One of the major thrusts at this year’s Caribbean Week of Agriculture is the concept of “From Farm to Fork” – harvesting fresh produce to create an amazing culinary experience.
The culinary sector holds a significant role in sustainable and profitable enterprises in the agricultural value chain. In this sense the concept is revived having been put forward in the past time and time again.
In light of this, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) partnered with many chefs throughout the Caribbean region, bringing them to the Cayman Islands for the launch of the Chefs for Development Platform on Tuesday 25th October, 2016.
Honourable D. Kurt Tibbetts, Minister of Planning, Land, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure of the Cayman Islands discussed the importance of investment in food and agriculture in the Caribbean region. “Agriculture needs sustained investment to flourish innovatively.
We must focus on creating an environment that is attractive to investors, with quality food and agriculture and stimulate economic growth in the region”, he noted.
The private sector plays a key role in agriculture. In the Cayman Islands, family farms continue to prove itself to be a successful business model.
However, success in Agriculture requires a great investment in time, energy, patience and funding. Mr. David Critchlow, the Director of Agriculture stated that, “Cayman Islands offers the most diverse culinary experience in the region”.
Dr. Michael Hailu, Director of the CTA, emphasized that, “Chefs and culinary professionals have a unique role to play in agricultural development: they connect local producers and consumers and understand food origin and history”.
Chefs have the opportunity to promote local cuisine and provide consumers and tourists with the best of local products. The Hospitality and Culinary Sector also offers significant economic and employment opportunities as shown in many parts of the world.
The CTA and IICA are working with celebrity chefs from the Caribbean and the Pacific, and with other partners have launched an exciting Chefs for Development Platform. This programme supports the training of young local chefs in the use and promotion of local and indigenous ingredients to create amazing culinary dishes.
Chef Peter Edey of the Dining Club Group of Companies in Barbados developed the Junior Duelling Challenge twelve years ago because there was no-one willing to work as a chef cooking local food in his restaurants.
As a result, he re-introduced youth to local food, local produce and preparing local dishes to develop interest in Barbadian culinary arts.
This movement has developed into the Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge creating a new group of culinarians with a keen interest in genuinely Caribbean food. 80% of everything used in the programme was Barbadian grown food.
This was developed into a television programme which aired throughout the region and North America. Eventually, chefs throughout the Caribbean region wanted their youth involved.
This developed into a regional young chef challenge, an Annual International Culinary Conference and the Caribbean Cuisine Culinary Institute.
With progressive chefs like Peter Edey, Culinary Arts in the region is in good hands.