St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda – November 4, 2023 – The Antigua & Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Transportation, and Investment, proudly hosted Rounds 1 and 2 of the Taste of Wadadli Junior Chef Cook-Off Competition on Friday, November 3, 2023, at the GARD Centre.

Nine secondary schools competed in these two exhilarating rounds, showcasing the remarkable culinary talents of Antigua and Barbuda’s youth. The competition demonstrated the exceptional skills instilled by Home Economics teachers and the natural talents of these budding young chefs.

In Round 1, four schools, namely Glanvilles Secondary, St. Mary’s Secondary, Sir McChesney George Secondary School, and Sir Novelle Richards Academy, vied for the top spot. Ultimately, it was Sir McChesney George Secondary School that emerged as the victor. Junior Chef Gregoryann Thomas, supported by Aria Teague and guided by teacher Jahmeel Greaux, presented a Pepperpot dip with fungi chips. Her dish was celebrated for its authenticity, uniqueness, creativity, taste, and presentation, with the fungi chips offering a delightful crunch and flavor.

Head Judge for Round 1, Olvanah Burnette, Executive Sous Chef at Blue Waters Resort & Spa, commended the young chefs for their outstanding performance, emphasizing the importance of using traditional local ingredients and herbs to create dishes that truly shine.

In Round 2, the competition intensified as five schools, including All Saints Secondary School, Princess Margaret School, Pares Secondary School, Antigua Grammar School, and the Seventh-day Adventist School, entered the fray. The Seventh-day Adventist School claimed victory with their flavorful rendition of Pepperpot and Fungi. The winning team was represented Jr. Chef Janiya Murphy, assisted by Sommah Martin and lead to competition by teacher Nicola Reefe-Babb. Jr. Chef Janiya Murphy was lauded for her kitchen skills, including cleanliness, organization, and meticulous planning.

Jeremiah Nathaniel, the Executive Chef at Galley Bay Resort & Spa and Head Judge, openly expressed his deep admiration for the Junior Chefs. He highlighted the profound lessons he gleaned from their culinary creations, noting that some of the dishes demonstrated the potential to grace the menus of hotels across Antigua and Barbuda. With genuine enthusiasm, he encouraged the participants from schools that did not secure a spot in the finale to persist in refining their skills and eagerly return to the competition next year.

The Taste of Wadadli Junior Chef Competition will resume at the GARD Centre on Monday the 6th of November, with the final two preliminary rounds:

  • Round 3 (8:30 am) will feature The Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute, Antigua State College, Clare Hall Secondary School, Jennings Secondary School, and Ottos Comprehensive School.
  • Round 4 (1:00 pm) will culminate in an exciting showdown between Christ the King High School, The Antigua Girls’ High School, Irene B. Williams Secondary School, and St. Joseph’s Academy.

The general public is encouraged to follow the competition and support all the finalists at the Finale on December 4, 2023, at the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute.

The winning school will receive EC$10,000 to enhance their Home Economics facilities, and the winning student will have the opportunity to represent Team Antigua and Barbuda at the prestigious Taste of Caribbean event in 2024 in Miami.

The ABHTA extends its heartfelt gratitude to its partners for their invaluable contributions in nurturing the culinary dreams of these aspiring young chefs.

For further information about the Taste of Wadadli Junior Chef Cook-Off Competition, please contact the ABHTA office at 462.0374/4928.