Antigua and Barbuda, May 13, 2024 – Britanya McLaren, the talented Pastry Cook at Hermitage Bay, clinched victory in a fiercely contested Pastry Chef Competition, earning herself a coveted position on Team Antigua Barbuda. The team is poised to represent the nation at the prestigious Taste of the Caribbean event in Miami later this year. Britanya showcased her culinary prowess on Saturday, May 11, engaging in a thrilling four-hour cook-off against formidable opponents: Tameka Hamilton, Chef de Partie at Blue Waters Resort & Spa, and Vivia Ingram, Chef de Partie at Jumby Bay Island.

In a test of creativity and skill, all participating chefs were tasked with incorporating Sweet Potato as their primary ingredient. With just one week to prepare, Britanya crafted a stunning dessert utilizing Beauregard Sweet Potato, Japanese Purple Sweet Potato, and Back-rah Mary Sweet Potato. Her winning creation, aptly named Spiced Sweet Potato Panna Cotta, captivated both the taste buds and the eyes of the judges.

Image caption: Britanya’s winning pastry dish

Britanya’s dish stood out for its innovative presentation and harmonious blend of flavors, showcasing the diversity of the sweet potato varieties. The esteemed panel of judges, led by Chef Maurine Bowers: Executive Pastry Chef at Curtain Bluff Antigua and ACF Certified Executive Pastry Chef, praised Britanya for her culinary artistry.

At the youthful age of 24, Britanya stands out as the competition’s youngest contender, boasting just four years of culinary experience. Reflecting on her unexpected triumph, she humbly acknowledges the surprise, particularly considering her recent discovery of a latent talent for pastry during the pandemic. Britanya attributes her success to the unwavering support and guidance provided by her employer, Hermitage Bay. Grateful for the opportunity extended to her as a novice, she emphasizes the invaluable training, mentorship, and encouragement she received, crediting these elements for paving the path to her triumphant victory in the competition.

Image caption: Team Antigua Barbuda

Joining Britanya on Team Antigua Barbuda are esteemed culinary professionals, including Chef Rodrick Beazer, Chef of the Year 2022 at the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Awards Gala and Executive Sous Chef at Curtain Bluff Antigua, and Chef Ronald Wilson, Chef of the Year 2023 at the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Awards Gala and Chef de Cuisine/Head Chef at Blue Waters Resort & Spa. Altino Spencer, Winner of the Taste of Wadadli Mixology Competition 2022/2023, and Azarie Crump, Winner of the Taste of Wadadli Junior Chef Competition 2023, complete the talented lineup. Renowned Executive Pastry Chef Maurine Bowers of Curtain Bluff will serve as the team’s Manager, guiding them towards culinary excellence.