Antigua and Barbuda, October 5, 2023 – The Antigua & Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association (ABHTA) is thrilled to announce its collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Transportation, and Investment to launch the highly-anticipated Taste of Wadadli Junior Chef Cook-Off Competition, aimed at secondary and tertiary institutions.

The ABHTA’s vision behind this competition is to underscore the vital role of the hospitality industry in our twin islands while nurturing the culinary talents of our young students. This exciting culinary competition will be open to high schools and tertiary institutions across the island, with a primary focus on identifying students with a natural flair for culinary arts and offering them a platform to nurture their passion.

The ABHTA, in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), has meticulously organized the Taste of Wadadli Junior Chef Cook-Off Competition, featuring 18 exceptionally talented Junior Chefs who will compete for the coveted title of Taste of Wadadli Junior Chef Cook-off Champion.

Craig Marshall, Chairman of the ABHTA, shared his thoughts on the competition, saying, “Our main objective is to provide students with a unique insight into the hospitality industry, recognizing and nurturing those who display genuine culinary talent and passion. This competition serves as a gateway to future training and employment opportunities for participants. It also emphasizes celebrating the rich taste and flavors of our islands.”

Mr. Marshall further emphasized, “Every dish prepared in the Taste of Wadadli Junior Chef Competition will reflect our local cuisine, a crucial aspect of our hospitality business. Visitors to Antigua and Barbuda seek to experience our culture through our cuisine. Therefore, I encourage all participants to think creatively about how they can captivate an international audience with their dishes.”

The winning Junior Chef will have the honor of joining the official Antigua and Barbuda Chef Team, which includes senior Industry Chefs and Mixologists, for a trip to Miami in 2024 to compete in Taste of the Caribbean. This exciting opportunity is generously provided by the ABHTA, and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority will sponsor the winning Home Economics teacher to accompany the team as a chaperone.

The Taste of Wadadli Junior Chef Competition has received tremendous support from corporate sponsors. Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank, represented by General Manager Mr. Michael Spencer, is contributing EC$10,000 to the winning school to enhance their Home Economics facility. Digicel is also playing a significant role by presenting the 2nd place school with EC$5,000 for facility upgrades and awarding the winning student with a smart device and data for roaming during their trip to Miami.

Key rules for the competition include:

  1. Participants must be between 14 to 19 years old.
  2. Each participant must have a designated Student Assistant during the competition.
  3. The competition comprises two phases: a preliminary cook-off in October and the grand finale scheduled for December 4, 2023.
  4. Competing teams will be divided into four groups, with the best team from each group advancing to the grand finale.
  5. Each participant must be mentored by a teacher for the preliminary round.
  6. The top four competing schools will be assigned a Chef mentor from one of our leading hotels.

The announcement of the competition revealed that for the preliminary competition, all participating schools will be showcasing Pepperpot as their chosen local dish. Teams will be granted a generous three-week window to meticulously practice and refine their skills in preparing this dish, leading up to the preliminary competitions scheduled for October 27th and 30th.

This competition is a testament to the power of collaboration, and the ABHTA is deeply appreciative of the valued partners, namely: The Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Transportation, and Investment, The Ministry of Education, Sports, and Creative Industries, The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, ECAB, Caribbean Distribution Company, Digicel, and the GARD Centre.