The ultimate vision of the Nature Island Food & Drink Festival scheduled for April 23rd, 28th & 29th this year is “to present and promote culinary excellence and passion in Dominica. Stimulating Industry practitioners to utilize culturally rich techniques and recipes with contemporary skill and ingredients and up-to-date trends to consistently provide distinctly Dominican world class culinary experiences”. This years’ Festival takes major strides in that direction through a number of key developments and support from prestigious institutions and industry colleagues.
Island Chef Culinary Competitions and headline Cook-Off & Mix-Off event will take place on Friday 29thApril at the Anchorage Hotel where International and regional chefs will serve as judges. South African Melissa Van Assen, a Super Yacht Chef for over 15 years and co-owner/Chef at her Banana Lama Eco Villa near Rosalie in Dominica will be head of the judging panel. The panel will be made up of the esteemed Symposium Chef Lecturers whose attendance has been made possible by sponsorship from our Caribbean regional airline LIAT.
This year competitors can expect to win life-changing prizes. The Festival has secured support from the multiple Award winning CuisineArt Golf Resort & Spa in Anguilla through a prize of a 2-week internship in November during the 2nd annual Epicurea Golf Event. Another 2-week internship has been secured from one of the Caribbean’s Top 5 Luxury Lifestyle resorts, the Curtain Bluff in Antigua while The renowned Coco Palms Resort & Spa in St. Lucia has not only sponsored this year’s Mixologist Lecturer and Judge but has also committed a one week internship for the Island Mixologist 2016 Champ. As a special Category this year the Judges will select the most promising Chef who will win a Culinary Course at Chef Edey’s Caribbean Cuisine Culinary Institute in Barbados. Very generous prizes to be awarded with others from local media partner Digicel on the afternoon of 30th April, at the DHTA’s most prestigious Annual National Tourism Trade Show & Cocktail.
With the invaluable partnership of Discover Dominica Authority, further regional support has come via print promotion in LIAT’s ZING Magazine April to June 2016 edition and the Festival’s inclusion in the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Caribbean Culinary Events Calendar 2016 which is distributed globally to the Travel & Leisure Industry and online as well as Travel & Trade Show presence.
As with Last year the Festival Schedule is full of interesting activities for people of all ages and includes; the Kids Farm to Table Experience on Saturday 23rd April to the Kalinago Territory with two-time Island Chef Champ Nikki Esprit of Café Desiderata; NIF&DF Symposium of a full day of interactive hands-on workshops by top chefs. Barbadian Celebrity Television Chef and Lecturer Peter Edey of Caribbean Cuisine and Nutritionist, Dominican-born Personal Trainer, Nutritionist and Chef Irma Douglas of Fiber & Spice who honed her Culinary and Coaching skills in New York over 2 decades.
The workshops will cover a broad range of topics from kitchen operations to menu planning on your feet with available ingredients; the proverbial ‘Mystery Basket’, International trends for presentation to considerations of Nutrition and caloric values. Four important workshops that will assist the food enthusiasts and importantly the industry workers in ensuring they strike a balance on variety, technique, nutrition and value, making for profitable businesses.
Two workshops for Mixologists by St. Lucian Demitrius Octave from Coco Palms Resort & Spa will deliver a Belfast Estate Rums sponsored Rumology course and a Mixology workshop on infusing local essences and flavours with International trends, spirits and brews. These will precede the Nature Island Ital Food & Bush Rum Fest featuring a Belfast Estates Rumology Mix -Off & Anchorage Ital Buffet.