For the first time, a student chef will be among the national team competing for top honours in the Taste of the Caribbean competition. The culinary experts are preparing for the September 9-12 event in Puerto Rico.
Kevin Ho was selected from the Antigua & Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI). He created history in August by becoming the first student chef to compete among the culinary professionals at the Magic Mango Culinary Competition at Dutchman’s Bay.
The 17 year old, who aspires to be an executive chef, said the preparatory heat is on in the kitchen.
Ho is aiming to bring home the Junior Chef of the Year title in the competition, managed by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association (CHTA), endorsed by the Antigua Hotel and Tourist Association (AHTA) and the Ministry of Tourism.
“I am expecting to win,” he said, adding that the team leader, Andrew "Stan" Baxter, an international award winning chef, has envisioned a concept which entails time management and presentation.
“I am prepared," Ho said. "I am focussing on heats, and looking at time utilization, because for the main competition, we (junior chefs) are to prepare four plates in one hour from a mystery basket. When Stan asked me to become part of the national team, there was nothing in me that could have said no. I am so grateful…Team Antigua, Wow! This is an opportunity of a lifetime.”
Executive Director of Antigua & Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute Kalvin Ambrose was equally elated about his student’s participation.
Ho is a two-year student in the culinary programme at the institute.
The executive director described Ho as “keen, passionate and committed to the culinary arts.” Ambrose is optimistic that his student’s exposure to such a competition would “add value to his professionalism, as, he pursues his dream of becoming a professional chef.”
General Manager of the Antigua & Barbuda Hotel & Tourist Association Neil Forrester said the teen's inclusion has set the stage for the development of a sustainable culinary art form.
He underscored the competition’s objectives, which emphasize camaraderie and educational opportunities among food and beverage professionals, while continuously raising the standards of Caribbean food and beverage excellence and professionalism in the region.
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