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May 28, 2004

“Taste of Belize” draws top chefs

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For the past three years chefs from across the country have been testing their skills in what has become the de facto cooking championship of Belize. This year, according to the sponsor, Belize Tourism Board, fourteen participants will take part in Taste of Belize. B.T.B.’s Product Development Officer and the competition’s coordinator, Janine Alpuche, says they are enthusiastic about the entries they have received.

Janine Alpuche, Coordinator, Taste Belize

“The idea behind the competition is really to give our chefs in Belize exposure. The purpose is the display some of the fine culinary talent that we have available.?

Jacqueline Woods

?How do you qualify??

Janine Alpuche

?We have several categories for the competition, for example there is a professional category. To qualify for the professional category, you will have had to have professional certification as a chef, and be employed in Belize for at least two years. There is also an amateur competition, which we are very excited about because it is the first year that we are holding that competition. And for the amateurs you just need to be a hobby cook or you can be working as a kitchen apprentice, but you can?t be certified as a professional chef… There is also going to be bartending competition which is very exciting and usually draws out a large crowd for the bartending competition.”

Jacqueline Woods

“Do the participants know what meals they will be cooking??”

Janine Alpuche

“The participants know that they will be preparing a main course and that?s all the information that they have. We work with sponsors to secure our ingredients for the competition and we will be providing them with a mystery basket. The mystery basket really contains the protein of the dish, so they don?t know what exactly it is they will be working with, whether it be fish or pork or lamb, and then you have an array of fruits and vegetables available for them to work with.”

The participants will be competing for the title “Chef of The Year” and a chance to enter the regional competition: Taste of the Caribbean. Taste of Belize gets underway at the Radisson Fort George at seven Saturday night. If you would like to attend, tickets are fifteen dollars per person and you will be treated to a buffet and entertainment by Lauren Burgess, Griga Boyz, and Lloyd and Reckless.

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