


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