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Jun 26, 2019

Team Belize Returns with Wins from the Taste of the Caribbean

It has been taking place since 1993 and has become one of the leading culinary competitions in the Caribbean region. In the past two consecutive years, Belize has been fielding a team to compete in the highly anticipated Taste of the Caribbean. The best of the best in culinary skills and mixology in the region compete against each other.  This year, Team Belize consisted of two senior chefs, a junior chef, a pastry chef, a bartender and two persons shadowing them.  In 2018, team Belize took second place overall and this year, though they put on their best, the team faced tough competition and still medalled, taking the bronze overall. There were, however, individual winnings: Chef Sean Kuylen won the Contemporary Caribbean Street Pork Competition for which he made the Belizean favourite pibil. Meanwhile, Mark Jacob took the silver medal in the bartender competition with tropical fruits and herb mixed drinks. On their return today, the team spoke with the media about the experience and wins.


Rob Pronk

Rob Pronk, Chef

“It’s a team competition, Taste of the Caribbean; heavy competition which we found out this year again. We did well, but we could have done better; we always can do better, of course. We came back with bronze medals: bartender came back with silver and couple of more bronze medals so we are proud of ourselves.”


Sean Kuylen

Sean Kuylen, Chef

“This year they had a pork competition, never been done. So the Caribbean 305, which we were supposed to cook, we did cook for thirteen hundred guests. They put a pork competition that day so we entered. I gone with the Mayan pibil and I ker mi recado and actually we came in first for the entire Caribbean. And so we have this plaque here. It was the culture. We rub it up, we put the plantain leaf, we put all the love in it, explained it well and that came home with this whole hog competition…first prize for the entire Caribbean, which is amazing. Like yo say, we noh know what we wah get so we ker di mata, di hudut, the Garifuna. Eliza did a great job with that. She came in…she had the bronze for…yo notice she got two medals because she gone beat plantain and grate coconut too. The only thing we could say it’s a learning experience because culture will take you so far, but it is also a contemporary Caribbean cuisine. So like Eva could tell you, it’s very challenging. It have to have a lot of culture, but it have to be very up to date with 2019 and cultural molecular and these kinds of techniques. So it is challenging.”


Mark Jacob

Mark Jacob, Bartender

“It was a four round competition and what I brought to the table was I brought ingredients from Belize. We had a non alcoholic cocktail which I bring all fruits and herbs that we have in our country, I put it together and make it taste really good. For the vodka competition, I brought my culture into that. My drink was out of turmeric which is yellow ginger; was a really good cocktail. For the rum, I put in a little Mayan flare to it so I did a rum swizzle.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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