Young Saint Lucian culinary stars Jana James and Yohance Cazaubon have represented their country well, receiving a special award for “Best Use of Indigenous Ingredients” and a Silver Medal for “Overall Performance” in the recently concluded Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge competition held in Barbados.
The Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School students built on the cooking momentum previously set at the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) Chefs In Schools Cook-Off Competition, held in February where they outdid nine other participating schools.
Executive Vice President of the SLHTA Noorani Azeez said the two awards were undoubtedly a proud achievement for the young culinary ambassadors and for Saint Lucia, as the island continues to capitalize on the international culinary attention secured by the likes of Chef Nina Compton and Chef Edward Harris and the resulting encouragement to utilize local ingredients to create flavorsome dishes.
The Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge (CJDC) Competition was held from August 21 – 24, at the Culinary Arena in Barbados. This competition is an extension of the Barbados programme “Junior Duelling Challenge”. It is a challenge for young career-building chefs which allows for competing countries to showcase their national foods as well their own mastered creations.
In addition to the competition, the event included its first ever Caribbean Junior Culinary Conference, which featured presentations by keynote speakers, valued sponsors and informative demonstrations by international chefs. Saint Lucia’s two Junior Chefs challenged six other Caribbean teams from Barbados, Bonaire, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana and St. Croix.. Bonaire emerged the overall champion.
SLHTA Project Assistant, Mr. Wendel George coordinated the trip while a member of the 2014 Saint Lucia Culinary Team from Cap Maison, Chef Refer Leonce coached the young cooking champions. Food and Nutrition teacher for the Soufriere Comprehensive School, Ms. Macrina Joseph functioned as their chaperone. Throughout the six years of this competition, Saint Lucia has been a consistently challenging participant and has always delivered exceptional dishes with three victorious wins.
This year, Saint Lucia has proudly received a Silver Medal and most excitingly a special award for Best Use of Indigenous Ingredients.